Unified Champion School


Beebe, AR; September 21, 2023 – Special Olympics Arkansas has announced that Beebe High School, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School®, is receiving national banner recognition for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without intellectual disabilities. Beebe High School is receiving this distinguished status as a result of meeting 10 national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy, and respect. 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. National banner schools should also demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.

“We are so proud of Beebe High School for being recognized as a UCS 2023 national banner school. Through their commitment to Unified Champions Schools, they are ensuring their students understand the importance of inclusion and acceptance. This will continue to positively impact communities for a lifetime,” Terri Weir, CEO Special Olympics Arkansas.

A special banner presentation will take place on Friday, November 3rd, 2023 inside Badger Sports Arena at 8:45am to Mr. Anthony Ponder and all of the Beebe High School Unified Special Olympics Team.

Unified Champion Schools is a strategy for schools Pre-K through university that intentionally promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school environments, utilizing three interconnected components: Unified Sports, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement. As many as 19.5 million young people are taking part in inclusive experiences through Special Olympics.

More than 70 schools are currently participating in Unified Champion Schools programming in Arkansas, as part of 8,300 schools across the country engaged in the program. Unified Champion Schools aims to expand to 10,000 schools by the end of the 2023-2024 school year.

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.

Special Olympics Arkansas is an organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sport, everyday around the state. Through programming in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics Arkansas is changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, solving the global injustice, isolation, intolerance and inactivity they face. Special Olympics Arkansas is providing opportunities for more than 19,500 athletes and 16,000 volunteers in all counties across the State of Arkansas.