El Paso ISD’s Strong Fathers Initiatives Hopes to Strengthen Dad’s Involvement in Schools

EPISD hopes to reach out to more fathers and engage them in their children’s education through a new initiative launched at 15 elementary campuses.

The Strong Fathers program creates dad-specific events such as bring your father to school day, math night, reading night and science night to get dads more involved at their child’s school and in their education.

“The goal of the program is to engage more fathers in their children’s education because the studies show that when children have a father figure in their lives they score higher on intelligence tests, have higher cognitive competency on standardized intellectual assessments, tend to do well academically and enjoy school, are less likely to repeat a grade or have been expelled than children whose fathers are less involved in their schools,” said Angie Ramirez, Family Engagement coordinator.

news2_2580_mJ. Michael Hall, president of Strong Fathers/Strong Families, provided training to the campus teams so they facilitate the events and activities at their respective campuses. During the training, Hall stressed the importance of mom’s role in schools but explained research shows that when both parents play an integral role in their child’s education chances for success rises.

“We know when mom’s read to kids you all these great things happen,” Hall said. “But when dad’s read to kids, verbal skills increase up to 15 percent which doesn’t happen with mom. It isn’t that mom is doing anything wrong, it’s just that dad is doing something different. Dad has a specific role in education. So we need mom to do her job and dad to do his job, so our kids have more chances to succeed.”

Hall explains that moms have traditionally felt more comfortable in schools than dads and how the Strong Father’s program hopes to change their mindset.

“When we invite fathers to father-specific events, they get more comfortable coming to school for other things and the school gets more comfortable dealing with dads on a day to day basis,” Hall said.

The Bring Dad to School Day activity gets fathers into classrooms to learn more about how and what their kids are being taught. “They begin to better understand what we are doing in public schools,” Hall said.

The program is being launched at 15 elementary campuses, and will grow to expand to the remaining elementary campuses, then middle and high schools.

The campuses participating this year are: Bonham, Aoy, Coldwell, Hart, Logan, Burnett, Rusk, Hillside, Douglas, Cooley, Zavala, Alta Vista, Clendenin, Stanton and Moreno elementary schools.