What is WATCH D.O.G.S. ®?
WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) is an innovative father involvement, educational initiative of the National Center For Fathering.
There are 2 primary goals of the WATCH D.O.G.S. ® program.
1) To provide positive male role models for the students, demonstrating by their presence that education is important.
2) To provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.
WATCH D.O.G.S.® began in 1998 in a single school in Springdale, Arkansas and has since grown into a nationally recognized program that has brought hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures into the school classrooms and hallways across the country, creating millions of hours of “in school” volunteer time and having a tremendously positive impact on the educational process.
- Students gain positive male role models.
- Schools gain an extra set of eyes and ears. The presence of a father or father figure will provide an additional deterrent to bullying, enhance a sense of security in the building, and will help to create an environment conducive to learning.
- Fathers get a glimpse of their students’ everyday world and learn about the increasingly complex challenges and decisions today’s youth are facing. As a result, they can learn to relate better to their student and hopefully connect with them.
- Fathers gain a greater awareness of the positive impact they can have on their student’s life in three critical areas including: academic performance, self-esteem, social behavior.
- Due to budget shortfalls and cutbacks, often teachers are presented with larger classrooms each year. The WatchDOGS volunteers provide real and important help for the teachers and the students.
Who are WatchDOGS (Dads Of Great Students)?
WatchDOGS are fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other father-figures who volunteer for at least one day each year at an official WATCH D.O.G.S. ® school. During the day, WatchDOGS may read and work on flash cards with students, play at recess, eat lunch with students, watch the school entrances and hallways, assist with traffic flow and any other assigned activities where they actively engage with not only their own students, but other students as well. Many school principals have reported that the mere presence of a WatchDOG dramatically reduces reports of bullying. On the day of their participation, WatchDOGS are given a brief review of their involvement and a disposable ‘Dog Tag’ identifying them as WatchDOGS.
The WATCH D.O.G.S.® program has been recognized by the United States Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and has been involved in the U.S. Department of Education’s P.F.I.E. (Partnership For Family Involvement In Education) and the Department’s Safe School Summit. The WATCH D.O.G.S.® program is a founding member of National PTA’s M.O.R.E. Alliance (Men Organized to Raise Engagement). The WATCH D.O.G.S. ® program was featured on ABC World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson in their “Spirit of America” segment on November 17, 2008, on NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams on September 12, 2012 and on NBC’s Today Show which aired February 11, 2013. Also, the program has been recognized on the floor of Congress as a program that “can be a great tool in our efforts to prevent school violence and improve student performance because it can increase parental initiative and involvement in their children’s education.” (Congressional Record, February 7, 2000 page S392) WATCH D.O.G.S. ® has been endorsed by the President’s Advisory Council and included in the March 2010 report to the President. In June 2011, US Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited a local WATCH D.O.G.S. ® program in the DC area to encourage fathers and father figures to become more active in the educational system and to get a firsthand glimpse of the program.