Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® builds on Special Olympics’ values, principles, practices, experiences and impacts to shape a generation that welcomes everyone.

Our Goal: Schools that Welcome All People

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. 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.

This is accomplished by implementing inclusive sports, inclusive youth leadership opportunities, and whole school engagement. 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.


2020 Timeline

APRIL 1, 9AM ET - APPLICATIONS OPENS *for both NEW schools and schools that are reapplying (every 4 years)

JUNE 1, 9AM ET - APPLICATIONS CLOSE

JUNE - STATE SPECIAL OLYMPICS PROGRAMS REVIEW APPLICATIONS

JULY - NATIONAL CERTIFYING BODY REVIEWS APPLICATIONS *New this year

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER - SCHOOL NOTIFICATION

SPRING 2021 - APPLICATIONS RE-OPEN


New Information This Year

1. A National Certifying Body (CB)

The Certifying Body will be comprised of members from a variety of organizations and institutions that are leading inclusive practices across the country. Once a school application has been reviewed by their state Special Olympics Program, representatives on the CB will be responsible for further reviewing the application. The Certifying Body is adding a layer of quality assurance and will focus on schools that are meeting the 10 Standards of Excellence both in practice and in spirit. 

2. Renewal of Schools 

In order to give schools the opportunity for continued recognition, as well as ensure quality programming, there will be a four-year renewal process for all national banner schools. Schools will submit their applications in the same platform, Submittable, as first time schools. 

*All banner schools from the 2016 cycle are now eligible to renew their banner status this 2020 cycle!

Please direct all questions to Special Olympics North America Unified Champion Schools Marketing and Communications Manager, Leigha Bannon
lbannon@specialolympics.org 


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 achieving the ten standards described below. These standards are based upon the three over-arching components that include Special Olympics Unified Sports®, Inclusive Youth Leadership, and Whole-School Engagement. National banner schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.

While the components are listed individually, they should be implemented in coordination with each other and supported by a leadership team composed of representatives from all areas of the school, including students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Research has proven that when all three components are incorporated, there is a deeper impact on the individual participants as well as the overall culture and climate of the school.


You can access your saved draft at any time, before the June 1st deadline.

 

  
Contact Submittable Technical Support by email at support@submittable.com if you have problems logging into your account or accessing your saved draft. If you have content-based questions, please contact your Special Olympics State Program.

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 achieving the ten standards described below. These standards are based upon the three over-arching components that include Special Olympics Unified Sports®/Young Athletes, Inclusive Youth Leadership, and Whole-School Engagement. National banner schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.

While the components are listed individually, they should be implemented in coordination with each other and supported by a leadership team composed of representatives from all areas of the school, including students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Research has proven that when all three components are incorporated, there is a deeper impact on the individual participants as well as the overall culture and climate of the school.


You can access your saved draft at any time, before the June 1st deadline.

 

  
Contact Submittable Technical Support by email at support@submittable.com if you have problems logging into your account or accessing your saved draft. If you have content-based questions, please contact your Special Olympics State Program.

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 achieving the ten standards described below. These standards are based upon the three over-arching components that include Special Olympics Unified Sports®, Inclusive Youth Leadership, and Whole-School Engagement. National banner schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.

While the components are listed individually, they should be implemented in coordination with each other and supported by a leadership team composed of representatives from all areas of the school, including students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Research has proven that when all three components are incorporated, there is a deeper impact on the individual participants as well as the overall culture and climate of the school.


You can access your saved draft at any time, before the June 1st deadline.

 

  
Contact Submittable Technical Support by email at support@submittable.com if you have problems logging into your account or accessing your saved draft. If you have content-based questions, please contact your Special Olympics State Program.