For Teachers

Getting Started

The Unified Champion Schools strategy can benefit any school environment. Adding just 1 Unified Component has shown to improve club and school environments for all. We highly recommend striving to utilize all 3 components within your school. When Unified Sports, Youth Leadership, and Whole Engagement are all brought into a school, a truly Unified culture is created. We ask every school to complete a Commitment Letter each year. In this letter, schools have the opportunity to identify what they will be striving to accomplish this year within each component. We then are able to communicate and provide resources to assist schools in achieving their goals.

Interested in getting started? Fill out the Commitment Letter Today!

Unified Sports:

With Special Olympics Illinois, we offer a wide variety of sport options. We also have a very strong partnership with the Illinois High School Association and the Illinois Elementary School Association, where we are striving to provide more Unified Sport opportunities within schools across the state. Across the state, there is a Unified Sport opportunity for everyone! Interested in a sport or opportunity you don’t see below? Contact us at!

Opportunities off the field:

Opportunities with IHSA:

Opportunities with Unified Champion Schools:

Opportunities with Special Olympics Illinois Regions:

Looking to get a team started? You can find all the information you need here!

Inclusive Youth Leadership:

YAC and Summit Information:

Special Olympics believes that through sports young people can make a difference in friendships, schools and communities. Unified Champion Schools is youth driven, with a Youth Activation Committee (YAC) made up of young people representing middle schools, high schools and colleges statewide. Members of the committee will work together over the course of the year to develop strategies promoting school communities where all young people are agents of change. During their time on the committee, YAC members will provide leadership to Special Olympics Illinois and Unified Champion Schools by participating in Special Olympics events, providing advice and counsel on strategies to reach other youths, engaging in and promoting Special Olympics activities in their home environments, communicating and networking via Web connectivity with other youth around the country, and reviewing UCS materials for innovation and viability. Would you like to be a member of this committee?

Special Olympics Illinois offers an annual Youth Activation Summit hosted by our Youth Activation Committee. This Summit is open to any schools across Illinois with a Commitment Letter on file with us. Each school is invited to bring 3 Unified Pairs for this Weekend Summit! This year’s summit will take place November 12 and 13.

Planning on bringing students to the Youth Activation Summit or another youth leadership event with Special Olympics Illinois? Please be sure that all students attending have a permission slip and all teachers attending have a Class A on file with us.

You can find the Permission Slips here:

You can find more information on Class A’s here!

Youth Leadership Certifications:

The IHSA SOILL Youth Leadership Certification is an opportunity for your students to enhance their leadership skills while learning how to further unify your school. Encourage your leaders to find their voice and get inspired with this 10 course, 8 month self-driven opportunity!

Registration opens in October! Be on the lookout for more information this September!

The Special Olympics Illinois Middle School Youth Leadership Certification is a 5 course leadership opportunity, led by teachers. The courses build on each other to maximize learning and comprehension. Each course includes a video lesson, a quiz, and an activity. Teachers are provided with a file containing everything they need to present the courses to their students either virtually or in person.

More information for this opportunity will be out in October! Keep an eye out and check back here for updates!

Whole School Engagement:

National Inclusive Schools Week:

National Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event held during the first full week of December. This year, NISW will be celebrated December 6 through December 10. As resources become available, we will notify you and update this website!

Be on the lookout in October for more information!

Respect Week:

Special Olympics Illinois Respect Week is held each year during the first week in March. In 2022, Respect Week will be held February 28 – March 4 statewide. Schools are invited to celebrate whenever fits their school schedule best!

One of the best parts about hosting a Respect Campaign of any kind, including a Respect Week, is that it can be adapted to any school environment, schedule, and culture.

We announce our Respect Theme each year at the end of October. Each school in Illinois that has an up to date Commitment Letter on file with us will receive a $200 Coupon Code to utilize on our Respect Store. Once that store opens, we will be sharing the link and coupon code with each school liaison. We will also be sharing all of our engagement opportunities that will take place during Respect week on this website and with teachers in November.

Work with your school to plan your Respect Campaign events today! Questions on how to get started or about what other schools have done? Contact us at for help!

Change for Champions:

Change for Champions is a joint Special Olympics and school program to increase funds for both Special Olympics Illinois and your school program or club! Your school can run Change for Champions at any time of the year. Money raise should be split 70-30 meaning 70% goes as a donation from your school to Special Olympics Illinois and 30% stays with your school program or club!

Interested in hosting Change for Champions at your school? Contact us at today!

Outreach Opportunities:

To further support your school’s Unified School programming efforts, Special Olympics Illinois will provide a limited number of Outreach Opportunities for students and staff to activate innovative projects that involve Special Olympics Unified Schools® at their school.  For 2022  we have allocated over $60,000 worth of funding to be distributed directly to schools. These projects can include, but are not limited to: Unified Sports, events that promote respect, R-word activities, Get Into It activities, transportation to and from a statewide Unified event, or other creative projects.  Projects must be pre-approved by Special Olympics Illinois.

The application process for Outreach Opportunities is changing this year! Applications are due for review by the 30th of each month. Special Olympics Illinois will review all applications by the 5th of each month with notifications going out to applicants by the 10th of each month. Explanation for financial distribution will be communicated to each applicant upon approval. Schools are allowed to apply for multiple Outreach Opportunities a YEAR!  Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to benefit Unified Programming in your school!

Apply for your Outreach Opportunity Here!

If you have questions on Outreach Opportunities please email


Playbook Links:

Forms & Tools: