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Fathers and father figures are making a difference at Cartmell Elementary School through the All Pro Dad’s Day Breakfast. The breakfast is held once each month in the Cartmell library from 7:15-7:45 a.m. The program gives fathers another outlet through which they can participate in their children’s education.
“This is part of a larger initiative to get dads in the schools,” All Pro Dad’s “Team Captain” Jay Montgomery said. “The breakfast is designed to give fathers and father figures a way to engage with their child at school in a meaningful way.”
All Pro Dad supplies the school with a curriculum that includes videos and question cards to prompt fathers and their children to engage in meaningful discussion. Montgomery presents the discussion questions, and then the dads and their children talk through the questions together. While the setting is alarge group, discussions take place between individual fathers and their children.
The All Pro Dad initiative is part of Family First, an organization that seeks “to use modern technology and offline events to strengthen the family by establishing ‘family’ as a top priority in people’s lives” (FamilyFirst.net). More information about the All Pro Dad organization can be found at their website (AllProDad.com).
For now, the All Pro Dad’s Day Breakfast is held only at Cartmell, but Montgomery hopes the program will expand.
“I have had a few parents tell me that they would like to see the breakfast expand to other schools,” Montgomery said. “The website has lots of information about getting a chapter started at the other schools. We just need someone to set it up.”
Family First also has a program for mothers called iMOM Morning, which is the same type of morning meeting except it is led and attended by mothers.
Research shows parental involvement is a key indicator in students’ academic performance. As Kathleen Cotton and Karen Wikelund reported in “Parent Involvement in Education”: “The more intensely parents are involved, the more beneficial the achievement effects.”
Herbert Walberg’s 1984 research on educational leadership showed “family participation in education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status.” In other words, when parents are involved at school, their children perform better and are more likely to succeed.
“Anything that we can do to increase parent involvement is great for our school,” Cartmell Principal Doug Oak said. “The All Pro Dad’s Day Breakfast has been a great opportunity for dads to get in our building and be involved with their children. Students are always excited when their dads are here.”
The Carroll County School District is always open to new ideas and initiatives that promote parent involvement.
Fathers and father figures interested in joining the current All Pro Dad’s Day Breakfast at Cartmell may contact Montgomery or Robin Huesman at (502) 732-7008.
Also, anyone interested in starting a chapter of the program at one of the other schools in the district may contact the same number for more information.
“The All Pro Dad’s Day Breakfast helps us all grow as fathers,” Oak said. “It’s a hard job, so it helps to have support.”
Carl Roberts is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.