Our Work

National School Recognition Program

School Recognition Lead

A Special Olympics Unified Champion School® demonstrating commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 standards of excellence receives national banner recognition.

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. Banner Unified Champion Schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.

The expectation of this recognition is that the 10 standards are continuously being met, year after year. To ensure this sustainability, schools reapply for banner status every 4 years.

The National Recognition application cycle is currently closed, and recognized schools for the 2020-2021 school year will be announced in Fall 2021. The application cycle for the 2021-2022 school year will open in April 2022.

During the application review process, school applications will be reviewed in two stages: first by state Program staff and then by a national Certifying Body of key educational leaders. Learn more about the Certifying Body members.

Unified Champion Schools – Our Challenge to You

Class of 2020 National Banner Unified Champion Schools

*Denotes a school with 4-year renewal recognition

  • ALASKA: Homestead Elementary, Teeland Middle School
  • ARKANSAS: Wooster Elementary, Frank Mitchell Intermediate School, Vilonia High School/Vilonia Freshman Academy, Huntsville High School
  • ARIZONA: O.C. Johnson Elementary School
  • COLORADO: Fort Collins High School, Rangeview High School, Ponderosa High School, Cherokee Trail High School, Northridge High School
  • CONNECTICUT: Highland Elementary School, Center School, Memorial School, R.M.T. Johnson School, Farmington High School*, Crosby High School*, Woodstock Academy*, Greenwich High School*, Rockville High School*, Guilford High School*, Newtown High School*, Newington High School*, Oxford High School*, Masuk High School*, Windsor High School*, Berlin High School*, Norwich Free Academy*, Southington High School*, E.O. Smith High School*, Norwalk High School, Jonathan Law High School*, Brien McMahon High School*, New Britain High School*, Wilby High School*, Fairfield Ludlowe HS*, Shelton High School*, Wolcott High School*, Coginchaug High School*, Torrington High School*, Brookfield High School*, Cheshire High School*
  • DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Bunker Hill Elementary School
  • DELAWARE: Major George S Welch Elementary School, Postlethwait Middle School, Cape Henlopen High School
  • GEORGIA: White County Middle School
  • HAWAII: Lokelani Intermediate School
  • IOWA: Theodore Roosevelt High School
  • IILLINOIS: Irving Elementary School, MacArthur Middle School District 23, Edwardsville High School
  • INDIANA: Bedford North Lawrence High School, Mount Vernon High School, Rochester Community Middle School, Valparaiso High School, Center Grove High School, Indian Creek High School, Franklin Central High School, DeKalb High School
  • KANSAS: Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, Lawrence High School
  • MASSACHUSETTS: Chicopee Comprehensive High School, Westborough High School, St. Mark's School, Hingham High School, Lunenburg High School, Methuen High School, Weymouth High School, Tabor Academy, Leominster High School, Framingham High School, Newton South High School, Joseph Case High School, Chicopee High School, Fitchburg High School, Hopkinton High School
  • MAINE: Morse High School, Frank H. Harrison Middle School, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, Dexter Regional High School
  • MICHIGAN: Meadow Brook Elementary School, Novi High School, Hartland High School, Howell High School, Everett High School
  • MINNESOTA: University of Minnesota
  • MISSOURI: Festus High School
  • NORTH CAROLINA: Ledford High School, Smithfield-Selma High, West Davidson High School, West Stokes High School
  • NEBRASKA: Ashland-Greenwood High School, Millard North High School, Elkhorn South High School, Scottsbluff High School
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: Londonderry High School
  • NEW JERSEY: West Morris Central High School, Mt Olive High School, West Morris Mendham High School, Delsea Regional High School, Woodrow Wilson School
  • NEW MEXICO: Mayfield High School, Lincoln Middle School
  • NEW YORK: Saratoga Springs High School, Irondequoit HS, Ithaca High School, Victor High School, Southampton HS, Newark High School, Starpoint High School, Churchville-Chili Senior High School, Horseheads High School
  • OREGON: Westview High School, Silverton High School, Sisters High School, Cleveland High School, Alder Creek Middle School
  • PENNSYLVANIA: Central York High School, Dallastown High School, Norwin High School, Springfield Township High School, CCA Baldi School, Franklin Regional High School, Sun Valley High School, Pennridge High School, Upper Merion Area High School, Slippery Rock University
  • RHODE ISLAND: Tiverton High School, East Providence High School, Coventry High School
  • SOUTH CAROLINA: Williams Memorial Elementary School, Lugoff Elgin High School*, Sumter High School*, Clover High School*, Lexington High School*
  • SOUTH DAKOTA: University of South Dakota
  • SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Murrieta Valley High School, Westminster High School, Murrieta Mesa High School
  • TENNESSEE: Hardin Valley Academy- Knox Co Schools
  • TEXAS: Lone Star Elementary, Texas Tech University
  • VIRGINIA: Yorktown High School, Broad Run High, George C. Marshall High School, Fluvanna County High School, Bayside High School, Stone Bridge High School, Washington-Liberty High School
  • VERMONT: Champlain Valley Union
  • WASHINGTON: River Ridge High School
  • WISCONSIN: Shattuck Middle School, Neenah High School

View the full list of nationally recognized Unified Champion Schools.

Banner Recognition Resources
Read the 10 standards that must be met at the elementary school level to earn national recognition
Read the 10 standards that must be met at the middle & high school level to earn national recognition
Read the 10 standards that must be met at the college level to earn national recognition
Learn the correct program language and examples of how to use them
Find resources for Unified Champion Schools for students, educators, and programs.
Do you think your school meets the 10 standards of excellence? Apply today and receive national recognition!
Unified Champion Schools Resources
Inclusion is on the playing field; in your school; starts with you. #UNIFIEDGENERATION
Find a collection of tools to assist students, teachers, and State Programs in promoting Unified Schools in their communities.
Promoting student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness.