Assignment: Education – Cool C.A.T.S.

La Crosse School Encourages More Males to Volunteer

Randy Erler is heading back to school.

He is the first volunteer to take part in a new program at Southern Bluffs Elementary School called Cool C.A.T.S. It stands for ‘Caring About Terrific Students.’

The program encourages more people to volunteer in school.

“We can’t do so many of the things that we want to do if we don’t have that human resource,” said Lisa Schreiner, Southern Bluffs Elementary School principal.

But they’re not looking for just anyone to volunteer their time. They are looking for men. The Cool C.A.T.S. program is similar to one you may have already heard of called Watch D.O.G.S.

“At Southern Bluffs we are the Bobcats,” said Matt Thornton, Cool C.A.T.S. parent coordinator. “So, dogs and cats don’t necessarily get along so well. We decided to go with the cats. And, therefore, it came about- Caring About Terrific Students.”

Thornton is hoping to see an increase in the number of male role models.

“There’s not as many male teachers at this age,” said Thornton. “So, it’s good to have them in the school, walking the hallways, in the lunch room, at the recess.”


“I think a school is a microcosm of the world,” said Shreiner. “And not everybody has the benefit of having a dad or a grandfather. I mean, families are spread apart now. And so to have that, another male figure in their life of someone to talk to and just connect with in a different way, is really important.”

Volunteers like Randy will also be able to work with students in class on reading, spelling and math concepts. A relationship which will be beneficial for the students and fun for the volunteer.