Service dog helps motivate kids at Johnstown Elementary School

Local News

Johnstown Elementary School is taking a unique approach to learning.

They’re the only school in our region to have a service dog.

We’re always trying to think outside of the box to get students to learn and to be motivated to come to school, Kim Moore, assistant principal at Johnstown Elementary School, said. I feel like it’s just one more way that students feel really good about coming to school. It can improve attendance and the overall attitude of students while they’re here.

When the students see Vanna their faces light up. She hasn’t been at the school long, but she is already having a positive impact on students and faculty.

It brightens their day when they see her, Janelle McCoy, the psychologist at Johnstown Elementary School, said. You walk into a classroom and all you hear is ‘Vanna, Vanna!’ They really enjoy spending that time with her.

Vanna stays busy. She gives students academic, social and emotional support.

The golden retriever is there to help kids feel more connected to school, become more confident in their work and help them when they’re upset.

It definitely makes my job of coming to work so much more rewarding, Moore said. It just makes me feel like what we’re doing here is the right thing.

Moore and McCoy are Vanna’s two handlers.

They both went through an intensive two week training with the golden retriever before she came to the school.

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