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Unified Champion Schools

Unified Champion Schools

Special Olympics Oregon Unified Champion Schools engages schools to create climates of inclusion, acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students with and without intellectual disabilities.

Our Goal: Schools that Welcome All People

The Unified Champion Schools approach incorporates Special Olympic Oregon sports and leadership activities while enhancing the youth experience and empowering them to be change agents in their communities. This requires a shift in current programs and paradigms from a focus on events to committing to a movement advocating for youth as leaders.

This programming promotes social inclusion in schools to ensure special education and general education students are equitably engaged. Teachers and students are encouraged to collaborate and create supportive classrooms, activities and opportunities.

Students should be encouraged and supported to be agents of change, have opportunities to be leaders, and participate in collaborative school activities. To achieve this, school leaders and educators must foster a socially inclusive school climate that emphasizes acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students.

A socially inclusive school is a place where no student is excluded because of the degree or type of disability or the services required to meet his/her needs.

Unified Champion Schools is made up of three core components:

Unified Sports:  Unified Sports brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete on the same team.  Through participation in Unified Sports, athletes improve their physical fitness, sharpen their skills, challenge the competition and develop friendships with having fun, too!

Examples: Unified Sports competitive or recreational, Unified PE, Unified Sports Day, Unified Sports clinic and Fans in the Stands.

Inclusive Youth Leadership:  Students with and without intellectual disabilities working together to lead and plan advocacy, awareness and other Special Olympics Oregon related inclusive activities throughout the school year. 

Examples: Unified Clubs, Unified Leadership classes, Inclusive Student Council, or attending the annual Special Olympics Oregon Youth Leadership Summit.

Whole School Engagement: An important feature of creating a socially inclusive climate is engagement the entire school community in the process.  Whole school engagement activities positively impact school climate by including all students, teachers, staff and administrators.

Examples: Respect Campaign, assemblies, awareness activities, Special Olympics Oregon Polar Plunge or other fundraising activities and Unified Sports Pep Rallies.

The activities and opportunities provided through Unified Champion Schools help to:

• Reduce bullying and exclusion,
• Promote healthy activity and interactions
• Combat stereotypes and stigma
• Eliminate hurtful language in schools
• Engage people in social activities that lead to personal growth

Get your school involved today!  Contact: Jean Hansen, Vice President of School Partnerships, | 503-248-0600 Ext. 116 

Visit the Unified Champion Schools website!



Change is about More than Words

The Respect Campaign is an ongoing effort to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)".

Unified Sports

Brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete on the same team.

Polar Plunge

We want you to take the plunge!

Unified Club

A unique school based program that offers social and recreational opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities.

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