• Two high school students walking with banner during National Unified Champion School Banner presentation

    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 2017 National Banner Unified Champion Schools

Arizona: Hopi Jr/Sr High School, Lake Havasu High School, Marana High School, Mountain View HS, Raymond S Kellis High School, Sunrise Mountain High School, Verrado High School.

Arkansas: Bryant High School.

Connecticut: Arthur Illing Middle School, Baldwin Middle School, Broadview Middle School, City Hill Middle School, Enfield High School, Francis Walsh Intermediate School, Har-Bur Middle School, Joseph A. Foran High School, Lewis S. Mills High School, Mystic Middle School, Pawcatuck Middle School, Simsbury High School, Weston High School.

Hawaii: Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, Hilo High School, Wallace Rider Farrington High School.

Michigan: Bay City Central High School, Forest Hills Eastern High School, Sparta High School.

Nebraska: Papillion-La Vista South High School.

New Mexico: Vista Middle School, Cleveland High School.

Northern California: Freedom High School, Pittsburg High School.

Oklahoma: Catoosa High School, Mustang High School, Yukon High School.

Oregon: Bend High School, Forest Grove High School, Sutherlin High School, West Linn High School.

Pennsylvania: Souderton Area High School.

Rhode Island: Central Falls High School, North Smithfield High School.

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

Vermont: Bellows Free Academy.