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Students Lobby for Accessibility Upgrades to Our Campus

Friday, January 24, 2020

One of the eleven CDS Learning Beliefs states that "assessment should be embedded in the learning process and is most meaningful when it incorporates reflection, feedback, and revision." In the summer of 2018, the school embarked on a major remodel of our Lower School campus to ensure that the site was more convenient and accessible for all.

Over the following months, members of the school community shared their thoughts on the renovations (which included a new front entrance and lobby and a new elevator). Some especially helpful feedback came from last year’s third grade students, who explored the campus on a wheelchair to see whether it lived up to its promise of accessibility. They pointed out that we needed to add push buttons for wheelchair users to open our front door and the door in our third-floor elevator lobby, and our facilities crew installed these buttons during this recent winter break.

At the same time, another student-led project also led to some changes on the campus. Last year, a group of our middle school students petitioned for gender-neutral bathrooms to be added to our buildings to better reflect our values of inclusivity. Therefore, we have remodeled one set of bathrooms on each of our campuses (adding ceiling-to-floor stall partitions) to be designated as gender-neutral. “This change signals to all CDS students that they are welcome, accepted, and can feel safe however they identify along the spectrum of gender,” says CDS Director of Inclusion Anthony Witte.

Head of School Shelly Luke Wille says that the spirit of self-reflection was one of the things she most admires about CDS. “We have a community that notices things, thinks about solutions, and knows that every voice matters,” she said. “I’m appreciative of the students bringing ideas and I’m appreciative of the adults in the community who did the hard work to make some of these things happen.”