Maplebrook Elementary School has a new dog each day, but these Watch D.O.G.S. aren’t just here for play.
“The Watch D.O.G.S. program is basically an opportunity where fathers, father figures, grandfathers, uncles, come into the school on a daily basis and essentially provide service to the school,” said Ryan DeBora, Principal of Maplebrook.
The main goal of the D.O.G.S., short for dads of great students, is to be an additional male role model in the school, emphasizing the importance of education.
“It’s a benefit for our students because they may not always have a male role model at home, and having that male role model here to help guide them and support them is a great addition to our classroom,” said Megan Clow, a Kindergarten Teacher at Maplebrook.
They also act as an extra set of eyes and ears.
Watch D.O.G. Bill Kostelny explains, “Make sure they’re following the rules in the hallway, no running no jumping, yelling, stay in line do what you’re supposed to do. But we’re here to have fun with them, to interact, show that we’re here to have fun during that education process.”
And fun they have, as each Watch D.O.G. gets to spend some time in their own child’s classroom, as well as assisting in other areas of the school.
“The kids just love it. Their eyes light up, they can high five their watch dog and i think its just really fun to have your dad at school,” said Chris Lockhart, a parent volunteer who helped organize the Watch D.O.G.S. program at Maplebrook.
Maplebrook was one of the first schools in District 203 to introduce the Watch D.O.G.S. program last year, as part of an educational initiative by the National Center for Fathering. This year, the program has grown to capacity, with a different D.O.G. in the school each day.
“We have a great problem, we have too many dads, too many fathers, father figures that want to be in our school on a daily basis, the fact that we hit our capacity and all of our days filled up within a week of our kick off event is pretty outstanding,” said Principal DeBora.
Maplebrook is already planning ahead for next year, hoping to find more ways for dads to be involved.
Beebe, Elmwood, Mill, Steeple Run and Naper are some of the other 203 schools with Watch D.O.G.S. programs.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.
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