Arp Elementary to Launch Mentorship Program Providing Students with Male Role Models | New



At Arp Elementary School, only two men are full-time teachers or assistants out of 57 faculty members. For this reason, some students lack male role models.

Monica Johnson, a counselor at Arp Elementary, is leading the charge to address the issue by introducing a national mentoring and community engagement program, WATCH DOGS (Dads of Great Students).

Through WATCH DOGS, father and father figures volunteer at their local schools to provide students with a positive influence.

The program has been running since 1998 in more than 6,800 schools, and on September 21 it will begin with a pizza night for Arp students from preschool to grade five.

Johnson said the program brings male role models, including older brothers, uncles, fathers and grandfathers, to campus. The volunteer gets a schedule and starts the morning in their child’s class.

“They pick one day a year that fits their schedule,” Johnson said. “They are just there to provide positive role models for students and let them know how important their presence is to their education.”

Some of the activities for the volunteer father figure would be to help as a crossing guard, car / bus driver facilitator, hallway monitor, library assistant, dining room helper, classroom and homework tutor, or school coach. playground / gymnasium.

The volunteer will spend at least two full class periods in their child’s class (s).

Johnson said the program participant would also work in small groups of students, read with the children, help with homework and referee games during recess.

Officials at Arp Elementary intended to launch the program last year, but due to issues with COVID-19, visitors were unable to enter campus, Johnson said.

Arp Elementary Principal Stephanie Schminkey said she was excited about the program as many students don’t see positive male role models.

“Our kids in general love to have visitors to campus,” Schminkey said. “I want them to see the connection between home and school and that we are all working towards the same goal. Our staff are very enthusiastic because they know the power of a good mentoring program.

Schminkey recalled that high school coaches came to the elementary campus to supervise the students and that awareness raising had been very successful. She hopes WATCH DOGS will reach more children and add community involvement to the school.

“We think that with COVID it could actually be a positive one,” Schminkey said. “We need a positive here at school.”

Johnson hopes this program will lead to greater involvement in the community and allow fathers to actively participate in the education of their children.

“We are so grateful to Moms, and this is an opportunity for Dads to step up,” Johnson said.

During the pizza party from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., dads and other father figures will be able to learn more about the WATCH DOGS program and participate in a few activities.

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