About the Watch D.O.G.S. Program
WATCH D.O.G.S.® (Dads Of Great Students) is an innovative program of the National Center for Fathering focusing on prevention of violence in our nation’s schools. It aims to use the positive influence of fathers and father- figures for a two-fold purpose:
- To provide an unobtrusive presence in the schools, and
- To be a positive and active role-model for students at their school.
WATCH D.O.G.S.® was founded by Jim Moore, a concerned father who chose to take action in response to a 1998 middle-school shooting in Jonesboro, AR. Joined with National Center for Fathering in 2006, WATCH D.O.G.S.® serves to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father-figures their students need. Nationally recognized, the program has brought hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures into our nation’s classrooms and hallways. Today, more than 2,811 schools in 46 states plus DC participate in WATCH D.O.G.S.®
Who are Watchdogs?
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, mentor students, and any other assigned activities where they actively engage with not only their own students, but other students as well. Their mere presence offers additional security at the school during the day! On the day of their participation, the participants are given a brief review of their involvement and they wear an official WATCH D.O.G.S.® t-shirt or vest with a disposable ‘Dog Tag’ identifying them as WatchDOGS.
WATCH D.O.G.S.® strives to:
- Raise the banner of positive fathering through the forum of schools across America and the world.
- Awaken fathers to the values and benefits of committed fathering.
- Change culture by where every student has a father or father-figure to connect with in a positive way at school.
- Help every school in America be positively impacted by the committed involvement of fathers and father-figures in their student's life.
The benefits of the program are many, according to WATCH D.O.G.S.® National Director, Eric Snow.
- Schools gain an extra set of eyes and ears. The presence of a father or father-figure enhances a sense of security at the building for students and staff and helps create an environment conducive to learning.
- Students gain a positive male role model. Many students do not have a father-figure present in their home and these students benefit when a positive male role model is present.
- 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.
- 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.
- Recognized as a “best practice” by Joyce L. Epstein, Ph.D., Director of Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships, Johns Hopkins University.