The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has released overall findings from the 2011 Student Census, the largest youth survey in Canada. Close to 90% - or 103 000 - Grade 7-12 students participated in the TDSB Student Census making the size and scope of its findings important to informing how communities support youth in Toronto.
Our first Student Census in 2006 provided information on who our students are and how they felt about their lives inside and outside of school. The information received enabled us to build a better school system and improve the chances of success for all students by implementing a number of new policies, programs and initiatives.
For example, our first Census told us that students from low income bracket groups have fewer opportunities outside of school so together, we launched our Model Schools for Inner Cities program and our Priority Schools Initiative to help us level the playing field.
The findings from our first Census also strengthened partnerships and collaboration among other municipal and provincial organizations and community agencies such as Toronto Public Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. These findings have improved the programs and resources that are offered to the community.
Our 2011 Census shows where we have made progress and what more we can to do help our students succeed.
83% of our Grade 7-8 students have had their eyesight tested and 51% have had their hearing tested thanks to our investment in the Model Schools Program.
Students told us that they learn better when they have breakfast so together, we expanded our support for nutrition programs.
Detecting and monitoring health concerns early is important so together, we made health care more accessible by establishing pediatric clinics in schools of high-needs communities.
We know that TDSB students are benefiting from the programs and supports we already have in place, but the results of the Census highlight what we still need to do to help our students succeed and make our system even stronger.
For the first time the Census provides data on our student’s social and emotional well-being. These results are driving and shaping our Mental Health Strategy. This strategy will strengthen the supports that we already have in place to support our students and staff.
Working with students, staff, parents, and community members we will continue to provide the right supports so that every student can achieve their full potential.