Special Olympics logo.

Unified Champion Schools®
Play Unified. Live Unified.

Unified Champion Schools (UCS) brings students with and without intellectual disabilities together through education and sports-related initiatives. This unified generation will lead the charge to reimagine and create communities in which all people are included and accepted. UCS is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through planned and implemented activities affecting system-wide change that provides a quick path to friendship and understanding.

Who can become a Unified Champion School?

Any school has the potential to become a Unified Champion School! Regardless of grade level or student community, if you are interested in joining the Unified Movement, you can make it happen.

What makes a Unified Champion School?

1. Inclusive Sports & Fitness

A. Provides students opportunities to participate in sports activities alongside one another, which is the most conductive way for breaking down stereotypes – Unified Sports, unified physical education, intramurals, and inclusive Young Athletes.

B. Interested in getting sports and fitness started? Fill out the form here.

2. Leadership & Advocacy

A. Provides students opportunities to take on leadership roles in promoting UCS activities in the school and the community – Unified Club, Unified Student Council, and Young Athletes.

3. Whole School Engagement

A. Provides opportunities for all students in the school to participate in UCS through school-wide activities – Spread the World Inclusion Campaign, Fans in the Stands, Kindness pledges, and Polar Plunges. Find next year’s Polar Plunge here!

South Dakota Banner Schools

Special Olympics Unified Champion School® demonstrating commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 standards of excellence receives national banner recognition.

A 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. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.

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. Banner Unified Champion Schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.

The expectation of this recognition is that the 10 standards are continuously being met, year after year. To ensure this sustainability, schools reapply for banner status every 4 years.

  • Clark School District
  • Hamlin High School
  • Spearfish High School
  • Spearfish Middle School
  • Roosevelt High School
  • Castlewood School District
  • University of South Dakota

Where We Are

South Dakota Unified Champion Schools

  • Aberdeen Central High School
  • Augustana University
  • Belle Fourche High School
  • Ben Reifel Middle School
  • Brandon Valley Intermediate School
  • Brandon Valley Middle School
  • Brandon Valley High School
  • Bridgewater-Emery High School
  • Brookings High School
  • Camelot Intermediate School
  • Canistota Elementary School
  • Canistota Middle School
  • Canistota High School
  • Castlewood Elementary School
  • Castlewood Middle School
  • Castlewood High School
  • CC Lee Elementary School
  • Clark Elementary School
  • Clark Middle School
  • Clark High School
  • Dakota Prairie Elementary School
  • Dakota State University
  • Elk Point-Jefferson Elementary School
  • Elk Point-Jefferson Middle School
  • Elk-Point Jefferson High School
  • Estelline Middle School
  • Estelline High School
  • Garfield Elementary School
  • Garretson Middle School
  • Georgia Morse Middle School
  • Groton Area High School
  • Hamlin Elementary School
  • Hamlin Middle School
  • Hamlin High School
  • Harrisburg High School
  • Hawthorne Elementary School
  • Hillcrest Elementary School
  • Hot Springs Elementary School
  • Hot Springs Middle School
  • Hot Springs High School
  • Huron Middle School
  • Jefferson High School
  • Kennedy Elementary School
  • Lake Preston Preschool
  • Lake Preston Elementary School
  • Lake Preston Middle School
  • Lake Preston High School
  • Legacy Elementary School
  • Lennox Middle School
  • Lennox High School
  • Lincoln High School
  • May Overby Elementary School
  • Mickelson Middle School
  • McCook Central High School
  • Medary Elementary School
  • Milbank High School
  • Todd County High School (Mission, SD)
  • Mitchell High School
  • Northern State University
  • Platte-Geddes Elementary School
  • Platte-Geddes Middle School
  • Platte-Geddes High School
  • Rapid City Central
  • Redfield High School
  • Roosevelt High School
  • Sharon F. Delzer Elementary School
  • Simmons Elementary School
  • Simmons Middle School
  • Sisseton High School
  • South Dakota State University
  • Spearfish Middle School
  • Spearfish High School
  • STEP Academy – Harrisburg
  • Sturgis Brown High School
  • Susan B. Anthony Elementary School
  • Tiospa Zina Tribal School
  • University of South Dakota
  • Washington High School
  • Waverly-South Shore Elementary
  • Waverly-South Shore Middle School
  • Waverly-South Shore High School
  • West Middle School

Contact Us

Turner Gaines, Director of Unified Champion City Schools