Assignment: Education-Watch D.O.G.S.

Seeing a dad in the classroom has become "the norm" at Eagle Bluff Elementary School in Onalaska.

"I think it's pretty cool because they can be in your classroom and they can walk around the school and you get to see them," said Sierra Dixon, Eagle Bluff Elementary School 3rd grader.

These dads, or Watch D.O.G.S. as their called, are a part of a nation-wide program to get more male role-models in our schools.

"If you look at the population in the school building these days, as far as the adults are concerned, most of them are female," said Rob Dixon, Watch D.O.G.S. member. "So, it's a way to try to balance that out a little bit. As well as try to find a role for men in the school building."

The Watch D.O.G.S. program, which stands for Dads of Great Students, began at Eagle Bluff in the fall of 2009. Dads have to commit to spending just one day at their child's school a year.

"There is a lot of trepidation moving into this," said Dixon. "And a lot of dads, once they get into it, realize this is just reading to kids or watching kids on the playground. Or this is playing with kids on the playground. It's a lot of fun. So, most dads are saying they enjoyed their day and want to come back."

The response from dad's so far this year has been overwhelming. Which leads educators to this conclusion.

"It was a check on our assumptions about dads not being concerned or dads not wanting to be involved," said Todd Saner, Eagle Bluff Elementary School principal. "Maybe they just need a way to do it."

And now that dads of students at Eagle Bluff Elementary have discovered a way they can help, they are using their vacation time, furlough days or a shortened work week to volunteer their time. And it's having a big impact.

"I think Watch D.O.G.S. has created an opportunity for dads to be more involved in education," said Dixon.

"The biggest impact that its had is on a feeling of connection between the school and home," said Saner. "As we know, that is a critical piece to successful education is the link between home and school. And I think this has really provided an opportunity, particularly fathers, with their child's education."

Making these Dads of Great Students top dog in their child's eyes.

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