Frequently Asked Questions
What is voluntary, confidential Aboriginal student self identification?
It is a way for parent and guardians of students under 18 and students over 18 to let Hastings and Prince Edward schools know if a student is of Aboriginal ancestry.
Who is being asked to voluntarily self-identify as Aboriginal?
All students are provided with the opportunity to voluntarily indicate their Aboriginal ancestry on an annual basis. No proof of ancestry is required.
Is it mandatory for parents/guardians to self-identify their child(ren)?
No. It is voluntary for parents/guardians to participate in this process. Parents/guardians have the option to not participate if he/she chooses. The student information given is collected as a whole and kept confidential. Verification of ancestral background is not required.
Why is it important for parents/guardians to participate in the Voluntary Aboriginal Self-identification?
By indicating Aboriginal ancestry, you will allow us to learn more about student achievement for all students in our system. We want to ensure we are meeting your child’s learning and developmental needs through appropriate supportive programming in the schools. Participating in student self-identification is voluntary.
Who will benefit?
All students will benefit. Some of the ways that all students will benefit include expanded Native Studies and Language programs, additional cultural learning experiences and the ability to purchase additional resources and material to meet student learning needs
Will my child be treated differently if he/she identifies him/herself as First Nation, Métis or Inuit?
No. Hastings and Prince Edward schools promote the principles of inclusivity, equity and diversity to ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve to their highest potential.
How will this information be collected?
Self-identification of Aboriginal ancestry by parents/guardians and students 18 years of age and older will be collected at the time of school registration on enrolment forms,annually through course selection forms, and student update forms or at any time using Form F137-1. The information will be collected as follows:
Voluntary, confidential Aboriginal student self-identification
My child is of Aboriginal ancestry:
If yes, select one of the following:
- First Nation (living on reserve)
- First Nation (living off reserve)
What will Aboriginal student self identification information provide?
It will provide accurate, reliable information on enrolment, literacy, numeracy, graduation rates and course completion rates. In order to measure the success of all students, establishing baseline student data is required.
How will the information be used?
Student achievement data will be collected and aggregated (combined) in order to determine whether programs currently delivered offer similar opportunities for success as for other students. Aggregate data will be collected for the purpose of developing and implementing supportive programs to:
- assist schools in better understanding the demographics in the school population;
- assist the board in assessing which schools require additional school programming, targeted initiatives, additional support and the involvement of family and the greater community;
- measure the board’s effectiveness;
- identify groups of Aboriginal students who would benefit from additional support; and
- direct targeted resources to Aboriginal education projects and initiatives that will provide high quality learning opportunities that directly address the needs of Aboriginal students to:
- improve student achievement of Aboriginal students;
- improve the retention rate of Aboriginal students; and
- improve the graduation rate of Aboriginal students and help ensure entrance to post secondary education and the world of work.
Will individual student information be shared or communicated?
No. All data is secured to respect the privacy and used only as a means to enhance Aboriginal education programs. Individual data gathered will be used in the combined format only, not communicated in individual form, and is treated in the same manner as Ontario Student Records and governed by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). Overall (combined) data will be shared provincially for the measurements of student achievement and may be shared with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
What is the definition for First Nation (Status, Non-Status), Métis and Inuit?
Aboriginal peoples: The descendants of the original inhabitants of North America, Section 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, states: “In this Act, ‘Aboriginal peoples of Canada’ includes the Indian, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada.” These separate groups have unique heritages, languages, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs. Their common link is their indigenous ancestry.
Aggregate data: Refers to data which relate to broad classes, groups or categories so that it is not possible to distinguish the individuals within those classes, groups, or categories.
First Nation: A term that came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the word “Indian”, which many found offensive. The term “First Nation” has been adopted to replace the word “band” in the names of communities.
Inuit: Aboriginal people in northern Canada, living mainly, but not only, in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, northern Quebec, and Labrador.
Métis: People of mixed First Nation and European ancestry. The Métis history and culture draws on diverse ancestral origins, such as Scottish, Irish, French, Ojibwa, and Cree.
If a student no longer wishes to self-identify as Aboriginal can the information on their student record be changed?
Yes. Parents/guardians of Aboriginal students and Aboriginal students 18 years of age or older can remove the Aboriginal identification at any time through a written request to the school principal.
What box do I select if my child(ren) is both Métis and First Nation (non-status)?
The parent or guardian has the choice to select which ancestral background.