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Unified Basketball spreads inclusion in Vermont schools

As we bring the Interscholastic Unified Basketball regular season to a close, and approach the Vermont Principals Association (VPA) Championship on May 23rd, it's time to celebrate the power of Unified Sports on and off the court. This season has been a beautiful example of how sports can bring us together! 

Throughout the season, we've seen incredible moments of teamwork, friendship, and joy. The spirit of Unified Sports has been exemplified this basketball season through the pride in wins and in spite of losses, camaraderie between teammates, sportsmanship between competitors, and enthusiasm of fellow students cheering from the stands. 

But Unified Sports is about more than just the game. It's about building a stronger, more inclusive school community.  In a recent article in The Commons, Tyler Boone, Unified Basketball Coach at Brattleboro High School, talked about how Unified Sports has a positive impact on the students' experience in their school community. 

"Kids are staying in school because of Unified," they said last year. "Kids are catching up with their work because of Unified. It's making a real difference in the school community and the school culture." [The Commons] 

Unified Sports is one of three pillars of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools ® which is a strategy that combines Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole School Engagement to equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance and inclusion. The activities and opportunities provided through the program help to reduce bullying and exclusion, promote healthy activity and interactions, combat stereotypes and stigma, eliminate hurtful language in schools and engage people in social activities that lead to personal growth. Vermont has over 60 schools that are Unified Champion Schools - 5 of which are recognized as National Banner Schools, meaning they have demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. We are proud to have so many Vermont schools choosing to create a school environment that is inclusive of all. 

As we look ahead to the rest of the season, let's continue to celebrate the unity and inclusivity that make Vermont schools so special. Whether you're a player, coach, official, or fan, thank you for being part of this incredible journey. Join us in wishing all schools good luck as they jump into playoffs! Come down and cheer on the final teams as they compete in The VPA Interscholastic Unified Basketball Championship at Norwich University on May 23rd. 

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