As national conversations shift to consider the impacts of inclusion, equity, and accessibility more than ever before, Capital Region ESD 113 remains committed to upholding our mission and goals. But what can accessibility really do to close gaps, grow people, influence change, and eradicate racism?
Accessibility is more than just specially designated spots at grocery stores and shopping malls for individuals with mobility impairments: it is a concrete set of steps, regulations, and processes that seek to desegregate spaces and ensure equitable access for all.
Digital accessibility is an intersectional issue, as the support, resources, and services people receive are directly influenced by their other social identities. In a web-driven world, inaccessible documents and websites uphold exclusionary educational, occupational, and social practices.
ESD 113 seeks to dismantle systemic barriers to access and create a digital environment accessible and welcoming to our diverse audiences. Our agency and employees can only grow and influence change when all are included. This spring, our commitment to accessibility for all was reaffirmed with the passing of Policy 4410.
“I’m really pleased for ESD 113 to honor our commitment to inclusion by adopting this policy,” Digital Communications Administrator Cindy Jouper said. “I’m excited to lead the way in accessibility and am hopeful that other agencies will pass similar policies.”
This new digital accessibility policy is the result of years of training, development, and remediation led by Jouper. Jouper and her accessibility team work closely with the Association of Educational Service Districts, State Board of Education, Washington State School for the Blind, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and local districts to provide training and remediation.
The team has remediated nearly 3,000 documents during the past 12 months for clients across Washington. Under the new policy, all documents, content, and websites created, hosted, maintained, or distributed by ESD 113 must meet the Level AA standards established by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Digital accessibility is the law, and it’s the right thing to do. Does your department, program or agency want to learn more about accessibility or need support remediating your files? Schedule a training or consultation with our accessibility professionals at [email protected].