Schools Partnership Program

At Special Olympics Northern California, we want to instill in all students the confidence to succeed in life. We've made sports training and competition a part of the regular school day.


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Schools Partnership Program receives endorsement from State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson.


“As a teacher and former coach, I am excited by the progress the Special Olympics Schools Partnership Program is making to bring Unified Sports to more and more of our schools, Unified Sports helps general education and special education students feel involved and valued in their school community by teaching key values like acceptance and respect in a healthy and active way.”


The Schools Partnership Program is a unique education program in K-12 public schools. This program is about more than sports, it is a valuable education program that unifies disabled and non-disabled students, via Whole School Involvement, bringing acceptance and respect to their campuses.



See the Schools in Action on out unified schools blog!


Currently our Schools Partnership Program includes:

6,500 special education student-athletes

200 + Schools

19,000 general education peers supporting their fellow students

24 weeks of sports training & competition

Special Olympics Northern California provides a grant to the public school district or county to offset the cost of the program. The Schools Partnership Program is completely free to all participants. Equipment, uniforms, training guides and curriculum — we provide it all!  Learn more about our current school partnerships.


The word "retarded" hurts.  Find out how you can help stamp out the "R" word.


Read about our Schools Partnership Track Teachers of the Season!


Lori Brady – Bristow Middle School – Contra Costa County Office of Education

Stephanie Columbo – Terra Nova High School – San Mateo County Office of Education

Agnes Leong – Peadbody Elementary School – San Francisco Unified School District


Learn more about our individual Schools Partnership Programs:

Contra Costa County Schools Partnership Program.

Fresno County Schools Partnership Program. 

Mission Valley - Schools Partnership Program 

Monterey Schools Partnership Program

San Francisco County Schools Partnership Program

San Mateo County Schools Partnership Program

Santa Rosa Schools Partnership Program new pilot program

Tri-Valley Schools Partnership Program.


The program takes place during the school day with training and fitness integrated into the classroom.  Student athletes train and compete in 3 seasonal sports; soccer, basketball and track & field. For many, this is their first opportunity to compete, be part of a team or to be cheered on by the family and friends. 


Watch a video of our schools program in action!


But it is not only the special education student-athletes who benefit from the School Partnership Program.  The lives of the non-disabled students are also impacted. Through their interaction with the student-athletes, the non-disabled students learn  respect and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities and to dispel negative attitudes and stereotypes. There is no question that the life lessons gained for both the special education student-athletes and the non-disabled students goes far beyond the playing field of sports and are ones that are ingrained in them for the rest of their lives.  


If you would like to support to our Schools Partnership Program, please see the Support our Schools page. We can’t provide our valuable programs without you


In addition to the Schools Partnership program, Special Olympics Northern California has several school based programs who have a rich history of hosting Special Olympics sports training and competitions.  Every year these program provide amazing competition opportunities, serving hundreds of athletes in their local communities.  These programs have a positive impact on the entire student population and they are entirely voluntary!


Special Olympics Young Athlete Program

Another component of the Schools Partnership Program is the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program.  This program is geared for children between the ages of 2 and 7 as a means to introduce them to the world of sport.  Learn more.


View some Young Athlete Program photos.


View the Young Athletes Program Activity Guide


Find a Schools Partnership Program Near You

Want to participate or find out more? Select a county to visit the county page and get more details on school programs in your area.


If your county is not listed, contact our School Programs Director and Vice President of Youth Services to find out more about future opportunities in your area:


Cathy Domanski-DeVries
Vice President, Youth Services
925-944-0594 ext. 220