A suburban school district is taking a chance on a new staff member.
Meet Davis. She is a pup helping to boost attendance and morale from the classroom to the teacher’s lounge.
Kelly Robinson is a school social worker at Frankfort Square Elementary.
“We each had to make goals as staff members and our superintendent’s theme this year was ‘Think big.’ And so we had to write a goal that was ‘think big,’” Davis said. “Why not make this a think big goal and this is thinking big and we threw it out there to see what would happen.”
And after a lot of research and proposal the school board approved Robinson’s plan.
“I immediately started crying. It was a combination of extreme shock and happiness and I was like ‘Well, this is really going to happen,’” she said.
Robinson got in contact with the group Healing Hearts Comfort Dogs which trained Davis for three years for this moment.
Lisa Hyde is a teacher at Frankfort Square Elementary.
“A lot of our students are filled with anxiety in the morning or anxious about a test,” she said. “So when they come in in the morning, they see Davis and they get to pet Davis (and) you can see all that anxiousness just melt away.”
Frankfort square is one of the latest schools in the Chicago area to see that benefit. And it has been a lot of help for so many, it seems. The pandemic and remote learning disrupted what was “normal” for school life for so long.
Jason Isdonas is the principal.
“The kids really want to be here. We’re seeing attendance go up. We’re seeing behaviors down. And we’re seeing overall the culture and climate of Frankfort Square School even more positive than it was back in November,” he said.
For teachers, the grade on Davis is an A+.
“It’s eons beyond what I thought,” Robinson said. “I knew it would be a positive impact but just to see how it is, to have her here and see the impact is just unbelievable.”