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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.

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Inclusive Health Resources

As you are preparing to get back to school, check out these Fitness, Health, and Unified Physical Education Resources to help you have an inclusive and successful school year. These resources are for both educators and for families and students at home. If you have any questions, would like more resources, or are interested in learning more, please reach out to Kayla Shields at kshields@somd.org

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.

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 is an accolade designed to highlight and distinguish Unified Champion Schools that go above and beyond the standard each (school) year. All Maryland schools are eligible for the Maryland Recognition Program and are encouraged to pursue this accolade annually by implementing four components: Unified Sports/Activities, Inclusive Youth Leadership, Whole School Engagement and Sustainability, as well as completing of bi-annual grant reports. Take a look at the component prerequisites below.

Questions/concerns? We are happy to help! Please email the Maryland Unified Champion Schools Team at ucs@somd.org.

Get Involved

Complete the form below to join Special Olympics Maryland in efforts to make inclusion a reality for all people with and without intellectual disabilities.

I’d like to be added to the following Special Olympics Maryland communications:

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!”