Our goal is to make Minnesota’s schools more inclusive.

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is a movement aimed at empowering a generation of student leaders to change their school culture to be more inclusive. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers activities that equip students with tools and training to create teams, classrooms and entire schools of acceptance. Unified Champion Schools are schools where students with disabilities feel welcome and are meaningfully included in all school activities, opportunities and functions.

This is accomplished by implementing three components of Unified Champion Schools: Inclusive Student LeadershipUnified Sports, and Whole School Engagement. All three areas are crucial to shift the culture of a school towards inclusion. Once the three components are active, a school is considered a Unified Champion School.

In the news

The Inclusion Revolution: Special Olympics holds first “Live Unified” for metro students with disabilities
March 14, 2023 – Hundreds of students gathered at Target Center Tuesday for the first “Live Unified” event. “You hear this all the time in the workplace, especially now, we need to be more inclusive, we need to be more welcoming,” said Dave Dorn, president and CEO of Special Olympics Minnesota. “Well this is where it starts. It starts with our youth.”

Mayo High School hosts second annual mobile Polar Plunge
March 31, 2023 – “It means a lot to see that their school is creating a culture of inclusion, where were accepting and loving and going out of our way to intentionally build relationships with students with special needs here at Mayo High school and our hope is that they take this experience and go out in the community go out in their jobs and go out of their way to build relationships,” Coordinator Colin Thomas explained.

A “Unified” approach to special education is changing lives at a MN middle school
March 16, 2023 – In December, the school once again set the standard for inclusivity, winning the Special Olympics Minnesota Inclusive School Week Challenge. “We were competing to show how awesome our Unified program is here, and how inclusive everyone is,” said South View student Andi Donovan. “It’s easy for us because we all hang out. We’re actual friends.” 


Interested in learning more?

Join the nearly 10,000 schools nation-wide who are making our world more inclusive.

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