Unified School – Current

Three Components of Unified Champion Schools

The three components of Unified Champion Schools are Inclusive Student LeadershipUnified Sports, and Whole School Engagement. All three areas are crucial to shift the culture of a school towards inclusion and once the three components are active, a school is considered a Unified Champion School.

Inclusive Student Leadership

Inclusive Student Leadership is an all-embracing leadership club for every student. Students gather together to create social opportunities and lead their school in the advancement of inclusion.

Unified Sports

Unified sports combines students with and without intellectual disabilities on teams and encourages them to participate in inclusive sports training and competition.

Whole School Engagement

Whole School Engagement includes bullying prevention and inclusive promotion initiatives that reach entire school populations through engaging, inspiring, and optimistic events.

Solutions to Common Roadblocks

Lack of funding

Special Olympics Minnesota has a School Sustainability Plan that by year three of involvement with the Unified Schools Program each school will be able to run independently and successfully on their own through a unique fundraising strategy. Check out fundraising events like The Plunge and UDM.

Lack of administration support

Approach teachers and administration with a specific plan to implement Unified Schools initiatives. Consider inviting SOMN staff to present to them. Please be prepared to show why the Unified Schools Program is important for your school culture. Unified Schools can be implemented into any school setting.

Finding quality Unified partners and students who care

To ensure students are serious and ready to make the commitment to Unified Schools, you may consider using an application and interview process. Special Olympics Minnesota has marketing resources available upon request for use in your school.

Finding volunteers

Ask friends at school who can’t make the time commitment, but want to be involved. Ask for parental support and work with other service groups including National Honor Society, Student Council, Best Buddies, etc., or partner with other community organizations.


East Twin Cities Metro and Southern Minnesota

Laura Brunner
Unified Schools Associate
[email protected]

West Twin Cities Metro

Nick Cedergren
Senior Manager of School & Leadership Programs
[email protected]

Colleges and Universities

Devin Kaasa
Senior Manager, Sports & Education
[email protected]

Northern Minnesota

Shannon Murray
School Programs Associate
[email protected]