Unified PE: A Class for Everyone

Coach Toler’s unified physical education class for ID and general education students.


Unified PE is a physical education class with both ID, intellectually disabled, students and general education students in one class. Run by Jared Toler, teacher and football coach, at Tuscarora. This class is a great way for students to build relationships with other students they might not always have the chance to interact with. The students participate in fun exercises and play sports together. 

The idea for this program at our school arose when Toler and other educators at Tuscarora were talking about the Special Olympics, sports teams for people with intellectual disabilities, when they heard about Unified PE. Toler had the qualifications to teach this class, and he suggested, “Why don’t we just combine, you know, my ability to do PE with the ID program.” 

Toler was involved in a similar class when he was in high school. “When I was in high school, I did something like this, and it kind of put me on the path of what I’m doing now,” he said. 

In the class, students do fun warm-ups and play sports, and their first unit was bocce ball. They started out with throwing bean bags into hula hoops, then progressed to their final goal of throwing balls at a target.

 They also have free activity time which they often spend playing basketball, a class favorite. Kickball has also been hit with the students. 

When asked about the benefits of Unified PE for the students, Toler said, “It’s an opportunity just to build the community within the school.” His favorite part of the class is, “seeing all the kids just interacting with each other and the relationships they build.” The class gives students an opportunity to interact with other students that they might not usually see. Toler likes seeing which students befriend each other and form relationships. “It’s an opportunity to play sports with people that you might not have ever played sports with,” he said. 

Toler had the idea to form a unified basketball team because of the class’s love for basketball. Their team would play other unified sports teams in Loudoun County. He’s hoping to start this team sometime this winter. 

Toler’s unified PE class provides a sense of community at the school and gives the students a positive environment where they can build lasting bonds.