Bring a dad to school day

WatchDOGS Program

SPRING VALLEY, Minn. — You may remember your parent coming to school for a day to help serve lunch or take part in a field trip, but some students in southern Minnesota get to have their dad at school all day taking part in their classes.

“It’s been pretty cool because my daddy, he took the day off,” said Kingsland Elementary Kindergartner Bryn Huebner.

Joel Huebner usually walks his kids to school on his off days which land on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but this time he is sticking around.

“It’s nice, because I do work the weekends so to see them in school is a nice thing,” Huebner said.

He is one of many fathers taking part in Kingsland Elementary and Middle School’s “WatchDOGS” program. It is an acronym for Dads of Great Students.

They pick one or two days out of the school year to spend the day taking part in their child’s activities.

“Mainly they’re staying with the grade level team and within that they spend about two-thirds of the time with their child’s classroom,” said Pre-6th Grade Principal Chris Priebe.

There are a few thousand schools around 46 states that take part in this program, but it is relatively new to the area.

Kingsland decided to jump on board because they found many positives that come along with it.

“When dads get involved with a student’s schooling, the student becomes two times more likely to graduate and it helps increase grades,” said Community Education Director Becky Bicknese.

It is also a way to have a different positive role-model in the school and luckily they keep coming back.

“Some dads will sign up for one day and then by the time that first day is done, their name’s on that calendar again because they’re having just as much fun and they see their kid’s really enjoy having them here,” Bicknese said.

Huebner is one of the people coming back again, although he will be with his son next time.

“It’s just kind of neat to see all of the entertaining things they do. With her in kindergarten, they’re getting up and dancing around and burning off some of that energy inside,” Huebner said.

Dads are not the only ones who can take part. The program is set up for grandfathers, uncles or other positive male role-models in a child’s life to take part.

For more information on the program and what schools are part of it, visit their website.

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