Watch D.O.G.S. (dads of great students), a program that encourages male involvement in early education, is coming to Lake Highlands Elementary.
Students with two parents involved in their lives have an edge academically, socially and extra-curricularly over those with just one involved parent, according to studies by the U.S. Department of Education.
That’s no surprise. But many Lake Highlands students come from single-parent homes. When I wrote a story about the Forerunner mentoring program, a Wildcat football coach told me that as many as half of his junior high football players lived in homes with no father or male role model.
Further, even in our modern community — in which many moms hold fulltime jobs same as dads — moms ostensibly are expected to be more present than dads as volunteers, field-trip chaperones, traffic aids, et al.
Note: The aforementioned claim is rooted in personal experience. For example, my daughter’s choir teacher asked moms to help issue materials one day last week. I could not attend. It was production week here at the magazine. I felt guilty. My husband never even knew about the request. He went on to work, shame free. I am by no means asserting that dads don’t help out, because they do, and often massively.
Point is: a neighborhood school, Lake Highlands Elementary, is instituting the nationally acclaimed Watch D.O.G.S. program, which rallies dads to do the daytime, at-school, volunteer thing.
Fathers and father figures involved in the initiative vow to spend at least one day a semester volunteering at the school as classroom helpers, tutors, crossing guards, coaches, hallway monitors — the exact role isn’t as important as their presence, which, founders say, benefits not only their own sons and daughters, but also their classmates, especially the ones who might not have a male role model around.
Teachers, the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Summit on School Safety also has recognized the program as improving safety on campuses.
Watch D.O.G.S. is an effort of the National Center for Fathering. It was the idea of one father who recognized the lack of male role models both in homes and at school — the number of male teachers has been steadily declining in recent years, founders say. Now Watch D.O.G.S. is a staple in some 1200 schools, note organizers.
Here’s a video featuring some success highlights:
Next Wednesday, Sept. 25, parents and students from Lake Highlands Elementary will meet at the school to learn more about and to kickoff the initiative. For LHE parents, principal Kim Sullivan can provide more details: 469.593.2071.
Outside LHE, those interested in the program can learn more by calling 1.888.540.3647, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting fathers.com/watchdogs.