WATCH D.O.G.S.® is the father involvement initiative of the National Center for Fathering that was founded by Jim Moore, a concerned father who chose to take action in response to a 1998 middle-school shooting in Jonesboro, AR. Moore wanted to help prevent violence from occurring at his children’s school or at any school. The first program was launched at George Elementary in Springdale, AR, the school of Moore’s oldest child. Today, more than 1,659 programs in 38 states and New Zealand participate in WATCH D.O.G.S.®
To help every school in America be positively influenced by the committed involvement of fathers and father figures in lives of their children and students.
How WATCH D.O.G.S.® Works
WATCH D.O.G.S.®, a K-12 program, invites fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or other father figures to volunteer at least one day all day at their child’s/student's school during the school year. Individuals sign up at a kick-off event such as a “Dads and Kids Pizza Night” or “Donuts with Dad” or in the office at any time throughout the school year. The program is overseen by a “Top Dog” volunteer who partners with the school administrator to coordinate scheduling and identify opportunities for WatchDOGS to provide assistance at the school. WatchDOG volunteers perform a variety of tasks during their volunteer day including monitoring the school entrance, assisting with unloading and loading of buses and cars, monitoring the lunch room, or helping in the classroom with a teacher's guidance by working with small groups of students on homework, flashcards, or spelling.
During 2003, WATCH D.O.G.S.® conducted a survey of 50 participating schools nationwide. Key findings:
89% agree that WATCH D.O.G.S.® is a valuable component of the school's efforts to promote a safe and positive learning environment for students.
79% agree that since implementing the WATCH D.O.G.S.® program, the school has experienced an increase in father involvement in areas other than WATCH D.O.G.S.® (parent-teacher conferences, volunteerism in the classroom or after school, PTA/PTO involvement).
In its relatively short history, WATCH D.O.G.S.® has proven to be influential and effective in a number of venues:
Involved in the U.S. Department of Education Father Involvement In Education Project beginning in 2005.
Invited by the National PTA to be a founding member of the MORE Alliance (Men Organized to Raise Engagement).
Recognized on the floor of Congress as a program that "can be a great tool in our efforts to prevent school violence and to improve student performance because it can increase parental initiative and involvement in their children’s education." Congressional Record, Feb. 7, 2000, page S-392.
Involved in the U.S. Department of Education’s P.F.I.E. (Partnership For Family Involvement In Education).
In 1999, invited by the United States Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to participate in a nationwide teleconference called “Fathers Matter.”
Recognized as a “best practice” by Joyce L. Epstein, Ph.D., Director of Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships, Johns Hopkins University.