Toronto, ON– The Ontario Student Trustee’s Association/l’Association des élèves conseillers et conseillères de l’Ontario (OSTA-AECO) on November 17, 2016 launched a new video in collaboration with the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) titled By Any Measure.

This video -presented by Public Board Council President Dasha Metropolitansky and Vice President Kevin Zheng- showcased what schools and their staff members are doing to make accessibility a priority. In partnership with OPSBA and with support from the Government of Ontario, the video was a student-led initiative that is being used to promote more accessible schools and programs across Ontario.

Student Trustees from various Ontario school boards attended this launch, alongside representatives from OPSBA, as well as guests that were featured in the short film. The project followed former Student Trustee and OSTA-AECO French Relations Officer, Yasmina Male on her journey to reveal “the everyday inspirational work of teachers, principles, parents and students.” Though most schools in Ontario have worked to implement ramps and elevators to aid those with physical limitations, when it comes to complete accessibility, “it’s beyond architecture” stated former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. “Accessibility is as much a matter of attitude as it is anything else.”

Male spoke with individuals in the community who are working to make a difference. The video explored an initiative called Connect Hear, which brings deaf and hard of hearing students together to learn from one another and connect with their peers. Teacher Sonya White describes how “it is key for [these students] to feel like they can affiliate with a group with similar interests and similar challenges.”

Filmmaker Jon Higgins was also interviewed about his experience entering the film making industry with a physical disability. He notes how students like him “have to advocate for themselves”; he shows others that with hard work and an accessible environment, everyone has the capability to do what they love.

“Accessibility is how you make a difference, so there are no differences.” recognized Male, and commends those who are succeeding in making school communities more accessible. There are programs and initiatives that are so successful that we “may not even notice that [they are] in place.”

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For further information: Shams Mehdi, OSTA-AECO Communications Officer- E: shams.mehdi@osta-aeco.org/ T: 416.768.7790

 

To find out more about these initiatives, watch By Any Measure below.