The FSDS has continued to grow and evolve, and the community is able to witness external signs of this. Examples in the past year are the addition of staff members and the opening of our new community-based training program. What is not readily apparent though is the efforts behind the scenes to improve our ability to gather program metrics designed to evaluate the effectiveness of these changes, and adjust accordingly. Among our core philosophies is the notion that your trust must be earned, and as such transparency is essential. This month, and in the months that follow we will be reporting on some of the program metrics in place, the implications of these and the responses of the FSDS in order to put this information to the very best possible use. This month we evaluate the revised SD 101 curriculum.
Our evaluation takes into account both the scores of all students who have completed the course (in-house and outreach), as well as the scores of program graduates on the exit survey.
In June of 2015 the FSDS launched its new online didactic training in an effort to better meet the needs of our clients with learning challenges. This came after a full year of exhaustive work to modernize the old process in an effort to respond to the witnessed needs of our challenged learners. Learning challenges take on many forms, including but not limited to developmental issues, chronic pain, PTSD and medications that cause impairment of memory and concentration. Based on the performance metrics of our old curriculum it was apparent that there were still students who were unable to master materials and changes were needed. Using the newly revised curriculum, we set our initial standards to be 90% of students should achieve a score of 70% or higher on didactic material on first attempt.
Since 6/1/2015 there have been 37 students who have completed the new online class
- mean average = 87.92%
- scores range from low of 76.19% to high of 98.9%
- 97.3% of students scored 80% or higher
- 59.45% of students scored 90% or higher
- there were no students who scored lower than 76%
Exit survey questions included:
- Rate SD 101 on scale of 1-4 for user-friendliness: 3.83 out of 4 (95.75%)
- Was time sufficient to complete lessons: 100% responded yes
- Rate effectiveness of course in conveying information: 4 out of 4 (100%)
- Rate quizzes for ease of understanding: 4.83 out of 5 (96.6%)
- Overall satisfaction with SD 101: 4.83 out of 5 (96.6%)
What we are able to conclude from this analysis is that though overhauling the curriculum was a tedious process, it has brought about the desired improvements in student performance and satisfaction. Our new target goal is that 90% of students shall score 75% or higher on first attempt, and we are currently witnessing a 100% success rate. It is important to us that we continue to set the bar high in order to ensure the long-term success of our students as well as the integrity of the program.
Congratulations to Tom Linton!
This past month, we received the exciting news that SD recipient Thomas W. Linton has been selected for induction into the AZ Veterans Hall of Fame Society. He joins a very elite group of decorated and distinguished Arizona military veterans.
Thomas Wyrell Linton II, or Tom as he is known to his friends, was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1940. He is a US Marine and Vietnam veteran. Tom retired from the military as a Gunnery Sergeant in 1973 after being wounded. For the past 42 years, he has been an active member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), including service as State Treasurer on the Finance Committee. Tom has logged over 1,300 hours of volunteer service at the Phoenix VA Medical Center and was instrumental in helping to establish the first Veterans Treatment Court.
In 2014 the FSDS rewarded Tom’s service by providing him with his SD “Charlie” at no cost to him. Since that time, Tom and Charlie have been an Ambassador Team, serving as spokesperson for the FSDS. Tom is passionate about providing SDs to veterans at no cost, and helping to connect other veterans in need with services.
In addition to the above, Tom is a true joy to work with. He is best known to the FSDS for being a good man, a great mentor to our young participants and a real inspiration to all who have been fortunate to meet him. We are delighted to learn that he will be honored, as we could not possibly imagine a more deserving person than Tom.
This past month has been a busy one for our teams as they prepare for the upcoming Public Access Test. Upon passing this test, the teams will each be awarded their yellow in-training vest and will receive clearance from the program to take their dogs everywhere in public with them. This past month several of our teams have passed the Canine Good Citizen test.
FSDS Employee of the Year
This year, the FSDS has begun a new tradition of honoring the employee who has gone above and beyond to help make the FSDS successful. Though our current staff are all hard-working and are to be applauded for doing a wonderful job, there is always that one who stands out above the others. This year, we are proud to recognize the dedicated efforts of our lead teacher, Veronica Wiley.
Veronica is a graduate of the Animal Behavior College, a state certified teacher, licensed Vet Tech, Canine Safety Instructor Trainer and our lead teacher since 2013. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior. She will be instrumental in helping the FSDS to establish a breeding program to ensure the quality of our dogs. The wife of a military veteran and the daughter of a police officer, Veronica is personally invested in providing services to our population of students. Congratulations on a job well done!
New Class to Begin Late Summer / Early Fall
Are you a military veteran or first responder in need of a SD? The FSDS is accepting application from individuals interested in obtaining a service dog for their needs. Some key features of this program are:
- injuries need not be combat or job related…the FSDS rewards the years of service, not the injury
- opportunity to team train with your SD
- comprehensive program is both service dog AND job training
- graduates are eligible for hire in our Back to Work Program
Contact us for more information.
Work in Progress
The FSDS is committed to constant improvement, and to that end we are in the process of updating our ability to measure the performance of our programs and services. Among the many updates we have put in place since May are:
- exit surveys for all program graduates
- updated tracking instruments for Outreach Teams and Evaluators
- updated tracking for all in-house teams
- 2016 revision for measurable goals and objectives
- tracking instrument for website statistics
- Board self-assessment
- updated performance evaluation for all staff
- updates on all policies and procedures
We are truly appreciative of the many who have taken the time to provide us with the valuable feedback that we have used to implement these improvements. Please f
Summer is often a time for increased outdoor activities with your dog. Just as you protect yourself from sunburn, we remind you to protect your dog as well.
Light colored, short haired or hairless dogs are at particular risk. The most vulnerable spots to protect are the muzzle (particularly white patches on the muzzle) and the ears. Sunburn can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. We urge you to speak to your veterinarian regarding protection of your dog. While some support the use of sunscreen, other do not. Products can be licked off, causing illness or even death.
Limit the time that your dog is exposed to direct sunlight, and have a safe and happy summer.
We wish to thank the following sponsors for their support of the FSDS programs and mission during the month of July:
- C.R. Bard, Inc.
- Sue Vereb
We also wish to express our sincere and ongoing thanks to the Phoenix Police Department for allowing us to use facility space to run our community-based training program.
Friday, August 12th from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Apache Junction Community Veterans Center- the FSDS will be on hand to provide information to military veterans in need of a SD