Peaceful Paws Pilot Program

  • Introducing Peaceful Paws - A Therapy Dog Pilot Program at Hillview


    Kellie Raczkowski and Jacky Schlegel with therapy dog brown Labrador Retriever named Eclair Menlo Park City School District is excited to announce a pilot program to bring a highly trained service dog from Canine Assistants to Hillview Middle School.  Canine Assistants is a non-profit organization that trains and provides service dogs for children and adults who have physical disabilities or other special needs. A Menlo Park family has a dog named Eclair from Canine Assistants and is donating Eclair to us to spend some time at Hillview each week.


    Research has shown a strong synergy between children and animals.  Recent studies have demonstrated that spending time with animals can improve children’s attitudes toward school and learning and can have a significant positive impact on children’s social and emotional health, including reducing stress and anxiety.  MPCSD is expanding its focus on the social-emotional well-being of students, so we are capitalizing on this connection by allowing a pilot group of Hillview students to have optional, regular visits, on campus, with Eclair the service dog. 


    Eclair will be on campus under direct supervision by counselor Kellie Raczkowski and/or 6/7th grade teacher Jacky Schlegel on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting Tuesday, Feb. 25.  During these times, Eclair will be located in Ms. Raczkowski's office or Ms. Schlegel’s classroom; their students have completed permission slips to allow Eclair to spend time in their rooms and both educators have completed training with Canine Assistants.


    In addition, there may be times when Eclair is out on campus with Ms. Raczkowski or Ms. Schlegel. During this time, students who are not allergic to dogs are welcome to approach Eclair using the following guidelines:


    Therapy dog named Eclair visits teacher Jacky Schlegel's classroom Approach - Students may approach Eclair during Brunch or Lunch. Leaving a classroom is not a responsible time to come visit.  When students approach Eclair, they need to walk up slowly.  Eclair can have up to 3 students with her.  If there are already 3 students around Eclair, students need to wait for someone to leave before they approach.

    Ask - Students must ask to pet Eclair, and the staff member must respond back to them before they pet her.  This ensures that the staff member is aware of both Eclair's behavior and the students' actions.  

    Pet - Eclair likes to smell a closed hand first and then get a pet or scratch on her back or rump.

    Goodbye - If there are other students present that would like a turn, then students are asked to say a quick hi & goodbye to Eclair so that others may have a turn, too.


    If you have any questions about this pilot program, feel free to reach out to Theresa Fox, Coordinator for Technology & Innovation.  (, or 650-321-7140, x5615