PTA Meeting May 1st Agenda (Board Seat Elections)

Our next PTA Meeting is this coming Monday (May 1st) starting at 6:30pm in the Whitmore-Bolles school cafeteria.

We will first be accepting any nominations to the positions of President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary.  This will be followed by a vote to fill those seats for this coming school year.

Please consider coming out to add your vote.  Your input and your valuable time is so important to insure we can continue to support our Kids, our School and our Teachers.

Child care will be provided and I believe we will be having a very special guest.

Hope to see you then!

May Agenda

Election News and PTA Meeting Minutes (April)

I’m happy to announce that we have a full PTA Board Seat Ticket ready to be ratified for the 2017-2018 school year.  Thanks to all of those who have stepped forward to volunteer for another year as well as our newcomers!

Nominations are of course still open and if you are interested in a seat please contact me prior to our May 1st meeting so a ballot can be put together if need be.

Attached you will find the Meeting minutes draft from our meeting on April 10th.

PTA-Minutes-April-2017

Therapy Dog at Whitmore-Bolles?

Dear Parents,

Increasingly, school educators across the country and even internationally are starting to realize the benefits of therapy dogs in the school environment. Unfortunately, the majority of elementary, middle and high schools have yet to fully tap into this tremendous tool that can greatly serve its students.

Over the years, numerous research studies have been undertaken to validate the benefits of animal assisted activity and in particular the contribution of therapy dogs. Empirical evidence has shown that therapy dogs can enhance children’s psychological development, improve social skills, and increase self-esteem among other benefits. Dogs can also teach responsibility, compassion, and respect for other living things. Dogs in the classroom can be used to calm fears, relieve anxiety, and teach skills. Here is a summary of potential benefits:

  • Physical – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses
  • Social – a visit with a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, promotes greater self-esteem and well-being, and focused interaction with others
  • Cognitive – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem solving and game playing
  • Emotional – an adorable four-legged visitor improves self-esteem, acceptance from others, and lifts mood often provoking laughter
  • Environmental – a dog in a facility decreases the feeling of a sterile environment, lifts mood and this continues after visits

Research has demonstrated that therapy dogs properly managed in the school setting can not only make a measurable difference in terms of gaining various skills such as reading enhancement, but also in contributing critically to emotional and relational development.

School staff are finding that the presence of a therapy dog can decrease anxiety and enable students to work through issues such as anger management, bullying tendencies and others psycho/social problems thus improving student engagement and achievement.

The introduction of a non-threatening therapy dog can serve as a catalytic vehicle for forming adaptive and satisfactory social interactions. Guided activities and group discussions help teach students how to handle interpersonal conflicts and develop constructive responses.

Questions and concerns are inevitable when it comes to introducing a new and perhaps perceived radical program into a school. The reality is that many of the objections can be adequately met when schools do their homework, prepare teachers and students properly, communicate clearly with parents, and work with qualified and competent therapy dog organizations.

Let’s look more closely at some of the concerns:

  • Allergic reactions. Understandably, parents and educators may be concerned about potential allergic reactions to dogs within the school environment. However, qualified dog handlers are required by their organizations to meet cleanliness and grooming requirements minimizing allergic contact. Dogs also are only put in situations where students voluntarily participate thus avoiding risky contact.

 

  • Fear of dogs. There is no doubt that some children have had very traumatic experiences with a pet or have never been exposed to one before, thus having a severe fear of contact with a dog. Because the therapy dog program is implemented by permission or voluntarily, and only in areas where unwanted contact with a dog can be avoided, the fear issue can be minimized. Experience and research has also shown that with proper guidance and handling, children can learn to overcome their fear of animals and with it, grow in respect and appreciation of them.

Do you think our school community could benefit from a therapy dog’s services?  Please give us your feedback by filling out this short survey.

Therapy Dog Survey