Julian Middle School was honored by Special Olympics on March 4 for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities.
Representatives from Special Olympics Illinois attended the school's annual Respect Week assembly, where they formally recognized Julian as a Special Olympics National Banner Unified Champion School. Julian is one of just four schools in Illinois and 131 schools nationwide to receive the distinction due to its success in meeting the national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy and respect.
The view the presentation, please watch the video below.
A Special Olympics National Banner Unified Champion School has an inclusive school climate and exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff. A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated a commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 standards of excellence that were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community. National banner schools must also demonstrate that they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.
Julian currently has Unified Sports teams for soccer, basketball, rhythmic gymnastics, track and golf. In addition, the school’s Unified Champion Sports Committee works in tandem with the Best Buddies program, which was named the 2018 Middle School Chapter of the Year by Best Buddies Illinois. This committee meets every two weeks to plan events and initiatives to improve Julian’s level of inclusion and respect, including a school-wide “Respect Week” that features an ability advocate guest speaker and a community basketball game with Special Olympics athletes and members of local law enforcement.
There are currently more than 6,000 schools across the country that participate in Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programming, including 400 in Illinois. Special Olympics has a global goal of creating 10,000 Unified Champion Schools by 2020.