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Dear Johnson Families,

I am excited to share with you that Johnson Elementary School is piloting a program entitled the Pawsitive Peers Program. Basically, Johnson will have a properly trained and certified dog on campus for all students in which to interact in established settings or for specific purposes. At this point, a dog has been identified and is going through the training process. We are very hopeful that Henry Davidson Zeus Johnson, a puppy, will pass his final exam and join our staff in October 2019. The other pilot schools are East Valley Academy, Kino Junior High, Mountain View High School, and Rhodes Junior High. Mesa Public Schools is piloting the Pawsitive Peers Foundation school dog program developed by North Shore Animal League America using the Mutt-i-grees® curriculum. The district has partnered with Arizona Humane Society, Arizona Animal Welfare League, and Maricopa County Animal Care and Control to identify compatible dogs for school staff to adopt and have trained. Participating MPS staff and their dogs (care teams) are certified by Pet Partners and are registered with the Therapy Animal Program. The Mutt-i-grees® curriculum is written by Yale University and will be used to incorporate lessons on social and emotional learning, resiliency, empathy and the human-animal bond. Students may also interact directly with dogs for more individualized learning opportunities. Additionally, these dogs can serve as a trusted companion in the counseling, nurse or administrative offices for crisis intervention, behavioral de-escalation, or simply to address stress, anxiety and/or isolation. We look forward to this new addition to the Johnson community, and the wonderful opportunities this special relationship will have for students and staff.


Gregory S. Reid, Ed.D.

Henry with a ball in his mouth