Pages - Online Consultation for the 2020-2021 School Year
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Online Consultation for the 2020-2021 School Year
Online Consultation for the 2020-2021 School Year

Have your say about our teaching and learning using Thoughtexchange 

We are using an online tool called Thoughtexchange to invite meaningful feedback from our students and families.

We care: Your voice matters and we are listening                 

​A Thoughtexchange is a way to crowdsource answers to one question, in real time. 

In three simple steps you respond, consider and assign stars to the ideas shared by others and we can all learn what’s important.

  1. Share – Answer an open-ended question

  2. Star – Review ideas from other families/students and star the ideas you like best

  3. Discover – Learn what is important to the community as a whole

Family Thoughtexchange Question:

What successes has your child experienced this school year? What supports do you feel will increase your child’s learning and engagement experiences? Please provide any additional comments or suggestions you feel may help us when considering the improvement of your child’s learning experience. ​​

What successes have you experienced this school year? What supports do you feel will increase your learning and engagement experiences? Please provide any additional comments or suggestions you feel may help us when considering the improvement of your learning experiences.​

There are websites linked from this site that are operated by organizations outside of the York Region District School Board (YRSDB). These organizations are solely responsible for the operation and information found on their sites. Linking from this site does not imply any endorsement of the organization or information found on the website. Any comments or inquiries regarding the linked web sites should be directed to the organization operating the website.​

So, what is Thoughtexchange?

Thoughtexchange is an online tool that helps us engage our YRDSB community.  It provides a great opportunity for you to share your ideas anonymously, review and rate the ideas of others, and discover what is important to everyone.  You are welcome to visit and revisit the above-mentioned Thoughtexchange as often as you would like to share and rate ideas until January 20, 2021.

For more information, please see our FAQ below.

If you still have any questions, please contact

This opportunity closes on Wednesday, January 20 at 11:59 p.m.​



Frequently Asked Questions

My first language is not English. Can I get help to complete the online consultation?

Thoughtexchange uses Google Translate to provide you with all of the thoughts and the question in your language of choice. 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 Google Translate supported language. 

Is Thoughtexchange accessible for blind or low vision participants?

Thoughtexchange has Accessibility options available for blind or low vision participants.  These 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. 

What is Thoughtexchange?

Thoughtexchange is a tool used to gather input from communities through meaningful and productive online 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 YRDSB community. 

What kinds of questions will I be asked?

You’ll be asked to answer one open-ended question where you can provide as many responses as you like.  

What does Share, Star and Discover mean?

  • SHARE – where everyone shares their thoughts. 

  • STAR – where everyone sees each other’s thoughts and adds stars (from 1-5) depending on how strongly you agree or disagree with the idea.

  • DISCOVER – where everyone’s thoughts are sorted by the average star rating.


Who will see my responses?

Your responses (i.e., your ‘thoughts’) will be shared, exactly as you have submitted them, with others participating in the exchange. Thoughtexchange keeps confidential who shared each thought and who assigned what ratings.  

How many “thoughts” can I share?

You can share as many thoughts as you would like – there is no limit. Please organize and separate your thoughts so that each thought is about a specific idea. Keep each thought focused on one point. This will make it easier for others to decide how many stars to assign that thought. Each thought is limited to 300 characters.  

Can I suggest alternative ideas through Thoughtexchange?

Yes, as long as they are related to the topics of discussion. Thoughtexchange poses open-ended questions so that participants have the freedom to share all of their thoughts related to the topics.

Can I delete thoughts I have shared?

Yes. You can delete thoughts you have shared by going back to the Share step and clicking the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the thought bubble and choosing the "Delete" option.

I’ve shared my thoughts. What happens next?

Once you’ve shared your thoughts, you can see the thoughts of others and add stars to thoughts that you like the best. This helps to identify the things that are the most important to participants. It also helps us make sure that decisions are well-balanced and informed. 

How many stars can I assign?

For each thought you review, you can assign between one and five stars. You can assign stars to as many thoughts as you would like. Thoughts will appear one-by-one and the Thoughtexchange algorithm ensures that each thought can be rated.  

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. 

Whose thoughts am I seeing?

In the STAR step, you’ll be given the opportunity to read a selection of submitted thoughts. It is best to rate 30 thoughts, but you can rate more or less.  

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, provided you view enough thoughts overall. However, if you added a lot of thoughts, you might not see all of them. Also, Thoughtexchange  reviews every thought that is added and removes any thoughts that are rude or hurtful to a person or a group of people, contains identifying information, or does not answer the question.  

Do I see all of the thoughts that were submitted in the SHARE phase?

To keep the STAR phase manageable, you will see a random selection of thoughts in addition to some of your own. Thoughtexchange uses an algorithm to ensure that each thought is seen with the same frequency as every other thought, so each voice has an equal chance of being heard. 

What if I see a thought that I think is rude or hurtful?

You can flag a thought for review by clicking the Options icon (3 dots) for that thought and then clicking on “Report”. A facilitator will be notified to review the flagged thought.  

How often can I participate?

As often as you want – in fact, the more the better!  By revisiting the exchange, you will get to see and rate new thoughts that are being shared. Those thoughts might even spark new thoughts for you to add. 

I received multiple invitations. Can I participate more than once?

You may receive multiple invitations if you belong to more than one group: parents/guardians, staff, or community partner.  You may respond separately to each invitation to express your thoughts as a member of that group.  

Will people know what responses were mine?

No, your responses are displayed confidentially. You do not need an account to participate.  Your thoughts will be shared, exactly as you submit them, with other participants during the STAR step. If you choose to sign up for a Thoughtexchange account, your name and/or email address will never be connected to your specific thoughts or displayed. You do not need an account to participate. Please be careful not to include any information in your thoughts that you do not want shared. 

How do I know my privacy is protected?

YRDSB is committed to protecting your privacy in accordance with our legislated duty under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. If you have questions about privacy, please visit our Privacy and Information site at Privacy and Information.

Will my answers be filtered?

All responses will be reviewed and thoughts will be removed if they are rude or hurtful to a person or a group of people, if they identify a child, if they identify an individual negatively, or if they do not answer the question. 


Privacy and Confidentiality

Why was I asked to share my name?

The Thoughtexchange platform may present an option at the end of the survey process for participants to provide their name. This is an optional step and is offered so that Thoughtexchange can provide a “friendlier” greeting to participants whenever they log in to their process. Whether or not you choose to enter your name, responses are never publicly tied to specific email addresses or names.  

Will you be sharing my email address?

No, emails collected during the consultation process will only be used to facilitate this Thoughtexchange. They will not be shared or sold to another third-party.

Are my answers about the school or the district?

All feedback will be considered at the district level and will inform improvements to be made as we continue to learn at home.  Your answers should be based on your experience and you may include examples where relevant.

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