NEWTON, NJ—The Merriam Avenue Elementary School is partnering with the National Center for Fathering to host its kick off Watch D.O.G.S event on Wednesday, September 21 from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m. at the school.

Watch D.O.G.S, which stands for Dads of Great Students, is a program geared towards increasing the presence of male role models on the campus of schools. According to their website, there are two primary goals of the program.

  1. To provide positive male role models for the students, demonstrating by their presence that education is important
  2. To provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying

The Watch D.O.G.S program began back in 1998 in Springdale, Arkansas, and has since grown into a nationally recognized program. The 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,” according to the website.

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There are multiple benefits to the program including but not limited to the following, according to the website:

  • Students gain positive male role models
  • Schools gain an extra set of eyes and ears
  • Fathers get a glimpse of their students’ everyday world and learn about the challenges that today’s youth face
  • Fathers gain a greater awareness of the positive impact they can have on their student’s lives in three critical areas: academic performance, self-esteem, and social behavior
  • Due to budget shortfalls and cutback, often teaches are presented with larger classrooms each year. Fathers and father figures provide real and important help for the teachers and students.

Currently there are 5,348 registered Watch D.O.G.S schools within the 47 states along with schools in Canada, Chine, Mexica, Barbados, and Puerto Rico.

“Merriam Avenue School is one of the few schools in the state that do this program,” said Kenney Lutz, Vice-Principal at Merriam Avenue.