Special Olympics Virginia has announced that Goochland High School, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School, will receive national banner recognition for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities.

Goochland High School is receiving this recognition because the school meets national standards of excellence in inclusion, advocacy, and respect. It is among a select number of schools to receive this distinction.

"Earning the designation of a Special Olympics Unified Champion National Banner School symbolizes our commitment to ensuring inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities both on the field – through practices and games – and off the field – through student leadership and whole-school engagement,” Jennifer Waggener, Executive Director of Exceptional Education, said. 

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools initiative intentionally promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school environments, utilizing three interconnected components: Special Olympics Unified Sports®, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement.

A Special Olympics Unified Champion School has an inclusive school climate and exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement, and respect for all members of the student body and staff. A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.

“I am so thankful for the staff, administrators, students, and our Special Olympics Virginia partners who have worked tirelessly to expand our Unified Sports programming and continue to advocate for increasing inclusive opportunities for all students," Waggener said.