Trail Ridge Middle School Recognized for Their Commitment to Inclusion

TRMS staff pose for picture
Trail Ridge Middle School staff from left to right: Matt Coniglio, assistant principal, Eddie Cloke, principal, Jaclyn Scott, dean of students.

Trail Ridge Middle School (TRMS) is one of the 37 schools nationwide to be selected for the prestigious 2022 ESPN Honor Roll School Award. 

The banner is an award that’s a combination between Special Olympics and ESPN. TRMS is recognized as a Special Olympics National Unified Champion School. With that banner recognition, they were nominated by Special Olympics Senior Director of Unified Champion Schools, Rick Brady, for the ESPN Honor Roll School Award. They received this award for having inclusivity and offering Unified Sports, as well as having a whole school attitude of acceptance. Staff were presented with the award on March 1, which was their school’s Inclusion Day Celebration. 

In order to earn the national banner school designation, the school must demonstrate a commitment to inclusion by achieving 10 standards of excellence. This is accomplished by offering Special Olympics Unified Sports, unified clubs/groups, as well as getting the whole school engaged in promoting inclusion. To maintain their banner status, they’ll have to reapply every four years. 

The middle school’s Unified Program has come a long way in five years. After watching a Unified Basketball game at Mead High School, Eddie Cloke, principal at TRMS, became inspired to start an inclusive program at the middle school level. Former Assistant Principal Lynsey Robinson and Becci Warren, special education teacher at TRMS, were instrumental in starting and growing the program with him. 

Cloke understands the importance of having an inclusive program at the middle school level. “Middle school is fertile ground for programs like this. It teaches students to think outside themselves, which middle school students need,” Cloke said.

In addition to a strong Significant Support Needs (SSN) program, TRMS offers a variety of Special Olympic Unified Sports, such as basketball, bowling and soccer. Cloke is excited with how much the program has grown over the years. The program started with two students and has grown to over two dozen students. Originally students would compete with school’s outside the district, but last year the program expanded throughout the district and now students compete with other schools within the district. 

Beyond athletics, friendship and partnership are being created through Trail Ridge Middle School’s Inclusion Club, which provides an opportunity for typical students and students with disabilities to interact in meaningful ways through their Coffee Cart and Lunch Bunch program. Warren sees firsthand what a positive impact the Unified Program has on all students. She said, “The Unified Program teaches students empathy and open acceptance and students learn how to work together.” 

St. Vrain Valley Schools