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National School Recognition Program

Two students on a field one is holding a banner that reads: Special Olympics National Unified Champion School

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 Program application cycle is currently open. The next cycle will open in Spring 2025.

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
Learn how Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools challenges all students across the United States to make their school inclusive.

Class of 2023 National Banner Unified Champion Schools

  • ALASKA: Dimond High School
  • ARKANSAS: Beebe High School, Bryant Elementary, Greenbrier High School, McDermott Elementary, Wooster Elementary
  • ARIZONA: Canyon View High School, Estrella Foothills High School, Trevor G Browne High School, Westwood High School, Youngker High School
  • COLORADO: Colorado State University, Denver East High School, Legend High School, Mead High School, Mead Middle School, North Valley Middle School, Rangeview High School, Smoky Hill High School
  • CONNECTICUT: Pomperaug High School, Rocky Hill High School, Valley Regional High School, Westbrook Middle School, Whisconier Middle School
  • DELAWARE: Benjamin Banneker Elementary School, Caeser Rodney High School, LuLu Ross Elementary School, Thomas McKean High School
  • FLORIDA: Cape Coral High School, Casselberry Elementary School Cotee River Elementary, Freedom High School, Glenallen Elementary School, Horace O'Bryant School, J. P. Taravella High School, Lehigh Acres Middle School, Lehigh Senior High School, Manatee Bay Elementary School, North Fort Myers High School, Palm Valley Child Development Center, Poinciana School, Tavares High School, Treasure Village Montessori Charter School, Twin Lakes Elementary School
  • IDAHO: Capital High School
  • ILLINOIS: East St. Louis Senior High School, Jane Addams Junior High School, Lakeview School, Maine South High School
  • INDIANA: Franklin Community High School, OJ Neighbours Elementary School, South Ripley High School
  • IOWA: Central DeWitt Intermediate School, Central DeWitt Middle School, West High School
  • KANSAS: Hazel Grove Elementary, Lawrence High School
  • KENTUCKY: Bullitt East High School, Eastern High School, Larry A Ryle High School
  • MAINE: Hampden Academy, Kennebunk High School, Scarborough High School, Scarborough Middle School, Thornton Academy
  • MARYLAND: Broadneck High School, Clear Spring High School, Crofton High School, Mardela Middle and High School, Northeast High School, Severna Park High School, South River High School, Southern Senior High School, Tuscarora High School,
  • MASSACHUSETTS: Andover High School, Apponequet Regional High School, Auburn Middle School, Ayer Shirley Regional High School, Canton High School, Mansfield High School, Marlborough High School, Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, Middleborough High School, Natick High School, Needham High School, Newton North High School, Norton High School, Oakmont Regional High School, Samoset Middle School, Shrewsbury High School, Seekonk High School, Silver Lake Regional High School, Somerset Berkley Regional High School, Wahconah Regional High School, Walpole High School, Westwood High School
  • MICHIGAN: Fisher Upper Academy, Mason High School, Mason Middle School
  • MINNESOTA: Bemidji High School, Orono High School, Shakopee High School, South View Middle School, Waconia High School
  • MISSOURI: Festus High School, Odessa R-VII High School, Poplar Bluff High School, Webb City Junior High
  • MONTANA: East Middle School
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: Epping Middle High School, Plymouth Regional High School, Portsmouth High School
  • NEW JERSEY: Hopewell Valley Central High School, Perth Amboy High School
  • NEW MEXICO: La Cueva High School, Lincoln Middle School, Rio Rancho High School, University Hills Elementary School
  • NEW YORK: Arlington High School, Cheektowaga Central High School, Columbia High School, Dunkirk High School, East Aurora High School, Guilderland High School, Iroquois High School, Niskayuna High School, Northport High School, Pembroke Junior-Senior High School, Silver Creek High School
  • NORTH CAROLINA: Ashbrook High School, David W. Butler High School, J.T. Hoggard High School, Oakdale Elementary School, Quail Hollow Middle School, R J Reynolds High School
  • NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: Central East High School
  • OHIO: Indian Hill Middle School, Woodridge High School
  • OKLAHOMA: Broken Arrow High School, Owasso High School
  • OREGON: Forest Grove High School, Newport High School, South Albany High School, South Salem High School, Sprague High School, Walker Middle School
  • PENNSYLVANIA: Downingtown East High School, East Stroudsburg High School South, Fox Chapel Area High School, Haverford High School, Hazleton Area High School, Indian Lane Elementary School
  • RHODE ISLAND: Brown Avenue Elementary School, Burrillville High School, Dunn's Corners Elementary School, Hopkins Hill Elementary School, Johnston Senior High School, Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School, Pleasant View Elementary School, Sarah Dyers Barns Elementary School
  • SOUTH CAROLINA: AC Flora High School, Beechwood Middle School, Gilbert Middle School, James Island Charter High School, Lake Carolina Elementary Upper, Walhalla Middle School, West Florence High School, White Knoll Elementary School
  • SOUTH DAKOTA: Clark School, Hamlin High School, Spearfish High , School, Spearfish Middle School
  • SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: La Quinta High School, Dorothy McElhinney Middle School
  • TENNESSEE: Hixson High School, Powell High School, Valor College Prep
  • TEXAS: Dripping Springs High School, Judson High School, Robert E Hendrickson High School
  • UTAH: Copper Hills High School, Hunter High School, Lone Peak High School, Murray High School, Orem High School, Riverton High School, Skyridge High School, Woods Cross High School
  • VERMONT: Burr and Burton Academy
  • WASHINGTON: Fife High School, Kamiak High School, North Thurston High School, Prairie High School
  • WYOMING: Cody High School, Cody Middle School, Johnson Junior High School

View the full list of nationally recognized Unified Champion Schools.

Banner Recognition Resources

Elementary School Standards

Read the 10 standards that must be met at the elementary school level to earn national recognition

Middle & High School Standards

Read the 10 standards that must be met at the middle & high school level to earn national recognition

College Standards

Read the 10 standards that must be met at the college level to earn national recognition

Language Guidelines

Learn the correct program language and examples of how to use them

Unified Champion School Resources

Find resources for Unified Champion Schools for students, educators, and programs.

How to Apply

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

Unified Schools Resources

Find a collection of tools to assist students, teachers, and State Programs in promoting Unified Schools in their communities.

United States Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

Promoting student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness.