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Mead to receive national recognition from Special Olympics

Mead Junior High School, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School, will receive national banner recognition for meeting national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy and respect. The banner presentation will take place during an assembly at Mead at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, November 20.

Mead is one of only four schools in Illinois and 132 nationwide to attain National Banner designation. More than 400 schools in Illinois and more than 6,000 across the country participate in Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programming.

A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence 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.

“Mead Junior High is an exceptional school that fosters acceptance for all students and encourages appreciation for unique individual differences,” said Mead Club Unify sponsor Rebecca Dombro, who submitted Mead’s application for recognition. “The staff and students alike demonstrate continuous efforts to promote inclusion, advocacy and respect. The remarkable support instilled by this building is something that every member of our school community should take great pride in, for it is truly gives our students a sense of belonging and purpose.”

Mead offers unified sports through the school and through District 54 Special Olympics, ensures whole-school engagement by hosting Respect Week in the spring, and fosters inclusive youth leadership through participation in the statewide Youth Activation Summit and the school’s Club Unify. The club promotes inclusion awareness through a variety of activities including public service announcements on Mead TV, an assembly featuring students with and without disabilities, and a respect campaign for students and parents. Five current and former Mead students who were members of the statewide Youth Activation Committee will present during the assembly on November 20.

“Mead Junior High has been a model for inclusion for students with disabilities in District 54,” District 54 Special Olympics Specialist Kelly O’Reilly said. “Students and staff alike strive to make sure everyone is included in everything they do from clubs to sports to leadership opportunities. No one is turned away. I know how proud they are of this recognition and I know they will continue to be leaders in the Inclusion Revolution.”