A Catalyst for Change
Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools, formerly Project UNIFY®, bring together students with and without intellectual disabilities through education, sports and youth leadership to provide them with the knowledge, attitudes and skill necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote acceptance, respect and human dignity.
Through data collected, Special Olympics has learned that in order to be transformative within schools, state programs need to go beyond simply providing students the opportunity to engage in single, Special Olympics-specific initiatives. It is the connection between Special Olympics initiatives, along with the youth and schools’ involvement in the design and implementation of Unified Champion Schools; that can foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for students with intellectual disabilities.
We also understand how important it is for Special Olympics Washington to collaborate with educators in identifying what role Unified Champion Schools can play in meeting their state, district and individual school’s strategic goals, whether it be promoting school climate, developing physical fitness, building character, preventing bullying, enhancing student engagement, or any other important school reform
What is a Special Olympics Unified Champion School?
A sustaining Special Olympics Unified Champion School is a combination of at least three components; sports, youth leadership/advocacy, and a school-wide activity. A Unified Champion School there is an understanding that this is not just an incident or event that happens for one day, or a single experience, but rather year-long or seasonal activities. In a Unified Champion School there is an expectation that acceptance and inclusion are everyday occurrences that change entire schools and impact the whole student body.
Unified Champion School Programs include: