Schools Closed to Students for Remainder of School Year

The Ministry of Education has announced that all schools will remain closed to students and staff for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Students will continue virtual learning during this time.

 

School Climate Surveys

 

2020-2021 YRDSB Survey for Students and Families

 

The YRDSB Surveys for Students and Families are now available. The deadline to complete the survey has been extended until June 29, 2021. Students in Grades 7-12 have received an email to their GAPPS account with a link to the Student Survey. Families have received an email to the email address they have on file at their child’s school with a link to the Family Survey.

A copy of the survey is available here for families to review. Translated versions of the survey and parent letter are available below.

Family Information Letter

Grades K-12 Family Survey (for reference only)

Grades 7-12 Student Survey(for reference only)

Student and family voice is important to us. The York Region District School Board will be conducting two surveys to collect feedback from students (Grades 7-12) and families (Grades K-12) to understand their experiences of learning during this school year. The surveys will be available to be completed online between May 26 and June 29, 2021. 

 

Family and Student Voice. We want to hear from you.

The surveys will include questions related to: 

  • remote learning
  • technology and learning tools
  • student engagement
  • safety, discrimination and bullying
  • mental health and well-being
  • equity and inclusive learning environments
  • family/school communication

We also ask about students’ identities (e.g., race, gender) in order to understand how learning experiences may differ among groups of students, and to promote a safe and inclusive school climate for all students. 

Information from these surveys will help to ensure that our schools provide safe, inclusive and respectful environments that support student achievement and well-being. Survey results will be used to identify areas that need to be addressed, monitor progress and plan strategies to support students.

To accommodate participants with varying exceptionalities, both surveys can be completed using voice recognition software such as Google Read & Write. 

 

Survey for Students

All students in Grades 7 to 12 are invited to participate in this online survey to be completed at their convenience between May 26 and June 29, 2021

  • The survey will take about 15-20 minutes to complete. 
  • The information students provide will be anonymous and individual responses will be kept in strict accordance with all relevant legislation.
  • The information you share will only be accessible by staff in YRDSB’s Research and Assessment Services Department as well as by the third party data collection tool, until they are removed 
  • Storage and retention of data will follow Board Policy and Procedure #160.0 Records and Information Management
  • Individuals will not be identified in any reports resulting from this survey. 
  • Students may skip any questions they do not want to answer.

 

Survey for Families

All parents/guardians of students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 are invited to participate in the 2021 YRDSB Survey for Families between May 26 and June 29, 2021.  

  • The survey will take about 15-20 minutes to complete. 
  • The survey will be anonymous and individual responses will be kept in strict accordance with all relevant legislation.
  • The information you share will only be accessible by staff in YRDSB’s Research and Assessment Services Department. 
  • The third party data collection tool that we are using will also have access to your responses until they are removed by Research and Assessment Services once the surveys are closed.
  • Storage and retention of data will follow Board Policy and Procedure #160.0 Records and Information Management
  • Individuals will not be identified in any reports resulting from this survey.

 

Participation

Students and families may choose not to participate in these surveys. Families can choose to not fill out the Family Survey. Families may also request that their child(ren) not be invited to participate in the Student Survey by contacting Research Services at research.services@yrdsb.ca no later than May 21, 2021.

 

Additional Information

A copy of the survey is available here for families to review. Translated versions of the survey are also available in 13 additional languages (see above). 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Rationale for Conducting the Surveys

YRDSB endeavours to consult with students and families in a variety of ways. These surveys will provide valuable information about students’ and families’ experiences of learning this year. Information will help to ensure that schools provide safe, inclusive and respectful environments that support student achievement and well-being. Results from this survey will be used to understand and work towards improving experiences for students and families. 

These surveys will also support Board and school improvement planning, and meet requirements under the Education Act to conduct School Climate Surveys which are conducted on a cyclical basis. This year, surveys will also help YRDSB meet the requirements of PPM 164, which mandates that all school boards collect information about remote learning. 

*The Ontario Education Act [169.1 (1) to 169.1 (2.2)] states that every board shall use surveys to collect information from its pupils, staff, and parents and guardians at least once every two years in order to fulfill its duties to monitor and evaluate policies developed by the board to promote a positive and inclusive school climate. Personal information on the questionnaires are collected under the authority of the Education Act, RSO 1990, Ch. E. 2 as amended, sections 170(1), and 171(1).

Data Collection Notification

This information is collected for educational purposes only under the authority of the Anti-Racism Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 15, and section 169.1 (1)(2.1) of the Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E. 2 (as amended). The information will be used in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O 1990, c. M. 56 (as amended).

The 2021 administration of the surveys are:

  • Student Survey (Grades 7-12) - May 26 to June 29, 2021
  • Family Survey (Grades K-12) -  May 26 to June 29, 2021 

Survey questions are based on Board priorities as outlined in our Director’s Action Plan and Multi-Year Strategic Plan

The survey will include questions about:

  • remote learning
  • technology and learning tools
  • student engagement
  • safety, discrimination and bullying
  • mental health and well-being
  • equity and inclusive learning environments
  • family/school communication

The surveys also ask questions about students’ identities (e.g., race, gender) in order to understand how learning experiences may differ among groups of students, and to promote a safe and inclusive school climate for all students.

There are four types of data that are critical to improvement planning at the school and Board levels: achievement data, perception data, school programs and processes data, and contextual/demographic data. Perception data gives us information that helps us understand what our students, families, and staff think or believe about their experiences of learning. There are several other ways we learn about how we are doing: through academic results, school councils, staff meetings, and parent/guardian communication with the school. In conjunction with these sources, the surveys will provide valuable information to help us plan in the areas of remote learning; technology and learning tools; student engagement; safety, discrimination and bullying; mental health and well-being; equity and inclusive learning environments; and family/school communication.

It is important that participants complete the surveys so that the results are representative of their perceptions and experiences. Knowing who our learners are is a key step in providing learning environments and opportunities that meet their needs.  In addition, the surveys are an important way of ensuring stakeholder input into Board and school planning.

 

The school climate surveys were prepared in consultation with a variety of subject matter experts and stakeholders within the YRDSB including staff with expertise in research design and analysis, consultants, department leaders, and Student Trustees.

YRDSB believes in providing equitable and inclusive learning environments. This requires that we work to better understand our student population, identify and remove barriers to student achievement and well-being, promote a sense of belonging, and develop strategies to create more equitable and inclusive learning environments.

To develop a better understanding of student and family experiences, the 2021 YRDSB Surveys for Students and Families include identity-based questions such as students’ racial/ethnic background, gender, and sexual orientation. 

No. The Ontario Human Rights Code permits the collection and analysis of identity data for the purposes of identifying and removing systemic barriers, preventing discrimination, and promoting equity and inclusivity. Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan also encourages school boards to collect student identity-based data for the purpose of achieving these goals. The Anti-Racism Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c 15, and section 169.1 (1)(2.1) of the Ontario Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E. 2 (as amended) also permits the collection of identity-based data. 

Identity-based questions (e.g., race, gender) will be used to explore differences across groups in terms of their experiences of equity and inclusivity. For example, the extent to which various racial groups and LGBTQ2+ students report feeling unwelcome or unsafe at school, as well as their experiences with bullying and discrimination, will be analyzed.

Together, these data can be used to develop a better understanding of our student community, as well as areas of strength and need within our schools. In addition, responses to these questions will be used to monitor progress toward the Board’s goals for improvement in the areas of equity and inclusivity.

There are inherent challenges in finding ways to best describe people’s identities. For example, individuals may use different terms to describe themselves. For this survey, a variety of resources were used to create identity-based questions.  A review of other school boards’ student climate surveys was conducted. Information from the Anti-Racism Data Standards, Statistics Canada, and previous data collection initiatives were consulted. In addition, YRDSB staff with expertise in the area of equity and inclusivity were consulted. For identity-based questions, students can choose a category that they feel best describes their identity, or provide another response if they don’t see themselves reflected in the choices provided in the survey. 

