Enjoy, folks. I wish every school had a dog like Coco to comfort and calm students and staff…
I went to school with Mom Monday, Wednesday, and Friday again this week. It was a busy and fast-paced week, and Mom says I did a great job supporting students and staff. Although this is not the reason I go to school with Mom, I know I also help to keep her calm.
On Monday, I worked mostly with the behavior specialist and the guidance counselor with students. One student was having an especially difficult day, and he and I spent lots of time together in the behavior specialist’s room. He and I are very close, and I can tell when he is struggling. He loves to hug me and pet me, and he lets me give him kisses and rest my head on him when he talks and completes work. I also visited a sixth grade learning center, where students were grateful for the academic break and a chance to pet me and talk to Mom. After that, Mom and I stopped by to see students in the Transitional Learning Center. They were also happy to see me. After school, I relaxed at Mom’s feet for two hours while she and the principal worked on a project.
On Wednesday, I worked with the behavior specialist and the guidance counselor again for most of the day, helping students in small groups, and helping them one-on one. Mom brought me to the sixth grade learning center again, and students enjoyed some time with me. Lots of teachers also visited with me throughout the day, and I visited with the custodians. I enjoyed class at night at NB Productions, and, as always, Mom and I learned a lot.
On Friday, Mom and I began our day delivering classroom coverage slips and practicing our obedience. I love that Mom lets me practice off-leash at school – she says I do pretty well off-leash. My favorite part of obedience training is practicing the finishes (in formal obedience there is a part of the recall called the finish, when a dog is required to either circle around the right side of the handler, or circle on the left side, and then sit in heel position) because I get lots of treats. Mom doesn’t give me many treats through the rest of our practice because I don’t need them and I generally do what I am supposed to, but I only “finish” for treats.
During morning homeroom, Mom and I visited with one of my friends, and we took a nice walk outside. The student was very proud to be walking me, talking to Mom about her week and how proud she was that she had “earned” taking me for a walk.
Many students spent time with me in Mom’s office – some read to me, and some petted me and talked to Mom. One student sat with me while he watched the Fifth Grade Parent Orientation Night video with Mom – he was so proud of the footage and photos he contributed. He was beaming when he saw the video clip of his interview with Mom and me, and he told us he cannot wait to show the video to his friends.
I took several walks outside since it was so nice. Three sixth grade girls walked outside with Mom and me during their Homeroom Connection time. While we were out there, we encountered so many other students who wanted to pet me (of course, I was more than happy to oblige…). One of the sixth graders who was walking me said, “This is so awesome! I wish we could walk Coco outside every day!” Another one said, “Being outside with a dog on a beautiful spring day – doesn’t get much better than this!” Mom and I agree. Later, two seventh grade boys took me for a walk with Mom, and then at the end of the day, each of the students in the Transitional Learning Center took me for a walk.
As teachers stopped by to talk with Mom throughout the day about students and specific issues and concerns, they petted me and talked to me. The custodians all spent some time with me, as well. After school, a parent came by unexpectedly to talk to Mom. I could feel that he was upset, but he and Mom had a calm and thoughtful conversation. He loves dogs, and Mom thinks I helped keep him calm during the conversation.
Next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, approximately 70 students and 8 teachers will be involved in the standardized PARCC testing for 2-3 hours in the morning. Despite the level of stress – actually, BECAUSE of the level of stress – I will accompany Mom on those days. She knows I will help keep students and staff calm as they pilot the new assessment tool. ~Coco