This edition of PG Highlights continues to shine a light on male educators of color who are fathers and father figures.

I recently spoke with Wayne Dennis, Principal and father, on his perspective regarding the importance of male engagement initiatives in public schools in efforts to improve the educational outcomes of Black and brown students.

As Principal I have established a partnership between the staff and fathers through open communication and collaboration, fathers and teachers create important opportunities for scholars to develop social, emotional, and academic skills. I make a deliberate effort to reach out to, and connect with, fathers. I send a clear message that they are welcome and valued.

A school-father partnership does more than enhance academic achievement.

When fathers and teachers work together, I have found that our scholars have a higher level of motivation and self-esteem. Our scholars also  develop key social and emotional learning skills, such as self-awareness, relationship building, and responsible decision-making. When we work together, fathers help reinforce the kind of behaviors and skills young people need to become successful adults.

I also, work closely with the different community agencies to help bridge the gap between fathers and the school community. I started a Me and My Dad! Read Aloud to encouraging reading time between fathers and children. We invited fathers to come different time during the school year to read to their child classes. 

We will spend intentional time encouraging our kids with fun activities and character strengthening conversations!

Karate program and a Electric football program to create precious time and moments for the fathers and sons to bond.  Although both parents were often involved in the karate program for there were boys and girls participating.  This also created an opportunity for Fathers of various ethnicities to be in a creative space and develop personal bonds.

What are the biggest mistakes public schools make when engaging fathers?

Public schools #1 error is they have and often so today, assume that fathers are not present in the lives of their children.  I have experienced in my own capacity, starting a dialogue with the schools regarding my children.  

At some point the school started to address their mother, that often deferred right back to me.  What took place was the underestimation of a father’s impact on the children’s overall life including education. An unfair judgment of me as a Father true level of commitment and conscious accessibility. The schools assumed that I did not have the rights as a parent to pursue and address issues directly affecting my children.

They had no clue of my joint custody status nor knowledge and resources in the educational field.

Mr. Wayne M. Dennis, M.Ed.  is the Principal of The E.J. Wright School, 2600 Flat Shoals Road, College Park, GA. 30349, phone: 678-257-2696, email: wdennis@thewrightschool.org, Website: https://thewrightschool.org/.