In Focus: Men and Student Success
- With the increased involvement of men—including single fathers, noncustodial dads, homeschooling dads, custodial grandparents and other concerned relatives—in their students’ education, there is a greater need for male parent support.
- Research shows that when fathers and father figures are engaged in children’s education, student grades and test scores improve, attendance increases and students are more involved in school activities.
- Father involvement is associated with children’s better socio-emotional and academic functioning.
- Active and regular father engagement with children impacts a range of positive outcomes, including enhancing cognitive development and decreasing delinquency and poverty in low socioeconomic families.
 Allen, S., & Daly, K. (2007). The effects of father involvement: An updated research summary of the evidence. Ontario, Canada: Father Involvement Research Alliance; U.S. Department of Education. (2010). A call to commitment: Fathers’ involvement in children’s learning. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/parents/calltocommit/fathers.
 Howard, K. S., Burke Lefever, J. E., Borkowski, J. G., & Whitman , T. L. (2006). Fathers’ influence in the lives of children with adolescent mothers. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 468–476.
 Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2007). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: A systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Paediatrica, 97(2), 153–158.
Key Strategies for Starting a Male Engagement Program
- Identify strong leadership, especially a “point” person who is willing to make a long-term commitment to the effort.
- Educate men about the importance of their involvement. Emphasize the positive benefits of men’s involvement in their students’ education and in PTA.
- Meet with leadership and key players. Find a shared issue to address.
- Establish a plan of action. Get men involved in concrete projects.
- Meet with local administrators for approval. Address any safety concerns and follow volunteer and visitation policies.
- Develop a male engagement team of men and women. Seek out male community leaders and role models. Ask men to join directly, rather than through flyers or posters.
- Adapt communication and activities for male involvement. Don’t use generic materials! Keep messages succinct and to the point. Publicize men participating in activities to avoid the appearance of a “token” presence.
- Keep the momentum up.
- Keep school staff and PTA leadership involved and informed.
- Hold regular events and follow up.
- Celebrate successes and continue to evaluate progress.
- Reinforce male engagement with regular quarterly and biannual programs.
- Arrange for individual men to do one-day school visits.
- The Black Star Project’s Million Father March asks fathers to take kids to school on the first day as the beginning of a year-long commitment to supporting children’s education.
- The National Compadres Network facilitates involvement of Hispanic and Latino fathers and men.
- Real Men Cook organizes urban Father’s Day events.
- The National Fatherhood Initiative offers organizational plans and materials for fatherhood programs, research-based insights and parenting tips for fathers and families.
- The National Partnership for Community Leadership (NPCL) hosts an annual fatherhood conference on fatherhood research and programs.