November Starfish Story: A true ‘HERO’

Published 10:03 am Thursday, November 19, 2015

At Dowagiac Middle School we speak often with our students about being Chieftain HEROes.

Jim Dudley

Jim Dudley

HERO is an acronym in which reminds us of our guidelines for success:  Being Helpful, Engaged, Respectful, and Owners of our behavior and learning.

Teaching these skills is an ongoing process that takes every staff member in our building. We not only teach these values, but also model them.

Jim Dudley is a model Chieftain HERO at DMS, and he does an excellent job working with our kids.

What makes Jim stand out is his ability to coach students to understand how they can become better HEROes.  After spending time with Mr. Dudley, students are able to see the positive impact they can have on our school and our community by following these HERO expectations.

People often joke how crazy one must be to work in a middle school.  It takes plenty of patience and requires great listening skills.  Success boils down to building relationships with our students.

Jim has an innate knack for doing this.

To share an example, I had the privilege of observing Jim while he worked with a student that had made a poor choice in class.  At first the student was defensive and refused to own his behavior.  Jim sat quietly, listened carefully, and helped the student to process what had happened.

In the end, the young man was able to acknowledge what he had done. He owned his mistake and developed a plan to fix it.  With Jim’s support, the young man even met with his teacher to apologize.

When I have students in my office I remind myself of how I would want my son’s principal to treat him if he were called down to the office. It is important to me that our kids are treated with respect and support, and they learn how to fix mistakes.  I believe all students deserve to be treated fairly.

If my son were called down to meet with Mr. Dudley, I would have no problem knowing he is in good hands.  In fact, I’d like my son to spend time with Mr. Dudley sometime, trouble or not, because I know what Jim teaches and models makes kids become better people; something we all hope and wish for our children.

Thank you Mr. Dudley for working with our students at Dowagiac Middle School in such a supportive manner.  You are a positive role model, and we are a better school community for it.


Matt Severin

Principal, Dowagiac Middle School