Tuscarora High receives national recognition from Special Olympics

Special Olympics logo

Frederick, MD (September 20, 2023) – Tuscarora High earned national banner recognition as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for all students.

Tuscarora High earned this honor as a result of meeting national standards of excellence in the areas of inclusion, advocacy, and respect. 

“We are so proud of the Tuscarora High community for becoming the second FCPS school to earn this prestigious honor,” FCPS Superintendent Dr. Cheryl L. Dyson said. “It embodies the considerable effort made to provide opportunities for all students.”

Tuscarora High and Twin Ridge Elementary have both earned national banner recognition from the Special Olympics.

More than 250 schools in Maryland are currently participating in Special Olympics Unified Champion programming. Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools aim to expand to 10,000 schools throughout the country by the end of the 2023-24 school year.

Tuscarora High takes great pride in the school’s unified sports program and the efforts of student athletes and their partners to maintain a program that teaches skills, sportsmanship, friendship, and community. Tuscarora participates in unified tennis, bocce, and track and field.


Last year, the Tuscarora High unified bocce team won the 2023 Special Olympics Maryland indoor bocce state championship, which took place after Tuscarora students and staff lined the school’s halls to clap and cheer the team on its way to the competition.  

THS boasts a “Best Buddies” club, which allows for all students to plan inclusive events during and after school. This helps generate genuine relationships and meaningful social activities.

“Receiving this prestigious award from the Special Olympics honors the commitment of the Tuscarora High staff, students and community for creating a culture where all students are included,” Tuscarora High principal Lisa Smith said. 

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools model is supported by the Office of Special Education Programs for the U.S. Department of Education. The model has proven, through research, to be an effective and replicable means to providing students with and without special needs the opportunity to form positive social relationships and promote a socially inclusive school climate.