This year, students at Franklin Elementary School in Keene have a new friend to get acquainted with. Her name is Chloe and she’s 4 years old — or about 33, if you count in dog years.
The chocolate Lab began visiting the school this month through a new therapy dog program launched this year. Therapy dogs have visited other schools throughout the Keene School District in recent years, but what makes Chloe different is that she’s not part of an outside program. She belongs to the school’s behavior interventionist, Alicia Kinson.
Chloe will accompany Kinson to school on Fridays, when she guest teaches in different classes. Her lessons center around social emotional learning, she said, including topics such as bullying prevention.
“I’ve done research and found a lot of research that supports that having a dog in an environment, not just a school, can really reduce stress and anxiety and is a great tool to help teach relationship skills and empathy and a lot of these skills that kids seems to be missing,” Kinson said.
Incorporating a therapy dog into her work is something Kinson has been interested in for a while, she said. But until about a year ago, when she adopted Chloe from a family who could no longer care for her, Kinson didn’t have a dog to go through certification with.
“It was pretty clear after getting her how much she loves people,” Kinson said. “And so I felt like this is definitely something that she should do.”
Chloe’s visited the school a couple of times so far, and the children are loving it, Kinson said. Every family at Franklin opted to participate in the program, according to Principal Erik Kress.
“It was like red carpet Hollywood,” he said. “She was the star on the red carpet.”
For now, the school is taking it slow to determine the best ways Chloe can benefit all students, he said. And as students get to know her, they’ve already been able to have conversations about topics like personal space, as they’re taught to ask before they pet Chloe.
“I think beyond just kids being excited that there’s a dog, we’re going to learn about what works really well. Is it students get to read to Chloe, or do students get to take her for walks with Ms. Kinson?” Kress said. “That’s what I mean when we’re kind of paving the road as we go.”
Rindge Woman’s Club offers scholarships
The Rindge Woman’s Club is offering two scholarships for Rindge residents for the winter/spring 2020 semester.
A $1,000 President’s Scholarship is open to any Rindge resident — graduating high school senior or adult — who is studying a trade at college or a trade school, including building trades, automotive, health care, culinary and cosmetology.
The second $1,000 scholarship is open to adult women who plan to return to school to gain new skills for employment or career advancement. The funds can be used for a certificate program, or for an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or master’s degree at an accredited institution. Preference will be given to women seeking an undergraduate degree.
Fitzwilliam school’s new playground to open
Emerson Elementary School in Fitzwilliam is celebrating the opening of its new playground with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday. The finished project features three structures and provides about twice as much play space as the school’s old playground equipment.
ConVal student, teacher win awards
This fall, ConVal Regional High School junior Brigham Boice of Peterborough was presented with the Daughters of the American Revolution Mary Desha Medal for Youth. Brigham was jointly nominated for the award by the Mary Varnum Platts-Peterborough Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution and the Reprisal Chapter in Newport.
The award honors a young person who has shown outstanding service to the community through participation or leadership in conservation, sports, scouting, church or community activities.
Brigham took an interest in Peterborough’s history at a young age, completing a school project on the history of the railroad in town when he was in 4th grade. He has gone on to recreate old photos of historic Peterborough in ink and pencil, volunteer as a colonial interpreter at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture and even create an interactive game called “Newpast: Peterborough 1886” depicting the town as it once was.
“I have been enormously impressed with Brigham’s dedication to the programs and his ability to share his knowledge in a friendly and accessible way with our museum guests,” said Michelle Stahl, executive director of the Monadnock Center for History and Culture. “His work ethic and his communication skills are comparable to a seasoned professional and are so appreciated when found in a youth volunteer!”
Another member of the ConVal community was recently honored by the Mary Varnum Platts-Peterborough Chapter. Engineering teacher Karen Fabianski has been awarded a Helen Pouch Memorial Fund Classroom Grant.
The $500 grant — one of 51 given nationally for proposed classroom projects — will support the purchase of a large screen television monitor to show high resolution images.
What’s going on in your school? Education reporter Meg McIntyre can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or firstname.lastname@example.org.