The LMC at Crestwood Elementary School was full of dads and their children chowing down on pizza on Thursday, Feb 19th.
Crestwood kicked off its Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program, which is aimed at increasing fathers’ involvement at the school.“We had a fantastic turnout for our first event,” said Principal Stephen Guziewski “We probably had at least 120 there.”
Watch D.O.G.S. is part of a father involvement initiative of the National Center of Fathering. Fathers and father-figures can spend meaningful time with their students in the school setting and gain a grater awareness of the positive impact they can have on their student’s life, just by being a dad.
The pizza night gave ‘dads’ an opportunity to learn about Watch D.O.G.S. and spend time with their children. Whether the kids realized it or not, the dinner was the first step in achieving the Watch D.O.G.S. mission.
The program encourages fathers to volunteer one day a year at their child’s school by helping around the campus — welcoming students during arrival, reading to a class or tutoring. At the end of the meeting, Guziewski said, several dads filled out volunteer forms and signed up to help at the school. “We want to get ‘dads’ here to sign up to commit just one day of the whole school year to come in and help out,” Guziewski said. “It can be at any capacity.”
In its relatively short history, WATCH D.O.G.S.® has proven to be influential and effective in a number of venues:
- Involved in the U.S. Department of Education Father Involvement In Education Project beginning in 2005.
- Invited by the National PTA to be a founding member of the MORE Alliance (Men Organized to Raise Engagement).
- Recognized on the floor of Congress as a program that "can be a great tool in our efforts to prevent school violence and to improve student performance because it can increase parental initiative and involvement in their children’s education." Congressional Record, Feb. 7, 2000, page S-392.
- Involved in the U.S. Department of Education’s P.F.I.E. (Partnership For Family Involvement In Education).
- In 1999, invited by the United States Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to participate in a nationwide teleconference called “Fathers Matter.” Recognized as a “best practice” by Joyce L. Epstein, Ph.D., Director of Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships, Johns Hopkins University.