Local Dads in RE-2 District Getting More Involved In Improving Their Kids’ Education
Woodland Park School District (WPSD) Watch D.O.G.S. recently held their kick-off meeting where they welcomed 59 dads, uncles, grandfathers, and father figures accompanied by 84 students.
Columbine, Gateway, and Summit Elementary Schools and Woodland Park Middle School were all represented.
Watch D.O.G.S., which stands for Dads Of Great Schools, is a national program that started in 1998 with two main goals:
- to provide positive male role models for the students, demonstrating by their presence that education is important; and
- to provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.
Today more than 6,450 schools around the nation have implemented Watch D.O.G.S. with 227 in Colorado. Gateway Elementary was the first school in Woodland Park School District that implemented the program in 2013 followed by Woodland Park Middle School in 2015.
“I have seen the difference the program makes to many students in academics, discipline, and just their positive attitude,” said Doug Zurek, who started in Watch D.O.G.S. at Gateway and is currently the Top Dog Coordinator at WPMS. “I have built many relationships with students over the past years and am still contacted by them as they have moved up through the grades.” Zurek added that every day as a Watch D.O.G., students share information with him such as updates on their grades; test results; 4-H competition outcomes; and how they are doing in sports. “I recently got to watch one play softball for the WPHS JV team.”
Statistics show that students with fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school. Also, children with fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities. This was true for fathers in biological parent families, for stepfathers, and for fathers heading single-parent families.
A Watch D.O.G. performs numerous duties throughout the day, including:
*Checking exterior/interior doors to be secured
*Help in the lunchroom
*Helping out in their child’s classroom
* Math and Reading
*Wherever the teacher needs help
*Having fun, the most important task of all.
“I’m spearheading the goal to have the Watch D.O.G.S. program implemented and running in all of the elementary schools and the middle school,” Zurek said, and by the looks of the crowd, interested volunteers and the principals from each of those schools were present.
Thank you to Park State Bank & Trust, Peak Internet, and AJ’s Pizza for sponsoring the program since 2013. For more information about the program and becoming a Watch D.O.G., contact Zurek at (719) 659-4892 or firstname.lastname@example.org.