Counseling Services

Healthy children are more successful in school and life. Good mental health is critical to children’s success in school and life. Research demonstrates that students who receive social–emotional and mental health support achieve better academically. School climate, classroom behavior, on-task learning, and students’ sense of connectedness and well-being all improve as well. 


School-employed mental health professionals are specially trained to provide services in the learning context. School counselors, school psychologists and school social workers provide the vast majority of school-based services. They are specially trained in school system functioning and learning, as well as how students’ behavior and mental health impacts their ability to be successful in school. Areas of expertise include but are not limited to: education law, curriculum and instruction, classroom and behavior management, individual and group counseling, learning disabilities, school safety and crisis response, effective discipline, cultural competence, and consultation with educators, families and community providers.


School-based counseling services are available to all students at MSD. These services focus on supporting students as they work through social and emotional challenges. Members of the counseling team are certified by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and include specially trained school counselors, psychologists, and social workers who are fluent in sign language and experienced in working with deaf and hard of hearing students of all ages.


MSD’s Columbia campus has one social worker, one school psychologist, and one school counselor. MSD’s Frederick campus has one social worker, one school psychologist, and three school counselors. Our mental health professionals are certified by MSDE to provide our students with services that includes prevention, intervention, and related services.

  • The School Counselor provides resources and tools to students that help develop their social and emotional skills through individual and group counseling. The school counselor also consults with families and provides support to school staff regarding the mental health of students.
  • The School Psychologist provides assessment and intervention services to students including psychoeducational testing, functional behavior assessment, and both individual and group counseling. Additionally, the school psychologist provides consultation and training to school staff and families.
  • The School Social Worker supports the mental health needs and development of students through individual and group counseling, as well as consultation with family and staff members. Additionally, the school social worker addresses student community issues by providing families with referrals to community-based resources.

The counseling team works collaboratively with families and MSD staff, in order to support the social and emotional development of students, as well as their mental health needs. Their services are typically delivered as individual or group-based counseling.


Counseling services provided at MSD include:

  • Character education
  • Crisis prevention and intervention
  • Guidance counseling
  • IEP-based counseling
  • Mental health counseling

Assessment Services


School-based psychological assessment services are available to all MSD students. Each campus has one school psychologist on staff. Both are certified through the Maryland State Department of Education. They work collaboratively with parents, teachers, and specialists to provide comprehensive assessments and recommendations as part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, as well as the Admissions Team.   


The MSD school psychologists possess specialized training and expertise in conducting comprehensive school-based psychological assessments with deaf and hard of hearing students of all ages to address a variety of developmental and learning needs. Areas that may be assessed by the school psychologist include:

  • Intellectual / cognitive functioning
  • Academic performance
  • Emotional / social / behavioral development
  • Functional / adaptive performance (daily living skills)

Additionally, the school psychologists oversee the delivery of school-based counseling, mental health, and behavioral support services, as well as provide consultation and training to school staff and families on a range of issues including child development, learning issues, and behavior management.


For additional information regarding counseling services at MSD, please contact:


Joseph B. Smail, Ph.D., NCSP

Email: [email protected]

Voice: 410-696-3025
VideoPhone: 410-696-7445


Joseph B. Smail, Ph.D., NCSP 
School Psychologist
Director of Mental Health & Behavioral Support Services
[email protected]
V: 410-696-3025
VP: 410-696-7445
Margaret Hill, LCSW-C
Social Worker
[email protected]
V: 410-696-3051
VP: 410-696-7437 
Lisa D. Smith, LCSW-C
Social Worker
[email protected]
V: 301-360-2062
VP: 240-575-2908