Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I participate?

As we plan for what returning to school will look like at the OCDSB, we want to hear about what is important to you. This will help us develop a plan that meets the needs of our students, staff, parents/guardians, and our broader community.

Why does the survey have two parts/types of questions?

To inform our plans for the future, we want two types of information. First, we want your feedback on how things went from March-June. These are specific questions we have for you, that are best suited for a multiple-choice survey. Second, we want to know about what is important to you moving forward. This is best suited for an open-ended conversation with you and others in your participant group (i.e., other students, parents, or staff). This allows for us to hear about what is important to the group collectively, and gives everyone the opportunity to learn from each other.

Who participates?

There will be separate surveys and thoughtexchange conversations for:

- Students;

- Parents/Guardians;

- Educators responding based on their perspective of students’ experiences; and

- All staff responding based on the staff experience working from home.

This will allow people with common interest and experiences to respond to the topics most relevant to them, and to be involved in conversations with each other. If you belong to more than one group, you may participate in each exchange.  

Are my answers about the school or the district?

All feedback will be considered at the district level and will inform decisions as we plan for the reopening of schools. Your answers can be as specific or as general as you want. Keep in mind we are trying to plan the best we can, based on the information currently available.

Does my opinion really matter?                                    

Absolutely! We believe that by understanding what is important to students, parents/guardians, and staff, we will be able to better plan for back-to-school.

When will I be able to see the results?

Once you have shared your thoughts, and assigned stars to the thoughts of others, you will have a chance to DISCOVER the results. This will let you see which thoughts and ideas were the most important to the group. A summary of the results including survey responses will be made available before the end of July. 

Why did only students in grades 7-12 receive invitations?

We invited students in Grades 7-12 to participate in the process because of their age and ability to contribute to the online consultation process using their OCDSB email account.

I received multiple invitations.  Do I complete the survey more than once?

If you received more than one invitation because you have multiple roles, please respond separately to each invitation.  If applicable, you may respond as a parent, as an educator sharing your perspective on students’ experiences, and as a staff member sharing your experience working from home. 

I have more than one child; should I participate more than once? 

Families with more than one child will need to use a different device for each response.  If multiple devices are unavailable, you may use the same device by using a private/hidden browser session (also known as incognito).  For support on how to do so, please email [email protected] 

Can my partner and I both submit a response?

We ask that you limit your responses to one parent/guardian response per child. 

How do I participate if I didn’t receive an email invitation?

If you did not receive an email invitation, you can still participate using the appropriate link. 





What do I do if I am having difficulty participating?

If you are having difficulty participating, we would love to help. Please contact us by email at [email protected]

Accessing the Survey and Thoughtexchange Conversation

Is Thoughtexchange accessible for blind or low vision participants?

Yes, Thoughtexchange is accessible for blind or low vision participants. Accessibility options can be enabled by pressing Ctrl-Shift-E (all at once) and this will also be provided as an audible cue for participants with screen readers enabled.

Can I participate in a language other than English?

Yes, if you’d like to participate in another language other than English, you can do so by clicking 'Change language' from the drop-down menu on the Introduction page for your exchange. You can participate in any other Google Translate supported language.

To participate in another language by SMS or text-based messaging, text the name of the language or “Hello” in that language to 728-55 then respond with the 9-digit exchange code for your group. Standard message and data rates will apply. Participants will be given a link to continue in a browser window (requiring wifi or data to take part).

Exchange codes are as follows:

Students: 652223725

Parents: 368860505

Educators: 500611036

Staff: 749824920

How do I participate if I don’t have access to a computer?

If you don’t have access to a computer, you can participate in the exchange by SMS text.  Your cell plan must enable SMS for premium and short numbers.  Text “Hello” to 728-55 then enter the 9-digit exchange code for your group (as noted in the question above). Standard message and data rates will apply.

The ThoughtexchangeTM process

What is ThoughtexchangeTM?

Thoughtexchange is an online platform that allows groups to come together and have important conversations.

How does it work?

There are three steps:

●          SHARE – where everyone shares their thoughts.

●          STAR – where everyone sees each other’s thoughts and assigns stars to them.

●          DISCOVER – where everyone’s thoughts and stars are shared publicly.

In response to each question, we recommend that you share your thoughts, then rate about 20-30 thoughts in the Star step. You do not need to rate all thoughts, but you are welcome to rate as many as you like. You will then have an opportunity to Discover the top thoughts that are important to everyone in the OCDSB community.

