Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is an education and sports based strategy powered by an engaged youth community that increases athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities, while creating communities of acceptance for all
Unified Champion Schools uses sports to develop school communities where youth are agents of change - fostering respect, dignity, and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities.
Through the opportunities below, we are collaborating with school systems across Maine to meet individual schools’ strategic goals. Together, we can create more inclusive attitudes, develop physical fitness, promote community service, and build character in young people.
Unified Sports®— students compete on teams comprised of approximately equal numbers of students with and without intellectual disabilities.
Youth Leadership & Advocacy— an inclusive student-led leadership team, known as a Unified Youth Council, organizes and promotes Unified Schools events to spark awareness and showcase new friendships. Organizing events could include “R-word” campaign and promoting Unified Sports involvement.
Whole School Engagement – when an entire school accepts and includes students and others with intellectual disabilities, it is a powerful community of change. Events could include an “R-Word” campaign, activating the Get Into It® curriculum or Fans in the Stands.
Unified Sports® - Unified Sports partners students with intellectual disabilities with students without intellectual disabilities to train, compete and represent your school in team sports. Special education teachers have reported the program to be extremely effective at impacting youth, promoting physical activity and inspiring leadership. One teacher reported: “I’ve seen more interaction on the field today between classmates than I’ve seen in my classroom all year.” There are three ways to participate in unified sports:
Special Olympics Maine will host, local & state level, 1 day competitions/tournaments throughout the year in the following sports: Athletics, Aquatics, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling (10 pin & Candlepin), Golf & Soccer. Check out our state and local events calendar on our website, www.somaine.org, for more information.
The Maine Principals' Association and SOMaine created a partnership to offer Unified Sports opportunities for High School students to participate in.
- Unified Basketball - the MPA will offer a 3rd annual Unified Basketball Season as a school sanctioned sport starting in January 2017 for High School teams. Please complete the MPA "Intent to Participate" if your school plans on being involved in the 3rd MPA Unified Basketball season by clinking the link below.
- Click here to complete "Intent to Participate" in 2017 MPA Unified Basketball Season
- 2016-17 MPA Unified Basketball Bulletin
- Check out these two great links highlighting the MPA Unified Basketball season:
- Unifed Track & Field - the MPA will offer the 1st annual Unified Track & Field Season as a school sanctioned sport starting in April 2017 for High School teams. Four events will be offered (100m, 4x100m, Shot Put & Long Jump). Please complete the MPA "Intent to Participate" if your school plans on being involved in the 1st MPA Unified Track & Field season by clinking the link below.
In-School participation through Unified PE classes or Recreational Unified Sport opportunities during or after school. Click here to view the Unified Champion Schools Physical Education Resource guide
Check out the "Students Guide to Starting a Unified Sports Program in your School" to help establish a Unified Sports program in your school.
- Spread the Word to End the Word - Too often, people say “retard” or “retarded” without thinking about its effects - even if it’s not meant in a cruel way. The Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, created by youth, invites schools, organizations and communities to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities. Visit r-word.org for information about how to launch a Spread the Word to End the Word campaign in your school or to sign the pledge to eliminate the R-word. Appropriate for: elementary, middle, high schools. Review the R-word Tool Kit to help with campaign ideas.
- Get Into It Curriculum - Promote respect in your class room with the Get Into It curriculum. Take Special Olympics from the playing fields into your classroom by energizing young people to become advocates for persons with intellectual disabilities. Online age-appropriate resources, including lessons, activities, videos, athlete stories and supplemental materials, are available for grades K-12. Visit the Get Into It website for more details. Appropriate for: elementary, middle, high schools
School Plunge - “The Big Chill”
Special Olympics Maine is hosting its first annual School Plunge on Sunday April 9th, 2017 at Snow Pond Center for the Arts in Sidney. This plunge is designed for student participation, although all are welcome to take the plunge in the chilly waters of Snow Pond. All funds raised will benefit Special Olympics Maine’s Unified Champion Schools programs with 30% of a school’s total money raised going directly back to the school to help fund current and future Unified Schools’ initiatives. Come join the fun and “Chill” while supporting a great cause! Participants are required to raise a MINIMUM of $75.00 and will receive the official commemorative School Plunge t-shirt. Additional incentives and prizes are available based on additional monies raised. For more information click here.
Unified Schools Funding
- Unified Sports
- Unified Youth Leadership
- Whole School Awareness
- 1st and 2nd year schools - max funding $2,500.00 per school
- 1st and 2nd year schools - max funding $1,000.00 per school
Interested in learning more about how to start a Unified Champion Schools program in your school?
- Ian Frank
- Unified Champion Schools, Training & Camp Tall Pines Director
- Office: (207) 879-0489 x 14
- Fax: 1 (888) 490-0672
- Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools: http://www.specialolympics.org/unified-champion-schools/
- Special Olympics Maine: somaine.org
- Unified Champion Schools High School Playbook
- Unfiied Sports Student Guide
- Unified Champion Schools Youth Leadership Guide
- Unified Champion Schools Phyical Eductation Resource
- Spread the Word to End the Word: r-word.org
- SO Get Into It: https://getintoit.specialolympics.org/
- SO College: www.specialolympics.org/SO_College.aspx
- Maine Principals' Association: www.mpa.cc
- SOME Unified Champion Schools Funding Application 2016-17
- SOME Maine Unified Champion Schools Youth Council Application 2016-17
- Unified Schools Maine Resource Guide
- SOMaine Unified Partner Registration