Unified Champion Schools promotes social inclusion by bringing together young people with and without intellectual disabilities on sports teams (Special Olympics Unified Sports) through inclusive student clubs, together in school or community-wide initiatives, and by fostering youth leadership. At its core, this Unified strategy is about unifying all students— with and without disabilities—using sports as a catalyst for social inclusion and attitude and behavioral change.
This Unified strategy works to: reduce bullying and exclusion, promote healthy activities and interactions, overturn stereotypes and negative attitudes, eliminate hurtful language in schools and communities, and engage young people as leaders of a new, positive social movement.
The 2016-2017 school year data shows that 105 campuses across the state participated in the Unified Champion Schools program. Preliminary evidence suggests that Unified Champion Schools perform better than other schools on most school climate dimensions such as respect for diversity, social and civic learning, and school connectedness and engagement. By empowering students to create and foster inclusive classrooms and schools, Unified Champion Schools programs is helping to develop a generation of game changers.