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.
- A Call to Commitment: Fathers’ Involvement in Children’s Learning
- 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.