DES MOINES, Iowa — Ten years ago the community surrounding River Woods Elementary School was underrepresented in the census. Principal Traci Shipley is trying to change that.
“We want to make sure that our community receives or ensures that they receive the funding and the representation that this community and all the communities in Iowa deserve,” said Shipley.
According to the Census Bureau, most low counts occur with children under the age of five along with people of color.
“They’re worried about how safe the census is. One of the best ways that we can get the trust factor out to the community is partnering with the schools and the cities and organizations that know that the information that you give us is confidential and safe,” said Iowa Senior Partner Specialist for the U.S. Census Kelly Campbell.
Through free school resources, from the Census Bureau, educators are able to teach students census basics through different group activities.
With over 20 languages spoken at the school, Shipley is also able to provide language appropriate materials for parents to send home with students. The presentation at the school was also open to all parents, Shipley says opening up events for parents often increases participation.
“We’re serving many families that English is their second language. So it’s just very important that we help our students to be able to work with their parents to complete this process,” said Shipley.
A process the school is hoping to portray as important, easy and safe.