We loved hearing about how Central High School – East Campus in Clovis, Calif., hosted a unified volleyball tournament! You can read more about the tournament’s success by clicking here! For any event, lots of work happens behind the scenes before anyone shows up to play.
We were fortunate to catch up with part of the brains of the operation – Theresa Gomes-Bollier, who is an adapted physical education specialist with the Central Unified School District. Hopefully her tips will help any schools looking to host events!
Our Unified Schools: What kind of prep did you and the Central High School East Campus students do before the tournament?
Theresa Gomes-Bollier: Before the tournament we held meetings (that were no longer than an hour) in December, February and March with Bryan Boel, the volleyball coach and the leadership teacher. We discussed how we would hold the tournament, logistics, equipment needed, set-up, what we wanted the leadership students and volleyball players to do and so on. Since Central had not done this before, I felt we needed to meet several times in order to be on the same page.
Our Unified Schools: You held an in-service to prepare the general education students. How did that go? Do you think it made a big difference for the students?
TGB: We had a volleyball clinic the week before the tournament with our Central volleyball players and our special education students. This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to bond, blend together as players and meet a new friend. With our leadership students, we did not need to do much. They are used to helping out with all school functions and are a wonderful group of students work with.
Our Unified Schools: How do you think the volleyball competition went/what worked well for your school?
TGB: I thought the competition went really well. I thought the best competition was with the Special Olympics athletes and the volleyball teams paired up. Some other schools used their staff as the partners or students, but the best competition was seeing the school volleyball teams playing with our Special Olympics athletes.
Our Unified Schools: What would you tell other APE teachers about being involved with Special Olympics in the schools?
TGB: I think it’s important. My students take these events seriously and are excited to attend. So when I can work in training them during PE/APE time it just makes sense. It helps my students to be involved in community activities and outings. I have worked out my APE curriculum to align with Special Olympics sports.
Our Unified Schools: Is there anything else about the competition/the program/the prep that you’d like to talk about that the above questions didn’t address?
TGB: I’m excited to have Central host another event, the first event is always nerve racking for me. I would also like to see more unified sports in general being hosted. This truly bridges the gap for all students and aligns with the full inclusion education my district strives to promote.
Fanastic Work, Theresa and Central East!