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All Salem-Keizer comprehensive high schools designated as Unified Champion Schools

Special Olympics Oregon, Salem-Keizer High Schools: Unified Champion Schools

McKay, McNary, North Salem, South Salem, Sprague, and West Salem high schools have officially earned recognition from the Special Olympics for their work in creating inclusive and unified school environments.

With all students gathered together in the school gym, thousands of students from each Salem-Keizer comprehensive high school (McKay, McNary, North Salem, South Salem, Sprague, and West Salem) were recognized as unified champion schools by the Special Olympic Oregon. These recognitions come as each school demonstrated their commitment, practice and dedication to creating inclusive and welcoming environments for all students. 

So what does it mean to be a Unified Champion School? 

Unified Champion Schools is a movement that aims to change school communities through the power of inclusion, acceptance, and determination. Unified programs pair students with disabilities with peer partners to provide access to sports, leadership and classroom content. In Salem-Keizer Public Schools, this means classes such as choir, theater, physical education and culinary arts.

Programming includes three key aspects: 

  • Unified sports such as basketball, soccer, kickball, rock climbing and more. 
  • Inclusive youth leadership.
  • Whole school engagement. 

Salem-Keizer Public Schools – Committed to bringing unified districtwide

In Salem-Keizer Public Schools, Unified programs are currently active at eight of the district’s 11 middle schools, all comprehensive high schools, and has begun rolling out at the elementary level. Auburn Elementary was recently named as the FIRST elementary school in the state to earn state-level certification.

“The experience of school is about so much more than receiving an education,” said Student Services Instructional Mentor Amanda Burke.

“Whether students are in first grade or about to graduate from high school, Unified helps students build lifelong relationships and develop important skills to be successful, inclusive and welcoming adults.”

With the accomplishment of each high school now earning state-level recognition for unified programming, Salem-Keizer is the first of large districts in the state to have all comprehensive high schools earn banner status. 

Congratulations, Salem-Keizer students! 

Interested in learning more about unified? Reach out to your child’s school to learn more. 

Salem-Keizer Unified Champion Schools - YouTube