A Beautiful Partnership: Rocketship & Special Olympics

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by Hannah Gray
Integrated Special Education Teacher, Mosaic Elementary

From football to table tennis, sports are unifying experiences that give students and adults alike the opportunity to practice discipline, teamwork and humility. Too often, though, students with disabilities are left out of their local community or school sports teams. With a focus on inclusion both in school and in the community for all students, Rocketship is thrilled to be the first schools in Santa Clara County to partner with the Special Olympics, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide athletic opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. 

Through this partnership, we aim to unify students with and without disabilities with sports.  The first event will be a basketball tournament held on March 25th between three Rocketship Schools: Mosaic, Discovery Prep and Brilliant Minds.  Each school will be sending three teams, split by grade level, and a selected group of students to cheer on their fellow athletes. The event will also offer a skills competition. Participating schools will be engaging in a whole-school initiative that aims to educate every student about the importance of inclusion, spreading awareness of different disabilities.

The partnership is a beautiful fit for Rocketship because it provides another avenue for our schools to actively engage all students in an inclusive experience beyond the classroom.  The weekly practices and culminating event provide an opportunity for all students to participate in an extra-curricular activity.  For students with more severe disabilities, it is often intimidating to join a sport or club in the community, but this provides a nurturing environment with less pressure and more of a focus on fostering positive student relationships.  It is also a great way for the community to come together through the whole school initiative, giving students a sense of pride in their school by cheering on their team.

Are you interested in supporting our Rocketeers and their fans? We are currently searching for a venue to hold the culminating event at on March 25th.  We are also in need of volunteers to help on the day of the event including event set-up, referees and student chaperones. We’re striving to continue our partnership in the spring with a soccer event and expand in the coming years to involve the entire Rocketship Bay Area network.

If you’re interested in helping, shoot us an e-mail → beyond@rsed.org. We look forward to seeing you at the Olympics!


Hannah is a special education teacher for the Specialized Inclusion Program (SIP) at Rockeship Mateo Sheedy. Before joining the Rocketship family, Hannah earned her degree from the University of Pittsburg and taught in Chicago Public Schools. When she’s not teaching, Hannah enjoys running, biking, hiking and brunching. 

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