Let’s be more than ADA compliant; let’s be ability inclusive

People with varying physical abilities might not only thrive in the highly challenging academic environment of the upper school, in particular, but would also contribute their own knowledge and experiences of the world, just as any student would.

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Flickr CC: gedem

People with varying physical disabilities would thrive in the highly challenging academic environment like SPA, just as any student would. 

Penumbra workshops in middle school and studying the Mayas in lower school form vivid memories, but not everyone realizes that such experiences are part of the school’s overall effort to teach diversity as part of the of the curriculum. 

Informing students about all the different types of diversity is important for students to learn about building relationships.”

According to the website, SPA follows the National Association of Independent Schools definition, which describes diversity as “the concept of diversity embraces the wide range of human characteristics used to mark or identify individual and group identities. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, race, national origin, age, personality, sexual orientation, gender, class, religion, ability, and linguistic preferences.” 

Inviting more diversity into the school community is a continual goal. About 25% of SPA high school students are students of different races. Many students represent different ethnicities and heritages from around the world. SPA provides financial aid to 24% of students. SPA provides support and listens to feedback that students have about how SPA can improve to make sure LGBTQ+ students feel respected. The school calendar does not have classes on the most important holy days for religions practiced by families, and SPA offers academic support for students with learning differences, as well. Informing students about all the different types of diversity is important for students to learn about building relationships. These relationships can then grow and create diverse learning experiences for everyone involved.

One area of diversity that is not being addressed, however, is the area of physical ability.”

One area of diversity that is not being addressed, however, is the area of physical ability. This would include people who use wheelchairs, however there are zero students using wheelchairs at SPA. Has this been brought to awareness? The school is ADAAmericans with Disabilities Actcompliant. People with varying physical disabilities would thrive in the highly challenging academic environment like SPA, just as any student would. 

This is an area of diversity that SPA can improve upon.

Perhaps this just has not been noticed before. There are organizations that advocate on behalf of students with physical disabilities, and this would be a good place to start: the Children’s Defense Fund, for example, or the Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities. 

In order to truly live up to our ideals of being inclusive of all diversities, we need to have students with physical disabilities getting the same opportunity for the excellent education provided by SPA.

Flickr CC image can be viewed at gedem.