Teacher of the Month: Ruth Musolf
This month’s featured teacher is Ruth Musolf, Mutt-i-grees Peer Trainer and educator at Horizons Elementary School & YMCA School of the 21st Century After School Program in Appleton, WI.
From a young age, Ruth Musolf has been involved in animal rescue and rehabilitation. In 2009, she began working at Horizons Elementary School, where she quickly realized that if these students could be taught kindness and empathy toward animals, it would mean that the next generation would be more responsible toward future generations. After a year and a half, Ruth found the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum and was able to convince her school district to bring Mutt-i-grees to Appleton, WI. In 2012, she attended Mutt-i-grees professional development in Roslyn, NY, and began training staff in her area.
Horizons Elementary School has been using Mutt-i-grees as their social skills lesson on Monday mornings. The local police department’s K-9 unit visited the school to show students how animals not only love us, but also can play an important role in our community. Last year, the sixth grade class won the Mutt-i-grees® "America Adopts" Second Chance PSA Contest using Ruth’s two rescue dogs, Lucky and Scrappy, to receive a $1,500 grant!
Other schools in the district, such as Franklin Elementary, are using area shelter therapy dogs for their reading program. The district has received an additional grant, so they will be able to bring Mutt-i-grees to even more elementary schools in the area.
“I have greatly enjoyed using and teaching Mutt-i-grees,” says Ruth. “When people ask me why, it brings to mind my favorite lesson I Can Make A Difference from the Grades 4-6 binder. I built off of it to create a lesson that shows how each one of the students can make a difference in this world. First, I show a list of events in which one vote changed the course of history. Second, I show an interview of Cesar Millan and discuss how he has changed the lives of so many dogs and people while coming from such humble beginnings. Finally, I use the poem “I Am Only One”, along with a quote from Dean Morgan, to discuss how they, and only they, can make a difference in the life of another. It seems to have a real impact on the kids. Mutt-i-grees is what has helped me to make a difference!”
Congratulations, Ruth, and keep up the great work!