Special Olympics Washington and Seattle Public Schools Team Up to Bring Unified … – Press Release


Media Invited to See Unified Programming in Action on Saturday Morning, April 22 at Unified Soccer League Play at Ingraham High School

SEATTLE, April 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Special Olympics Washington, one of the leading advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in Washington, announced today a partnership with Seattle Public Schools that will bring its Unified Champion Schools programming to students throughout the district. With more than 50,000 students across 104 schools, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is the largest K-12 school system in Washington State.

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities to create accepting school climates. This is accomplished through three interconnected components that promote respect, equity, and acceptance:

  • Unified Sports which join students with and without IDD on the same sports team to encourage friendship and understanding.
  • Inclusive Youth Leadership in which students of all abilities are given opportunities to be leaders in their schools and in turn, agents of change in their communities.
  • Whole School Engagement activities that involve all students, teachers, staff, and administrators. School-wide opportunities focused on social inclusion raise awareness and create an educational environment where respect and acceptance are the norm and all students feel included and engaged.

Currently, nine SPS schools have implemented some to all three components of Unified Champion Schools programming. Over the next 3-5 years, SPS’s goal is to activate programming in all 104 schools in the district.

“At Seattle Public Schools, our goal is to ensure that every child, no matter their ability, can achieve to their highest level,” said Dr. Concie Pedroza, Associate Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “Key to this is creating positive and inclusive environments for all…