Buckeye North starting Watch D.O.G.S. Program

Brings fathers into school, kicks off on Oct. 5

BRILLIANT — Buckeye North Elementary School is taking part in a national program that brings dads into the building.

Principal Susan Nolan said eight area fathers so far have signed on for the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program, which began in September but formally kicks off with a special event this week.

A Dads and Kids Pizza Night is set for Oct. 5 from 6-7 p.m. at the school and participants will receive free pizza and drinks in the cafeteria, followed by a presentation about Watch D.O.G.S. at 6:30 p.m. to register more fathers.

“We are starting it this year. It’s all new and we are getting dads involved at school,” said Nolan. “We have a leadership team of eight dads but it can include uncles, grandfathers, or other father figures.”

Watch D.O.G.S. is an innovative program used in schools across the country which helps them to be positively impacted by the committed involvement of fathers and father-figures in their student’s life.

It was developed in 1998 in Arkansas and the goal is to have fathers, grandfathers, uncles, stepdads and even adult brothers volunteer at least one day over the school year to be a positive role model and provide an extra set of eyes and ears.

Watch D.O.G.S. is the father involvement initiative of the National Center for Fathering and was inspired by one dad’s desire to increase male involvement in his children’s school. Since its inception, the program has been implemented to more than 5,346 schools in over 47 U.S. states as well as countries abroad.

According to studies by the U.S. Department of Transportation, a positive adult male role model could impact the development on the development and educational success of a child.

Such interaction could dramatically increase the child’s likelihood of graduating and getting good grades along the way, while also decreasing the likelihood of that child living in poverty, getting involved with drugs and alcohol, and avoiding potentially devastating choices that result in a criminal record or teen pregnancy.

The U.S.D.O.E. has identified the Watch D.O.G.S. program as an effective way to increase male involvement in our nation’s schools.

Some of the roles they may play include crossing guard, library assistants, hallway monitors, car/bus rider facilitators, library assistants, lunchroom helpers, classroom and homework tutors, and even playground or gymnasium coaches.

Meanwhile, results of participating schools showed 79 percent agreed that the program has made a significant contribution to safety of their school, while 89 percent indicated that the program is a valuable component of their school’s efforts to promote a safe and positive learning environment for students. Other positive responses were that

It yielded more involvement by dads since launching the program at parent-teacher conferences, PTA, and other activities; it has decreased students’ behavioral problems; and it has contributed to an increase in student achievement.

“It all stems back to a school shooting in Arkansas, and dad Eric Snow said [other fathers] needed to go into the schools and help the teachers and kids,” Nolan explained. “It’s a phenomenal program.”

Nolan said plans became a reality after she met Snow himself during an educational conference this past summer.

She said Jordy Lindsey, a local dad and member of the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department, had hoped to implement it several years ago in the district and was excited to see it coming into fruition. Lindsey also connected with Keith Schumacher, a local native who is involved with the national program, and Schumacher offered his assistance with getting it started.

“It’s become great networking and the leadership team was collecting donations for prizes at the pizza night. They are identified by wearing Watch D.O.G. T-shirts.”

Volunteers must undergo a BCI background check to participate, and when at the school they check in with Nolan before starting their day.

The dads get a free lunch and may dine with their student and later have their picture taken with Nolan for a Wall of Fame to be set up at the school.

“It’s nice for them to see what we deal with on a daily basis. I’m excited to see so many dads step up to the plate,” she added.

Nolan encouraged more fathers and father figures to get involved, adding that a series of meetings would be held.

For more information about the upcoming event, contact the school at 740-598-4589, while more details about the program are available by calling 888-540-3647, emailing watchdogs@fathers.com, or visiting www.fathers.com/watchdogs.