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Watch D.O.G.S.® Program

WATCH D.O.G.S.® Dads of Great Students, began in 1998 in a single school and has since grown into a nationally recognized program that has brought over a million 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.

Purpose

WATCH D.O.G.S.® (Dads Of Great Students) is a family and community engagement educational initiative.

There are 2 primary goals of the WATCH D.O.G.S. 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.

We believe that all of us want the same things for our kids and these values unite us. This program serves to bring communities closer together based on these values-based goals. Ultimately, our purpose is to change the country for the better by doing our small part to provide support to our educators and encouragement to our children.

Benefits

Students gain positive male role models

By taking time to come to campus and serve the students and teachers, fathers demonstrate that education is important. A male role model can positively impact a student’s life in three critical areas: academic performance, self-esteem, social behavior

Schools gain an extra set of eyes and ears

The presence of a father or father figure provides an additional deterrent to bullying, enhance a sense of security in the building, and helps create an environment conducive to learning.

Fathers gain greater awareness of student’s challenges

Fathers learn about the increasingly complex challenges and decisions today’s youth are facing. As a result, they can learn to relate better to their student and hopefully connect with them.

Who are WatchDOGS (Dads Of Great Students)?

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.

Program Recognition

The WATCH D.O.G.S.® program has been recognized by the United States Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and has been involved in the U.S. Department of Education’s P.F.I.E. (Partnership For Family Involvement In Education) and the Department’s Safe School Summit. The WATCH D.O.G.S. program is a founding member of National PTA’s M.O.R.E. Alliance (Men Organized to Raise Engagement). The WATCH D.O.G.S. program was featured on ABC World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson in their “Spirit of America” segment on November 17, 2008, on NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams on September 12, 2012 and on NBC’s Today Show which aired February 11, 2013. Also, the program has been recognized on the floor of Congress as a program that “can be a great tool in our efforts to prevent school violence and improve student performance because it can increase parental initiative and involvement in their children’s education.” (Congressional Record, February 7, 2000 page S392) WATCH D.O.G.S. has been endorsed by the President’s Advisory Council and included in the March 2010 report to the President. In June 2011, US Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited a local WATCH D.O.G.S. program in the DC area to encourage fathers and father figures to become more active in the educational system and to get a firsthand glimpse of the program.

Additionally, the WATCH D.O.G.S. Program has been featured countless times in local and national news media and on television.  You can view a sample of these featured stories here: 

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Please include the name of your school and the district here. If you know your school’s dedicated ‘D.O.G.S. School Code’ you can simply enter that.
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WD Schools

WATCH D.O.G.S. is one of the nation’s largest and most respected school-based, family, and community engagement, organizations in the country. Since the program’s creation in 1998, more than 6,800 schools across the country have launched a WATCH D.O.G.S. program of their own. Each school year hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures make a positive impact on millions of children by volunteering millions of hours in their local schools through this amazing one-of-a-kind program.

Currently, there are 5,585 active WATCH D.O.G.S. schools in 46 states along with schools in the following countries: Canada, Italy, Germany, and Japan

Frequently Asked Questions

What is WATCH D.O.G.S.® (Dads Of Great Students)?

WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) is a family and community engagement educational initiative.

What are the goals of a WATCH D.O.G.S. 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.
Who are WatchDOGS and how does WATCH D.O.G.S. work?

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.

WATCH D.O.G.S., a K-12 program, invites fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or other father figures to volunteer at least one day all day at their child’s/student’s school during the school year. Fathers and father figures sign up to volunteer through a ‘Launch Event’ such as a “Dads and Kids Pizza Night” or “Donuts with Dad” or by calling their child’s school any time throughout the school year. The program is overseen by a “Top Dogs” volunteer team who partners with the school administrator to coordinate scheduling and identify opportunities for WatchDOGS to assist at the school. WatchDOG dads and 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.

What do WatchDOGS do (while they are at school)?

During the day, WatchDOGS may read and work on flash cards with students, play at recess, eat lunch with students, patrol the school entrances and hallways, assist with traffic flow, and any other assigned activities where they actively engage with not only their students but other students as well.

Many school principals have reported that the mere presence of a WatchDOG dad dramatically reduces reports of bullying. On the day of their participation, WatchDOG dads 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 a WatchDOG.

