2021 Education magazine

Page 30 2021 Education Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS February 18, 2021 • A young lady who struggled with academic functioning and behavioral regulation issues found Casey to be a huge help in her learning process. Casey got a treat for every three questions that were answered. With Casey by her side, she went through the entire assignment for the day. Upon completion, she cried, “I wanna do more. Casey is still hungry.” • For another student with test anxiety, Casey was a snoring companion. During the test, the student continued to reach over to stroke the sleeping therapy dog and finished the test in record time. After finishing the test, she told Hesse, “Thank you. That really helped.” Casey does things that people can’t do. People have expectations of people, but Casey does not have any expectations. As long as kids are paying attention to her, she is happy. Students Stella Polley, Reed Polley, and Clara Kessinger all agreed that Casey makes them feel better when they are at school. They are happy when she is in the classroom and wish she could be there more often. Teachers reach out to Hesse when they have a job for Casey. A schedule is made for the two of them before they get to school each Wednesday morning. It is easy to overschedule Casey because the need is so great. When asked if there would be a second therapy dog someday, Irwin responded, “Maybe down the road.” Irwin added, “If it’s good for our kids, then let’s do it! It has been good for our kids and that is exciting to see! It is good for our teachers. What I love about it is the whole Eeyore and Tigger thing. Eeyores don’t learn. Tiggers do. And so, if we get kids here and those Eeyores turn into Tiggers, think of our academic achievement. The vision and mission of Chester East is that students feel safe, welcomed, and loved. It is so cool that we have someone besides us that makes them feel that way. It’s exciting to have another tool; one that we have never had before.” The parents love the program! Parents were notified before Casey came to the school for the first time. Second grade teacher Sara Boyd said she was glad that Casey visited her class first thing in the morning, around 8:30 a.m., because “I don’t think we would have gotten anything done. The kids were so excited.” Boyd added, “It wasn’t 30 minutes after school that parents wanted to know where the pictures (of the visit) were.” One of her students wrote about Casey’s first visit to the classroom, “That was the best day of my life.” There are still difficult things that can happen that are outside of the control of students and teachers. But Hesse and Casey are easing the way at school. Hesse tells the kids, “Casey can’t fix everything. She’s not erasing (sad) things, but she can help you through them and make it a little better for you.” [Lisa Ramlow]