We've made changes to our Privacy Policy. To review these updates please click here.

  • Individuals with and without intellectual disabilities smiling and posing together with a soccer ball and basketball.

    Unified Champion Schools®

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

Creating Social Inclusion in Schools

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 Unified Champion Schools® approach incorporates Special Olympics sports, leadership and related activities that empower youth to be change agents in their communities. This is a paradigm shift from a focus on events to that of a whole school movement for inclusion.

Special education and general education students alongside educators and administrators are encouraged to collaborate to create supportive classrooms, school-wide activities and opportunities for growth and success for all.

When everyone in a school fosters a socially inclusive school climate that emphasizes acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students, schools become places where no student is isolated because of the degree or type of disability or the services required to meet his/her needs.

Together we are creating a Unified Generation that Chooses to Include. Join us.

Unified Champion Schools are based on the evidence that students who “play unified” become better at helping others, standing up for each other and sharing responsibility. These students gain patience and the ability to compromise.
Three components2
Unified Champion Schools uses three pillars, Unified Sports, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement, to create an inclusive school climate.


The following list of organizations are integral collaborators to the movement of inclusive schools;
  • Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
  • Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE)
  • ESPN
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) & National Student Council (NatStuCo)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 
  • National Federation of State high School Associations (NFHS)
  • National Forum for Accelerating Middle-Grades Reform 
  • National Head Start Association
  • NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation 
  • SHAPE America