Kentucky’s Third National Banner Recipient Named Top 5 School by ESPN
Bullitt East High School has been recognized as a Top 5 Unified Champion School National Banner Award winner by Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools Partner ESPN. The announcement was made by ESPN personality Hannah Storm in a video released Friday on the network’s website and social media channels. The inclusion places Bullitt East among an elite group of the 173 schools nationwide who were recognized as National Banner honorees for 2019. Being named a Top 5 school means that Bullitt East will have their banner presented by ESPN. That presentation will take place at the high school at 9 am on Wednesday, October 30.
Recognition as a National Banner School is the highest honor Special Olympics affords to schools participating in the Unified Champion Schools Program. Bullitt East is the third Kentucky school to receive National Banner recognition and the first to receive Top 5 recognition. Calloway County and East Carter High Schools were both named National Banner schools in 2018. Calloway County was named to the ESPN Honor Roll, which provides the list from which the Top 5 schools are chosen.
“We are excited for the students, faculty and staff at Bullitt East High School,” said Karen Michalak-Parsley, Director of Unified Champion Schools for Special Olympics Kentucky. “They have all worked so hard to meet the milestones necessary for National Banner recognition, but also more importantly to create a more inclusive, welcoming school environment for everyone. Top 5 status is a great reward for the work they have all done as part of this effort.”
A Special Olympics Unified Champion School has an inclusive school climate and exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff. A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.
The primary activities within these standards include: Special Olympics Unified Sports® (where students with and without disabilities train and compete as teammates), Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole-School Engagement. National banner schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.
More than 80 schools are currently participating in Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programming in Kentucky, as part of nearly 6,500 schools across the country engaged in the program. Special Olympics has a global goal of creating 10,000 Unified Champion Schools by 2020.
For more information about Kentucky’s Unified Champion Schools program or to learn how your school can take part, contact Karen Michalak-Parsley at 502-326-5002 or [email protected].