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Rick Dwyer begins duties as WCHS Dean of Students today.
As the new school year begins, West Central High School's new Dean of Students is looking forward with a positive attitude to the challenges of a new job.
Rick Dwyer, a Peoria-area native, comes to this new position with 4 years experience teaching and 4 years experience as a Dean at Pekin High School with his last two years at Pekin spent as Assistant Principal.
Mr. Dwyer is enthusiastic about his opportunity to work with West Central High. "I'm excited about it. I have not met a lot of people in the community yet, but I'm looking forward to that. I'm also excited about the potential for growth here in student achievement."
Although his duties at WCHS will include student discipline, attendance, and truancy, he notes many positive observations as he is learning his way around a new school district. "I think that the community is excited and wants to see students do well, and I think there's the potential for that to happen. The kids I've met are great."
Dwyer realizes that the key to success on his new job is establishing relationships with students. He stated, "In regards to discipline, I'm trying to find ways to connect with kids." One of his goals is to "get teachers to work with problem students and to try to collaboratively come up with some workable solutions that involve parents. We're trying to get kids to their potential academically and behaviorally. I plan to be proactive with kids."
Mr. Dwyer identified several of his plans for the year. "My number one goal is a Pride Committee (Personal Responsibility in Daily Effort.) Its purpose is to recognize students who demonstrate good citizenship. We want students to make a positive difference in others' lives, whether it's a fellow student, a faculty member, or someone on staff."
Dwyer's vision for the PRIDE Committee is that it will eventually become an extension out into the community. He stated, "We'd like to get people more involved in the school, including outside agencies and organizations that can tie in to the school and help us make a positive difference for students."
Since positive student discipline is one of his areas of expertise, he has set clear goals for himself. He believes that consistent discipline is the key to helping students learn adult behaviors. He added, "I will also communicate that discipline with the staff and with the parents - not that it's not that way now, but I'll probably have more opportunity and time to communicate with adults about their students instead of just putting out fires."
Mr. Dwyer sees individualizing or personalizing instruction for students as a key element to school success. "I believe a lot in differentiating instruction, and I think that works in the classroom. All kids learn in different ways. Every child is capable of learning. It has become a challenge for teachers to get to know their students in the first few weeks to find out how they learn and how an individual student fits into the teacher's instructional pattern. I've coached almost my entire career, and I'm a firm believer that you take what you've got and build your team around the individuals that you have."
Rick concluded by stating, "I'm really looking forward to working here. There are challenges everywhere, but there's so much potential here that I'm impressed. I'm impressed with the administrators. I'm impressed with the teachers. I'm impressed with the students that I have met. It's just going to take some time to bring everyone together so that we can move in a positive direction."
Students, parents, or community members who would like to talk to Rick Dwyer can reach him thorough the main high school phone line at 309-627-2377.