Milwaukie High School to Receive National Recognition from Special Olympics for Achievements with Inclusion
Special Olympics Oregon has announced that Milwaukie High School, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School (UCS), is receiving National Banner recognition for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without intellectual disabilities. Milwaukie High School is receiving this honor as a result of meeting 10 national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy, and respect – developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.
An award presentation will take place at the school on Thursday February 16th during halftime of the Unified Basketball game between Milwaukie High School and Rex Putnam High School. The Unified Game starts at 4:15pm, followed by the Boys Varsity game at 5:45pm and then Girls Varsity at 7:15pm
Of the over 8,000 UCS schools in the US, Milwaukie High School will now be amongst 686 schools to receive National Banner distinction. Milwaukie High School will be presented with a banner to hang in their school and be included on a list of other schools around the country who have achieved this distinguished status.
“Without question, one of my favorite Special Olympics Oregon activities is attending a Unified Champion School Assembly. The energy in the school gymnasium is electrifying. When I get to witness a student- body embrace inclusion and be excited to see their peers with and without intellectual disabilities compete, I am reminded why I love my job so much. Authentic friendships that develop between students with and without intellectual disabilities through sport are friendships that last a lifetime. This generation of students is leading by making kindness cool, and it gives me great hope for what the future holds,” said Britt Oase, CEO of Special Olympics Oregon.
“As a school community that always emphasizes opportunity and inclusion for ALL students, I am so proud that MHS is being recognized as a National Banner Special Olympics Unified Champion
School. During unified events, it warms my heart to see the genuine excitement on the faces of not only our student athletes, but also their classmates and family members cheering them on in the stands. It’s also wonderful that we’re receiving our banner during halftime of a game against another NCSD school in Rex Putnam High. It’s great to know that together we’re allowing many more student athletes to shine on the court or on the field.” said Kim Kellogg, Principal of Milwaukie High School.
More than 125 schools are currently participating in Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programming in Oregon, as part of a global Special Olympics goal of creating 10,000 Unified Champion Schools by 2024.
The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools model is supported by the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. This model has been proven, through research, to be an effective and replicable means to providing students with and without disabilities the opportunity to form positive social relationships and promote a socially inclusive school climate*. Key data points include:
- 84% of students regard participation in the program as a turning point in their lives
- 72% of involved teachers believe participation in the program has increased the confidence ofstudents with disabilities
- 88% credit the program with reducing bullying and teasing in their schoolsA Special Olympics 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 commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence.The primary activities within these standards include: Special Olympics Unified Sports® (where students with and without disabilities train and compete as teammates), Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole- School Engagement. National banner schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self- sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.*Evaluation conducted by the Center for Social Development and Education (CSDE) at the University of Massachusetts Boston
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics Oregon serves more than 12,000 participants with intellectual disabilities year-round and state-wide through the organization’s life changing sports programs. Athletes gain self-confidence, social competency, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. Learn more at www.soor.org