• A group of high school students cheering at a banner presentation after receiving national recognition.

    National School Recognition Program

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

Schools that Exemplify Social Inclusion

National banner schools unite students with and without intellectual disabilities.
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.

*Note: the recognition program was pilot-tested in four states in 2016 and was open to high schools. This will be expanded to additional states in 2017-18.

Class of 2016 National Banner Unified Champion Schools

Connecticut: Amity Regional High School, Berlin High School, Brein McMahon High School, Brookfield High School, Cheshire High School, Coginchaug High School, Crosby High School, Daniel Hand High School, E.O. Smith High School, Farmington High School, Greenwich High School, Guilford High School, Jonathan Law High School, Masuk High School, New Britain High School, Newington High School, Norwich Free Academy, Oxford High School, Rockville High School, Shelton High School, Southington High School, Stafford High School, Suffield High School, Torrington High School, Wilby High School, Windsor High School, Wolcott High School, Woodstock Academy.

New Mexico: Cleveland High School, Vista Middle School.

Northern California: Freedom High School, Pittsburg High School.

South Carolina: Airport High School, Clover High School, Lexington High School, Lugoff Elgin High School, Midland Valley High School, River Bluff High School, Seneca High School, Sumter High School.