The Sparta Area Schools Watch D.O.G.S. organizers thought they would need about 30 pizzas to entice participation in the program.
Instead, fathers, grandpas and stepdads joined crowded into the Sparta Area School’s Appleview Elementary cafeteria, demolishing 72 pizzas while signing up and learning more about the program.
“This is unbelievable,” said Appleview Principal Mike Birely of the turnout at the event.
To participate in Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), dads and other father figures take one or more days off work to spend at the school visiting with students and helping staff.
Watch D.O.G.S. is a program created by the National Center for Fathering intended to get more father figures involved at their children’s school. Today, Watch D.O.G.S. can be found in 4,049 schools across 46 states.
Mickey Larson is a Sparta Top D.O.G., a title for father figures that organize bringing Watch D.O.G.S. to a school. He explained that at Appleview and Ridgeview Elementary, father figures will attend one class, lunch, and recess with their student family member, and for the rest of the day they will help teachers, greet students and help supervise recesses and lunch periods.
Also helping out as a Top D.O.G. is Todd Yemc. Larson has three children currently attending Sparta Elementary Schools and Yemc has two.
Good for Families, Good for Schools
“Students and staff benefit tremendously by having positive male role models in our buildings,” said Principal Birely. “We are hopeful that the momentum that has been built behind the kickoff for Watch D.O.G.S in Sparta will continue for years to come.”
Birely said he thinks the program will help show students their father figures really care and are committed to them. He said that Watch D.O.G.S. is a great opportunity for the father figures to get more involved with the school and in their students life.
According to Larson, available Watch D.O.G.S. days are already booking up through November. He thinks there won’t be any trouble filling up the rest of the year. He said soon they will be launching a VolunteerSpot page to make it easy for father figures to sign up.
Larson agreed with Birely’s points saying, “We hope to get dads more involved at each school and in the students’ education. In the long run, it would be great to see more male involvement in other school organizations.”
If you have a family member attending Appleview or Ridgeview Elementary in Sparta you can sign up for the Watch D.O.G.S. program by emailing Mickey Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org