VBCPS improves accessibility across the division

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS), alongside school divisions, schools and departments of education across the country, is changing how staff create pages and post documents to the division website and other sites online. The change is directed at meeting website accessibility guidelines and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In fact, for the past two years, the Department of Media and Communication (DMC) has been leading the way for the division in creating websites that are not only visually appealing and informative, but also aligned with ADA guidelines.

For example, common features on websites that are known to cause difficulty for those with disabilities include:

  • Videos without captions, which are inaccessible to users with hearing disabilities.
  • Sections of the website that can only be accessed using a mouse, which are problematic for users with vision or fine motor control disabilities.
  • Text color combinations that are difficult for people with low vision to differentiate.
  • Posted documents that cannot be read by an automated screen-reader for those with vision impairment.

This past school year, DMC staff members spent months working on the upgrade to www.vbschools.com and the redesigned school websites. Through their efforts, and through continued rounds of review, the division offers a fully accessible website to individuals with disabilities, according to the Office of Civil Rights.

To continue improving the overall accessibility of the website, VBCPS staff regularly audits online content on the division and school websites and has created policies to make sure all new content accessible by users with disabilities.

To further promote accessibility across the division DMC staff offers web accessibility training at various levels.

During the Friday, Feb. 8 class, attendees learned the basics of creating web accessible documents using Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat. There will be an advanced class offered later this month.

Further trainings will be offered throughout the year and registration is available through Frontline Professional Growth. Or, for those who are interested in learning more on meeting ADA guidelines for digital work, visit the Media and Communications Department SharePoint site for a host of videos, tutorials and tip sheets.

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