A dog's life at summer school

Three furry friends are on hand to assist the approximately 1,700 Lincoln Public Schools high school students attending classes this summer at Lincoln North Star High School. 

“It helps break any tension in the classroom,” English teacher Jacob Schneider said, noting how having dogs greeting students sets the tone for the class. "This helps kids calm down and helps students actively participate in class.”

Learn more about "The Power of Puppy" 

Meet our Therapy Dogs 

These pooches aren’t just someone’s pet that they decide to bring to class, but highly trained and LPS-certified therapy dogs that are re-certified biannually.

On Tuesday in the special education classroom, Etta - one of the three summer school dogs - basked in a party to celebrate her sixth birthday.

“The students are always excited to see her and they were asking questions like ‘how old is she’ and ‘when is her birthday’,” said Pam Robinson, summer school principal. “So we decided the students would like to celebrate her birthday and this is a second year they have thrown her a party.”

The party allows the students to practice their writing with birthday cards, and reading out loud to them in their class. Etta pays special attention to each of the students as they wish her a happy birthday.

“The student may not be wanting to do an activity, but if it is for Etta, they are much more willing,” added Robinson.

Robinson said each dog’s role in the school varies.

“There may be students that have a crisis at home, or come in upset. The dog is a calming factor. Students become more comfortable talking if they are petting the dog. Students read to the dogs or practice their speeches and they help the students relax. Maybe a student is unwilling to do a task, but are more willing if the dog is present. Some students like to be given a task, and it’s a reason for them to attend school.”

Published: June 20, 2017, Updated: June 22, 2017