Watch D.O.G.S. (Dad's of Great Students) is a new program designed in response to the Westside shootings in Jonesboro in 1998. It is designed to help keep area schools safer and since its inception the program has spread to more than 800 schools in 30 states.
At Cherokee Elementary, the program got off to a great start with a pizza party Aug. 27. Meg Barnes, Cherokee Elementary counselor, said there were over 400 dads, grandfathers, uncles and father figures present.
Throughout the day, the dads will serve as positive role models to the students and also help increase the sense of security in the building.
Some of the activities the men are doing include welcoming students to the school, reading, tutoring and playing games with them at recess. By sharing personal insight and knowledge about such things as their careers and life lessons, the men are not only helping the students, but also providing an extra set of eyes and ears creating a great environment for learning.
Beverly Gilbreath, another teacher at Cherokee Elementary said she has enjoyed them being in her classroom. "Some kids don't have a positive role model at home and this is good for them." By the men seeing the activities in the classroom, Gilbreath said it allows them to help their child more at home.
She said they are used to having mostly women around them while they are at school and when the men are in the classrooms, the students tend to behave better and are quieter.
Barnes said dads can sign up any time throughout the year to come to the school and volunteer for Watch D.O.G.S. and encouraged all parents of children in the Cherokee Elementary School to participate in the program.