We are proud to share this guest post by KIPP Texas—San Antonio about how they are creating a more inclusive education environment through a partnership with Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools.
KIPP Texas—San Antonio has dozens of new student athletes this year, as approximately 40 students with varying disabilities are participating in the Special Olympics’ Unified Champion Schools (UCS) program that the district implemented this school year. USC promotes the social inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities through inclusive activities with a school-wide approach.
Unified Champion Schools at KIPP Texas—San Antonio
With sports as the foundation, the UCS program offers a combination of activities and games that equip students with tools and training to create sports, classrooms and school climates of acceptance. In October, students began to learn to play basketball.
“They love to move. The sport doesn’t matter to them. They just need space and they will make the best of it,” said Bridget Galvan, KIPP Texas—San Antonio Athletic Director.
Usually, these students have an individualized schedule the entire school day while ensuring time with their general education peers. Physical education is different for each student because they may need individualized accommodations. Some students have PE with their class and some students have PE individually due to their specific needs.
Individualized Practice in Sports
“Students can come together all at the same time to the gym or to the soccer field, wherever their practice may be on that day. And then they all have that 30 minutes where they’re being physically active and practicing on skills like dribbling or passing or shooting in basketball,” said Galvan.
Galvan said flexibility is paramount, whether it is utilizing individualized instruction to suit the strengths of each student-athlete or making allowances for skills that are difficult to master.
“We understand that some of the students have not gotten the sport and they may or may need extra practice. We also understand that the sport may not look exactly the same as the traditional sport since we have to make modifications for the students, and each campus has a different number of students,” said Galvan.
Galvan said this year, students are focusing on skills and not competitions.
Promoting Inclusive Education
Together with the Special Olympics, KIPP Texas—San Antonio can truly provide a joyful, academically excellent learning environment that will ensure our students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions. The program will be woven into the fabric of our schools, enhancing our current efforts and providing rich opportunities that lead to meaningful change in creating a socially inclusive school that supports and engages all of our KIPPsters.
These practices are the first step to get the students to be active and familiar with the sports that they will participate in. Eventually practices will include students that are in general education together with students with disabilities.
Research shows that when children with disabilities participate in sports and physical activity programs, it can promote physical, emotional and social well-being. Like academic achievements, these areas of development are very important for success in the future. That’s why KIPP Texas—San Antonio is proud to promote a more inclusive education environment as a Unified Champion School.
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Jaime Fountain, M.Ed., Director of Special Populations at KIPP Texas—San Antonio, and Bridget Galvan, Regional Director of Athletics and Physical Education at KIPP Texas—San Antonio, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on December 1, 2021 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.
Bridget Galvan serves as the Athletic Director for KIPP Texas—San Antonio, dedicated to helping students achieve academic excellence to lead fulfilling lives while incorporating athletics. Bridget is a first-generation college graduate and is the daughter of immigrants; she relates to the struggles and triumphs faced by many of the KIPP students she teaches and is passionate about helping them reach their maximum potential.
Ms. Galvan earned her Bachelors of Science in Applied Movement Science with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently working on obtaining her Certified Athletics Administrator certification through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. She has worked in education for the past ten years. She served as the founding KIPP Un Mundo and KIPP Esperanza Physical Education Teacher and served as the Athletic Coordinator for KIPP Texas—San Antonio. She successfully worked to build the athletic program for both elementary schools, where students were offered opportunities to grow in the sport of soccer and basketball. As the Athletic Director, Ms. Galvan has helped grow 53 sports to 60.
Bridget is passionate about teaching people of all age levels how to be active. Her goals are to provide people with the skills and knowledge to be physically active for a lifetime. Bridget partnered with the Special Olympics to ensure opportunities for inclusion for students with special health care needs. She is passionate about helping individuals with special health care needs; she has two nephews on the autism spectrum and is an advocate of bringing awareness, understanding, and acceptance of all individuals with special health care needs. Bridget is a San Antonio native, and enjoys golfing and fishing.
Read More About KIPP Texas—San Antonio
- “Guide to Enrolling in KIPP Texas—San Antonio Schools for 2022–23,” San Antonio Charter Moms, October 12, 2021
- “Coin Flip Fitness for Staying Healthy at Home,” Steven Ramirez, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 23, 2020
- “Grumpy Pants: Art and Emotional Wellness,” Jessica G. Rivera, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 10, 2020
Read More About Inclusive Education
- “Graphic Novels for Struggling and Reluctant Readers,” Nicole Cubillas and Kristin Yourdon, San Antonio Charter Moms, April 15, 2021
- “Towards Kinder San Antonio Schools: Data on Local Districts’ SPED Performance,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, September 16, 2020
- “Who Gets SPED Services in Texas? A Special Education Data Analysis,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, September 16, 2020
- “Can Reading Cure ADHD? It’s More Complicated Than That,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, August 26, 2020
- “Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, August 12, 2020
- “Identifying Hearing Loss in Children, and Finding Help From Friends,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 29, 2020
- “Vision Therapy Might Be the Solution for Your Child’s Learning Disorder,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 8, 2020
- “One Mom’s Experience with a Dyslexia Simulator,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 24, 2020
- “Celebrate Dyslexia: Education, Identification, and Celebration of Dyslexic Students,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 10, 2020
- “What Special Education Parents Want to Keep From COVID-19,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, May 27, 2020
- “MTSS: Behavior Support That Comes Before Special Education,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, May 13, 2020
- “Decoding the IEP: Parents Learn From a Special Education Advocate,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, April 22, 2020
- “Social Distancing Drives Innovation in Special Education Evaluations,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, April 8, 2020
- “Punished, Not Served: Texas Data Shows Students with Certain Disabilities Are More Likely to Be Disciplined than Served,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, November 22, 2019