We celebrate all the cultures and differences represented in our community, and we’re consistently working to cultivate an environment that emphasizes diversity, inclusion, representation, and belonging for all. Our district is proud to announce that Perry Meridian High School (PMHS) is among 14 Indiana schools to receive the Special Olympics North America National Banner recognition.
The distinguished schools are being honored for their efforts to engage students, with and without intellectual disabilities, in inclusive activities during the 2018-19 school year. They participated in Special Olympics Indiana’s Unified Champion Schools and Champions Together programs and met national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy, and respect. At PMHS, students join forces to compete in Unified Track.
The Unified Champion Schools program was designed to empower students to become change agents by encouraging special education and general education students to work together—along with educators and administrators—to promote social inclusion through a variety of year-round activities.
Through an innovative partnership with the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) known as Champions Together, Indiana has become a global leader in the implementation of Unified Champion Schools programming.
This partnership has led to the establishment of Unified Track and Field and Unified Flag Football as officially sanctioned IHSAA sports, along with the development of state championships in Unified Bocce and Unified Bowling. The partnership has also helped to provide new opportunities for students of all abilities to “play unified” and to learn from each other while representing their schools in competition.
The Unified Champion Schools model is supported by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. This model has been proven, through research by the Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston, to be an effective approach to providing students with and without disabilities the opportunity to form positive social relationships and promote a socially inclusive school climate.
More than 650 schools are currently participating in the Unified Champion Schools program. Special Olympics has a global goal of creating 10,000 Unified Champion Schools by 2020.