Sand Springs elementary students reading to a dog

Thursday, September 11th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Sand Springs School has a new teacher's pet. Man's best friend is helping out in the classroom. News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson has that story.

She's motivating kids and giving them a listening ear. It's not a new teacher at Pratt Elementary, but a dog that's winning student's hearts. It’s one-year old Mattie. And Pratt Elementary at 301 West 34th Street has been her second-home since last January.

She roams the halls, drifting in an out of classrooms keeping an eye on students. In the evening, Mattie goes home with the principal Jim Roberts. But during the day, she's just another Pratt Patriot.

A local breeder donated Mattie to Pratt, after a grant for a school dog was denied. Although, Mattie hasn't completed all of her training yet, she's already making a difference at the school. She sits with students while they practice reading.

And teachers have found a new way to encourage students to do their work. 9-year-old Laura Shand, "Cause as soon as you're done with the work you can pet er if she comes in the classroom so I like to have Mattie around."

Pratt Elementary principal Jim Roberts: "They're just used to being around her. Teachers have used her as motivation. Work quietly and Mattie will come and that's worked very effectively."

You would think a playful puppy would be distracting in an elementary school. But Principal Jim Roberts says it's just the opposite.