Seattle Public Schools

Special Olympics Unified Champion Club

Spread the Word: Inclusion at Jane Addams Middle School 

Students at Jane Addams Middle School have been busy spreading the word about inclusion on campus.  

During the new Special Olympics Unified Champion Club, students receiving special education services and general education students work together to build friendships and teach each other the importance of inclusiveness.  

“We’ve been focusing on the Spread the Word: Inclusion initiative and talking about what inclusion is, what it means to us, and how we can make that happen at Jane Addams,” Jane Addams Special Education teacher and club advisor Bridget Hardiman said.  

Jane Addams is currently one of 12 middle schools within Seattle Public Schools piloting the Unified Champion Club. The club began in January 2022 and currently has 14 members and two teacher advisors.  

A group photo of the club in the school gym

So far, club members have spent time learning with their peers, working on fun projects like decorating Valentine’s Day cookies and painting picture frames, and creating posters promoting the Spread the Word: Inclusion campaign.  

Eighth grader Axel Sherwood enjoys club activities because it gives them the chance to learn more about their classmates.  

“It’s really great getting to know people through [the club],” Sherwood said. “We don’t really get to see the [students receiving special education services] in other classes, so it’s a great way to get to know more people at school.”   

Eighth grader Jacob Seltzer is always impressed by the club advisors’ exciting project ideas. 

“My favorite part of the club is how creative the teachers are at figuring out ways to keep the kids engaged,” Seltzer said. “No matter what, they always want to make sure the kids have a good time.”  

As the weather warms up, club members and advisors want to spend more time outside playing sports and enjoying the sunshine. When more members join the club, the advisors hope to start competing in Special Olympics sporting events.  

Two students in a classroom pose for a photo

“Because we’re just starting out, we’re trying to make the club more about community building, and eventually build up to where we can incorporate more sports,” Hardiman said. “Since it’s still year zero, we’re just getting our feet wet.” 

For now, the club is focused sharing the importance of including everyone and creating an environment where anyone can have fun and be successful.  

The club meets at Jane Addams after school every other Monday—the next meeting is Monday, April 18— and every student is welcome to join.   

More information about Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is on the Special Olympics Washington website.