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Special Olympics Maryland is committed to the growth and development of interactive inclusive school programming throughout the state. ALL students should feel like there is a place for them within their own learning environment. Unified Champion Schools help to provide opportunities for students of all ages and abilities to experience inclusion at their own school through programs such as Unified Sports/Activities, Inclusive Youth Leadership, and Whole School Engagement. Let us help you create a school environment where opportunity is not limited by disability.

Unified Sports & Activities

Unified Sports provides a means which brings together students with and without disabilities in a fulfilling inclusive experience. Unified Sports teams are composed of a proportional number of students with intellectual disabilities, with other types of disabilities, and without disabilities who train and compete together on the same team.

Inclusive Youth Leadership

Inclusive youth leadership is when young people of all abilities are given opportunities to be leaders in their schools and communities. These leadership activities help students find their voices and teach them to become change agents in their communities by promoting equity and acceptance. Social inclusion is best fostered when activities within the classroom, school, and community are designed and implemented by a diverse group of students within a school. A socially inclusive school ensures every student is given an opportunity to contribute due to the unique skills and qualities they bring to the work.

Whole School Engagement

Whole School Engagement activities positively impact school climate by including all students, teachers, staff, administrators. An inclusive school climate that fosters understanding and respect for all can influence how students think and act within and beyond the school. School-wide opportunities focused on social inclusion raise awareness and create an educational environment where respect and acceptance are the norm and all students feel included and engaged.

See our Whole School Engagement opportunities below!

Inclusive Schools Week

Join in the state-wide celebration on Be sure to wear your school colors!

What

Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network, a partner of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools. ISW was created to commemorate the progress that schools have made in providing quality education to diverse learners, primarily those with disabilities. Inclusive Schools Week also provides an important opportunity for educators, students, and parents to discuss what else needs to be done to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.

When

This year, Inclusive Schools Week is celebrated from December 7-11. Special Olympics Maryland Unified Champion Schools is celebrating on Thursday, December 10. Of course, schools can choose to celebrate anytime around those dates, or even at other points in the year. After all, the time for inclusion is always NOW, meaning year-round!

Who

Special Olympics Maryland Unified Champion Schools seeks to create and sustain school climates where students of all abilities feel valued and included in their school communities. Our partner, the Inclusive Schools Network, provides year-round opportunities for families, students, and educators to meet others on the same journey of building and sustaining inclusive schools and communities. All people everywhere can join the celebration of inclusive schools!

Why

An inclusive school climate that fosters respect for all can influence how students think and act not only within but beyond the school. Inclusive Schools Week allows us all to take a moment to applaud the progress we’ve made toward building more inclusive school communities while pledging to continue our work toward becoming a more inclusive society.

Goal

Make inclusive schools go viral! Let’s prove that the craziness of 2020 has not slowed down our commitment to making sure all students are valued and included equally!

What is an inclusive school? ... one where students of all abilities are routinely engaged and valued members of their school communities.

The time for inclusion is NOW! As this year has progressed, we have an unusual vantage point for understanding an even broader meaning of inclusion. Across the world, we are experiencing a new form of isolation that is required in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But in the not too distant future, we will be able to celebrate our resilience in the face of difficulty and experience the joys of being included in a community that learns, plays, and works together. Inclusive Schools Network

This toolkit is a brief, one-stop-shop for anyone celebrating the benefits of an inclusive learning environment. Whether you’re a student, parent, teacher, administrator, or any other champion of inclusion -- read on! Questions? Want to know more? Contact us: UCS@somd.org

Commit to promoting inclusive schools all year long by taking the Inclusive Schools Pledge!

Upcoming Whole School Engagement Opportunities

If your school is not able to participate in the Inclusive School Week this December, don't worry! This celebration is only one opportunity among many to raise awareness of and celebrate inclusion in our schools and communities. Check out our upcoming whole school engagement opportunities in 2021!

Cool School Plunge

December 2020–January 2021
Form a team, get creative, and bear the cold in support of Special Olympics Maryland athletes across the state. Click here to learn more!

Spread the Word >> Inclusion

March 3rd, 2021
Make a school-wide pledge to live and play the values of inclusion and eliminate harmful language. Take the pledge!

Inclusive Schools Pledge

Notice and embrace your peers' abilities – give someone a heartfelt compliment. Have a welcoming presence – an approachable smile can make someone feel welcomed and supported. Be a friendly person who talks to everyone, especially those who are new or alone - a simple"hello" is important. Be a leader! Stand up a set up a good example even if it's difficult!

Unified Champion Schools Interest
I’d like to be added to the following Special Olympics Maryland communications: