Student Census: Resources

Limestone Learning Foundation

The Limestone District School Board is committed to equity, inclusion and ensuring everyone feels a strong sense of belonging. To do this important work, we want to learn more about our students – their backgrounds, experiences and needs. The See Yourself in Limestone: Student Census will help us understand who our students are so that we can serve them better.

Collecting identity-based information through the census will help us to identify the groups of students being underserved so that we can develop and revise programs, strategies, policies and teaching practices, as well as allocate resources and supports to improve school environments and help every student succeed. 
Students in Grades 4 to 12 will complete the census during supervised class time and educators will work with students to ensure they understand the questions being asked. Some of this work already took place last spring. Families with students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will complete the census at home on behalf of their students. Below, you will find some helpful definitions and clarifications around identity, gender identity, race and ethnicity that may help you understand what the census is asking. A further How-to Guide for Families provides additional information around specific questions.


What is Identity?

Your identity is who you are, the way you think about yourself, the way you are viewed by the world and the characteristics that define you.  It can also be considered a combination of personality traits, beliefs, values, physical attributes, looks and / or expressions, abilities that make a person or group.

How we can explore identity in our classroom or at home through name stories?

Names can be cultural, religious, ancestral, historical or invented.  In this video example, Suchetan (Suche) James, LDSB Equity and Inclusion Consultant, models exploring aspects of his identity through his name. In this example, different parts of his name lead to exploring language, ethnicity, religion, and race. One idea leads to another so by the end, other parts of his identity are also explored. The most important part is not the web itself, but the dialogue that the web makes possible in exploring our students’ identities. How do you think about your identity? What might your identity web look like?

Resources for educators and families:

Gender Identity

What is Gender Identity?

Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense or feeling of being a woman, a man, both, neither or anywhere on the gender spectrum, which may or may not be the same as the person’s sex assigned at birth (e.g. male, female, intersex) It is different from and does not determine a person’s sexual orientation.

Important Terminology:

Transgender = People whose gender identity or gender expression does not align easily or at all with the M or F they were assigned at birth.

Two-Spirit = (An Indigenous person whose gender identity, spiritual identity, or sexual orientation includes masculine, feminine, or non-binary spirits)

Non-Binary = Non-Binary people identify with neither side of the man/boy/male or woman/girl/female binary.  Non-Binary people can be situated under the transgender umbrella

Gender-Fluid = People whose gender expression and/or gender identity don't park in any one place, or at least not for long.

Here is what two census questions around gender identity will look like:

Image of gender identity question on LDSB Student Census

How we can explore gender identity in our classrooms or at home through diverse books?

Grades K- 8:
Parents/guardians looking for age-appropriate reading material for younger children who are transgender, gender expansive, or simply have a lot of questions, might think that their options are limited.

 Transgender Reading List for Children - PFLAG

Grades 9 -12PFLAG is the extended family of the LGBTQ community. We're made up of LGBTQ individuals, family members and allies. Because together, we're stronger.

Transgender Reading List for Young Adults - PFLAG

Resources for educators and families:


What is Race?

People are often described as belonging to a certain “race” based upon how others see and behave toward them. These ideas about who belongs to what race are usually based on physical features such as skin colour. Ideas about race are often imposed on people by others in ways which can affect their life experiences and how they are treated. Society forms ideas of race based on geographic, historical, political, economic, social and cultural factors, as well as physical traits. Race is often confused with ethnicity, but there can often be several ethnicities within a racialized group.

Important Terminology:

Black - (African, Afro-Caribbean, African-Canadian descent)

East Asian - (Examples may include Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese descent)

Indigenous - (First Nations, Métis, Inuit descent)

Latino/Latina/Latinx - Latin American, South American, Central American, Hispanic descent. (Examples may include Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, Honduran, etc.)

Middle Eastern - Arab, Persian, West Asian descent. (Examples may include Afghan, Egyptian, Iranian, Lebanese, Turkish, Kurdish, etc.)

South Asian - (Examples may include Indian (India), Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, IndoCaribbean, etc.

Southeast Asian - (Examples may include Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Indonesian, other Southeast Asian descent)

White - People belonging to any of various peoples with light coloured skin, usually of European descent. (Examples may include British, Italian, German, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, etc.)

Questions for discussion:

  •  Do you think about your race? How often?
  •  Are there situations, events, news, etc. that prompt you to think about your race?
  •  How do you envision the answers of your students to the previous two questions to be similar or different?
  •  Do you believe your students experience school (hallways, activities, classrooms, curriculum, discipline etc.) differently based on their racial background?

Resources for educators and families:

  •  How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell


What is Ethnicity?

Building upon the definition of race from last week, ethnicity is often confused with race.  Unlike race, which specifically looks at your physical features, ethnicity zeroes in on your family's cultural, and ancestral heritage - like language, citizenship, traditions, and history. In other words, ethnic groups have a common identity, heritage, ancestry, or historical past, often with identifiable cultural, linguistic and/or religious characteristics. Ethnicity and race interact in complex ways that change over time dependent on the present day political and cultural context.

Questions for discussion:

  • If you know how you would you classify your race, and using the definitions above, what do you know about your own ethnic identity?
  • Do you feel like your racial identity and ethnic identity are similar? 
  • As educators, we can explore the interaction between ethnicity and race in the classroom by first examining our own complex relationship with these two categories of identity.

Resources for educators and families:

  • This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell
  •  Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education by Özlem Sensoy & Robin DiAngelo

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.