West Aurora School District 129
Schools: Hope D. Wall and Smith Elementary
Fundraising Goal: $745,000
About West Aurora School District 129: Fostering an environment of equity and opportunity for all students is the mission West Aurora School District 129. Our focus for the year announced by our superintendent, Dr. Jeff Craig, is #make a difference which the staff does every day they greet our students and educate the children they serve. Two of the schools serve a large percentage of students with special needs, Smith School and Hope D. Wall School. Both of these school sites have a decades-long history of meeting the specialized needs of all students.
The playgrounds at Smith and Hope Wall School were built as state of the art structures more than 30 years ago. The normal wear and tear have taken their toll-metal parts have worn paint and rust, boards have warped or broken, sections that were once popular are no longer attractive to students. The surface of wooden mulch refreshed annually does not enable access to the play structure despite the ramp leading into it. The swing for a wheelchair at Hope Wall is far from the other swings which isolate children. While the school district has a certified playground installer working to make the playgrounds safe, accessibility and inclusiveness are structural and not within his role.
The Fox Valley Park District serves the city of Aurora, Illinois and has multiple outdoor playgrounds, however many of those playgrounds are also inaccessible. Those playgrounds that are accessible may not have equipment that is easy to play with if you have motor difficulties. Families with financial challenges and a child with a disability may not have transportation or knowledge of accessible playgrounds for their child. The best opportunity for disabled children to experience active, outdoor play is at their neighborhood school.