Southern York County School District’s Dr. Melissa Bell, Assistant Principal at the high school, and Brad Keeney, Athletic Director, applied for a grant to start a Special Olympics Pennsylvania Interscholastic Unified Sports program. In October, the District learned that it is eligible for the funding to begin a track and field program. During its November 19, 2020 meeting, the school board approved the implementation of this program.
Special Olympics is a national program that started in the 1980’s. The Special Olympics program provides students with disabilities a unique opportunity to extend academic learning and social skills beyond the classroom. Students without disabilities, called partners, also participate in the activities. This is a co-ed team that gives students an equal playing field. It goes beyond competitions on the field and provides academic, social, and emotional skills. There are currently 14 schools that participate in York and Lancaster counties.
This program is an extension of the existing track and field program. Participants practice with the high school team to promote inclusion and provide leadership opportunities. This extension of the classroom allows students to work together towards a common goal. They have a modified practice schedule and they are expected to have at least three competitions. Special Olympics has protocols in place to provide virtual track meets if necessary.
We are very excited to be able to provide this wonderful opportunity to our students!
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