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Levittown, PA: School adds therapy dog to "relieve agitation, anxiety/stress"

Mar 18, 2019, Levittown, PA, Bucks County Courier Times: Therapy dogs give students educational boost in Bucks schools https://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/news/20190318/therapy-dogs-give-students-educational-boost-in-bucks-schools Centennial School District Superintendent David Baugh recently purchased a Yellow Labrador Retriever named Jake who will be both Baugh’s personal pet and the district’s full-time therapy dog. … “Bailey now primarily works with special needs students in Stephanie Lombardo’s classroom,” she said. “Bailey helps keep students calm prior to test taking. Students spend time each week reading to Bailey one-on-one. Many of the students have improved and moved their reading level up a grade level since working with him.” Students also help take care of Bailey, which teaches them responsibility and helps them with general life skills once they leave school, Phy said. Rocky has been an equally valuable asset at Snyder, she added. “In the four years Rocky has been at Snyder, he has helped bring the school together by creating a strong sense of community,” Phy said. “Students who may feel anxious, upset or frustrated visit Rocky to relax and relieve agitation, anxiety and/or stress. Student confidence levels have greatly improved, and they feel more relaxed to participate in classroom discussions and activities.” … “With special ed classes, having the dogs visit on a regular basis helps those students with developing social skills and helps them cognitively and behaviorally,” she said. “Having dogs around helps them to calm down and make them more receptive to new experiences. Our dogs have started visiting some of the specialized classes on the secondary (middle and high schools) level as well.” The dogs assist with autistic support, multiple disability, learning support and life skills classes, Fleck said. … Pennsbury School District Special Education Director Sherri Morett said therapy dogs are used at Quarry Hill and Eleanor Roosevelt elementary schools and Village Park Academy to help students with social, emotional and life skills needs. …