PHS: The Pomperaug High School Unified Sports Program (PHS) was recognized as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School during a special banner presentation during the Homecoming Pep Rally at PHS on Friday, October 25, 2019.
PHS Unified Team Members Stephanie Bregman, Special Education Teacher and Unified Sports Coach, and Barbara Horn and Robert Hale, Connecticut Association Unified Sports Coordinator and Director attended the assembly at the school-wide presentation of the National Banner and ESPN Honor Roll. of Schools (CAS) and the Connecticut Interschool Athletic Conference (CIAC).
As the Unified National Champion School of Special Olympics, PHS has demonstrated its commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 standards developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community. Key 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. Banner Unified Champion Schools are also demonstrating that their programs are self-sustaining or have a plan in place to maintain these activities in the future.
Through the Unified Sports program, PHS has demonstrated an inclusive school climate that exudes a sense of collaboration, commitment and respect for all student body and staff. Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools ® builds on the values, principles, practices, experiences and impacts of Special Olympics to shape a generation that welcomes everyone. “Unified Sports brings everyone together around the common goal of social inclusion. By involving students with and without disabilities, Unified Sports strives to break stereotypes, build acceptance and understanding throughout the school and community. This recognition is not only very exciting for our program and at school, it proves that wonderful things will come from positivity, teamwork and persistence! Thank you to everyone who has played or supported PHS Unified, from our first season to our current season, helping us make this huge accomplishment! “said Coach Bregman.
Pomperaug High School offers three seasons of unified sports, football, basketball and track and field and is currently in its 4th year. Over 150 students have participated in the Unified Sports program so far. “The impact of unified sports goes far beyond the field or the pitch. I am very proud of our school for embracing unified sports and making inclusion part of our community. The dedication of Coach Bregman and the ‘The expansion of our unified program is exceptional – and truly a role model for all of us, ”Ron Plasky, Regional Director of Athletics, Health and Physical Education 15.
The Special Olympics Unified Championship Schools program aims to promote social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting system-wide change. With sport as its foundation, Unified Sports offers a unique combination of effective activities that give young people the tools and training to create climates of acceptance in sport, the classroom and the school. These are school climates in which students with disabilities feel welcome and are systematically included in all activities, opportunities and functions and feel part of them. The program, designed to be integrated into the fabric of the school, enhances current efforts and provides rich opportunities that lead to meaningful change by creating a socially inclusive school that supports and engages all learners.
“I have been a part of Unified Sports since its first in our school 4 years ago. It has become a huge success, and the support from staff and students is overwhelming. I am so happy to be a part of it.” Gisela Pupillo, Unified and PHS support staff. “I have been doing unified sports over the past few seasons and it has impacted me. The friends and experiences that I have had on this team are unique and something I will never forget.” Melissa Perelmuter, senior PHS and Unified player 3rd year “Unified is fun because we have a dance break during the tournament”, Lexi Milburn, PHS Sophomore and 2nd year Unified Player. “I couldn’t wait to try something new with my class,” Adam Skow, Junior PHS and Grade 1 Unified player. “It has been great for the tremendous growth of the program in 3 short years. Our tournament this week brought together over 100 athletes and partners!” Mike Murphy, PHS teacher and announcer for Unified Sports.