For Immediate Release
Date: November 3, 2023

Chandler Pascale Receives Award

2023 Secretary of Defense Disability Award

Story by David Walton, Branch Chief Equal Employment Opportunity
Chandler Pascale, education technician with the DoDEA Virtual High School (DVHS), has been selected as a recipient of the 2023 Secretary of Defense Outstanding Civilian Employee with Disabilities Award for his exceptional work in making online experiences more accessible and inclusive.

Chandler Pascale, education technician with the DoDEA Virtual High School (DVHS), has been selected as a recipient of the 2023 Secretary of Defense Outstanding Civilian Employee with Disabilities Award for his exceptional work in making online experiences more accessible and inclusive.

“I have been a part of the DoDEA Virtual High School for almost ten years. This award is very meaningful to me. I see it not only as recognition of my work as an employee with a disability, but also as an employee in general,” said Pascale.

DoD presented its annual disability awards at a ceremony held Oct. 26 at the Pentagon. A recording is available here. Pascale’s recognition starts at the 1:03:35 mark.

The Outstanding Civilian Employee with Disabilities Award honors DoD civilian employees and service members who have made outstanding contributions in advancing equal employment opportunity for individuals with disabilities. These individuals have made significant contributions to the DoD mission and best demonstrate the core values of their respective DoD components.

Pascale was selected not only for his exceptional work in making online experiences more accessible and inclusive but also for his dedication to advancing the cause of accessibility and equity in digital education. His expertise in this area has been instrumental in ensuring that all students, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities, have equal access to high-quality educational resources.

Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Ashish Vazirani presents the 2023 Secretary of Defense Outstanding Civilian Employee with Disabilities Award to DoDEA's Chandler Pascale at an annual ceremony Oct. 26 at the Pentagon.
Pascale embraced the opportunity to gain experience by proactively taking part in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative in DoDEA. He developed an expertise and awareness of the importance of DEI, which expanded his capabilities in performing quality assurance reviews of the online courses offered through DVHS. This work included evaluating requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Pascale's deep understanding of DEI significantly enhanced the capabilities of the Instructional Design Branch, which operates under the Technology and Innovation Division of the Education Directorate. His contribution has led to the improvement of student online experiences, making them more accessible and inclusive.

Pascale credits the DVHS instructional designers for their tireless efforts in support of the school and the students.

“They are largely the reason that the DVHS courses function as well as they do,” said Pascale. “Since I joined DVHS as a college graduate in 2014, the instructional designers have taken me under their wing, taught me with great patience, and seen me grow into an employee who can perform a variety of tasks to assist them.”

Pascale’s efforts resulted in the conversion of hundreds of outdated FLASH files bringing them into compliance with current standards. Pascale also adapted numerous online educational activities to increase accessibility to a wider audience.  

“I feel very supported in my role with DoDEA because my coworkers see me as a full part of their team,” said Pascale. “While modern technology allows me to fulfill my duties largely remotely, one of the aspects I hold as a point of pride is that I am always available when called upon and that is how I plan to continue to serve DoDEA and DVHS in the future. I believe our staff treats our students with as much equity, understanding, and respect as they treat me, to the extent that I often wish my own education had been DoDEA.”

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