About the program
Hello Highland Arts Families,
I am excited to share with you that Highland Arts Elementary School is adopting a program entitled the Pawsitive Peers Program. Basically, Highland Arts will have several properly trained and certified dogs on campus for all students in which to interact in established settings or for specific purposes. At this point, three dogs have passed the training process and three more have been identified and are going through the training process.
Mesa Public Schools adopted 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 these new additions to our Highland Arts community, and the wonderful opportunities this special relationship will have for students and staff.