Natalia will be the first school in Medina County to implement this Nationally recognized program called Watch D.O.G.S. WATCH D.O.G.S.® is the father involvement initiative of the National Center For Fathering. Inspired by one father’s desire to increase male involvement in his children’s school and with the help of the schools teachers and administration, WATCH D.O.G.S was created in 1998 at George Elementary in Springdale, AR.
Fathers and Father figures are lining up and signing up to go back to school!! Each school year thousands of men volunteer to work at least one day in their child’s school through the WATCH D.O.G.S.® program. These men work alongside the educators to help as crossing guards, car/bus rider facilitators, hallway monitors, library assistants, lunchroom helpers, classroom and homework tutors and playground/gymnasium coaches. The possibilities are endless. Every school year these men have a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids. There are 2 primary goals of the Watch D.O.G.S. program.
1. To provide positive male role models for the students, by demonstrating their presence that education is important.
2. To provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.
The program was introduced to our district by SRO Officer Gerry Rogers. He was seeking a program he could implement that would increase safety at on Campuses, when he came across the Watch D.O.G.S program. Upon further research he realized the goals and benefits of the program was exactly what we needed. With the help and support of our Leadership team, and our local police department, Natalia ISD has now become a Watch D.O.G.S. school. In an interview with Officer Gerry Rogers he stated “I hope that by implementing the program it would increase student achievement, and create a safer educational environment for our students. I also hope by having a positive male presence that is not in a Law enforcement uniform will encourage students to make more positive choices at school. I want to see more enthusiasm and pride from our students each time they have a Father or Father figure present at school, and having an active role in their student’s academic success. My goal is to have as many Men Line Up…Sign Up…. and Show up…”
The U.S. Department of Education has identified the WATCH D.O.G.S.® program as an effective way to increase male involvement in our nation’s schools. Administrators have shared that by implementing the program:
● Students gain a positive male role model. Some students do not have a father-figure present in their home and the number of male teachers has been steadily declining in recent years. More positive male role models are needed in the school setting.
● Schools gain an extra set of eyes and ears. The presence of Watch DOGS (Dads Of Great Students) can increase a sense of security at the building for students and staff, and it helps create an environment conducive to learning.
● Fathers and father-figures can spend meaningful time with their students in the school setting and gain a greater awareness of the positive impact they can have on their student’s life, just by being a ‘dad’.
● When Watch D.O.G.S. invest a day at school, they can learn how better to partner with the school to meet educational goals of students.
Many Principals of participating schools have reported that the mere presence of a Watch D.O.G.S. members dramatically reduces reports of bullying. Dr. Hensley Cone, Superintendent states “We are hoping to ensure that our connections and bonds with the community continue to strengthen and grow.” Dr Cone has experience with the program both as an Administrator and a participant in the Watch D.O.G.S program and has seen firsthand the positive impact. “It will assist in highlighting the importance of engaging parents in the schooling process”, is how Dr. Donald Stewart, Assistant Superintendent for Natalia ISD, hopes the program will benefit our District. He too has witnessed several successful outcomes from implementing the Watch D.O.G.S program.
In order for this to be a successful program it will take the entire Community to work together to benefit our students. Watch D.O.G.S. are Fathers, Grandfathers, Uncles, adult siblings and other father-figures who donate at least one day each year at their students school. During the day Watch D.O.G.S. may read and work on Flash card with students, eat lunch with students, monitor hallways, and school entrances, assist with traffic flow and any other activities where they actively engage not only with their own students, but other students as well. On the day of their Participation Watch D.O.G.S. are given a brief of their involvement and they wear an official Watch D.O.G.S. t-shirt. By engaging Men from our Community, will help bridge the gap between our Community and school. This will hopefully increase the sense of pride our Community has for our School District, and our City. Not only will this program promote student success in our schools, but also within our Community. Chief Rodriguez stated “Natalia PD is proud to be a partner with Natalia ISD in this program that will enrich our student’s lives and also the lives of the mentors.”