Durango School District 9-R has a new addition to the teaching staff. Although she’s smaller than most of the students she works with, Misty has already made a significant impact. Assisting students with everything from practicing interview questions, learning how to read facial expressions, learning different types of coding, and hall patrol, Misty the Robot shows a new way to help students learn how to interact with the world around them. By Hannah Robertson This story is sponsored by ServiceMaster Restore and The Payroll Department
She may stand no taller than your knee, but she is making an impact on the students she works with. Misty helps students practice for interviews for internships at Big Picture High School and at Florida Mesa Elementary, Misty is working with students learning how to differentiate between facial expressions. For students at Durango School District 9-R, Misty the Robot offers a unique new way to interact with the world around them. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by ServiceMaster Restore and the Payroll Department. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.
My excitement of bringing it here to Durango is really looking at our portrait of a graduate and our, all the elements of that and really looking at different ways of what do, what greatness do we have in Durango already and what else can I bring to the table? And this is one piece that when I kind of started talking about Misty with our, with teachers and administrators, it was not something that we really had here.
Misty the Robot, developed by Misty Robotics, provides an alternative way for students, especially students in special education programs, to learn how to interact with the world around them. Aaron Schiff, a special education teacher at Big Picture High School, uses Misty in his classroom to help students practice for interviews especially because she can help alleviate some of the main concerns for the students he works with.
Misty helps take some of that anxiety and that pressure and that kind of perceived judging off the students and allows them more easily to express themselves while also using it for kind of work on our communication skills, expressive language skills. Here at Big Picture, we're using her for, students have to get an internship here at Big Picture and to really facilitate interview questions and communication with the businesses. We practice interview questions with Misty.
At the elementary school level, Misty helps students learn how to read and identify what different facial expressions may mean, an especially useful tool for students who have a hard time reading social interactions. She can also be used as a stand-in for students of all ages who might be struggling to communicate something but find it easier to talk to her instead of to a teacher.
They really kind of feel less threatened, I would say to communicate with Misty and practice their communication skills in a non-kind of judgmental way, I would say. So they seem to feel more comfortable with Misty when they're communicating with her and working on those expressive language skills and communication skills.
Stevenson first introduced the Misty program for the spring semester of the 2021, 22 school year, implementing two Misty the robots with the special education programs at Florida Mesa Elementary School and the special education program at Big Picture High School. Having run a similar program at her last school district job, Stevenson was hoping the program would be a good addition to Durango Schools.
I think the key takeaways to understand that when we implement Misty at any level, whether it's the student doing the coding or the student on the other end, learning with Misty or the teacher kind of facilitating that learning, it really does create a different pathway for our kids and it really a lifelong impact and helps increase their learning and their ability in becoming a lifelong learner.
Stevenson and the rest of the special education team have welcomed two new Mistys as they enter the second half of the school year with hopes of continuing to grow and expand on the current work happening within the programs at Florida Mesa Elementary and Big Picture High School. In November, 2022, Stevenson attended the Furhart Conference Creator's Edition, an international conference focused on advancements in the robotics industry to share stories of the implementation of the Misty Project and learn about other ways to utilize robotics. To learn more about the programs happening in Durango School District 9-R, visit durangoschools.org. For more information about Misty Robotics, visit mistyrobotics.com. Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.