Mission Focus

Service Dogs Alabama: School Dogs Pilot Program - Outcomes

| Updated August 14, 2018

Trained service dogs benefit the classroom learning environment

Service Dogs Alabama is a nonprofit that provides medical and psychiatric service dogs to people with disabilities, and K-9s 4 Kids, a program that provides trained dogs to promote a calm learning environment in Alabama classrooms.

Below are the results of the pilot program for the School Project, which had the following goals:

  • To reduce stress in the classroom, during a counseling sessions, or during tests
  • To create opportunities for inclusion and participation for all students
  • To deflect any opportunities for conflict and diffuse defiant and disruptive behaviors.

The following data was collected from the pilot school program in Elmore County for 2015-2016 School Year. More information on the data collection review can be found here.

Academic effects of Follow the Lead with the use of a trained school dog:

  • The Student Growth Percentiles for students instructed by trained School Program handlers implementing the program reflected a significant impact.
    • Student Growth Percentiles compare student growth to his or her academic peers nationwide.
  • The average Student Growth Percentile (SGP) for students instructed within the program was 71 for Language Arts. This means that on average, the students reflected more growth than 71 percent of their peers nationwide in language arts assessments. This is significant, especially when compared to other classrooms that averaged 47 percent for their SGP.
  • 100 percent of the students reflected growth in all areas and subdomains in their state and county literacy and math testing.
  • County mathematics assessments are administered pre and post instruction. The difference between these pre and post tests reflect student growth. The classrooms with Follow the Lead (FTL) and a trained School Dog had 12 percent more growth than the classrooms without Follow the Lead and a trained School Dog. This means that the students with FTL performed 12 percent higher than students of the same grade level who were not instructed with FTL.
  • Star Literacy Tests results showed that students’ scores who were instructed with FTL were 28 percent higher than students who were not instructed with FTL. Positive growth was reflected in all areas of assessment for the students with FTL, while other classrooms’ data did not reflect growth in all areas.
  • 100 percent of teachers reported that there were fewer discipline issues with students.
  • 85.7 percent of teachers reported that there were significantly less discipline issues with students.
  • During the 2015-2016 school year, there were no discipline referrals to the office for any of the students due to issues in the classroom.

Behavioral effects of Follow the Lead with the use of a trained school dog:

  • 100 percent of teachers reported that there were fewer discipline issues with students.
  • 85.7 percent of teachers reported that there were significantly less discipline issues with students.
  • During the 2015-2016 school year, there were no discipline referrals to the office for any of the students due to issues in the classroom.

Participation and inclusion effects of Follow the Lead with the use of a trained school dog:

  • 100 percent of teachers reported that student inclusion and participation increased.
  • 93 percent of teachers reported that student inclusion and participation increased significantly.
  • Academic grades and assignments completed support this data.
  • Classroom environment effects of Follow the Lead with the use of a trained school dog:
  • 100 percent of the teachers reported a calmer classroom environment.
  • 100 percent of the teachers reported an environment more conducive for learning.
  • 100 percent of the teachers reported low stress levels with students and themselves.

K-9s 4 Schools is a program of Service Dogs Alabama. Our School Dogs are trained like Service Dogs with Public Access certification, but with additional commands to work off-leash in classrooms with multiple people.

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