We have been asking families to voluntarily provide information about their children’s self-declared identities for some time through the annual registration process. In the 2020-2021 school year, 35 per cent of families completed the self-declaration question. We recognize that self-declaring can often be a question of trust or feeling safe in that declaration and continue to work toward creating environments where all people can feel comfortable if or when they want to share their heritage.
In June 2021, the Senior Leadership Team began an audit of the current student registration form to discover ways to improve the process in future years. This will help the division learn more about the self-declared identity of students to become culturally responsive to the needs of learners.
Similar to exploring the identity of students, we began asking questions about the level of representation among staff. In March 2021, the LRSD launched its first-ever Indigenous, BIPOC, and Ethno-Cultural Diversity Employee Survey.
Following the recommendations of the State of Equity Reports and Calls to Action from the Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle and the Newcomer Education Coalition, LRSD set out to gather employee data regarding the self-declared identity of Black, Indigenous or People of Colour (BIPOC), members of a racialized community and all ethno-cultural identities. The voluntary survey was developed in consultation with staff, members of racialized communities and the division's various unions.
Here is a quick overview of the 695 responses:
- 21 per cent self-identified as BIPOC or a member of a racialized community
- 15 per cent self-identified as Indigenous
31 per cent of staff* responded:
- 56 per cent of school administrators
- 38 per cent of clerical employees
- 33 per cent of teachers
- 29 per cent of library technicians
- 23 per cent of educational assistants
*Active permanent and term as of June 20, 2021
The schools with the highest level of participation include:
- École Henri-Bergeron: 76 per cent response rate
- Island Lakes Community School: 51 per cent response rate
- Marion School: 49 per cent response rate
- Minnetonka School: 48 per cent response rate
- Highbury School: 44 per cent response rate
The survey also included a question about language. The highest proportion of respondents indicated they speak English and/or French fluently; however, many indicated they speak an additional language such as Urdu, Spanish, German or Hindi.
This survey was anonymous, but staff were provided with an option to include their name. More than 200 staff members took the opportunity to identify themselves and express an interest to participate in an open dialogue about the ongoing refinement of current policies and employment equity strategies.
Moving forward, LRSD intends to continue the conversation and build trust with students, families and staff to improve participation in the self-declaration of identify. Asking the question “Who are we?” is an important step to ensuring students see themselves represented in their learning journey and experience positive changes in achievement, engagement and well-becoming.
In the fall, a Power BI report will be released providing a full summary of the data.