Dowagiac leaders focus on positives as classes resume

Published 5:06 pm Thursday, September 1, 2022

DOWAGIAC — It’s been a whirlwind of a first week for Dowagiac Union Schools.

The joy often associated with the first day of school was overshadowed by a Dowagiac Middle School student being arrested for bringing an unloaded gun to school as well as a Wednesday bus crash that resulted in six people being injured – including four students.

With that being said, after visiting each school building over the course of the week, Superintendent Jonathan Whan believes good things are in store for the district this year.

“Overall, from a big-picture perspective, I thought it was a great start,” Whan said. “Kids showing up on time, transportation going well, our new kindergarteners rolling in for their first school experience. We’re fully staffed and our kids are involved in extracurricular activities.

“Even though we had a few difficult situations, the staff dealt with them effectively and efficiently. Overall, it was a great start.”

In addition to a new science curriculum, Whan said the district is in the process of doing facility and technology upgrades to enhance security. The district used its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to purchase new desks and chairs for its elementary schools in case the district needs to enact social distancing in the future.

The district is also undergoing a beautification process consisting of tending to flower beds, trees and other vegetation on campus property.

In addition to improving the academic progress of students, the district believes that citizenship is a key to success of both students and teachers as it strives to achieve its mission: to educate all individuals to their maximum potential and vision. 

In pursuit of its mission, the district has adopted the acronym POWER:

Pride in yourself, your growth and school.

Own your learning and attitudes.

Wise decisions are critical for success.

Engage in your learning by being actively involved and working hard to complete everything.

Respect yourself and others enough to help make the learning environment the most comfortable and safe place.

“We need students to take the power of learning into their own hands,” he said. “This will increase their impact on the learning environment. We’re working to have a more cohesive environment that will instill a feeling of belonging and safety.”