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Burr and Burton Academy to Receive National Recognition for Achievements with Inclusion

Special Olympics Vermont has announced that Burr and Burton Academy, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School®, is receiving national banner recognition for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without intellectual disabilities. Burr and Burton Academy is receiving this distinguished status as a result of meeting 10 national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy, and respect. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.


The primary activities within these standards include Special Olympics Unified Sports® where students with and without disabilities train and compete as teammates, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement. National banner schools should also demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan in place to sustain these activities into the future.


“Burr and Burton Academy takes pride in being one community with incredible diversity,” said Headmaster, Mark Tashjian. “Our Unified athletics program exemplifies how we utilize the diversity of this community as a strength, and we are proud to join with schools across the nation as a Special Olympics Banner School.”


Unified Champion Schools is a strategy for schools Pre-K through university that intentionally promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school environments, utilizing three interconnected components: Unified Sports, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement. As many as 19.5 million young people are taking part in inclusive experiences through Special Olympics.


“We are immensely proud of Burr and Burton Academy for achieving this well-deserved honor,” said Sarah McCaffrey, President and CEO of Special Olympics Vermont. “Thanks to the hard work of the entire school community, and dedication of school leadership, especially Assistant Athletic Director, Julie Crosier, Burr & Burton has become a clear leader in the Unified Champion Schools movement in Vermont. Their commitment to the core values of inclusion and respect makes their impact truly exceptional."


More than 60 schools are currently participating in Unified Champion Schools programming in Vermont, as part of 8,300 schools across the country engaged in the program. Unified Champion Schools aims to expand to 10,000 schools by the end of the 2023-2024 school year.


Unified Champion Schools model is supported by the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. This model has been proven, through research, to be an effective and replicable means to providing students with and without disabilities the opportunity to form positive social relationships and promote a socially inclusive school climate.


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About Burr and Burton Academy

Founded in 1829, Burr and Burton Academy is an independent high school that serves the public, accepting all students from 13 sending towns, as well as tuitioned students from numerous other towns in southern Vermont, and countries around the globe.

BBA’s mission is to offer an extraordinary range of academic, artistic, and athletic opportunities to all students within a caring and connected community.

For more information on Burr and Burton Academy, please visit burrburton.org.

About Special Olympics Vermont Special Olympics Vermont is part of a global movement that works year-round to foster the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities by using the power of sport to showcase their gifts and abilities. For more information, visit www.specialolympicsvermont.org.




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