Kennedy High School Teacher Honored by the Special Olympics of Northern California

Press release

SACRAMENTO, CA – Sacramento City Unified Teacher Chloe Stidger was honored by the Special Olympics Northern California (SONC) for her efforts to go above and beyond for students and encouraging an environment of inclusion and acceptance. Stidger is a Special Day & Autism Teacher at John F. Kennedy High School (JFK) and was honored alongside five other teachers in Northern California.

“Chloe has been tireless in ensuring that all students receive access. Her work with the Special Olympics is testament to her commitment, and she deserves every bit of this award. She has been essential in changing stereotypes and improving trajectories. I could not be prouder,” said John F. Kennedy High School Principal David Van Natten.

JFK starts the year with soccer and has become a Championship School for Inclusion in Sports through the Special Olympics Soccer events hosted at JFK. This event allows the school to meet, and recruit general education students who want to compete side by side with us for other sporting events like basketball. Students practice together at lunch and during their P.E. classes.   

“The students, and staff believe that Special Education students are so much more than their ‘label.’  It means that we are working hard to include not just the Special Needs students but we are including the General Education students into our world and fun,” said John F. Kennedy High School SDC/Autism Teacher Chloe Stidger. “Sports brings everyone together and once you are on the court or field it’s all about winning, team, working together, and fun. Through sports we are finding a common ground. I want this program to grow and become the norm across SCUSD. I want all schools to have the amazing success we have experienced in breaking down walls and setting a new climate for all in an inclusive environment.”

The program brings students together and everyone, no matter who they are or the challenges they face, is included. They are breaking down stereotypes and doing it in a fun setting. 

“Ms. Stidger has gone above and beyond during soccer and basketball seasons. This past season, their basketball team was able to recruit the most peers that the program has ever seen, bringing a new level of inclusion to campus,” said Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “She was instrumental in ensuring that there were enough participants for the first basketball clinic with the Sacramento Kings, bringing a group of 20 students on a public transportation trip that took some serious planning to pull off.”

Ms. Stidger and her team at John F. Kennedy High School consistently go above and beyond to serve their students. From working with leadership and other students, to creating a school-wide R-word campaign, to serving as a community sports coach, she is committed to ensuring her students have the best opportunities both on and off the playing field. The selected teachers were nominated for the recent 2019-2020 season. 

SONC recognizes the contributions of partnering special education, adapted physical education (APE) and other teachers and administrators for their outstanding efforts in impacting the lives of students with intellectual disabilities. Learn more about the SONC’s Program Partnership with schools here: