Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommended guidelines for human resources policies to enhance school accessibility.
Human Resources Policies to Enhance School Accessibility
The Committee recommends that every school board should create and enact human resources policies that make the school board more accessible. These policies should ensure an environment where students of all abilities can fully participate in school. For instance, principles, vice-principals, and other teaching staff should know how to promote inclusion and full participation. Therefore, school board hiring and promotion policies should include knowledge of and experience with accessibility as an important qualification for these staff. As a result, principals and teachers who know how to work with students who have disabilities can support other school staff in ensuring an accessible environment.
Similarly, performance reviews should also assess how well staff members include students with disabilities in lessons and other school activities. For example, reviews could assess how a teacher has accommodated students, including:
- Implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, such as finding multiple ways to:
- Ensuring the accessibility of activities outside the classroom, such as:
- Working with other professionals within or outside the classroom, such as:
- Sign Language interpreters or real-time captioners
- Teachers of the blind or visually impaired (TVIs)
- Educational assistants
- Social workers
- Occupational therapists
All these policies would give more students with disabilities a well-rounded, fulfilling school experience equal to their peers without disabilities.