Team Work: Dartmouth, MA

Team Work: Dartmouth, MA
November 15, 2022

What’s in the news?

November 13, 2022
Dartmouth High renewed as Special Olympics National Banner School
by Dartmouth Week, Dartmouth, MA.

Were special education students included in the story? YES. A Special Olympics athlete participating in a Unified Sports team is quoted.

What’s the story?

Special Olympics recognized Dartmouth High School in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, as reported by Dartmouth Week, as a National Banner Unified Champion School, which recognizes schools with unified sports programs, which brings disabled and nondisabled students together in a team modified to include the disabled. This is the second time the school earned the designation, which is renewed every 4 years. Only a dozen schools in the commonwealth have the designation.

Sol Rosas said, “Feeling accepted,” she said. “Because when I was very little I used to get bullied and everyone used to say ‘you’re ugly,’ ‘you have a hard time learning,’ and I never really felt accepted in life until the day I got to Dartmouth.” (Dartmouth Week).

Besides basketball, the school is offering or soon offering inclusive bowling and volleyball.

Outside of sports, there is a “best buddies” club and “Café Tuesday”.

The superintendent says that inclusivity starts with meeting the needs of the disabled, so it won’t be necessary to send the disabled elsewhere.

Does it say “inclusion”?
“Unified Sports”: Good.
“Best buddies”: Not good. I discussed this program in a “Friday Freakout” episode dated October 22, 2021, called “Assigned Friends“. It is on the YouTube channel. Friday Freakout was the original title of my commentary episodes on YouTube.
“Café Tuesday”: Not good. I discuss variations on YouTube and the blog under the title “Exceptional Service: Serving Coffee“.

Is it for the disabled? Or is it for the nondisabled?

For unified sports: 1 star, because the system is changing for inclusion.
For “Best Buddies”: 0 star, because what I discuss in “Friday Freakout: Assigned Friends”.
For “Café Tuesday”: 0 star, because of disabled students serving coffee to nondisabled people.
1 of 3 stars.

Is This the Least-Restrictive Environment?
Special Olympics are for people likely to be in special education.

What needs to change?
The system is changing for inclusion, and this is for 1 of 12 schools in the commonwealth of Massachusetts which were designated banner schools. However, it is 1 of only 12 schools in the entire state.
My problem is the “Best Buddies” and “Café Tuesday” programs.
Because this is my first time commenting in depth on Unified Sports, I should note that the Special Olympics created Unified Sports and Champion Schools in 2008. I graduated high school during the 1990’s and special education started during the 1970’s.