The 2020-2021 school has been very different and has seen many changes. One thing that remains the same is the focus our UCSs have on connection and inclusion, no matter the distance. Read some stories about what some of our UCS programs have been doing and how this program has changed their school environment.
DC Everest Unified Pals is a club where students of all abilities and disabilities can come together to socialize, do activities and have fun. Although COVID kept them from meeting in person this year, the club worked on creating activity buckets with the help of Special Olympics funds and local community grants. Thanks to this, 40 activity buckets were created for special education students.
In August 2020, Special Olympics North America announced that Neenah High School was selected as a National Banner Unified Champion School. Unified Champion Schools has given Neenah High School the tools to improve a culture of inclusion. At Neenah High School, a group called Reach for the Stars was implemented to provide opportunities for students to meet and be social–“the best part of the group is that it naturally creates friendships that last.” Additionally, Neenah High School offers Unified Sports–track, bowling and basketball. Unified Sports provides another great way to build friendship and compete against other schools. These are just a couple of examples of how UCS funding has allowed NHS to continue to promotion inclusion in their school!
What started as a club with just one member, has grown to 20 members over a short period of time at Oostburg Elementary School! This group of young students came up with the club name R.A.D.D. – Respect, Acceptance, Dignity and Demonstrate inclusion. Pre-COVID, each week the group did an activity that highlighted the club’s philosophy, Respect, Acceptance, Demonstrate inclusion through actions, and Dignity first. In the past, the club has hosted a spirit week leading up to Spread the Word Inclusion. During this week, students sign a banner that goes to Summer State Games with two of their members that compete in Track & Field.
At Indian Mound Middle School, ALLiance of ALLies (AoA), is a group dedicated to supporting and fostering social inclusion while bringing students together. The AoA group has most recently participated in the Virtual Run Series & Polar Plunge. While school has not been in session, the group meets weekly through Zoom to do various activities–scavenger hunts, crafts, sending Valentines to classmates and getting to know you breakout rooms!
“The Unity Team” has been going strong at Milton Middle School for eight years now–each year, the club is made up of about 100 members of both staff and students. This year has been very unique for our team. Due to COVID restrictions, there are many events that the club hasn’t been able to do, so they have been finding creative ways to spread kindness and spend time together in a safe manner. In a typical year, the club loves to host movie nights, field trips and community projects. Not to mention their most favorite event–the year-end Unified Track Meet!
NSMS Buddies was created in 2007 for 6th through 8th graders both with and without special needs to get together and make new friendships. In a typical year, the group meets once or twice a month to play games, make posters for Spread the Word and doing special activations within their community.