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Unified Sports Basketball Team

Unified Sports Team Picture
Unified Sports Practice

This year, ICSD Athletics, along with 15 other districts, is partnering with the Special Olympics, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHAA), and the Southern Tier Athletic Conference (STAC) to bring Unified Sports to our region.
Unified Sports is an exciting new athletic opportunity for student-athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to compete together in various sports. The goal of the program is to increase inclusion, build understanding, and create a greater sense of community within schools.
Last month, Ithaca formed its first Unified Sports basketball team. The roster includes both male and female students, as well as students with and without intellectual disabilities. Coaching the team is Stephanie Valletta, a special education teacher and former girls’ varsity basketball coach at Ithaca High School.
“My philosophy as a coach is based in the belief that our team has to be a family,” Valletta said. “It was very important for our team to treat each other with respect and also feel safe to take risks athletically.”
The players have been practicing twice a week for several weeks, focusing on building their foundational skills. This month, the team will have a chance to put those skills to test when they compete against other United Sports teams in neighboring districts. And while the team hopes to win these games, they also recognize that the season has already been a huge success.
“Seeing students who didn’t know each other three weeks ago now giving each other high fives and sitting with each other at lunch is the whole point of this program; to give ALL students the opportunity to have this high school experience,” said Valletta.
The team will host three home games this month on May 3, May 8, and May 24 at 4:30 p.m. in Bliss Gym. There will be pre-game music, announcers, and half-time skills competitions for students. Come out and support these amazing student-athletes and the Unified Sports program!
To learn more about Unified Sports, visit

Unified Sports Game Schedule

Belle Sherman
Beverly J Martin
Cayuga Heights
Fall Creek
South Hill
Boynton Middle
DeWitt Middle
Ithaca HS
Lehman Alternative


Ithaca City School District
Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent
400 Lake Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-2101