What is a Unified Champion School?


Special Olympics Unified Sports brings together people with intellectual disabilities (Special Olympics athletes) and people without intellectual disabilities (Unified partners) to participate on sports teams together. Teams practice and compete together over the course of a full season, just like any other school team, college intramural or community recreation program. Unified Sports was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.


Inclusive youth leadership offers opportunities for young people of all abilities to be leaders in their schools and communities by promoting equality and acceptance. These leadership activities help students with and without intellectual disabilities find their voices by teaching them to become change agents striving for respect and inclusion. Through collaborative efforts that are inclusive of diverse students within the school, these leadership opportunities foster social inclusion by designing and implementing activities within classrooms, school-wide, extracurricular, and community contexts.


Students of all abilities have the power to positively impact their school communities by promoting social inclusion. With tools such as Spread the Word Inclusion, Fans in the Stands, and Unified Sports Field Days, youth raise awareness and begin creating an educational environment where respect and acceptance are the norm and all students feel included and engaged. Whole School activities engage students, teachers, staff, community leaders and others to increase their social inclusion knowledge, skills and dispositions and support a socially inclusive school climate. Through whole school engagement, the school becomes a powerful community that represents new ways of thinking and acting. When the school climate conveys and fosters understanding, inclusion, and respect for all, the students internalize those lessons for their lives both within and beyond school.