A father’s influence can determine a child’s social life, grades at school, and future achievements. Studies show, when fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior.
In November, “All Pro Dads Day” programs took place at various schools across the IPS district. Jeff Newnam, Executive Director for the Indiana Fatherhood Coalition played a major role in getting All Pro Dads Day programs started. Newnam believes getting dads involved in their children’s lives is critical.
“The Indiana Fatherhood Coalition wants to make it as easy as possible for IPS schools to get involved in the All Pro Dads Days,” says Newnam.
“All Pro Dads Day” was designed to give students a chance to have their fathers or father figures join them at school and bond together. The program provides a platform for dads to develop a closer relationship with their children and get more involved in their education. At Robert Lee Frost School 106, Parent Involvement Coordinator Kelly Whitfield, helped coordinate the program.
“It was a huge success, we had over 170 students and their dads attend; we’ve never had that many dads in the school at one time,” says Whitfield.
At the beginning of the program, the dads joined the students for a pancake breakfast provided by IHOP and Lincoln Square Pancake House. The breakfast was used as a time for the dads to talk with their children and get to know other dads at the school.
“I liked being able to eat with my two kids and just talk to them about their classes and anything else they wanted to talk about. It was nice seeing all of the teachers, it’s a really good school,” says James Hardin, a parent at Robert Lee Frost School 106.
A study conducted by Applied Developmental Psychology, reports that fathers who are involved on a personal level with their child’s schooling increases the likelihood of their child’s achievement. When fathers assume a positive role in their child’s education, students feel a positive impact.
“I had a student come to the event with their grandpa and great grandpa, it was so amazing to see that there were three generations at one table, they were extremely supportive of the student,” says Emily Crandall, Parent Involvement Coordinator at SUPER School 19.
Darrin Gray, Director of Partnerships for All Pro Dads Days says during the program they try to have prominent community father figure speak. Indy 11 Soccer Head Coach Tim Regan spoke about the importance of positive male role models at SUPER School 19 during the All Pro Dads Day program. Local WISH TV 8 news reporter Julian Grace, spoke to a group of students and dads at Charles Warren Fairbanks Elementary School 105 during “All Pro Dads Day.”
“Dads are hungry to find roles inside the school. They get really excited about getting involved in the schools. The Dads Days is a strategy that was developed to increase male engagement in schools,” says Gray.
Gray says a typical “All Pro Dads Day” starts off with a pride exercise where the dad has the child stand up and the dad says why he is proud of the child. Then there is usually a video that teaches key lessons like caring for the less fortunate. After group discussions, the dads then escort their children to their first classes of the day.
“My favorite part about the All Pro Dads Day was just being with my dad and walking to class with him early,” says Libby H., a fourth grader at SUPER School 19.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student earning mostly A’s. This was true for fathers in biological parent families, stepfathers, and for fathers heading single-parent families.
“I try to stay on top of my children’s academics, I need to be involved in what they are being taught at school,” says James Hardin.
“When the fathers go to the program and get to walk their kids to class, they become even more vested and engaged with the teachers and what their kids are learning in the classroom,” says Gray, “It’s very touching.”
We encourage all of our schools to develop an “All Pro Dads Day” program. For more information on how to start a program, visit the “All Pro Dads Day” website here.
Jeff Newnam stresses, “If any [IPS] school wants to get dads more involved, the Indiana Fatherhood Coalition is here to help. We will train the volunteers, help market the events, find speakers, even lead the events – whatever it takes!”