Marco Johnson, father of a Nuffer Elementary fifth-grader, works 10-hour days four times a week as a surgery technician, and volunteers his Wednesdays at the school as a way to spend more time with his youngest daughter.

“I wanted to be a part of my daughter’s life more, and be a role model for her and her friends,” Johnson said. “I can be active and be more involved in her life.”

Nuffer’s WatchDOGS, Dads of Great Students, program started two years ago, and encourages fathers, uncles and other male figures to become more involved in their children’s education by participating in recess, lunchtime and classrooms activities.

“My other children love that I spend time at Nuffer,” Johnson, a single father of four, said. “They wished this program was around when they were in elementary school.”

Nuffer is one of 5,707 schools across the Unified States and seven other countries to increase male involvement their schools. WatchDOGS meet monthly in conjunction with Playworks training sessions, which teaches collaborative playground games and methods for students to resolve conflicts on their own, such as rock, paper, scissors.

“WatchDOGS is the perfect opportunity for our dads to become more involved at our school,” Principal Makara Sar said. “It’s important that we have male role models from our community volunteer who can help change a student’s life.”

More than 20 dads signed up for the program this year and volunteer on various days throughout the month.

“A strong relationship between parents and their children directly contributes to the well-being of our students in the classroom and at home,” Norwalk-La Mirada Unified Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian said. “Thanks to Nuffer and all of the schools throughout our District, we offer a variety of opportunities for our community to become more involved in the success of our children.”


041017_NLMUSD_WATCHDOGS1: Nuffer Elementary WatchDOGS help out during recess to encourage collaborative playground activities with all students.

041017_NLMUSD_WATCHDOGS2: Marco Johnson (left), father of a Nuffer Elementary fifth-grader, participates in playground activities with students as one of 22 WatchDOGS at Nuffer Elementary School, to serve as a positive male role model to other students.