By Kendal Bailey, AP, Piney Point ESThere was no rain in the forecast for Friday, October 11th, but Piney Point Elementary School was flooded with fathers and father figures attending the school's first annual Dads and Kids Pizza Night to launch its latest family engagement program, WatchDOGS (Dads of Great Students). www.fathers.com/watchDOGSOver a hundred "Dads," including fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, and male family friends attended the event to spend quality time with their children and to find out how they can be meaningfully engaged in their education. Click here to see the pictures.Kendal BaileyASSISTANT PRINCIPALGrades 3-5WatchDOGS is a nationally recognized program that encourages fathers and father figures to take a day off work to spend the entire day at their child's school. WatchDOGS serve a unique purpose at schools and can make a very positive impact, not only for their own child but for every student. All WatchDOGS follow individualized schedules which include enhancing school security, spending instructional time with their child's class, and serving as male role models for all students in the school.
"I was really moved to see a huge turnout at Pizza Night and a large crowd of fathers and father figures signing up to volunteer. Men want to be engaged in their child's education, and the WatchDOGS program gives them a platform to spend meaningful time here at school." - Ms. Swaby, Principal.Principal Bobbie Swaby stated, "I was really moved to see a huge turnout at Pizza Night and a large crowd of fathers and father figures signing up to volunteer. Men want to be engaged in their child's education, and the WatchDOGS program gives them a platform to spend meaningful time here at school. While some men are comfortable reading a book to the entire class, others would prefer to work with a smaller group of students. Our registration form includes a questionnaire, so we can ensure all of our WatchDOGS have a productive day."
Parent Mr. Baines stated, "I'm really glad the school is doing this because I know I can make a difference as a positive male role model in the lives of the students here, not just my daughter, especially since I was actually a Piney Point student many years ago. I have signed up to be a WatchDOG, and I can't wait to get started."Ms. Vargas, third grade teacher, stated, "Several of my students attended the event with their dads tonight. It was great to meet their fathers and father figures and to talk with them about how they can help in my classroom.Typically, mom is the primary contact, and dad works as a support person when mom is not available. WatchDOGS gives dads an opportunity to be the star and really get involved. I am looking forward to having these fathers and father figures in my classroom."
Assistant Principal Kendal Bailey stated, "The success of our Pizza Night proves that men want to be engaged in their child's education, they just need structures in place to make sure that their time spent at school is meaningful and tailored to their personal strengths.After dinner, students went to another room for a movie while we held a presentation for the adults focusing on the research-based rationale of male parental engagement and the specifics of what our WatchDOGS program at Piney Point looks like. Before we were finished with the presentation, one of the dads was signing up on the calendar on the wall to volunteer. When I pointed this out, all of the men started cheering for him. It was a great moment."
By the end of the event at Piney Point, over 90 fathers and father figures had signed up to be WatchDOGS, which included a commitment to volunteer at school, either during the school day or at after school and weekend events. IPads were utilized to help Dads register on the VIPS website, since this is an important requirement for any adult in HISD who is going to serve as a volunteer during the school day.
If you would like to implement the WatchDOGS program on your campus, then please visit the national WatchDOGS official website atwww.fathers.com/watchdogs. You can also find more information about Piney Point Elementary's WatchDOGS program by visiting the school's website or by contacting its WatchDOGS school representative directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.