There are so many ways to implement the three Unified Champion School components in your school!

Unified Sports, Physical Education and Fitness

  • Learn. Practice. Play. UNIFIED. – Employ the SONJ Resource Guide, Professional Development training and equipment to create meaningful inclusive PE experiences for all students.
  • Unified PE Elective Course – Unified PE is a for-credit opportunity for students of varying ability levels to learn together, through fitness, sports, leadership and wellness activities. It is a meaningful alternative to recruiting student volunteers to help in an adaptive PE class, or to incorporate students with disabilities into regular PE classes, where they are confronted with large class sizes and a challenging learning environment.
  • Interscholastic Club/Unified Cup and other competitions: basketball, bowling, soccer, bocce or school selected.
  • NJSIAA-SONJ Interscholastic Unified Sports – School teams participate in conference events; bowling and track (including 4×100 relay competitions).
  • Unified Sports Club Intramurals – 3 on 3 tournaments after school, intra-district games and tournaments.
  • Unified Sports Rec Program – Invite kids throughout the community to come out and play at night or weekends.
  • Unified Game Day – Bring teams together to host Unified sports days. (This is done at the elementary level or in addition to other Unified sports options at the middle and high school level).

Inclusive Youth Leadership

  • Unified Club – Establish a new club or merge with an existing club. Collaborate with other clubs and student organizations to increase inclusive offerings. The club is a social inclusive club, not just a sports club.
  • Lunch-mates – Create opportunities for students with and without disabilities to share lunch. Try Shake it Up Friday where everyone sits with someone they have not met before.
  • Peer Partners/Pals – Create opportunities for students without disabilities to be partners in other elective classes and clubs.
  • Trainings – Hold meetings for students who run other clubs on how to be more inclusive.
  • Events and Fundraisers – Get the whole school involved in the Polar Plunge or a fundraiser or unified activity during lunch or on a test day. Set a goal of how many students you’d like to get involved and how much money you need to raise – involve the PTA and community.
  • Faculty or school board meetings – Present on inclusive leadership and ways you think you can help make your school more socially inclusive.

Whole School Engagement

  • Disability Awareness Week or Disability Awareness Fair – Create a theme for your school with a different activity each day.
  • Assemblies – Invite a speaker, SONJ athlete, athlete and partner from your school.
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver Awareness DayHonor the founder and mission of the Special Olympics movement. March is also Women’s History Month!
  • Pep Rallies – Celebrate ability awareness or your unified athletes along with other athletes in the school.
  • Spread the Word to End the Word Day – Conduct this day as a culminating event.
  • Change the environment – Poster contest, word walls, temporary murals, and poetry contests. Be creative!

Not sure about an idea your school may have or need some more ideas? Contact Susan Colacello at scc@sonj.org.