 

Survey Process

The survey will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

Students will receive an invitation to complete the Student Survey through their GAPPS school email account. Parents/guardians will receive an invitation to complete the Family Survey through the email address that is on file at their child(ren)’s school. Due to covid-19 restrictions, the survey will not be made available in print.

Families who do not want their child(ren) in Grades 7-12 to be invited to participate in the Student Survey invitation may contact research.services@yrdsb.cano later than May 24, 2021. Families who do not want to participate in the Family Survey may disregard the email invitation.

If you do not want your child(ren) to be invited to participate in the Student Survey, but missed the deadline of May 24, 2021 to opt your child(ren) out, please advise your child(ren) to not participate in the student survey. You may also disregard the email invitation to complete the Family Survey.

Yes. The surveys, as well as other communication documents, will be posted on the Board website to allow for students and families to review prior to the launch date.

Completed surveys are submitted directly to the YRDSB Research Services team who compile summary reports of the results. Raw data are not released. The research team will ensure that individual respondents are not identified in the collection of data or reporting of results.

 

Consent, Privacy & Accessibility

No. While survey data is important for planning strategies to support student achievement and well-being, and we encourage students and families to participate, the surveys are voluntary. Parents/guardians who do not want their child to receive an invitation to participate in the survey can contact research.services@yrdsb.ca by May 24, 2021.

If you do not feel comfortable answering a question, you can leave it blank or click “Not sure”. 

Yes.The survey is anonymous, considered confidential and kept in strict accordance with all relevant legislation. Information provided in these surveys will only be accessible by staff in YRDSB’s Research and Assessment Services Department. The third party data collection tool that we are using will also have access to responses until they are removed by Research and Assessment Services once the surveys are closed. Storage and retention of data will follow Board Policy and Procedure #160.0 Records and Information Management.

YRDSB follows all privacy requirements outlined in the Municipal Freedom of information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). MFIPPA is the provincial legislation that establishes the responsibilities of school boards to protect personal information about individuals including students that is collected, used, retained, disclosed and disposed of.

Research and Assessment Services will remove responses from the third party survey once the surveys are closed. Storage and retention of data will follow Board Policy and Procedure #160.0 - Records and Information Management. Additionally, no names or identification numbers linked to the surveys or in any reports. 

Formal consent from parents/guardians is not required for the student survey. Legislation regarding participation of students in a board-initiated survey intended for planning and programming purposes permits the collection of survey data without formal parent/guardian consent. Families of students in Grades K-6 provide consent by completing the survey and not opting out. Families of students in Grades 7-12 may request that a Student Survey not be sent to their child by contacting the Research Services Department at research.services@yrdsb.ca no later than May 24, 2021.

Families who have opted not to receive YRDSB communications, or who have opted to not receive this survey, will not receive a copy of the survey. Additionally, surveys will not be sent to students whose parents/guardians have requested that their child not be sent a survey. If you have not received a survey but would like one, please contact the Research Services Department at research.services@yrdsb.ca.

For the most secure and best experience, we recommend using the newest version of the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11.

The Family survey will be available in the following top languages used in York Region households, as identified by demographic data from York Region and YRDSB enrollment data: English, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Farsi, Gujarati, Hebrew, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Tamil, Turkish Urdu and Vietnamese. Participants can choose their preferred language from the dropdown menu at the top right corner of the cover page on the online survey. 

French, although one of Canada's official languages, has not been widely identified as a primary language used by YRDSB families according to this data. While we are proud and respectful of our bilingual heritage in Canada, we are also respectful of requests of taxpayers to keep translation costs at a minimum. 

Contact Us

Families who do not want their child(ren) to be invited to participate in the Student Survey may contact Research and Assessment Services by May 24, 2021.