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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.

MOVE Challenge

Schools are encouraged to form teams to participate in the SONA Move Challenge. During this 8-week challenge, students of all abilities will track minutes of intentional physical activity and exercise. By participating in individual and (safe) group exercise, students will compete against other teams throughout the state and across the country! Click here to download an overview flyer.

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!

The Maryland Recognition Program

The Maryland Recognition Program promotes servant leadership among students with and without disabilities while changing their lives as individuals and valued members of their school community. The Maryland Recognition Program recognizes schools that have proven proficiency and “live Unified” by appreciating every member of their community and affording each student the opportunity to be meaningfully involved and contribute. The Maryland Recognition Program is an accolade designed to highlight and congratulate those who make Unified Champion Schools the standard that is embedded in the fabric of their school’s culture.

To pursue this accolade, PART 1 of the “School Intent Form” is due to UCS@somd.org on or before Tuesday, April 13. Need more time? Please email the Maryland Unified Champion Schools Team at ucs@somd.org. We are happy to help! Questions/concerns? -email ucs@somd.org

Make Your Pledge for Inclusion

Be a teammate. Be a friend. Welcome someone who has been left out. Sit next to someone alone at lunch. Say hello to someone in the hallway. There are so many ways to spread inclusion. Choose yours. Make a pledge and start today. Join us to make inclusion a reality for all people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. Make your pledge below.

Unified Champion Schools Interest
I’d like to be added to the following Special Olympics Maryland communications:
I give permission to Special Olympics Maryland to use and allow others to use the picture, video, name, voice, and words outlined here for the purpose of promoting Special Olympics Maryland programming." *

UCS Merchandise

We are excited to officially open our Special Olympics Maryland Unified Champion Schools online merchandise store. Now you can show your pride and purchase a variety of merchandise at reasonable prices. Whether you are a fan in the stands, a volunteer, an athlete, unified partner or a family member, there is something for everyone in our store. We'll be adding more merchandise so be sure to check back!”