RAVENA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The staff at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School welcomed the newest member to their team this week—Archie, the Facility Dog. Archie is the first dog to be introduced as part of the school district’s Facility Dog Program, which brings highly-trained therapy dogs into school buildings for the full day whenever classes are in session.

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, having a dog present in the classroom promotes a positive mood and provides significant anti-stress effects on the body. Therapy dogs also provide a ‘connection’ with students that allow them to become more than an occasional friend or visitor to the classroom. The study also indicates the connection between interacting with animals and its impact on improving social interaction.

Archie spent his first week in the High School from Monday, September 12, until Friday. He spent his time getting acclimated to his new surroundings and working with his handling team.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Archie into our classrooms,” said one of Archie’s handlers and High School English Teacher Kasey LaBarge. “Archie has already brought so much joy and love to our building, and we are so excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.”

Archie has a team of handlers in the high school made up of a diverse group of staff members, allowing him to spend time in different environments with a variety of different students. His training will continue over the course of the next year, helping him become more confident and patient.

“This is just the beginning of our Facility Dog Program,” said Superintendent Brian Bailey. “Over the next two years, we will be expanding into the rest of our buildings. We can’t wait to bring these wonderful opportunities and experiences to our entire school community.”