KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A new program at an elementary school is changing the lives of its young students both in and out of the classroom.
It’s called “Watch D.O.G.S.” which stands for “Dads of Great Students,” and it’s a group of fathers whose children go to Green Magnet Math and Science Academy in Knoxville. They come to the school every week to monitor the halls and to spend time with children who don’t have a dad at home.
School officials say a significant portion of their students are from single-parent homes, many living with just their mother.
“When they see our excitement, they want to be a part of it. It’s contagious,” said Anthony Ware, Watch D.O.G.S. coordinator.
“It felt special because most kids don’t have that,” said Austin Pruitt, a fourth grader at Green Magnet.
Campus manager Vivian Williams says since Watch D.O.G.S. kicked off in January, she’s seen the morale and the performance of students change.
“You’d be surprised how much it affects the children and what a difference it makes in their lives. They recognize them and see them out other than just here at school, and they speak to them,” said Williams.
Watch D.O.G.S.’s goal is to provide children with a positive male role model and giving students confidence to do their best in everything they do.
“I was blown away by how simple it is, the kind of impact that it could have,” said volunteer Joe Morelock.
Each volunteer is subjected to a full background check. School leaders say having the Watch D.O.G.S. on campus also help provide more security around the school.
According to Green Magnet, more than 100 dads are involved in the program so far. Their goal is to have one person signed up for every day of the school year.