Indianapolis Sees Success Involving Fathers

Written by Stacey Andell for Schools K-12

Superintendent Calls for Fathers on the First Day of School

Superintendent Eugene G. White’s call to fathers in the Indianapolis schools has met with strong success.   Mr. White asked fathers to bring their children to the first day of classes in order to establish a stronger presence on campus and hopefully continue to stay involved with Indianapolis schools throughout the school year.   The event was dubbed, “The First Day is Dad’s Day,” and encouraged fathers to have a more active role on campus.  

As Mr. White states: "Mothers are the backbone of IPS, but dads need to know they have a role to play in supporting their children’s education, too. I look forward to seeing more dads in schools throughout the school year."    Mr. White hopes programs like “The First Day is Dad’s Day” will help change the way fathers view their role in their children’s education and encourage more fathers to take an active interest in what their children are doing in Indianapolis schools.  
Public Reaction to “The First Day is Dad’s Day”
News stations across Indianapolis turned out to record “The First Day is Dad’s Day” programs.  WTLC, WEDJ, WISH-TV, WRTV, WTHR, WXIN, the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis Recorder all participated in getting the word out about the event as well as following up with the story later to see how dads, teachers, and students felt about the shift in the role of the father on campus in Indianapolis schools.   The response was overwhelmingly positive.   Many fathers took their children to school for the first time and saw the process from a parent perspective that they had not had before.   The networks of fathers meeting each other and seeing their children at school should have a positive effect throughout the year as fathers feel more comfortable being involved in the Indianapolis schools.
Reverend Emory Davis watched “The First Day is Dad’s Day” proceedings and collected many interesting anecdotes:
"Well, it was a wonderful day. I went to School 55. I got there shortly after 8 a.m. and was greeted by one of the staff members. As I told her what I was doing she got excited that someone was there to help.

"Given the title of ’stand-in’ parent, I greeted children and parents as they came into the school, helped them with directions to either check the assignment board or that they were welcome to have breakfast. I met the principal, Mrs. Johnson, and she also thanked me for coming.

"I picked School 55 because one of the young men in our men’s group at church attended that school when he was younger. 

"One thing, I greeted a young man with I think two children, one of whom was there for kindergarten - although he looked as though in stature to only be about three years old.  The parent already had a room assignment for his older child but needed information for the little one. I told the parent to see Mrs. Johnson. As they turned to their left toward the office, the little one came back and looked at me with eyes that would melt the hardest rock and said, ’Hello.’  I had to bend down and obviously say ’Hello’ right back. And with the he caught up with his dad and brother. That just made the whole day.

"Tell Dr. White ’Let’s do it again!’ "