Bennett Elementary School and Hollywood Park Elementary School were designated as National Banner Unified Champion Schools by Special Olympics. The national honor recognizes schools for having inclusive school climates that exude a sense of collaboration, engagement, and respect for all students and staff.
Receiving the National Banner distinction means that Bennett Elementary and Hollywood Park Elementary meet 10 national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy, and respect. These standards were developed by a panel of leaders from the Special Olympics and the education community.
The primary activities within these standards include Special Olympics Unified Sports® (in which students with and without disabilities train and compete as teammates), inclusive youth leadership, and whole-school engagement. The schools also demonstrate they are self-sustainable or have a plan to sustain these activities.
“This national recognition is a huge win for Bennett Elementary School, Hollywood Park Elementary, and our District,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Vickie L. Cartwright. “The award carries a message that our schools are places where everyone belongs. It represents the commitment our students, teachers and staff have for providing the message of inclusion.”
Bennett Elementary and Hollywood Park Elementary are two of 13 Florida schools to receive this national distinction. The schools received a banner to display on campus and are included on a list of schools around the country that have achieved this status.
A Special Olympics Unified Champion School celebration and presentation of the prestigious banner was held at Bennett Elementary and Hollywood Park Elementary. Mark Thompson, regional director of Developmental Sports Programs, Southeast Florida Special Olympics, presented the banner to the school community.