The parenting model in 2012 is a lot different than it was ten or twenty years ago. What’s different is that (in many homes) dads are much more involved in raising children than ever before.
And that applies to the schoolroom, as well. It used to be that moms were the room mothers, and the taxi drivers, and the homework helpers during the day. But that’s no longer true.
"We figured that we were missing something here at the school and the one point was we need fathers to attend school."
Meet Ernie Saldivar, the chairperson of a new organization at Starr Elementary School he’s rounded up the dads of 90 students to become part of the Watch Dogs program. That is: Dads of Great Students. Starr Elementary isn’t just your mom’s school anymore.
"So the key is we need the dads to be proactive, just like the moms."
What was once the exclusive province of moms: helping out in class rooms, organizing PTA fundraisers, helping with traffic patrol, field trips -- all of that is now shared by dads like Michael Duarte at Starr Elementary.
"That’s the beauty of the program. That it provides a structure where male involvement is asked – nobody asked me before."
"And I realized there is a lot more going on in school. So it’s a great experience and its been great for my daughter to say dad, ‘I can’t believe you took time to spend time with me today,' and that’s powerful."
"Cuz my mom comes all the time, it’s really weird to have my dad here." Do dads know anything about school? "Um, yeah cuz they’ve been in school before."
"I have three boys; I have one in first, one in third, and one in fifth grade, and they get the same shirts we have so when I come to volunteer, they wear their shirts and they’re real proud of that."
Starr was the first school in the Fresno Unified system to try the Watch Dogs program. Now Ayers school is starting up the dads program, and others might soon follow.
"The best sales line would be to look at your kids faces and see their reaction when their dads come on campus. Go out on the playground at recess, or at lunch when the dads are playing soccer, or how the kids flock around the dads at the lunch tables eating lunch. That right there, you know you make an impact, and that feeling you get inside is priceless."