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Sprague High School Honored Nationally For Promoting Inclusion And Unity

Sprague staff members and Student Service stand between Unified banners.

On Friday, December 8, Sprague High School was named a national banner school by Special Olympics. This award is part of Special Olympics' Unified Champion Schools Program. Sprague High School won the award for showing excellent commitment to including all students in education.

What It Means to Become a National Banner School

Receiving national banner recognition as a Unified Champion School means that the school has shown commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence that are pertinent to Special Olympics Unified Sports®, whole-school engagement, inclusive youth leadership and sustainability. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from the Special Olympics and the education community.

Schools meeting these rigorous criteria are eligible for national banner recognition, showcasing their dedication to fostering inclusive environments and promoting the principles of unity and acceptance in the school environment.

“When I first started as superintendent of Salem-Keizer Public Schools, Unified Programming was one of the first programs I had the opportunity to see in action,” said Superintendent Andrea Castañeda. “Every student should feel included, welcome and celebrated in their school and I am so proud that our schools are not only state, but national representatives of the power of inclusion in our school communities.”

Unified Champion Schools In SKPS

Sprague High School becomes the second school in the district, and one of only a handful of schools across the state to receive national-level designation. All Salem-Keizer Public Schools high schools are currently recognized as State Banner schools.

Since the 2017-18 school year, Salem-Keizer Public Schools has worked to expand unified programming across the district, with South Salem High School being awarded as the district’s first Unified Champion school in the spring of 2019.

As of February 2023, Salem-Keizer Public Schools has established unified programming in all of the district’s high schools and eight middle schools, and began the expansion to elementary schools during the 2021-22 school year.

In addition, the district offers unified summer programming for both elementary and secondary students across the district.

Salem-Keizer Public Schools celebrates these achievements and encourages all schools to continue striving for excellence in fostering environments where all students can thrive.

Check out the National Unified Banner Recognition Program for the standards for elementary, middle and high schools.