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SHEPHERDSVILLE - Several school districts in Kentucky, including Bullitt County Public Schools, have recently raised the dropout age from 16 to 18 in order to keep students in school and help them graduate.
In addition, statistics show that students who have a positive male role model in their lives are twice as likely to graduate high school.
BCPS, along with school districts across the nation, has seen the reality of those statistics since participating in the Watch D.O.G.S volunteer program.
To kick-off the district’s third year participating in the program, BCPS Family Resource Centers hosted a Guys Night Out with the Kids at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre.
The event included a brief talk by national Watch D.O.G.S. executive director Eric Snow, a performance by Steve-O the Magician, an inflatable bounce house and games and activities for kids and the important people in their lives.
Snow told the men and children in attendance that having a male influence in a child’s life is important.
“What men offer, it’s not better, it’s just different,” he said.
Watch D.O.G.S., or dads of great students, commit to spending one day a year volunteering in their childís school, family resource center coordinator for Maryville Elementary and Overdale Elementary, Betty Marshall said.
All BCPS elementary schools have the program, Marshall said, and this year it will expand to middle schools.
The men who volunteer in the program do things like greet kids when they come to school, serve in the lunch room, participate with students at recess and work with kids one-on-one or in small groups in the classroom.
"They have a better sense of what it's like to go to their child's school," Marshall said. "They've truly lived that experience during the day."
Once they spend one day in the school, a lot of the men commit to volunteering more throughout the year, Marshall said.
Kids at the event received special prizes, including books. Marshall said the night out also kicked off a summer reading program sponsored by the family resource centers.
Students who read five books by the start of the school year with an adult and return a form listing those books during the first week of school to their family resource center coordinator will receive a prize.
For more information about the Watch D.O.G.S. program or to learn how you can volunteer, contact your child's school and ask to speak with the D.O.G.S. program coordinator.
WATCH D.O.G.S. STATISTICS:
-3,051 schools participate nationwide across 46 states
-255,000 men have volunteered through the program
-In a 2003 survey by Watch D.O.G.S. of 50 participating schools:
*89 percent agree the program is a valuable component in helping the school create a positive learning environment
*79 percent agree since implementing the program, the school has seen an increase of father involvement in other areas outside of Watch D.O.G.S.