During the 2016-2017 school year, an ARCHS' community partnership with Purina® has introduced Mutt-i-grees® to theAfter School for All Partnership for St. Louis (ASAP). Over the past year, the staffs of ASAP's 30 after school program sites have participated in Mutt-i-grees® trainings, with many locations implementing the curricula in fun and innovative ways.

Mutt-i-grees®seeks to build calm, confident, and caring children. Its innovative PreK-12 social/emotional learning curriculum highlights the unique characteristics of shelter pets (mutts) to teach essential skills for academic and life success.

The project is designed for use in various classroom settings, character education, after school programs, and libraries. More than 4,000 schools in over 40 states are using the curriculum, often in conjunction with bullying prevention and efforts to enhance school climate. Lesson plans align with the National Health Education Standards and Common Core State Standards.

Locally, Purina® provides professional development from North Shore Animal League of New York, grade-level lesson plans, pre-post evaluation by Yale University's School of the 21st Century, animal visits by local assistance/therapy pet organizations, and library resources. At the end of this school year, many ASAP sites were visited by dogs from CHAMP.

Photo: A CHAMP assistance dog visits the ASAP after school program at Mann Elementary School. Photo by Diane Page.