Digital Accessibility and Inclusion

An accessible and inclusive website is one formatted for people with disabilities (accessible) and is easy for people with different abilities and languages (inclusive) to use.

Making our website accessible to everyone is an important part of our commitment to equity and excellence.

Our Commitment

By law, all DOE websites must be accessible by certain deadlines:

  • All pages on the main DOE sites— and the InfoHub—must be accessible by December 31, 2019.
  • School websites must show progress toward accessibility by December 31, 2020.

This includes the content on the page as well as the documents and media hosted on the website.

School Websites

Does your school have its own website? If so, principals should assign a staff member to the webmaster role in Galaxy by December 2. The webmaster will then be able to register for learning opportunities where they will learn how to make your school’s site accessible. The learning opportunities are available both during and after school hours.

 For questions regarding Galaxy, email your BCO directors of finance and HR.

For more information about accessibility for school websites, look over our School Website Guidelines page.   


Accessible and Inclusive Content 

Our sites must follow the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA guidelines. Broadly, that means you must:

  • Write in everyday language. Words should be family-focused and at a grade 6-9 reading level.
  • Organize your page clearly and simply so people can easily find what they need.
  • Format your page so it works well with screen readers and keyboard controls.
    • Use the Styles bar to add an H1 heading for the title, and H2 headings for subheads.
    • Don’t just change your font size or bold your text. Screen readers won’t know it’s a heading.
  • Give alternate ways for all people to use your media files. Make sure that your:
    • images have descriptive text (alt-text)
    • videos have captions
    • audio files have transcripts
  • Hyperlink the description of where people will go—and why they’d want to go there. Do not hyperlink the phrase “click here.” For example, any of these are okay:
  • Provide translations for all parent-facing content. This applies to both the content on your webpages, as well as any documents you post there.

Making Content Accessible

Most of the programs you use already have tools built into them to check that your content is accessible.

Microsoft Office

Headings and Reading Order

Microsoft Office's Accessibility Checker has the following flaw:

  • if nothing is formatted as an H1, H2, or H3 heading, the accessibility checker will falsely say it's accessible, even though it is not.
    • That’s because it only checks if the headings are out of order--not whether or not they are there.
  • Bolding, underlining, or changing font size are not acceptable ways of denoting headings.



  • It is easiest to check accessibility in your source document (for example, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) before converting to PDF. See above for instructions.
  • If you don't have the source document, use the Adobe Acrobat Pro/DC built-in accessibility checker. Your department can buy Adobe Acrobat Pro/DC.


Parent-facing sites like schools sites or our family website should have videos that are:

  • Captioned in the ten languages we use.
  • Hosted on an official site for the school or office—with more than one person having administrative rights.
  • Central users must host videos on the DOE's Vimeo account. Contact Christian Fernandez for more video information.

All other videos—including any training videos that record an instructor’s computer screen—need to be:

  • Captioned in English.
  • Hosted on an official site—with more than one person having administrative rights.


Accessibility training starts in the 2019-2020 school year. In the fall:

Apps and Vendors 

Online apps like FlipGrid, Kahoot or Minecraft come from third-party vendors. Those vendors are responsible for making their content accessible. In turn, we are only allowed to partner with vendors who provide accessible content. If you are unsure about an app you use, email the vendor, or provider, and ask.

Print-Only Content

Having a digital version of print documents (yearbooks, programs, awards, and certificates) makes content easy to share. Fliers sent home with students should also be posted on your website or classroom page. However, that can only be done if they are accessible for people with disabilities.


All content on the website must be accessible. That includes:

  • All DOE-sponsored or sanctioned websites and webpages
  • All documents including the Microsoft, Google, and Apple Suite as well as other digital formats
  • Multimedia content, like pictures, videos, or audio files
  • Online tools and applications
  • Letters and forms
  • Information posted to social media sites like Facebook or Instagram
  • Online learning environments for students and staff, and their resources, such as:
    • Google Classroom
    • Schoolology
    • iLearnNYC
  • School websites
  • Parent and student portals, like Skedula


Still have questions?  Email us at

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