Unified Champion Schools

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

‘He’s Genuinely My Friend’: Monticello Unified Programs Forging Lifelong Bonds
February 15, 2021 – Minnesota is one of a handful of states where high schools are not required to have a formal relationship with the Special Olympics. But many do offer programs where kids of all ability levels spend time together, like in Monticello, where Unified programs are building lifelong friendships.

DAPE class partners with Special Olympics
February 11, 2021 – The Grand Rapids High School Developmental Adaptive Physical Education (DAPE) class has partnered with Special Olympics to join as a Unified Physical Education class. This was a unique opportunity for students of varying ability levels and backgrounds to come together on equal terms through ongoing fitness, sports, leadership and wellness activities.

Minnesota Elementary School Showcases Success from SHAPE America Partnership Through Unified PE
January 24, 2021 – At Aquila Elementary School, located in Minnesota’s St. Louis Park Public School District, the lessons learned through inclusion are a focal point. Teaching Unified PE, Tom Roberts, Current Past President of MNSHAPE and Physical Education Specialist, says “this class has taught our students to be more empathetic, kind, and aware of our students with disabilities.”

Where we are

Interested in learning more?

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

For current Unified Champion Schools: