Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL — Security is just one of the reasons Glen Gunnell hopes to get more dads at school.
He also hopes their presence will help kids know how their dads value their education, and help provide support for teachers in the halls and on the playgrounds.
Gunnell is a dad of two students at Meadowbrook Elementary and has been working to establish a program known nationally as Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students).
Tom Dewey, also a dad of two students at Meadowbrook, thinks it is a good way to be a bigger part of his children’s lives.
“I want to be involved in their education,” he said. “I helped when they were in kindergarten and they had a smile on their face the whole time I was there.”
Mothers often assist at school or on fieldtrips, he said, but it is an important place for dads to be too.
“That way I’ll know what they’re talking about when I ask what happened at the end of the day,” he said.
Principal Janeal Magalei is also excited about the benefits of the program.
“It helps with our academics, it helps with our playground, it helps with our safety and security,” said Magalei.
The dads are excited to come, and the kids treat them as rock stars, she said.
“The school just always works better when you’ve got community people in the building,” she said. “The dads bring a whole different dynamic in.”
Just across town, at Bountiful Elementary, parents are working to the same end.
“These kids need to see dads that are responsible and present, not just physically but emotionally,” said Kristi Koger, who is working to establish Watch D.O.G.S. at Bountifiul. “They need to see men concerned about education.”
The idea for the program came from fathers.com, and both Gunnell and Koger heard about it from friends and family members in other schools and other states.
The goal is to have a father at Bountiful Elementary every day of the year, said Koger. The day will start with high-fives as dads welcome students off the bus. It will include help in classrooms, the cafeteria and the playground. Already, Jeff Colbert and two other dads were part of the activities at Bountiful Elementary, helping with a hot-air balloon launch the first week of school.
“They love it,” said Colbert, of his children. “Having a parent helps tremendously.”