Therapy dog highlighted on GA State School’s Superintendent’s tour of Lafayette High

LAFAYETTE, Ga. (WDEF) – The Georgia’s State School’s Superintendent Richard Woods made 3 stops in our area Wednesday afternoon.

News 12 joined him on a tour of Lafayette High and has a look at some of the things they discussed.

Richard Woods says, “Just trying to look at some innovative ways we can have an impact on improving mental health and services throughout the state, but [I’m] just seeing what’s going on and letting them brag on what they have to offer here.”

Administrators highlighted their Work Based Learning program, their agriculture program and various other programs.

They also stopped by to meet Jag, a therapy dog, who is in the classroom helping students both academically and socially.

Haylee Pendergraft says, “she will run up to you, she will make sure you pet her and she will make her rounds to everybody.”

Shylah is one of the students who Jag works with and Jag helps make her comfortable reading aloud.

Pendergraft says, “It’s like a man and his best friend with Shylah she can communicate better with Jag.”

Angie Ingram, the Director of Special Education for Walker County, says, “In the speech therapy session that I was able to observe, when Jags was present, it was very unique. The students were communicating openly.”

Ingram says, “the speech pathologist who serves this school is amazing and I think that using JAG as an extension of her therapy is ingenious.”

Susan Wesolek, Speech Language Pathologist, says, “kids with articulation impairment who are working on certain speech sounds, especially in high school, it is super uncomfortable to still have those errors and having Jag to be the person that you are practicing with is the least judgmental person to practice with that you can possibly have.”

Wesolek says, “For the most part, it is just way more fun and way more engaging when you have a Jag there and I am not sure what the magic about dogs is but it’s there.”

The students recently used their therapy dog Jag in their science class. They were able to get in touch with a scientist to conduct a DNA test to figure out what breed of dog she is.

The students were learning about DNA and found out that she’s a Poodle -Shih Tzu mix.

They are happy that her owner, Dr. Beverly Hedges.

Lanie Seiber says, “she is really like family … we love her and Dr. Hedges.”

Categories: Featured, Local News, Walker County

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