SMILE at Lord Baltimore

Kicking off the SMILE program at Lord Baltimore Elementary School are, from left: Kathy Sheetz; Principal Pamela Webb; the Rev. Terry Dougherty; Counselor Stephanie McElhinny, licensed clinical counselor; Brooke Mitchell; and Assistant Principal Barkley Heck.

Ocean View Presbyterian Church’s the Rev. Terence “Terry” Dougherty and the Pastoral Support Team this week announced a partnership with Lord Baltimore Elementary School focused on the mental health as student and teacher return to school.

 are pleased to share some details about the SMILE program at Lord Baltimore.

The SMILE program’s name an acronym for areas of skills focus: S for social interaction, M for mindfulness, I for inclusion, L for listening skills and E for emotions.

SMILE  was designed to prepare teachers and counselors to enable a successful return to school, whenever and however that takes place, at Lord Baltimore.

“The program recognizes that relationships are key to the success of students, and that re-establishing relationships with a sense of security and inclusion will lead to a successful school year,” OVPC representatives said. “Students (and teachers!) have been away a long time, and re-integration may well be an emotional and social rollercoaster for many.”

Positive coaching through modeling, morning meetings and real-life experiences, facilitated with Morning Message Books and Classroom Calm Containers (the “toolbox”) are intended to help teachers to calm down or de-escalate students whose emotions may escape or even overwhelm them. Professional development days will be run by an experienced facilitator, and there will also be planning days for mental health counselors.

Along with a prepared teacher, each classroom will have a “toolbox,” which will contain emotions charts and activities, and sensory items, intended to aid a student in calming and becoming able to return to the group.

SMILE will be fully integrated with all educational and social services available at Lord Baltimore.

Funding for the program comes from the First Call Pastoral Leadership Program, funded through Ocean View Presbyterian Church.