Watch DOGS join teachers in Graves County schools


Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

GRAVES COUNTY, Ky. - Students at Symsonia Elementary are getting used to their new teachers and their new classrooms, but this year they also have to get used to some new people walking their hallways.

Lead Learner Alison Gregory told Local 6, the Watch DOGS program is new to her school, but not to the county. Some schools, she said, have had them for years.

Watch DOGS are Dads Of Great Students.  It's an innovative father involvement and educational initiative. It began in 1998 in Springdale, Arkansas and now is a nationally recognized program. It's designed to give fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other father figures a chance to volunteer in schools one day, all day. They greet kids in the morning, walk with them in the halls, joins them for meals, and interact with them in classrooms.

Bryan Houser is a dad of a Symsonia student and said he was excited to hear about the chance. He spent his first day at the school Thursday and said it was very rewarding.

"Any way we can get the men involved, you're going to make a difference in that child's eyes," he said. He feels the role is particularly important at Symsonia where all of the teachers are women. "I might be the only male they see today and that is the most important part to me."

Gregory said the program has gotten a lot of interest and support so far and hopes that continues.

"It's hard to see right now, but I think three years down the road we're really going to reap the benefits."

For more information about the program, contact Graves County Schools.