National School Recognition Program

School Recognition Lead

A Special Olympics Unified Champion School® demonstrating commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 standards of excellence receives national banner recognition.

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 meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.

The primary activities within these standards include: Special Olympics Unified Sports® (where students with and without disabilities train and compete as teammates), Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole-School Engagement. Banner Unified Champion Schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.

The expectation of this recognition is that the 10 standards are continuously being met, year after year. To ensure this sustainability, schools reapply for banner status every 4 years.

Starting in 2020, a national Certifying Body of key educational leaders will be responsible for making the final selection of schools to receive this prestigious recognition. To learn about the Certifying Body members, please click here.

Special Olympics North America is accepting applications between April 1, 2020 and June 1, 2020. To apply for national recognition and show your commitment to an inclusive school environment, click here.

Unified Champion Schools – Our Challenge to You

Class of 2019 National Banner Unified Champion Schools

  • Alaska: Chugiak High School, Eagle River High School, East High School, West Anchorage High School
  • Arizona: Basha High School, Canyon View High School, Sedona Red Rock Jr/Sr High School, Sunnyslope High School, Thunderbird High School, Trevor G. Browne High School
  • Arkansas: Bryant Middle School, Cabot High School, Mena High School
  • Colorado: Black Forest Hills Elementary School, Brighton High School, Chaparral High School, Colorado State University, Greeley Central High School, Greeley West High School, Legend High School, Mead High School, Mesa Middle School, North Valley Middle School, Regis Jesuit High School, Smoky Hill High School, Valley High School, Wildcat Mountain Elementary School
  • Connecticut: Bethel Middle School, Pomperaug High School, Rocky Hill High School, Schaghticoke Middle School, Valley Regional High School, Whisconier Middle School
  • Delaware: Banneker Elementary School, Caesar Rodney High School, Lulu Ross Elementary School, Middletown High School, Thomas McKean High School
  • Florida: Atlantic Coast High School, August Raa Middle School, Aventura Waterways K8 Center, Cotee River Elementary School, Cypress Lake High School, David C. Hinson Middle School, Eau Gallie High School, Elizabeth Cobb Middle School, Fienberg Fisher K-8 Center, Forest Hill Community High School, Freedom High School, Gulf Middle School, H. B. Plant High School, Hudson Middle School, J. P. Taravella High School, LaBelle High School, Language and Literacy Academy for Learning, Miami Southridge Senior High School, North Fort Myers High School, Poinciana Elementary School, Ridge Community High School, St. Lucie West Centennial High School, Tavares High School, Vero Beach High School
  • Hawaii: Waialua Elementary School
  • Illinois: Jane Addams Junior High School, Maine South High School, Metea Valley High School, Parkside Elementary School
  • Indiana: Blackford Jr-Sr High School, Carmel High School, Carroll High School, Columbus East High School, East Noble High School, Fishers High School, Goshen High School, Harrison High School, Mooresville High School, Muncie Central High School, North Side High School, Perry Meridian High School, South Ripley High School, West Lafayette High School
  • Kansas: Blue Valley North High School, Washburn Rural High School
  • Kentucky: Bullitt East High School
  • Maine: Hampden Academy, Winslow High School
  • Maryland: Clear Spring High School, Mardela Middle & High School, Northeast High School, Old Mill High School, Southern High School
  • Massachusetts: Andover High School, Canton High School, Grafton High School, Marlborough High School, Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, Middleborough High School, Natick High School, Needham High School, Norton High School, Oakmont Regional High School, Seekonk High School, Shrewsbury High School, Somerset Berkley Regional High School, Wahconah Regional High School, Walpole High School, Worcester Technical High School
  • Michigan: Durand Middle School, Handy Middle School
  • Nebraska: Millard North Middle School
  • New Hampshire: Epping High School
  • New Jersey: Arleth Elementary School, Berkeley Township Elementary School, Delaware Valley Regional High School, Samsel Upper Elementary School, Sayreville Middle School, Sayreville War Memorial High School, Somerville High School
  • New Mexico: John Baker Elementary School, Manzano High School, Valley View Elementary School
  • New York: Cheektowaga Central, Guilderland High School, Iroquois High School, Niagara Falls High School
  • North Carolina: Ballentine Elementary School, David W. Butler High School, Davis-Townsend Elementary School, East Garner Magnet Middle School, Forest City-Dunbar Elementary School, Gray's Creek High School, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Oklahoma: Owasso High School
  • Oregon: Corvallis High School, Newport High School, Roseburg High School, South Salem High School, Wilson High School
  • Pennsylvania: Fox Chapel Area High School, Haverford High School
  • Rhode Island: Anna McCabe Elementary School, Cranston High School East, R.C. LaPerche Elementary, Smithfield High School
  • South Carolina: Bookman Road Elementary School, Carolina Park Elementary School, Lake Carolina Elementary Lower Campus, Meadow Glen Middle School, Pelion High School
  • Southern California: Fillmore High School, Trabuco HIlls High School
  • Texas: Dripping Springs High School, Hendrickson High School, Lewisville High School
  • Utah: Hillcrest High School, Skyridge High School
  • Virginia: Forest Park High School, Freedom High School, Lane Elementary School, Loudoun Valley High School, Poe Middle School, W.T. Woodson High School, Wakefield High School, William Fleming High School, Woodley Hills Elementary School
  • Washington: Fife High School, Kamiak High School, Lakeside High School, North Thurston High School, Puyallup High School, Timberline High School
  • Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Wyoming: Cody High School

View the full list of nationally recognized Unified Champion Schools.

Banner Recognition Resources
Read the 10 standards that must be met at the elementary school level to earn national recognition
Read the 10 standards that must be met at the middle & high school level to earn national recognition
Read the 10 standards that must be met at the college level to earn national recognition
Learn the correct program language and examples of how to use them
Find resources for Unified Champion Schools for students, educators, and programs.
Do you think your school meets the 10 standards of excellence? Apply today and receive national recognition!
Unified Champion Schools Resources
Inclusion is on the playing field; in your school; starts with you. #UNIFIEDGENERATION
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Find a collection of tools to assist students, teachers, and State Programs in promoting Unified Schools in their communities.
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