Heroes of the Hallways

RENO, Nev.- Two Washoe County schools are joining a father-involvement initiative called “Watch DOGS.” It's a national program that's been implemented at schools in other parts of the state over the last four years. Now Cold Springs Middle School and Hidden Valley Elementary are signed up. About 200 dads came to see what the program was about Wednesday night.

“We're here to get dads excited about the Watch DOGS program,” said John Kirtley of Nevada PTA. “If you have a dad involved in a child's education things change. GPAs go up, math and reading scores go up and the child's mindset changes. Now not only is Mom involved, Dad is involved too and accountability comes into play and it changes the conversation at the dinner table.”

Volunteer dads wear white shirts and help with many aspects of the school day from helping students on and off the bus to supervising recess. Program supporters say having extra eyes on campus helps with safety and security as well.

“I'm ecstatic to see this group of men in here willing to help out, willing to spend a day with their child,” Hidden Valley Elementary Parent Involvement Facilitator Margie Goforth said. “It's awesome to see a roomful of dads that came here because they wanted to spend time with their kids. Studies show that the more dads are involved in their kids' education, the better they do.”

The Nevada PTA has trained more than 3600 dads in the program over the last four years and say the results at those schools are incredible.

“Disciplinary actions are down and GPAs are up,” Kirtley said. “Every year is going to get better because we're going to keep coming up here to get more dads excited about the program.”

The Watch DOG program is active in 2,600 schools in 42 states.


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