Archive for Thursday, May 12, 2005

District eyes plan to get dads involved

May 12, 2005

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— Garden City school officials are considering a program aimed at getting fathers more involved in their children's education.

Parents and administrators listened Tuesday to a pitch from a consultant for the program known as Watch DOGS -- the initials being an acronym for Dads of Great Students.

"Where are the dads in schools anymore?" asked Scott Huse. "Where are the guys?"

Huse said the involvement of mothers in their children's education helped improve a child's performance, and "when dads get plugged in, it really makes a difference."

The program, launched in 1998 and based in Springdale, Ark., operates in about 600 schools in 35 states, and Huse said officials expected it to expand to 5,000 schools within five years.

Tyson Foods, which runs the former IBP plant in nearby Holcomb, is a national sponsor of the program. Representatives from the Tyson Fresh Meats plant brought the program to the attention of Garden City school officials, and the company is offering to help cover the costs of startup kits if the district gets involved.

"We're going to support it and we're going to make sure the word gets out," said Paul Karkiainen, general manager of the Holcomb plant.

Under the program, fathers voluntarily come to their children's schools a few times a year. School officials set up their schedules, which can include educational games with students, patrolling the halls and helping in the classroom.

"We want parents in our buildings," deputy superintendent Julie Ford said. She said parents frequently were willing to get involved at schools, but they didn't know how to do so.

Ford said administrators at individual schools likely would be allowed to decide whether to participate, but the district would "highly encourage" involvement.

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