Brandywine kicks off Watch DOGS father in­volve­ment pro­gram

Watch DOG fa­thers vol­un­teer as stu­dent men­tors, of­fer pos­i­tive male role mod­els

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - By Lisa Mitchell lmitchell@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @kutz­town­pa­triot on Twit­ter

Brandywine Heights El­e­men­tary School hosted a Dads and Kids’ Pizza Night Sept. 28 to kick off a new in­no­va­tive father in­volve­ment pro­gram called WATCH DOGS, which stands for Dads Of Great Stu­dents.

“The re­sponse to Watch DOGS at Brandywine Heights El­e­men­tary School has been fan­tas­tic!” said Brandywine Heights El­e­men­tary School Prin­ci­pal Stephanie Kelly. “For our launch event last week, we had close to 300 fa­thers and kids at­tend. About 140 fa­thers ex­pressed in­ter­est in this pro­gram and want­ing to be more in­volved. Our next step is to get these dads on the calendar to vol­un­teer. Our first Watch DOG will be vol­un­teer­ing Oct. 25.”

Cre­ated in 1998 at Ge­orge El­e­men­tary in Spring­dale, Ari­zona, the National Cen­ter For Fa­ther­ing’s father in­volve­ment ini­tia­tive was 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. Since then, the pro­gram has spread to more than 6,400 schools in over 45 states and other coun­tries abroad.

Kelly ex­plained that bringing the Watch DOGS pro­gram to

Brandywine was sug­gested by Mr. Voelker, As­sis­tant to the Su­per­in­ten­dent.

“He is a Watch DOG in his daugh­ter’s school. Last year, he spoke to me about the pro­gram and how he loved vol­un­teer­ing in his daugh­ter’s school! After hear­ing great re­views about it, I looked into bringing it to BHES,” said Kelly.

This sum­mer staff re­searched on what they would need to do to get Brandywine Dads and Father-fig­ures in­volved at school. The Sept. 28 Pizza Night served as the pro­gram launch event to gather in­ter­est for the pro­gram.

“The re­sponse has been over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive!” said Kelly. “The pur­pose of this pro­gram is to in­crease father in­volve­ment in their child’s school. Stud­ies by the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion have demon­strated that a pos­i­tive adult male role model will have a uniquely pos­i­tive im­pact on the devel­op­ment and ed­u­ca­tional suc­cess of a child. The fa­thers that vol­un­teer in our school will work with our teach­ers and staff to as­sist stu­dents through­out the day.”

Watch DOG fa­thers will as­sist with ar­rival pro­ce­dures, work with small groups of stu­dents on ex­tra read­ing or math prac­tice in all grade lev­els, and help mon­i­tor the lunch room and play­ground dur­ing re­cess.

“While these fa­thers are vol­un­teer­ing, they would be en­cour­ag­ing stu­dents with a lot of smiles and high fives, pos­i­tively en­gag­ing in con­ver­sa­tions with stu­dents in all grade lev­els,” she said.

Watch DOGS will be avail­able to men­tor stu­dents, aca­dem­i­cally sup­port stu­dents by work­ing with them in small groups (read­ing, flash cards, ed­u­ca­tional games), help stu­dents with test re­view, coach­ing games out at re­cess, and mon­i­tor in­ter­ac­tions to pre­vent po­ten­tial bul­ly­ing.

“Some stu­dents do not have a father-fig­ure present in their home, so these stu­dents will gain a pos­i­tive role model in our school,” said Kelly. “The fa­thers that par­tic­i­pate in this pro­gram will gain a greater aware­ness of the pos­i­tive im­pact they can have on their child’s life just by be­ing a ‘dad’ through their mean­ing­ful time spent in our school.”

Kelly said the Watch DOGS can also learn how to bet­ter part­ner with the school to meet the ed­u­ca­tional goals set for stu­dents by spend­ing more time in the class­room with the teach­ers.

“I’m ex­cited to see how this pro­gram will grow over time,” said Kelly. “The kids are going to love see­ing their own fa­thers, coaches, un­cles, and other father-fig­ures in the school!”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the WATCH DOGS pro­gram, visit www.fa­thers. com/watchdogs.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Brandywine Heights School Dis­trict hosted its kick off Watch DOGS par­ent event at the el­e­men­tary school on Sept. 28, which was at­tended by nearly 300 father fig­ures and stu­dents.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Dads and Kids’ Pizza Night on Sept. 28 kicks off a new in­no­va­tive father in­volve­ment pro­gram called WATCH DOGS, which stands for Dads Of Great Stu­dents.

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