The Schools Partnership Program is about getting the entire school involved in Special Olympics.  Whole-School Involvement is a youth-centered, school-focused initiative that uses the Special Olympics sports and education program to activate all students, engage educators, involve the entire school, and promote a campus culture of acceptance and social inclusion where all young people are agents of change.

There are a variety of ways to engage a school in promoting acceptance and respect. 

Unified Sports

Athletes and peer partners compete alongside one another, each in a meaningful and integral role on a sports team.  General Education students can also serve as peer partners with special education students during P.E. or help with classroom practices.

Spread the Word to End the Word

The word "Retard" is hurtful and should never be used under any circumstances.  Students can foster acceptance and understanding and pledge to ban the use of the "r-word" in their school. There are a variety of lessons and activities to help educate students on not using the r-word.

Fans in the Stands

Students can do a variety of fun things – create posters of support and encouragement to display at the competition site,“adopt” a class of students who are competing and cheer them on as they compete, or create note cards of support to give to competing athletes.

Polar Plunge

Students create a team for the annual Polar Plunge – where participants run or jump into a winter-chilled body of water.  The funds they help raise support the 19,940 Special Olympics athletes who participate year round for free.  Students can even earn money for their school.

Championship Schools

Schools that participate in a minimum of three activities will receive a banner to proudly display at their school.  For more information, please contact Heather Jones at


Find Whole School Involvement resources and tools to get your school involved
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Respect Campaign

Help get rid of the use of the derogatory R-word.  Find out what it means and how you can help!
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Student Testimonial

Being involved in Special Olympics events is extremely rewarding and fun. It’s great to be able to see the student-athletes having fun and doing something that makes them happy while also helping them learn new sports and activities.


Los Cerros middle school student