WATCH D.O.G.S.: A School-Parent Engagement Program Where Everyone Wins
Thanks to our sponsor, WATCH D.O.G.S., for this amazing post about their program and its benefits!
Having a positive school-parent partnership with more parents helping at school seems like a win, right?! Not only does it make common sense, study after study has shown that parent involvement at school is linked to student achievement. Unfortunately, not every child is equipped with a helpful parental support system to ensure their success. And, as anyone who has even been to a PTA meeting knows, fathers are often underrepresented in the school-parent support equation and when they are active on campus, students think it’s extra special. It’s not the fathers’ fault - at most schools, the teacher and active parent volunteer ranks are dominated by women, and quite frankly, a room full of mom volunteers on a mission can intimidate even the most confident of men.
Enter WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), a school-based father engagement initiative which boosts participation in schools and provides positive male role models for ALL students. Watch D.O.G.S. members come in many forms including dads, uncles, grandfathers, and business and community mentors. With Watch D.O.G.S., every child is offered the opportunity to have positive interactions with male role models at school and every Watch D.O.G.S. member gets to be a Hero of the Hallway serving at least one day a year as a campus volunteer.
Picture this: It’s Wednesday morning in Ms. Haverdale’s 2nd grade classroom and three shy students sit at the back of the classroom during morning reading circle. In walks a special somebody and the classroom erupts as if Spider Man himself has joined the class. The visitor notices the three quiet students, connects with them as they all jump in on the day’s learning. The visitor isn’t a superhero, but a very special visitor, a dad joining the classroom activities for the morning.
WATCH D.O.G.S. makes for healthier, happier students and better school outcomes as members assist with classroom learning activities and monitor the halls. Students experience positive engagement with male adults and a boost in confidence to explore of the world around them. With WATCH D.O.G.S. members active on campus, bullying decreases making for a more positive tone in classroom and school grounds. Students also achieve more academically as they experience parents and adult role models taking time out of their busy schedules to support their learning.
School leaders love Watch D.O.G.S. programs because they feel better supported. Programs help boost attendance and PTA participation, improve morale and behavior issues on campus, and generate more support for classroom teachers and for school fundraisers and special projects. As Watch D.O.G.S. members spend more time on campus, they learn about the specific needs for the school and many get involved at a deeper level. And collectively, the dads have the ability to make a significant contribution to their school district. For Example, Nevada PTA worked with Clark County School District to increase male engagement through their WATCH D.O.G.S. programs. At the end of a single school year, Nevada PTA presented a ceremonial check of $441,000 to the Clark County School District, with the dollars representing the number of hours and resources generated for the school district by WATCH D.O.G.S. And that was just one school district!
Watch D.O.G.S. members find great value personally in the program, too. Parents enjoy seeing their children interact with teachers and friends at school and learning about how to best support their child’s learning. Everyone gets to experience the joy having children enjoy their presence as extra special, and fun events like pizza parties, school clean up days and fundraising projects provide welcome camaraderie with like-minded fathers and father-figures.
"I think that this program has helped dads feel that they are not only welcome at school but that they are needed at school."
"Top Dog" Dad John Ramirez
Encino Park Elementary
San Antonio, TX
It’s easy to start a WATCH D.O.G.S. program at your school? Learn how here! Learn more about the president and co-founder, Eric Snow, and the WATCH D.O.G.S. program – get tips to get fathers involved in this article from the National PTA's Our Children Magazine (page 34) here.
Bonus! SignUp.com makes scheduling and reminding your WATCH D.O.G.S. of their volunteer commitments a snap! Get tips on planning your WATCH D.O.G.S. volunteer calendars with SignUp.com here.