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Principal calls on dads to be more involved
by Tribune Staff
Nov 21, 2010 | 1354 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — When Hidden Valley Elementary School parent Matt Gordon adopted 7-year-old MaiSee a few years ago, she couldn’t read, write or recognize shapes and colors. With Gordon’s encouragement, she caught up. Today, at 10 years old, she has surpassed grade-level expectations for her age. Gordon, a stay-at-home father who has two adopted children and several foster kids, said he’s seen both sides of the spectrum when it comes to fathers who are or are not engaged with their children.

“I get to see the dads who are not involved in their children’s lives and how it negatively affects the kids,” Gordon said. “It drastically affects their self-esteem. I also get to see foster parents and how the fathers are so involved and how much of a difference it makes.”

Dozens of Washoe County schools have encouraged their parents to become engaged with their children’s learning and Hidden Valley Elementary Principal Jim Studer wants to honor fathers like Gordon this month and encourage them to be proactive in their child’s education. Studer, who has studied the importance of male role models in a child’s development, has declared November as Father Involvement Month at his school and hopes to generate more interest in the district next year.

Studer said his research has shown that active paternal involvement is beneficial for a child on multiple levels.

“Children are 80 percent less likely to be incarcerated as a teen if they have a strong dad,” he said. “Girls are half as likely to become pregnant before the age of 20 if their dad is strongly involved.”

To promote Father Involvement Month, Hidden Valley has held a variety of activities to get fathers to become active with their child. Last week, dads were invited to contact their child’s teacher to set a time to come in and read to their class. On Tuesday, Barnes and Noble hosted a book fair to allow dads to read a book or play a game with their child. Thursday was Donuts for Dads Day to encourage the child to bring their father to school. An “Ale for the Arts” fundraiser” on Friday was an adults-only fundraiser for parents to enjoy a night out with a raffle drawing and a time for Hidden Valley parents to socialize.

Also, all month long, fathers and their children can play Dad and Me Bingo in which they are encouraged to do an activity every day. At the end of November, students can turn in their bingo sheets and have the chance to enter a drawing for fun activities to do with dad.

Hidden Valley joins a list of activities held by other schools earlier this month, including Mariposa Academy Charter’s Bring Father to School Day, Verdi Elementary’s Bring Someone Special to School and Lenz Elementary’s Take Dad or Special Person to School Day.

“It’s so important that our parents – fathers, mothers and other adult role models – are actively involved with their child’s education,” Trustee Dan Carne said. “Strong parental figures in a child’s life impacts their sense of self-confidence in a very positive way and underscores the value of a receiving a good education. I’m really pleased to see Principal Studer promote Father Involvement Month at Hidden Valley and certainly hope other schools in our district will follow his example.”
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