West Orange School District aids in 2020 Census effort

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange School District is raising awareness of the 2020 Census, especially during Statistics in Schools Week, which ran March 2 through 6.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Eveny de Mendez has worked with her team of educators to implement directed communication strategies that will help the West Orange community understand the importance of taking the census and its impact on district and township funding, according to a recent press release from the district.

These strategies include: utilizing social media to post videos and graphics; morning announcements at West Orange High School; sharing public service announcements on TV 36/45; sharing sample lesson activities with social studies and math teacher regarding Census awareness and how statistics data is collected and used; and sharing suggestions with art teachers for lessons related to the Census.

“As the West Orange School District representative on the West Orange Complete Count Committee, I made a commitment to translate the importance of our partnership through education,”Board of Education Vice President Terry Trigg-Scales said in the release. “Working closely with our superintendent, Dr. Scott Cascone, and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Mrs. Eveny de Mendez, we are successfully providing our administrative team, staff, students, parents and community with information about the 2020 Census and the importance of making sure that everyone is counted.

“This joint effort will hopefully increase residents’ participation and in turn bring funding to our schools over the next 10 years, which will enable us to provide quality educational programs, needed resources and opportunities for every student to excel,” Trigg-Scales concluded. 

The WOHS morning announcements during Statistics in Schools Week followed a specific formula. Each announcement began with: “The 2020 Census is more than a population count, it’s an opportunity to shape the future of your community. March 2 through March 6 marks Census Statistic Week and we will be sharing facts and answering questions you may have about the Census.” It then ended with: “Every voice matters! Take the pledge to shape your future! For more information on the 2020 Census, please visit www.2020census.gov.”

In between, each day included a different fact about the 2020 Census. On Monday, the fact was: “The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding and provide data that will impact communities through the year 2030.” On Tuesday: “Getting a complete and accurate Census count is critically important. And while you are required by law to participate, the Census Bureau is also required by law to protect your answers. The responses are used to produce statistics and the Census Bureau does not disclose any private information.” On Wednesday: “Census results affect your community every day: school lunches, plans for highways, support for firefighters and families in need. They also help determine how money is allocated for the Head Start program and grants that help support teachers and special education along with more than 100 other programs.” On Thursday: “The Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, anything on behalf of a political party, money or donations, or your bank or credit card numbers. Additionally, there is no citizenship question on the Census. Everyone counts once in the country, including non-citizens. All personal information is confidential.” And on Friday: “In mid-March, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond and, by April 1, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three ways to respond: online, by phone and by mail.”