This one is for all the dads out there. School is back in session and you have an opportunity to show up in the classrooms and hallways as a WatchDOG for Leander ISD.
WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) is a non-profit organization which began in 1998 by Jim Moore, immediately after the Jonesboro, Arkansas, middle school shooting tragedy. What started in a single school in Springdale, Arkansas has grown into a nationally recognized program. The program runs K-12 and invites fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or other father figures to volunteer at least one day at your child’s or student’s school during the school year.
Committing to a full day off work may seem like a big deal at the time, but after you spend a day in the school as a WatchDOG and experience the excitement of the children and how important you are to them, you’ll want to do it again.
On the day that you sign up as a WacthDOG, your morning starts at the drop-off zone where you and your child (or children) can help students out of the cars and assist with traffic flow. Then it’s time to get the kids to class and have a brief overview of your day.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, the principal will announce you over the loudspeaker as the WatchDOG of the day and your kids will get to come up to the office for a picture and to help with raising the flags. You’ll quickly develop a sense of the positive impact you’re having on your child and other students.
After a teaching moment on flag etiquette, you’re off to a schedule filled with a variety of tasks that include monitoring the school entrances and hallways, eating lunch with your child, and visiting different classrooms to spend time with your child and other students reading, helping with math, and just being an active part of their day. The part they all seem to like the most is time spent with you in the gym and on the playground. Sure, schoolwork is important, but playing with the dads is what gets all the kids really excited!
Jump in for a few rounds of capture the flag with all the different grades, but I’ll warn you — these kids are fierce competitors and a few dads have been carried off the gym floor with torn ACL’s or pulled muscles. Always best to get warmed up and stretched if you haven’t done sprints in a while. The morning will fly by — and after a well-deserved lunch break — your day as a volunteer will be over soon.
It’s a rewarding experience to spend a full day at your kids school and be a part of what the students do throughout the day. Along with being a positive role model for the students, your presence will demonstrate that education is important and provide an extra set of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying. I guarantee they’ll be asking you to come back and do it again and again.
Try to volunteer a few times each school year and get signed up. These early years will go by quickly and those great students will be off to college before you know it! The time you spend with them now will make a huge difference in their lives later.