'Watch DOGS' program putting East Texas dads on campus

PITTSBURG, TX (KLTV) - By Taylor Hemness - bio | email
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PITTSBURG, TX (KLTV) - When you walk down the halls at most elementary schools, most of the adults you will find are women. But Pittsburg Elementary School is using the "Watch DOGS" program to change that. The program puts dads from the community on campus.

The school is hoping a feeling of safety and a better learning environment, come with them.

Shawn Kennington is the mayor of Pittsburg. But now, he is also a watchdog.

"We started out either helping the kids get out of the cars when they arrive, making sure they got on the sidewalk safe," explained Kennington. "Then, also in the lunchroom, making sure they make it to the classroom safety."

Kennington's 9-year-old daughter, Chloe, is beginning the fourth grade at Pittsburg Elementary. For at least a few days this year, she will see her dad in her room.

Watch "DOGS" stands for Dads of Great Students. But it is not just dads in the program. Antonio Landin participates because of his little brother, who is also in the fourth grade.

"When I was walking the halls, and they saw the shirt, all the kids looked up to you," said Landin. "You felt like a rock star, you know, with little kids looking up to you."

Landin says when he signed up, the school told him studies show that students learn better when they have a male figure in their lives. He says that was reason enough for him.

"Mothers do all the school-related duties, and I think it's a good thing to have males around, and let the kids know that they're also involved," said Landin.

But the school says the program can mean more than just safer kids and higher grades. It can give students something to shoot for when get older.

"Getting to see one of the men in our city volunteer their time to work one on one with these kids, it just means a lot to these kids, and it gives them a positive role model, in a way they can see themselves following through and doing something for their community someday," said Pittsburg Elementary Assistant Principal Daniel Stuard.

Pittsburg is looking for more dads to sign up. If you are interested in signing up to help contact Pittsburg Elementary School at (903) 856-6472.

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