CPSD schools getting more fathers involved
Research shows that fathers today are more involved in their children’s education than ever before. For that reason, Clover Park School District (CPSD) schools are welcoming more dads onto campus and into classrooms.
Two programs, in particular, are highlighting this trend.
On the first day of school this year, Lochburn Middle School hosted a Million Father March event as a way to encourage dads and other male role models to bring their kids to school.
“For the most part, we see a lot of women involved in our students’ lives at school, but I don’t think the men actually get a direct invitation,” said Lochburn teacher Talia Kircher, who organized the event. “This event was important because it showed our students that not just our staff care about them but also the men in our community care about them and their education.”
The Million Father March is a nationwide initiative spearheaded by the Black Star Project to get black and Latino fathers more involved in their children’s education. Lochburn was the first CPSD district school to participate.
Dads and other family members along with their students were welcomed by staff and provided donuts for breakfast. Several fathers lined up in the school’s entry way and cheered and gave high-fives as buses emptied and students arrived for their first day.
“It had an impact not just on our families but also on our staff,” said Lochburn principal Greg Wilson. “It was a positive experience for our staff to see how many families, and particularly male role models, cared and felt that the first day was important to starting the school year right.”
While the Million Father March offered an exciting way to kick off the school year, another program also gets dads in schools, all year round.
Rainier Elementary School hosted its third annual Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) launch pizza party Sept. 14 to get more dads volunteering in the school.
“When we have events where their dads come, the kids get so excited,” said Rainier principal Kylie Danielson. “It makes them excited to have their dads in school – it’s another opportunity for them to get quality, one-on-one time with their dad.”
Watch D.O.G.S. is a program created by the Center for Fathering to give students access to more positive male role models as well as put more male figures on campus to help strengthen school security and reduce bullying.
The program has seen positive growth since it was started by Rainier staff members Kimberly Boyajean and Gricelda Villanueva near the end of the 2015-16 school year. More than 400 dads signed up last year to volunteer and the school saw dads volunteering on almost a daily basis.
Villanueva said the students are not the only ones impacted by the program.
“A huge realization for me is the impact it has on the dads,” she said. “Involvement opens your eyes. Once they come in, they’re usually hooked and then they want to come back.”
CPSD has active Watch D.O.G.S. groups in a number of schools, including: Beachwood, Idlewild, Custer, Dower, Four Heroes, Oakbrook, Meriwether and Lake Louise Elementary Schools, Lakeview Hope Academy and Harrison Preparatory School.