On Wednesday Nov. 27, Norton High School (NHS) was presented with a banner from the Special Olympics, acknowledging their commitment to inclusion. NHS is one of 173 schools in the country and 16 schools in the state to receive this honor in 2019.
A Special Olympics Unified Champion School combines the efforts of students, teachers, administrators, and parents to establish an inclusive school climate that exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement, and respect for all. A Unified Champion School receives national banner recognition after having exhibited a commitment to inclusion by meeting ten standards of excellence developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community.
These standards fall under three main components that include: Special Olympics Unified Sports®, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole-School Engagement. National banner schools should also be able to demonstrate that they have strategies and plans in place to ensure the sustainability of these components.
Norton High School Wellness teacher Nicole Nunes was also recognized by local State Representatives Steven S. Howitt and F. Jay Barrows for all of her work and leadership with NHS Unified Sports."This recognition could only be made possible with the dedication and hard work of many staff members, parents, and student athletes," said Athletic Director Aaron Sumner. "Two NHS teachers, Kayla Sweed and Nicole Nunes, started this effort a few years ago to make our unified programs what they are today. Their efforts along with countless others have made Norton High School a model for other districts looking to start their own unified sports programs."