Special Olympics Tennessee has recognized the Cheatham County School District (CCSD) as the first in the state to fully implement the Unified Champion Schools program in all of their schools and be designated as a Unified Champion District, the district announced at their Sept. 7 School Board meeting.
The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change, CCSD said.
With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom, and school climates of acceptance.
These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of all activities, opportunities, and functions.
“We are honored to be named Tennessee’s first Unified Champion District by the Special Olympics. Achieving this designation was included in our most recent five-year strategic plan, and all of our schools have been working diligently toward this goal,” said Cheatham County Director of Schools Dr. Cathy Beck.
Over the past few years, every school has implemented all three components of the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program and created climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of all activities, CCSD explained.
The schools spent Friday, Sept. 8 celebrating their new designation.
Harpeth Middle School and Harpeth High School celebrated this achievement with assemblies – complete with music, games, and other fun activities, CCSD wrote on Facebook.
“This designation speaks to who we are and what we do in the Cheatham County School District – we include everyone and embrace differences. I am proud of our staff, administrators, students, and Special Olympics partners for embracing our inclusion work,” Beck said.
She continued, “I am very thankful that their commitment and hard work have been recognized by the Special Olympics organization, and I hope this designation will inspire future generations to continue this legacy of excellence.”