WAUKEE, Iowa – Waukee Community Schools is participating in a nationwide program that allows fathers and father-like figures to volunteer and make an impact in its district.
WATCH D.O.G.S stands for Dad’s of Great Students. The goal of the program is to provide a positive male role model and give an extra set of eyes in the classrooms.
WATCH D.O.G.S parent Paul Dayton said he started volunteering in 2018 when the district started the program.
“A few years ago I noticed that we didn’t have a lot of male involvement and we just don’t know what to do. So this has worked out really well where you could just spend the whole day with a student,” Dayton said.
Volunteering for a day allows Dayton to go inside multiple classrooms and see what it going on in the schools.
Dayton begins his morning by greeting every student that walks through the door with “Good morning!” and “How are we doing today?”
Walnut Hills Elementary Kindergarten Teacher Abby Masters said you see a difference in students' attitude when they know a WATCH D.O.G.S. volunteer is in the building.
“For the kids it’s just really special to be able to have their dad or grandpa or uncle come to the building. Just to feel that pride that they are here with them, getting to know their friends,” Masters said.
Different classrooms have different plans for students to do with the WATCH D.O.G.S. Masters said some of her students normally leave the room and do an activity.
“When there is a watch dog in the building they get to play games just to kind of have that practice of building those problem solving skills and coping skills when they lose a game. But, also just getting to get to know the watch dog,” Masters said.
Walnut Hills 4th grade student Miles Burrell said his father surprised him one morning as the WATCH D.O.G.S. volunteer and will never forget that special moment.
“It adds a new experience to just kind of schooling and what we do in our everyday learning,” Burrell said.
There are 80 WATCH D.O.G.S. days scheduled in the district’s year.
Dayton said volunteering has changed his perspective for how hard educators work to make sure students succeed.
“It makes my day. I come away smiling. I come away just recognizing how great these kids are going to be and how great these buildings are,” Dayton said.
To learn more about the program and how to have it in your child’s school, click here.