WATCH D.O.G.S. ® (Dads Of Great Students) is an innovative father involvement, educational initiative of the National Center For Fathering. It 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 our nation’s classrooms and hallways. WATCH D.O.G.S. ® has created millions of “in school” volunteer hours and continues to have a tremendously positive impact on the educational process. Today more than 5,348 schools in 47 states plus D.C. participate in WATCH D.O.G.S. Currently, there are WATCH D.O.G.S. programs in China, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Barbados!
Who are Watch D.O.G.S.?
Fathers (grandfathers, uncles, and other male adults) who volunteer at their child’s school for one (or more) days each year to assist in a variety of school activities, as assigned by the principal or school liaison.
- Monitoring the school entrance
- Unloading and loading buses
- Reading to classes
- Doing flash cards
- Playing at recess
- Eating lunch with students
- Any additional activities assigned
Fathers, father figures, and students are invited to attend a pizza night at their school. The pizza night program consists of a 10-minute motivational message (delivered by a Watch D.O.G.S. representative or via video,) challenging fathers and father figures to become more involved in their child’s education. Following the message fathers and father figures are encouraged to sign up to volunteer at their child’s school for a day.
At the beginning of their volunteer day, Watch D.O.G.S. are required to meet with the principal or school liaison. Watch D.O.G.S. are given a brief review of the program, school policy and procedures, and are assigned their duties for the day. All Watch D.O.G.S. are required to wear a logo nametag and/or logo shirt that identifies them as a Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer.
An impact survey based on responses from 50 principals and/or school liaisons revealed the following:
- 79% believe that Watch D.O.G.S. made a significant contribution to school safety.
- 89% agree/strongly agree that Watch D.O.G.S. is a valuable component of the schools' effort to promote a safe and positive learning environment.
- 79% believe that since implementing Watch D.O.G.S., father involvement in the school has increased in areas outside of Watch D.O.G.S. including parent-teacher conferences, volunteering, and PTA/PTO.
- 52% agree/strongly agree that Watch D.O.G.S. contributed to a decrease in students’ behavioral problems.
- 50 % believe that Watch D.O.G.S. contributed to an increase in student achievement.
Watch D.O.G.S. has been recognized by:
- The U.S. Department of Education’s P.F.I.E. (Partnership for Family Involvement in Education.)
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Participating dads, teachers, school principals, and state education officials.