Apr 26, 2022

Prevention & Intervention Services Help Students & Staff

Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART)

We aspire to be the school district of choice, improving our community and society by opening doors and providing opportunities for every child, every day. 

At the April 25, 2022 Board of Education Meeting, Dr. Cathy Ely, Executive Director of Prevention & Intervention Services, presented on the current programs and strategies Pickerington Local School District employs to create a healthy, safe, engaging, supportive, and culturally responsive learning environment through positive relationships with students by developing social-emotional competencies among students and staff. View Dr. Ely’s presentation.

Social-emotional learning is the process by which all young people and adults learn the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage their emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make caring and responsible decisions (casel.org). These are important tools for a person’s academic and personal success. More information on SEL.

Under the direction of Pickerington Local School District social worker Erica Magier, social work interns from Ohio University and The Ohio State University provide tiered support to students and staff in 11 buildings. The interns employ numerous intervention strategies including Stress Management and Resiliency Training or SMART Lab. Introduced to Pickerington Local School District by school counselor Sarah Geiger, SMART Lab helps students and staff practice stress management strategies, learn coping skills, and visualize their physiological response to stress using HeartMath technology. 

Other K-12 prevention and social-emotional programs include Second Step for grades K-5, Botvin LifeSkills Training for grades 6-8, School-Connect for grades 9-12, and the Kognito suicide prevention program. 

Community partners such as New Horizons Mental Health Services, The Recovery Center, and FAIRHOPE Hospice & Palliative Care provide funding, services, and programs addressing substance use, safe dating, vaping, and grief and loss support. Engage Ohio provides services to students with attendance issues, and CarePortal provides access to churches and community organizations that can provide real, tangible support such as furniture and help with rent. 

To be successful in our communities and lives, we need to understand and manage our emotions, make healthy choices, and show grit and determination to achieve our goals. We need to skillfully interact with other people, so we can build and maintain family, community, and work relationships. These necessary life skills fall under the umbrella term of social emotional learning.

According to Dr. Ely, “PLSD seeks to meet the social-emotional learning, prevention, and mental health needs of our students and families across the continuum of care model, both the prevention continuum and the framework of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to provide us with tiers or levels which we can support the whole child in relationships, contribute to academic excellence, and support the Plan for Progress.”  

The Plan for Progress is Pickerington Local School District’s strategic plan. Read the Plan for Progress here. 


As a followup to Dr. Ely’s presentation, there will be a special Zoom event on Weds., April 27, beginning at 6 p.m. The community invited to log in to join this discussion. The details are included in the Zoom event article under District News.