After submitting its application among an unprecedented number of school districts from throughout the state, the Holmdel Township School District has been selected to receive a three-year, $15,000 Play Unified grant from Special Olympics New Jersey to support the district’s efforts in developing and providing inclusive sports programs. Holmdel’s grant application was co-authored by the district’s four principals in collaboration with Director of Special Services Meryl Gill and Supervisor of Athletics Shane Fallon. The Play Unified School Partnership grant assists schools with developing a broad spectrum of inclusive sports and physical activity options to ensure that students of all abilities can experience the benefits of physical fitness and recreational and competitive athletics. Students develop exceptional athletic skills while forming friendships, fostering respect for each other, and becoming leaders on and off the court or field, which impact and create positive change in the school climate. Funding for the Play Unified grant was made possible by a generous grant from the United States Department of Education, the New Jersey State Department of Education, and the PSEG Foundation.
At a recent board of education meeting, John Martinez, who serves as chair of the board’s special services committee, said the award is “really going to help our district have an all-inclusive program. This is special recognition for the folks in our district who really spend a lot of time and effort working with our kids.”
Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert McGarry echoed Mr. Martinez, adding, “Our district’s leadership in these efforts have certainly been recognized by others in the state and these efforts are another great example of how we enact our mission to provide a comprehensive and caring educational environment that will develop the potential of every student.”