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On Friday, March 10, 2017, members of our PA Unified Youth Committee presented on social inclusion during the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Annual Conference at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, PA. The Committee and Special Olympics PA’s Interscholastic Unified Sports Senior Advisor Mike Bovino held a session titled, “Effective Social Inclusion Outcomes Through Unified School Programs.”

Special Olympics Unified Sports is being offered in high schools throughout Pennsylvania and is providing amazing inclusive experiences for students with and without disabilities. Friendships emerge that carry over into other areas of the school. The Unified School session provided information about what a Unified Sports program looks like and how schools can partner with Special Olympics Pennsylvania to start one. There, perspectives were also shared by students about how Unified Youth Committees are leading the way in promoting respect and acceptance in their schools.

The annual statewide PDE conference offers an opportunity to learn and engage with nationally-recognized presenters, as well as colleagues from across the state, highlighting effective instructional strategies and interventions designed to make an educational difference for all students. Special Olympics PA was thrilled to have been a part of discussions.