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Shelter Dogs, Also Known as Mutt-i-grees© Are Showing Educators & Students That Yes, We Care!

Arkansas Commissioner of Education to Receive Award at Conference Featuring Yale's School of the 21st Century, North Shore Animal League America and the Mutt-i-grees© Curriculum

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July 11, 2012, Little Rock, Arkansas – The Arkansas School of the 21st Century (AR21C) in collaboration with Yale University's School of the 21st Century and North Shore Animal League America (NSALA) present the 2012 National Conference in Little Rock, AR from July 25 – July 27 at The Holiday Inn Airport Conference Center. This year's conference will be significant – it is the first time in the history of the School of the 21st Century that students are participating as speakers. There will be presentations by two groups of high school students who are the first cohort of students to participate in the pilot of the high school phase of the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum.

The conference theme – Yes, We Care! – addresses the challenges that students today face and the need for schools to teach social and emotional skills, which gives them the ability to understand, express and manage emotions. The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum - created by North Shore Animal League America in partnership with Yale University School of the 21st Century and funded by The Cesar Millan Foundation – is a unique approach to teaching children social and emotional skills as well as highlighting the individual characteristics and needs of Mutt-i-grees®, or shelter pets. The Curriculum educates the next generation to be confident and caring, and to make a difference in the lives of people, animals and the environment. A 10th grader captured the essence of the program, noting, “The Curriculum makes sense in a desensitizing world.”

The development of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum began in 2009. The first three phases of the Curriculum – Pre-K through Grade 3, Grades 4 through 6, and Grades 7 and 8 – have been published, and are implemented in over 2,000 schools in over 40 states and Canada. Several school districts in Arkansas are participating in the development of the Curriculum as National Pilot Sites.

During the conference, students will use song, dance and other means of creative expression to convey their participation in the high school curriculum while showing the impact it has had on their academic performance. Other aspects of the Curriculum, and its impact on younger students, will be presented by teachers and administrators from schools in Kentucky, California, Connecticut and other states. Presenters will be joined by nationally recognized speakers from Sesame Workshop and other organizations who will present on topics ranging from early childhood, home visitations, and school-based health and funding opportunities for after-school programs.

North Shore Animal League America will be on hand along with its Mobile Pet Rescue and Adoption Unit. Each day, NSALA – the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization – will hold a cooperative pet adoption event with dogs and cats from the North Little Rock Animal Shelter.

To add to the excitement, attendees and other schools around the country will be encouraged to compete in the Mutt-i-grees PSA National Contest – an opportunity for one lucky school to win a $10,000 Grand Prize and a personal visit from renowned dog behavior expert and animal activist Cesar Millan!


  • Opening Reception at the Governor's Mansion, co-hosted by AR21C and NSALA, and honoring the Paragould School of the 21st Century for 20 years of excellence in education. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and First Lady Ginger Beebe will be participating in the reception. The 2012 Mutt-i-grees Students Advocacy Award will be presented to second and fourth grade students from Clinton, AR and Paragould, AR.
  • Arkansas Commissioner of Education Tom W. Kimbrell will receive the First Annual Excellence in Education Award.
  • Plenary Presentation, Wednesday, July 25th: Healthy Students in School-Based Wellness Centers: What’s Next?
  • Plenary Presentation: Thursday, July 26th: From Sesame Workshop! Everyday Moments: Fostering the Whole Child
  • Student Showcases – Peace, Love, Mutts! and Puppies and Poodle Skirts: A Tribute to the King!
  • North Shore Animal League America Mobile Pet Adoption Event – Dogs and cats available for adoption from the North Little Rock Animal Shelter. Also included will be individual photo sessions with conference attendees and participating pets.

For more information on the 21C Educational Conference or the on the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, please visit or visit

ABOUT THE MUTT-I-GREES CURRICULUM The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum is an innovative program that builds on the affinity between children and animals, providing a unique context to teach compassion, empathy and social responsibility. Developed by the Yale School of the 21st Century in collaboration with North Shore Animal League America, and graciously funded by the Millan Foundation, the Curriculum highlights the unique characteristics and desirability of shelter dogs, known as Mutt-i-grees.

ABOUT YALE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THE 21ST CENTURY The 21C program transforms schools into multi-service centers offering guidance and support for parents; all day, year-round preschool; before and after school and vacation care for school age children; health education and services; training for child care providers, and information and referral services for families. The Arkansas 21C program is one of three State 21C Networks in the country; It is governed by the AR 21 C Leadership Council with funding from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

ABOUT THE CESAR MILLAN FOUNDATION Animal activist and world-renowned dog behaviorist Cesar Millan officially established the Cesar Millan Foundation with the mission to create and deliver community humane education programs and promote animal welfare. Since its inception in 2007, the Cesar Millan Foundation has provided grants and materials to hundreds of non-profit animal organizations to support the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of abused and abandoned dogs, donated emergency assistance through the Daddy's Emergency Animal Rescue (DEAR) Fund, and contributed critical funding and professional insight to develop The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum with The Pet Savers Foundation, in collaboration with the Yale University School of the 21st Century. For more information visit

ABOUT NORTH SHORE ANIMAL LEAGUE AMERICA The Animal League has saved more than 1,000,000 lives. As the world's largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization, we understand that a rescue isn't complete until each animal is placed into a loving home. Our innovative programs provide education to reduce animal cruelty, and advance standards in animal welfare. Our staff and volunteers work tirelessly in the pursuit of our vision of a world where all companion animals find permanent homes to end euthanasia. For more information, visit

Lindsey Calabrese
North Shore Animal League America
Office: 516.883.7900 X482
Cell: 516.840.0066

North Shore Animal League America - Home of the Mutt-i-gree® - headquartered in Port Washington, NY, is the largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization in the world. The Animal League reaches across the country to rescue, nurture and adopt 20,000 pets into happy and loving homes each year. Over the past decade, the Animal League saved over 200,000 lives and has saved 1,000,000 animals since its inception. “Like” us at, follow us at To learn more about animal rescue and welfare, visit

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