Seattle, WA

Seattle Schools Embrace Special Olympics Programming for a More Inclusive Future

Ted Rivers

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Special Olympics Washington have formed a partnership to introduce the Unified Champion Schools program to students throughout the district.

The program aims to promote meaningful social inclusion by connecting students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in various activities.

The Unified Champion Schools program consists of three interconnected components: Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership, and Whole School Engagement.

Unified Sports encourages friendship and understanding by putting students with and without IDD on the same sports teams. Inclusive Youth Leadership provides leadership opportunities for all students, empowering them to become agents of change in their communities.

Lastly, Whole School Engagement activities raise awareness and create an educational environment where respect, equity, and acceptance are the norm.

Currently, nine Seattle Public Schools have adopted some or all of the Unified Champion Schools components. Over the next 3-5 years, the goal is to expand the program to all 104 schools in the district. The collaboration aligns with SPS's mission to create positive and inclusive environments for all students, as stated by Dr. Concie Pedroza, Associate Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools.

"At Seattle Public Schools, our goal is to ensure that every child, no matter their ability, can achieve to their highest level. Key to this is creating positive and inclusive environments for all students in our schools. Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programming aligns perfectly with that mission." - Dr. Concie Pedroza

David Wu, President and CEO of Special Olympics Washington, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, highlighting its role in the organization's Beyond Gold campaign, which seeks to expand Unified Champion Schools programming to urban schools. The collaboration with SPS is considered a significant step toward building a more inclusive future for Washington.

Your Thoughts

The partnership between Seattle Public Schools and Special Olympics Washington is an inspiring development in the pursuit of social inclusion and equity in education.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this collaboration and its potential impact on Seattle's students.

Share your opinions and ideas in the comments below!


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