Thanks to the Special Olympics Unified Generation, nearly 8,000 schools across the United States are centers of inclusion by implementing Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® programming. These inclusive schools are currently located in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is a program for schools Pre-K through university that intentionally promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school environments, utilizing three interconnected components: Special Olympics Unified Sports®, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.
The following videos showcase how different schools across the country implement these three components. Each component is critical on its own, but together they make a truly inclusive Unified Champion School.
While the Unified Champion Schools program is structured in its planning and implementation, it is important to note that one size does not fit all! The program is designed to be woven into the fabric of the school, enhancing current efforts and providing rich opportunities that lead to meaningful change in creating a socially inclusive school that supports and engages all learners. What a Unified Champion School “looks like” can vary greatly from school to school; but the basic building blocks remain the same.
The following videos focus on three separate schools to highlight UCS programming in an urban, suburban and rural setting. These case studies were designed primarily as a resource for schools interested in implementing the UCS program to show how the foundations of the program can be built into any school, no matter the setting.