MOUNT AIRY, Md. (WDVM) — Twin Ridge Elementary School received national recognition from Special Olympics Maryland, for the school’s efforts to provide inclusive activities for students with and without disabilities so they can come together as one.

Special Olympics Maryland is a program that provides sports training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Twin Ridge decided to implement a program similar to the SOM. The school wanted to build a foundation where everyone can feel valued and heard.

In an effort to promote inclusion, they began with the young athlete’s program through Special Olympics Maryland and then expanded with the unified champions club — a program that reserves inclusion opportunities for students within the school. 

With a goal for all students of all abilities to come together, students with disabilities and those without disabilities build valuable skills together and work to understand that people may learn differently, but everyone should be valued. 

“The amount of pride that I have in our students, families and staff for working to create a school environment where inclusivity, leadership and engagement of all students is held in such a high regard is immeasurable,” Twin Ridge Principal Heather Hobbs said. “Their commitment to using art, music and physical education as a vehicle to communicate and gain understanding of all students is at the core of what we believe in as a school.”

Twin Ridge will be amongst a select number of schools to receive this distinction.