Kingsland is encouraging males to take a more active part in their students’ lives. One event held recently was Donuts with Dads, in which students ate breakfast and read stories with their father, grandfather or other male role model. Here, second grader Brooke Lecy reads to her grandfather, Rick Stockman, during the event that attracted a large crowd of men to the Kingsland Café last month.  DAVID PHILLIPS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Kingsland is encouraging males to take a more active part in their students’ lives. One event held recently was Donuts with Dads, in which students ate breakfast and read stories with their father, grandfather or other male role model. Here, second grader Brooke Lecy reads to her grandfather, Rick Stockman, during the event that attracted a large crowd of men to the Kingsland Café last month. DAVID PHILLIPS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Kingsland school is looking for male WatchDOGS.

"We're trying to get the word out to all responsible male role models in students' lives that they can volunteer at the elementary and middle schools," said Kingsland Elementary and Middle School Principal Chris Priebe, introducing the WatchDOGS father involvement initiative program to the Kingsland School Board during the November meeting, a project that the district is taking on to better men's volunteer involvement in students' classrooms throughout the school year.

The "DOGS" of WatchDOGS is an acronym for "Dads Of Great Students." According to literature given to attendees of the recent "Donuts with Dads" elementary student-father reading event, "Kingsland Community Education, Elementary and Middle schools are partnering together to bring our students a positive new program during the school day."

Priebe addressed the "Donuts" attendees and informed them of the upcoming informational kickoff event tonight (Wednesday), during which prospective participants will have the chance to learn more about the program that was founded by the National Center for Fathering. WatchDOGS was, the literature noted, "inspired by one father's desire to increase male involvement in his children's school, and with the help of the schools, teachers and administration, was created in 1998."

The benefits of participation are numerous, related the informational material distributed by WatchDOGS. "Students gain a positive male role model. Some students do not have a father figure present in their home, and the number of male teachers has been steadily declining in recent years. More positive male role models are needed in the school setting.

"Second, schools gain an extra set of eyes and ears. The presence of WatchDOGS can increase a sense of security at the building for students and staff, and it helps create an environment conducive to learning.

"Third, fathers and father figures - grandpas, uncles or any positive male in a child's life - can spend meaningful time with their students in the school setting and gain a greater awareness of the positive impact they can have on their student's life, just by being a 'dad'.

"And fourth, when WatchDOGS invest a day at school, they can learn how to better partner with the school to meet educational goals of students."

Kingsland Elementary and Middle School's WatchDOGS informational event is Wednesday, Jan. 8, from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Kingsland Café. The Pizza Place of Spring Valley is co-sponsoring a pizza party during which interested "dads" can learn more about the program, view the master calendar and sign up to spend one, two or more days assisting at the schools, lending a hand to teachers and showing students how to become good citizens.

More information on WatchDOGs is available online at www.fathers.com, or by contacting Priebe at priebe.chris@kingsland.k12.mn.us, or Becky Bicknese at bicknese.becky@kingsland.k12.mn.us or by calling (507) 346-7276.