What happens in the STAR step?

In this step you will read the thoughts of others and assign stars to the thoughts you agree with. This will help us get a sense of shared values and priorities. Thoughts are completely unedited; the thoughts you see in the STAR step are presented exactly as they were submitted - typos and all.

How do I assign stars?

Use the stars to identify the thoughts most important to you. You may assign up to five stars to any thought, based on how much you agree with it. The more stars you assign to a thought, the more important it is to you. Click the stars at the bottom of the thought to assign them‎.

How do I skip a thought?

To skip a thought that does not apply to you, please look to the right of the entry. You will see a grapes icon (three purple dots). Click on the icon, then "skip". Follow the instructions in the menu box that appears.

Why can’t I see all of the thoughts I shared?

Generally, most of the thoughts you shared will appear in your selection of thoughts in the Star step. Although if you added a lot of thoughts, you might not see all of them. Also, ThoughtexchangeTM reviews every thought that is added to the conversation and at times a thought must be removed. A thought is removed when it is rude or hurtful to a person or a group of people, containing identifying information, or it does not answer the question.

Can I add more thoughts?

Yes. We are always interested in your ideas, and you can return to the exchange to add more thoughts and/or stars as many times as you like, until the end of the day on Monday, July 13.

Why are thoughts shared verbatim?

This exchange is a OCDSB community discussion. It gives everyone a chance to share ideas and to identify their priorities. It is important that people have the ability to express themselves freely without editing or modification on our part.

Whose thoughts am I seeing?

When you join the conversation, you join based on your role as a student, parent/guardian, or staff member. This will put you into a conversation with others who identify with the same group, and you will see a random selection of their thoughts (along with some of your own) in the star phase.     

How do I save or submit my responses?

In the exchange, you won’t see an ‘End’ or ‘Finish’ button. Within an exchange, the conversation flows and it allows the dialogue to continue. Unlike a traditional survey, participants can keep coming back to read and rate what others think, and share additional thoughts of their own.

How do I use the ‘Flag’ feature?

Click on the 3 dots to the right of the thought that you would like to flag. Click “report” and  identify your reason for flagging the thought (note: You will only be able to select “rude/hurtful” or “other” from the drop box; use either reason for flagging). A description for the flagged thought is required to report it. Taking a moment to accurately describe the reason for reporting the thought will help the leader determine whether or not the thought should be removed from the exchange. Your identity will not be shared with the sharer or the leader. Please do not flag a thought because you disagree with it; if you disagree with a thought you should assign it a small number of stars.

What happens to thoughts that are flagged?

If thoughts are flagged, they will be removed from the public star process until they can be reviewed by a moderator. 

Am I able to remove my own thoughts from the exchange?

If you no longer wish to share your thoughts, you can flag them using the ‘Flag’ feature and explain you are self-moderating, and the thought(s) will be removed from the process.

Am I able to remove someone else’s thoughts from the exchange?

Responses are moderated with the intent to remove thoughts that are:

1. Rude

2. Hurtful

3. Do not answer the question

4. Contravene the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

If you see a thought that you feel should be removed for one of the reasons above, please click on the thought and use the 'Flag' feature.

Why does the exchange appear different on mobile and desktop computers?

The Thoughtexchange software detects and selects the layout that best suits your device and size of your browser window.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Will people know what responses were mine?

No, your name/email will not be associated with any of your responses, in either the survey or the Thoughtexchange conversation. Do not include your name or other personal information with your thoughts in the thoughtexchange. 

Why are there thoughts that include personal information?

Thoughts are reviewed in the context of Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Thoughts that contravene the Act are flagged. For example, participants were told that thoughts would be shared. If a parent/guardian shares a thought that includes personal information about a child, he or she has the ability to do that. On the other hand, if a teacher shares a thought with personal information about a student, it is flagged because parent/guardian consent is required.

How did you get my email address? / Why didn’t I get an email?

The parent email addresses were taken from our school/district database. Parents who did not receive an email invitation should contact the school office and ensure their contact information is up to date. Student and staff lists were generated from our internal email systems.

Will you be sharing my email address?                      

No, the e-mail addresses used for the consultation process will not be shared or sold to another third-party.

How do I know my privacy is protected?         

The school district is committed to protecting your privacy in accordance with our legislated duty under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Your responses will never be connected or attributed to your email address. If you have questions about privacy, please contact [email protected]

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