What is the Unified Champion Schools program?
The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three component model: Whole School Engagement, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Unified Sports offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.
Unified Champion Schools promote a school climate that:
- is free from bullying and exclusion,
- combats stereotypes and negative attitudes,
- eliminates hurtful language,
- promotes healthy activity and interactions, and
- is welcoming and values the engagement of all students.
Within Unified Champion Schools:
- Students with and without intellectual disabilities are provided opportunities for physical activity and for building positive peer relationships across the school setting – in hallways and lunchrooms, in classrooms and gymnasiums, and on athletic fields of play.
- Students with and without intellectual disabilities are provided opportunities to interact with their peers and to personally learn and grow.
- At its core, the Unified Schools strategy is not just about including students with disabilities, but unifying all students; moving from adult-led programming to student-led mobilization and action; and transitioning from sports as recreation to sports as a catalyst for social inclusion and change.
Become a Kentucky Unified Champion School
If you would like to find out how to become a Unified Champion School, please complete the below application or reach out to Justin Harville – Director of Volunteer and Program Services at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-695-8222