All About 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. It began in 1998 in a single school in Springdale, Arkansas and as 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 4,049 schools in 46 states plus DC participate in WATCH D.O.G.S.
At Gahanna Christian Academy
WATCH D.O.G.S. was implemented at Gahanna Christian Academy in 2009. Fathers and father figures of students from Preschool through 12th grade are encouraged to serve. Our remarkable GCA teachers truly love having engaged WatchDOGS in their classrooms, GCA averages over 50 WatchDOG volunteers per school year. And because some dads will serve more than once during the school year we average over 60 days of having a WatchDOG on campus. As the program goes forward we hope to have even more dads serve as WatchDOGS. During the year, GCA has after school events such as talent shows, drama presentations, choir & band concerts and so on. GCA encourages our WatchDOGS to walk the halls during these events to help keep the students safe (and on their best behavior).
- To provide positive male role models for the students, demonstrating by their presence that education is important.
- To provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.
How WATCH D.O.G.S Works
WATCH D.O.G.S., a K-12 program, invites fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or other father figures to volunteer at least one day all day at their child’s/student’s school during the school year. Individuals sign up at a kick-off event such as a “Dads and Kids Pizza Night” or “Donuts with Dad” or in the office at any time throughout the school year. The program is overseen by a “Top Dog” volunteer who partners with the school administrator to coordinate scheduling and indentify opportunities of WatchDOGS to provide assistance at the school. WatchDOG volunteers perform a variety of tasks during their volunteer day including monitoring the school entrance, assisting with unloading and loading of buses and cars, monitoring the lunch room, or helping in the classroom with a teacher’s guidance by working with small groups of students on homework, flashcards, or spelling.
During 2003, WATCH D.O.G.S. conducted a survey of 50 participating schools nationwide. Key findings:
- 89% agree that WATCH D.O.G.S. is a valuable component of the school’s efforts to promote a safe and positive learning environment for students.
- 79% agree that since implementing the WATCH D.O.G.S. program, the school has experienced an increase in father involvement in areas other than WATCH D.O.G.S. (parent-teacher conferences, volunteerism in the classroom or after school, PTA involvement).