EducationThe Northern Westchester Examiner

All Inclusive Patio Completed at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School

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By Rick Pezzullo—

Lakeland School District officials last week celebrated the completion of an Access for All Inclusive patio project at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 20, students from Mrs. Elyse Macchi’s third grade class had a chance to enjoy the patio for the first time.

The project was initiated by Principal Christopher Urso and made possible by local organizations and more than 20 volunteers who contributed their time and resources. The patio was completed within two months.

“Creating the vision for this inclusive space for our students and having it completed by our community in such a short timeframe has been incredible.” Urso said. “We have a strong support system here at Thomas Jefferson, and are forever grateful to the District and community for supporting our students.”

The Mahopac Leos and Lions clubs independently raised funds for the project, while parents and community members, including Jim Rathschmidt from United for the Troops, Rich Whitmarsh, and Jacob Dicob, the owner of Vinco Builders, built the patio.

The fifth grade class of 2022 at Thomas Jefferson donated ADA-compliant picnic tables to the school the year prior. The patio will allow all students access to the courtyard for learning, engaging, and enjoying the outdoor space.

The Access for All patio meets the requirements of the district’s Equity for All and Inclusion goals by acknowledging the presence of differences to provide fir access, opportunity, and support to all individuals, and working to foster a community where everyone has a genuine sense of belonging and value.

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