2) To provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.
WATCH D.O.G.S. began in 1998 in a single school in Springdale, Arkansas and has since grown into a national recognized program that has brought hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures into the school classrooms and hallways across the country, creating millions of hours of “in school” volunteer time and having a tremendously positive impact on the educational process. Today more than 4,049 schools in 46 states plus DC participate in WATCH D.O.G.S. Currently, there are WATCH D.O.G.S. programs in China, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Barbados.
Who Are WatchDOGS? WatchDOGS are fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other father-figures who volunteer for at least one day each year at an official WATCH D.O.G.S. school. During the day, WatchDOGS may read and work on flash cards with students, play at recess, eat lunch with students, watch the school entrances and hallways, assist with traffic flow and any other assigned activities where they actively engage with not only their own students, but other students as well. Many school principals have reported that the mere presence of a WatchDOG dramatically reduces reports of bullying. On the day of their participation, WatchDOGS are given a brief review of their involvement and they wear an official WATCH D.O.G.S. t-shirt with a disposable ‘Dog Tag’ identifying them as WATCHDOGS.
How WATCH D.O.G.S. Works: A K-12 program, invites fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or other father figures to volunteer at least one full day at their child’s/student’s school during the school year. Individuals sign up at a ‘Launch 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. WatchDOGS 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.
Program Effectiveness: During 2003, WATCH D.O.G.S. conducted a survey of 50 participating schools nationwide. Key findings: