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Accessibility Plan Part 1 – Baseline Report Section B


B. ACCESSIBILITY ACHIEVEMENTS

The following are steps already taken by WSD to achieve accessibility.

Strategic Plan

WSD has included in its Strategic Plan 2016 to 2020 a strategic priority to address barriers to learning. This priority aims at further developing initiatives and innovative approaches addressing individual student’s needs and accessibility requirements, mental health issues, childcare needs and nutritional needs.

Attitudinal

Mental Health Initiative

The overall goal of WSD’s Mental Health Initiative is to achieve a culture in WSD where mental health and well-being are embedded into every student’s school experience. Some elements within the initiative:

  • Mental Health Literacy (MHL) an understanding of mental wellness and illness. It is knowing how to promote positive mental health and how to prevent mental illness. By increasing knowledge about mental wellness and illness, we reduce stigma and strengthen our own mental health and that of those around us. Focusing on MHL at the start of the initiative allowed all staff to share a common language. By June 2017 all schools within WSD will have completed the MHL workshop.
  • Healthy Minds Week: A variety of presentations, workshops and activities are offered to students, staff and families to promote mental health.

Information and Communication

WSD Website uses captions for video uploaded to Vimeo. All printed documents created from May 2016 onward advertise the availability of alternate formats.

WSD Library Support Services provides a resource-rich lending library of materials for classrooms and teachers across the division in multiple formats, including digitally. The WSD Digital Library, powered by OverDrive, provides students and staff with immediate any-time anywhere access to a wide variety of e-books, audiobooks, and interactive story books. How-to guides have been translated to languages other than English and are available on the divisional website.

Technology

Sharepoint 2013 division and school websites have been evaluated using WCAG 2.0 (Level A) on various browsers and platforms. The division website has a good foundation in page navigation, labelling and structure. Website information can be translated using integrated tools in Sharepoint. 

IPads are utilized in schools to support students and teachers with accessibility support tools. Wifi is in all WSD buildings and provides access for use of personal devices. The WSD telephone system is Voice over internet Protocol (VoiP) with voicemail to email capability.

Interactive surfaces are available in all newly built school classrooms. Many interactive boards are utilized in existing schools to provide touch accessibility. In addition, parents/guardians have access to information on the public website.

Office 365 and G-Suite

Winnipeg School Division offers a variety of technology tools designed to support the varying needs, including disabilities, of both staff and students. Office 365 and G-Suite for Education are two such tools that are available to all WSD staff and students. These tools give users access to web-based services that allow for the creating, sharing, and saving of documents to a cloud based system for easy, anytime access to files. The built-in sharing features to these two platforms allow users to share content directly with others via a link, eliminating the need to send file attachments. Direct management and editing of content in a web browser makes files more accessible for users.

G-Suite for Education provides users with a cloud based platform that allows for the easy creation and sharing of files from any web-browser. Existing online only, G-Suite apps give users the ability via their Google Drive to create, share, and access their files from any device anywhere they have an internet connection. G-Suite apps include Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Classroom just to name a few. As a management tool, Google Classroom allows teachers to digitally hand out and receive assignments from students as well as the ability to view, comment, and support student work in progress. G-Suite for Education is currently a tool available to all staff and students in Winnipeg School Division.

Office 365 is a cloud based Microsoft Office platform that allows users to share and store all of their files in OneDrive cloud storage. With a complement of programs (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Sway etc) that allow users to create, collaborate and share their work, Office 365 gives users the flexibility to access their work from any device, anywhere they have a connection. Office 365 is also accessible from a device running Microsoft Office 2013 or higher. This is currently a service that is available to all staff and students in Winnipeg School Division.

Both of these tools can be accessed by staff via the staff portal and students can access these technology services from the Winnipeg School Division website.

Systemic

Diversity and Equity Education Policy & Recruitment Policy

WSD has put in place a Diversity and Equity Education Policy (IGAB-updated 06/15) and a Recruitment Policy (GCC 08/08) in which the division is committed to an educational philosophy and hiring practices that recognize the fundamental equality of people of all origins, abilities, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ethnic origin, ancestry, culture, socio-economic background or status, religion or spirituality, family status, mental and physical abilities, physical features including body size and shape, intelligence or ability, learning references, ancestry or place of birth, first language or mother tongue. It supports and accommodates the acceptance, respect and appreciation for all people, their languages and cultures, for their commonalities as well as their differences.

Aboriginal Education Policy

Winnipeg School Division has implemented a wide variety of initiatives to support Aboriginal education, Aboriginal students and Aboriginal staff, beginning with the establishment of a Native education consulting teacher position in 1979. WSD implemented the Aboriginal Education Policy (IGABA) in 1996, which was revised in 2005.
Safe and Caring Policy: Trans and Gender Diverse Students and Staff
WSD has implemented a Safe and Caring Policy for Trans and Gender Diverse students and staff (IGABB 06/16) as the division is committed to providing safe, accessible learning opportunities, dignity, respect and equity for all including trans and gender diverse students and staff.

Employment Equity Policy

WSD has an Employment Equity Policy (GBA 02/04) that recognizes that the division is committed to the removal of employment barriers, the identification and removal of discriminatory practices and striving toward a fair representation of women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and minorities at all levels within the division. The division also recognizes the importance of not only teaching students about equality, but demonstrating to students and staff the division’s commitment to equality.

Certified Service Animals Policy

WSD has adopted the Certified Service Animals Policy (JHFA 12/15) in which the division is committed to supporting the use of certified service animals in schools requested by a parent/guardian or employee as long as the appropriate planning and preparation have taken place.

Physical and Architectural

Buildings

Winnipeg School Division was established 145 years ago. Through long term capital planning, the division has addressed multiple accessibility issues for newly built schools and many of the older facilities. WSD currently has 39 locations with either elevator(s) and/or lifts to provide full or partial access within the facility. The majority of WSD facilities have one or more direct access to buildings either by ramps, elevators or paths. One or more auto door operators are located at accessible entrances at 32 facilities. There are 40 WSD locations with accessible washrooms and 37 locations with visibility strips on either or both the interior and exterior stairs.

Transportation

WSD currently operates 20 Wheelchair Lift equipped Type C (Conventional) School Buses with a total wheelchair capacity of 82 wheelchair passengers. Divisional demands for wheelchair accessible buses are greater than the ability to fulfill the need within current provincial bus replacement funding. The division has supplemented the provincial funding to purchase more buses than the formula would provide, both wheelchair accessible and standard units.

All drivers operating buses transporting wheelchair passengers undergo an internal training program on the unit’s operation, wheelchair securement and safety best practices, in addition to the Provincially established School Bus Operator’s Certificate Training. Furthermore, all WSD school bus drivers are first aid certified as well as trained in the URIS program yearly.

Part 1 Section C

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