What is a Unified Champion School?
Special Olympics Unified Schools strategies focus on creating and sustaining a positive school climate that values and manifests appropriate and effective engagement leading to inclusion, acceptance, respect and human dignity. Special Olympics Unified Schools is funded by the US Department of Education that is implemented within elementary, middle and high schools across the nation. Its goal is to activate youth around the country in an effort to promote the importance of inclusive school activities.
A Special Olympics Champion School has the following 3 Components:
Whole School Engagement
Special Olympics Unified Schools provides a framework, philosophy and set of practices that engage all students in activities that improve achievement and lead to lifelong success. Special Olympics Unified Schools is proven to enhance school climate. Special Olympics Unified Schools takes us from include to UNIFY, from special education students to all students, from adult-led to student-led, from sport opportunities to sports as a catalyst for social inclusion and attitude change.
Funding Opportunities: Schools can receive funding support for Unified Sports teams (including uniforms, equipment, transportation, and coaches stipends), club activities, and whole school involvement events.
Outcomes of Unified Schools: Students without disabilities hold more positive attitudes toward their peers with intellectual disabilities School communities of acceptance where students with intellectual disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all school activities, opportunities and functions More students with and without ID playing sports together.
Funding Opportunities for Schools
The Unified Champion Schools Program is a US national project, funded by the US Department of Education that is implemented within elementary, middle and high schools across the nation. Funding is available to schools participating in Utah based on the following funding model:
- Year 1: Schools will be able to receive funding for all activities within the three elements of a Unified Champion Schools program.
- Year 2: Schools will receive funding for all activities if they participate in all three elements as a Unified Champion School.
- Year 3: Unified Champion Schools will receive funding for all new activities (i.e. new Unified Sports team, new whole school activity).
- Year 4 and beyond: Unified Champion Schools can apply for funding up to $500 to help offset the costs of new activities and programs.