Meadow Brook Elementary School is one of five Michigan schools, and the only elementary school in the state, to be named a National Banner Unified Champion School for 2020. Only 155 schools across the nation receive this recognition. According to a Special Olympics press release, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School brings together students with and without intellectual disabilities through education, sports, and youth leadership. Schools exhibit a commitment to an inclusive school climate that promotes a sense of collaboration, engagement, and respect for all members of the student body and staff. Standards for determining a National Banner Unified Champion School are based upon the three overarching components that include Special Olympics Unified Sports where students with and without intellectual disabilities practice and compete together, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole-School Engagements. National Banner Unified Champion Schools should also be able to demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities in the future.
More than 350 Michigan schools currently take part in the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program with only a select few honored as National Banner schools. For more information, visit, www.somi.org/schools.