WATCH D.O.G.S aims to get more dads involved at school


GREENVILLE - Some area schools are seeking to have fathers play a bigger role in their children's education.  The schools are launching what's called a WATCH D.O.G.S. program, "D.O.G.S," standing for Dads of Great Students.

Hortonville eighth grader Seth Barker told FOX 11 his dad, Army Colonel Vince Barker is someone to look up to.

"Because he's always been a good example.  He's inspired many people," said Seth.

Vince told us he wants to start volunteering at his son's school to spread that good example.

Hortonville Middle School joined Greenville Middle School and Fox West Academy to take on the Watch DOGS program.  70 dads, including Vince, joined together Tuesday night for the launch.

"Oh, it's very important and I think we need more of it, you know?  And every little bit that each of us can do, that's where we need to be involved," explained Vince.

Hortonville Middle School and Fox West Academy Principal Steve Gromala agrees.

"Too few of our kids really see a dad as an active participant in their schooling," said Gromala, adding that most volunteers at the schools are mothers.

Gromala told us WATCH D.O.G.S. is organized by the National Center for Fathering.  The goal is to encourage more fathers, or father-like figures, to volunteer whatever time they can in the classroom.

"Be in the hallways, be visible at lunch time and really develop that positive relationship with kids," Gromala explained.

According to Gromala, good male role models can truly make a difference in education.

"When dads are involved in their children's lives at school the graduation rate increases by 2 to 1," he said.

So what does it take to be that kind of role model to a child?

"Just someone who loves their children very much and is always helping them where they're needed," said Seth Barker.

"They need that support and encouragement, you know?  And they need to know that you're there for them," said

Someone willing to make a difference.

WATCH D.O.G.S started in 1998 at a school in Arkansas.  Today there are programs at almost four-thousand schools in 46 states.