Will men really spend a full day at school?

Yes! WATCH D.O.G.S. has a great track record of bringing fathers and father figures to school for the whole day. If you run your program as we outline for you, men will show up. While volunteering a day is a sacrifice for these fathers and father figures, once they serve their day they will be glad that they did. In fact, in many cases, these fathers and father figures will sign up for more days, both because they had an incredible experience and because it gives them a greater appreciation for what the teachers are doing to educate their children.

How do I start a WATCH D.O.G.S. program at my school?

If your school does not already have a WATCH D.O.G.S. program, the first step is to sign up for our toll-free ‘7 Steps to Success’ training conference call. After you have completed our ‘7 Steps to Success’ training conference call, the next step is to meet with your principal to make sure they want to implement a WATCH D.O.G.S. program (at their school) to help them meet their educational goals. If your principal wants to implement a WATCH D.O.G.S. program, the next step is to purchase a Startup Kit. Learn more about how to get a WATCH D.O.G.S. program started here.

Note: If you don’t receive an order confirmation email within 48 hours of placing your order, please call 888.540.3647 and speak with a program developer.

Who should watch the WATCH D.O.G.S. ‘7 Steps to Success’ training videos?
  • Principal and/or assistant principal
  • President or representative of a parent support group such as PTA
  • Watch Dog School Representative and/or School Counselor
  • Top Dog Coordinator and Top Dog Team Members
How long does the ‘7 Steps to Success’ training last?

The entire series of videos lasts about 45 minutes. They are broken up into short segments that you can review at your own pace.

The WATCH D.O.G.S. National Office is the only authorized provider of the official ‘7 Steps to Success’ training.

How much does it cost to start a WATCH D.O.G.S. program?

If you have attended the ‘7 Steps to Success’ training conference call, the next step is to purchase a Startup Kit. The WATCH D.O.G.S. Startup Kit costs approximately $500.00. 

We accept purchase orders, and Title I funds, can invoice your school, school district, or PTA, and accept all 4 major credit cards.

We also have a resource for helping schools learn how many programs pay for themselves.

What comes in the Startup Kit?

We offer Elementary and Secondary level Startup Kits. See the full list of items included in your Startup Kit here! Note: All schools must be trained before ordering their Startup Kit.

Can we share our WATCH D.O.G.S. Startup Kit with another school?

No. Each school that would like to start a WATCH D.O.G.S. program must take our ‘7 Steps to Success’ training conference call and purchase their kit. Whether you are in a school district that has three schools or two hundred, each school that would like to start a WATCH D.O.G.S. program must be trained and purchase its own kit. 

Note: A single kit may NOT be used to implement the WATCH D.O.G.S. program in multiple schools.

Can I be invoiced for my WATCH D.O.G.S. merchandise order?

Approved schools can “log in” to the WATCH D.O.G.S. using their unique school code and password.

Approved schools ‘at checkout’ have the option to pay with a credit card, PayPal, be invoiced, or pay with a purchase order. All school orders are shipped directly to your school.

If you have any questions, or cannot locate your unique school code and/or password, please contact our office at 888-540-DOGS (3647), and a Program Developer will be happy to assist you.

Can I order WATCH D.O.G.S. merchandise online?

Yes, the WATCH D.O.G.S. is a 24/7 online ordering center for administrators, teachers, Top Dog Coordinators, parents, and WATCH D.O.G.S. volunteers shop for your favorite WATCH D.O.G.S. products.

What other costs are involved with WATCH D.O.G.S.?

The WATCH D.O.G.S. program at your school should host two ‘Launch Events’ each year, which should be budgeted for as well.

It is also important that the fathers or father figures purchase their own official WATCH D.O.G.S. uniform t-shirt. The school or PTA should not purchase the shirts for their WatchDOGS though we do recommend the school has extra shirts on hand for WatchDOGS to purchase from the school or the PTA. We have learned that asking the WatchDOGS to purchase their WATCH D.O.G.S. official uniforms, will keep your overall costs minimal. It will also ensure the WatchDOGS not only sign the calendar but show up on their day because of the small investment they made. If you have questions about additional costs, please do not hesitate to call our office at 888.540.3647 (DOGS).

Are shipping and handling additional?

