March 25, 2024

CPS Expands Emotional Support Dog Program

Poppy and Lincoln will soon have co-workers

Expanding our Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) dog program at Charlotte Public Schools has been an incredible journey thanks to the support of Mental Health grant funding. We've partnered with the amazing nonprofit Canines for Change and introduced two specially trained support dogs into our district: Poppy at Washington Elementary and Lincoln at Charlotte Middle School at the start of the 23-24 school year. These furry friends have quickly become beloved members of our school community, bringing smiles wherever they go!

The impact of these support dogs goes beyond just companionship. Research has shown that having support dogs in schools can help students manage stress, process mental health concerns, and even improve academic engagement. They're like little superheroes, helping our students navigate through tough times and fostering important social-emotional skills along the way.

But we're not stopping there! We're excited to announce that we'll soon be adding support dogs to Galewood Elementary and the High School. Roman, who has been trained with early elementary special needs children, will be starting after Spring break at Galewood, and a 7 month old puppy will be training at the High School in the Spring.

We also have deposits on future puppies through this grant to add SEL dogs to Parkview and the CUE, with some of our staff hosts fostering puppies starting this month. Our goal is to have a dog in each school, along with a SEL dog in a floating capacity available throughout the district.  With trained handlers and supportive host families among our staff, we're committed to ensuring that every school in our district has access to the benefits of a support dog.

Our goal is simple: to create a nurturing environment where every student feels supported and empowered to succeed.