Unified Champion Schools
- Inclusive Sports- provide students with and without intellectual disabilities opportunities to participate in sports activities alongside one another;
- Youth Leadership & Advocacy- provide students with and without intellectual disabilities opportunities to take on leadership roles to promote Unified Champion School activities in the school and community, while delivering the message behind these initiatives, which advocates for respectful and equitable treatment of all people; and
- Whole-School Engagement- provide opportunities for all students to participate in Unified School programming through sustained school-wide activities, which can include sports, education, leadership and advocacy initiatives.
ISSUES ADDRESSED; did you know…
Only 55% of high school students feel they are important to their school community while. In addition, 28% of students say were bullied at school within the last six months. The problem is much worse for students with disabilities as they face bullying at a rate 2-3 times that of their non-disabled peers and nearly 10% of students with intellectual disabilities are victimized at school on a weekly basis.
It is hard to identify a “step-by step” for Unified Strategies in schools because the programs and activities vary greatly from one school to the next. School Coordinating Teams can create plans that are customized to suit individual school’s needs, goals, demographics, schedule, etc. This is the beauty of Unified Champion Schools; we embrace diversity in the schools and students we engage!
It does, however, prevent any of us from having a simple, step-by-step process for a new school. It’s like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg! One school may find that starting a Unified Student Club first will be the perfect first step, whereas another decides to create Unified PE as the initial gateway to social inclusion. There isn’t one right answer and every plan can work if it takes into account a few important characteristics.
Despite the diverse and complex plans for unified programming across South Carolina, here are a few steps that can come in any order, to get your team headed in the right direction:
- Choose an opportunity for Unified Sports to develop in your school, where students with and without intellectual disabilities can engage in sports activities in an inclusive environment.
- Empower youth as leaders and advocates.
Youth Leadership & Advocacy
- Raise awareness throughout the whole school; show students, faculty and staff what Unified Sports is and why individuals with intellectual disabilities should be included and respected.
Whole School Engagement
- Create opportunities for students from special and general education to engage in social inclusion and inclusive leadership on a regular basis and as a sustainable part of the school structure.
Schools and Teachers, to order or design Unified Champion School products click here.