Students and teacher watch crane flies WHAT IS A SMILE CLUB?
The SMILE clubs are the foundation of the SMILE Program. The clubs are for minority students, students who are from low income households, and those who would be the first in their families to go to college. The SMILE clubs meet weekly for one to two hours of hands-on STEM activities. They are organized by grade level and average about 20 students per club. Typically, the clubs are run out of a local school and are advised by math or science teachers in the school.


There are four main elements that make the program successful:

  • Teacher Professional Development: Teachers are required to participate in annual workshops
  • The Pathway: SMILE is a continuous program, spanning from 4th to 12th grade. It includes weekly club meetings and annual events
  • College Connection: SMILE links students to Oregon's public universities and promotes college and career awareness
  • Statewide Community: Supportive network of clubs in rural communities across Oregon

Students apply each fall for membership into the SMILE Club. Students must be working at grade level, receiving grades of C or better, have good behavior, and be recommended by a teacher. Priority is given to students who were previously SMILE members (to encourage continuity), minority students, students who are low income, and those who would be the first in their families to go to college.

Each club is led by one or two club teachers, depending on the number of students. They are typically math or science teachers from the school. These teachers commit to planning and facilitating weekly, after school SMILE Club meetings, occasional field trips, and to holding an annual SMILE Family Math and Science Night for their school community. Teachers also prepare students and bring them to the annual SMILE Challenge and College Connection events. Teachers must agree to attend two to three professional development workshops coordinated by SMILE during the school year.

Learn how to become a SMILE club teacher.