Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® is a program that systematically promotes social inclusion by bringing together young people with and without intellectual disabilities utilizing three components: Special Olympics Unified Sports®, Inclusive Youth Leadership, and Whole-School Engagement. Each component has a strong impact on students and faculty with and without intellectual disabilities but together it creates an environment that amplifies from the school into the community.
Special Olympics Unified Sports®
Special Olympics Unified Sports® is a fully inclusive sports or fitness program that combines and approximately equal number of students with and without intellectual disabilities. Within a school this can take many different forms including Unified Sports teams, Unified Physical Education classes and other fitness initiatives within a school.
See how Unified Sports takes different forms within a school.
Within this case study video, watch Unified Sports and Unified Physical Education activities within a school.
Inclusive Youth Leadership
Inclusive Youth Leadership is when there are opportunities within a school environment for students with and without intellectual disabilities to work together to lead and plan advocacy, awareness, and other Special Olympics and related inclusive activities throughout the year. This can include having leadership roles on student council or having a Unified club on campus.
Watch how students across the country are leading within their schools in inclusive ways.
This is a case study video about Inclusive Youth Leadership opportunities that exist within Unified Champion Schools.
Whole-School Engagement is seen within a Unified Champion School when a campus holds awareness and education activities that promote inclusion and reach the majority of the school population. Everyone from students, to staff, to administrators are part of the systematic change to end discrimination towards people with intellectual disabilities.
Discover the ways in which an entire school community is involved in the inclusion revolution.
This video shows whole-school engagement opportunities within a school through Spread the Word campaigns, Fans in the Stands and Polar Plunges.
Students who participate in the Unified Champion Schools program within the United States feel more supported by their teachers and peers, have higher levels, of grit, receive better grades, and are more empathetic and compassionate. The three component model provides a well-rounded view of what a school can accomplish when the goal is to create a socially inclusive school environment.
Three million young people participate in 6,500 Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® across the US with support from the US Office of Special Education Programs at the US Department of Education. These young people make up the Unified Generation. They are taking personal ownership within their schools and communities to ensure that everyone has the right to play, learn and live together through shared leadership opportunities of students with and without intellectual disabilities. To learn more about the Unified Generation, visit: https://www.generationunified.org/