Yes! Shipping and handling will be added to your order at the time your order is finalized. If you place your order via our WATCH D.O.G.S. store, at checkout you can see shipping and handling cost. Shipping and handling costs vary depending on the level of method or service you choose. If you need an estimate for shipping and handling, log in to the WATCH D.O.G.S. or give our office a call at 888.540.3647 (DOGS) to get an estimate or quote.

Please note additional shipping and handling costs may apply to those states outside the 48 Continental United States. If you reside outside the 48 Continental United States and/or if you are in another country please call our office for estimated delivery time and approximate costs.

How can my school purchase a Program Renewal Pack?

Welcome back! Your school has made a great decision to maintain your WATCH D.O.G.S. Program!

View our latest Program Renewal Pack in the DOGStore!

Methods of Payment:

  • To order your Renewal Pack, “log in” to the WATCH D.O.G.S. . You will need your school code and password to log in and place your order.
  • Order your Renewal Pack, and ‘at checkout’ select your method of payment.
  • Please note your order will be shipped directly to your school.
  • If you cannot locate your school code and/or password for the WATCH D.O.G.S., call our office at 888-540-3647 (DOGS) and a Program Developer will be happy to assist you.
Do you have WATCH D.O.G.S. materials in Spanish?

Yes, we offer our implementation guide and training materials in Spanish. All of our major documents are in Spanish including our WATCH D.O.G.S. poster set. We also offer our ‘7 Steps to Success’ training conference call in Spanish.

For more information, email info@dadsofgreatstudents.com or call us at 888-540-3647 (DOGS) to speak with a Program Developer. Para informacion en español llame a Sarah Romo de Vivar al 888-540-3647 (DOGS) o por e-mail a info@dadsofgreatstudents.com.

What if our school can’t afford to pay for a WATCH D.O.G.S. program?

It is a matter of priorities, not economics. It might be easier for the school to purchase the Startup Kit with a purchase order and/or Title I Funds, and have your school’s PTA fund the ‘Launch Events’. However, a school can easily raise money by sending their Top Dog Team into the business community seeking donations and partnerships. The Top Dog Team should have the ALL ABOUT WATCH D.O.G.S. flyer and the “business donation” forms from the forms USB drive with them. This program is an investment with a high return. To get more information or ideas, please feel free to call us at 888-540-3647 (DOGS) or email us at info@dadsofgreatstudents.com.

We would like WATCH D.O.G.S. to be set up as a vendor. Can you help us?

Yes! WATCH D.O.G.S. would love to be set as an approved vendor in your school district. Please email questions about us becoming an approved vendor to info@dadsofgreatstudents.com and we will be happy to email or fax you a copy of our W9.

Is WATCH D.O.G.S. a sole source provider?

Yes! WATCH D.O.G.S. is the sole source provider for all materials and products bearing and/or encompassing our logo or name. The WATCH D.O.G.S. logos and training materials are copyright and trademark protected. To see a list of our official products, materials, and merchandise, please visit our Website and Dogstore. The WATCH DOGS logos may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the National WATCH D.O.G.S. office. In addition, the WATCH D.O.G.S. National Office is the only authorized provider of the official ‘7 Steps to Success’ training video series.

What does our school district, school, or PTA need to do to show that we are tax-exempt?

If you reside in Texas, all school districts, schools, and PTA’s will be charged sales tax – no exceptions. If you have any questions, please call 888-540-3647 or email info@dadsofgreatstudents.com.

Do we have to form a nonprofit organization to handle our WATCH D.O.G.S. funds?

No. Almost all our WATCH D.O.G.S. programs are funded by the school or by the school’s PTA program. There is no need to “reinvent the wheel.” Use your school’s existing infrastructure to handle funds and limit liability.

How do I recover my WATCH D.O.G.S. Password?

If you cannot locate your login and/or password for the WATCH D.O.G.S., call our office at 888.540.3647 (DOGS) and we will be happy to reset it.

Do I need to attend the ‘7-Steps to Success” training before I can serve as a WatchDOG at my child’s school?

The ‘7-Steps to Success’ training is designed to explain how to start a new WATCH D.O.G.S. program. The ‘7 Steps to Success’ training is for principals, assistant principals, counselors, school representatives, Top Dog Coordinator, Top Dog Team members, and a representative from your parental involvement program. WATCH D.O.G.S. suggests your Watch Dog School Representative, Top Dog Coordinator, and Top Dog Team listen to the training at least once each year.

How do I sign up to be a WatchDOG at my child’s school?

Thanks for being an involved father or father figure! You are going to love your day as a WatchDOG, and your kids will too. To sign up to be a WatchDOG, please call your child’s school and ask for the Top Dog Coordinator or the Watch Dog School Representative to find out a date you can sign up.

How do I change the date I signed up, to be a WatchDOG at my child’s school?

To change your volunteer date, please call your child’s school and ask for the Top Dog Coordinator or the Watch Dog School Representative to find out a new date you can sign up for.

How should we update our school’s WATCH D.O.G.S. Information?

Please help us keep your school information up-to-date. If there are changes to your Top Dog Team or Watch Dog School Representative for this school year, please email the changes to info@dadsofgreatstudents.com

We need to know the following information: first and last name, role with the school or the school’s WATCH D.O.G.S. program, email address, and telephone number. Include your school name, city, and state (in the email or subject line) to help us easily identify your school.

What do I do if I have further questions about WATCH D.O.G.S.?

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 888-540-3647 (DOGS) or email us at info@dadsofgreatstudents.com.

Testimonials

These represent a small percentage of the feedback we have received for this program over the years.

“We had over 110 dads at the very first (WATCH D.O.G.S.) kick-off. And that’s in a school that has 240 kids.”

Principal Amy Hercules
Countryside Elementary
Olathe, KS

“You know your (WATCH D.O.G.S.) model is so simple that it can be put in place in rural America, inner-city America, any place, any kind of school.”

Margaret Spellings
US Department of Education

“I think that this program has helped dads feel that they are not only welcome at school but that they are needed at school.”

Top Dog’ Dad John Ramirez
Encino Park Elementary
San Antonio, TX

“I think there is a great need to get dads back into the educational process. I can’t be everywhere. I have the entire district to cover. I’ve got five buildings to take care of. Having that (WATCH D.O.G.S.) presence, just having some extra eyes and ears… it might deter someone from taking any type of action.”

Police Officer Mark Hall
SRO for Logan-Rogersville
Upper Elementary and Primary Schools
Rogersville, MO

“I think that dads want to get involved and they are looking for an avenue to do it and they need the (WATCH D.O.G.S.) structure and the format… dads need to know what’s going to happen next.”

Principal Jackie Klamenus
Bellows Spring Elementary
Ellicott City, MD

“As we work to drive down drop-out rates and increase graduation and college completion rates, fathers have an important role to play. Children are always watching. Engaged fathers can strengthen our schools, mentor and tutor students and demonstrate through their actions how much they value their children’s education.”

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education White House Press Release, September 23, 2009

“When you get a few dads together and they see the positive impact this program provides, the energy is addicting and suddenly you have more dads than you have days for them to have the opportunity to be a Big Dog!”

PTA Co-President Megan Paul
Discovery Primary/Endeavour Intermediate
Milton, WA

“Most of the time when I see a dad it’s because there’s a problem. And we want (WATCH D.O.G.S.) dads to be able to come to school when there’s not a problem, when it’s a positive solution.”

Principal Chris Torgesen
American Falls Intermediate School
American Falls, ID

“It’s the best way for dads to deliver the message: Your education is important enough for me to take the time from work to help.”

Top Dog’ Dad Bill Funk
Fern Elementary School
Round Rock, TX

“I have never before seen such a warm response from a child just because they see a man coming down the hall wearing a WATCH D.O.G.S. t-shirt. It is truly amazing to watch the smile on his or her face… Are you looking for a program to increase male involvement in your schools? If so, WATCH D.O.G.S. is the program for you!”

Karen Dixon
PA State PTA Board of Managers
Scotland Elementary
Scotland, PA

“The positive male role models that participate in the daily accomplishments of the students will be remembered by the students… Our volunteer hours have increased, but more importantly, the excitement on the faces of our students when they see a DOG come into their classroom or enter the cafeteria is priceless! At CLE the WATCH D.O.G.S. program involves parents, students, and teachers, and is treasured by all! We love WATCH D.O.G.S.!!!!”

Teacher Missi Campbell
Crystal Lake Elementary
Stuart, FL

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