Unified Champion Schools®

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® bring together students with and without intellectual disabilities through education, sports and youth leadership to provide them with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote acceptance and respect.

a young boy in a blue shirt








Special Olympics Iowa partners with pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges to implement or continue three main components of the Unified Champion Schools model.diagram

a drawing of a handUnified Sports®Allows students with and without intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate in sporting activities alongside one another

                      Inclusive Youth Leadership: Allows students with and without intellectual disabilities an opportunity to take on leadership roles weaponwhich promote Unified activities in the school and community, while delivering the message behind these initiatives, which advocates for respectful and equitable treatment of all people

office buildingWhole-School Engagement: Allows opportunities for all students to participate in Unified School programming through sustained school-wide activities, which can include sports, education, leadership and advocacy initiatives

National School Recognition Program

A Unified Champion School® receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. Special Olympics Iowa is proud to have 10 schools in the state that achieved this national honor.

  • Central DeWitt Intermediate School
  • Central DeWitt Middle School
  • Davenport West High School
  • Goodrell Middle School
  • Harlan Community Elementary School
  • Spencer High School
  • Ankeny Centennial High School
  • Central DeWitt High School
  • University of Iowa
  • Theodore Roosevelt High School

What it Takes 

To achieve National Banner Recognition Status, you must incorporate and sustain 10 standards, which include: Special Olympics Unified Sports® (where students with and without disabilities train and compete as teammates), Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole School Engagement.

Elementary School Standards

Middle & High School Standards

College Standards

Interested in Becoming a Unified Champion School?

Learn More

Resources for Unified Champion Schools:


For more information about becoming a Unified Champion School®, contact:
Krista Smith, Director of Unified Programs