Who is Mr. Dudley?
Dear Students, Parents, and/or Guardians:
I want to welcome you all back to another great year in the Upper St. Clair School District! My name is Matthew N. Dudley, and I am going to be working with your child as a Learning Support Teacher at Boyce Middle School. I know that many great things are going to happen this school year in the classrooms, and feel honored to have the opportunity to work with your child.
Many of you may be asking yourselves, “Who is Matthew N. Dudley?” Well…I have lived in Western Pennsylvania my entire life, and graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2002. I also have completed coursework towards earning my Masters Degree in Administration/Supervision from Duquesne University. I have previously worked as a classroom teacher at Pace School, a non-profit approved private school serving students of elementary or middle school age that meet the Pennsylvania standard for emotional disturbance, autism, neurological impairment, or persuasive developmental delay. I primarily worked with children ranging from ages eleven to fifteen, in which I was in charge of creating, teaching, and adapting instruction, assessing the students, managing physical and verbal behaviors, as well as tracking students individual progress towards IEP benchmarks. I came to Upper St. Clair ten years ago with the privilege of working at Boyce and with students in learning support. I have gained a great deal of knowledge and ideas while working with the students at the middle school level, and this allowed me to continue to grow professionally and personally. I know that over the course of the year, you will have a better opportunity to get to know me and the dedication that I bring into each and every classroom I enter.
On lighter note, I have many interests and activities that I love outside of school. First, any Pittsburgh team (especially the Steelers!) holds a special place in my heart, as my classroom would show. I love NASCAR, dirt track racing, and any type of fast car! I enjoy being outdoors, especially in the autumn to see the leaves falling. Finally, one of my favorite things is spending time with my friends and family, especially my wife Joyce, and my two children, Steele Ryan and Stella Rian (see if you can figure out how much I love the Steelers!) I can’t forget my other two children, the Basset Hound and Chihuahua-Greyhound, Dixie and Daisy. I also enjoy participating in many events around the school building and district, as I currently am part of running the Green Team, Co-Coordinator for the Deer Valley program, the Staff Talent Show, and Statistician for the USC Varsity Football team.
Each year, it is critical to acknowledge the significance of the student’s transition from the elementary level to Boyce Middle School. There are many personal philosophies and beliefs that I carry into my lessons and classrooms, especially the concepts and practices of the middle school child. Growing up in Greensburg, not only did I have two brothers to keep me company, but also twenty-eight cousins that I regularly saw every Sunday at my grandparents. My family actually taught me many great things, because I have never seen so many unique and different individuals love and respect one another in one place. First and foremost, any classroom should feel like a second home to anyone that is in the room. The warmth can be shared by the physical atmosphere, including the walls and windows, and also from myself, the teacher, the students, and any other person in the classroom.
I also believe that teaching is similar to the sun. The sun rises and sets, as does a day in the classroom. However, when a child learns a new piece of information, it needs to “set” with him or her, and “rise” at any point of the day inside and outside a classroom. Having a purpose for learning is essential to allow the information to set, and focusing on real-life examples should be a constant. Throughout the course of the year, it is essential for the teacher to really get to know his or her students, and this will allow for more effective and creative planning and instruction. I believe in utilizing Howard Gardner’s philosophy and the Six Facets of Understanding that state that children have different learning styles; teachers need to focus towards these styles, incorporating them into everyday instruction, which will allow for the best chance of success for each and every student in the classroom. This will be evident in many different types of approaches through centers, regrouping, differentiation, tiered assignments, etc. Also, one of my strongest beliefs for success is the fine art of personal organization and how it can mystify some students. Just having a sense of organization, and not having to worry about where something has been placed or what needs to be done can avoid stress, anxiety, anger, depression, and a wide range of emotions. This is critical for the students to begin creating and utilizing study strategies on an independent basis. Finally with each curriculum area present in the classrooms, there are many opportunities for students to study and discuss current events that occur throughout the world. A child’s opinion can be as strong as the next person, and as effective as well, and opportunities should be allowed for students to develop a fair and reflective opinion. I feel that it is essential for teachers to understand the current trends that surround the students.
One of my favorite roles of being a teacher is having the ability to be creative and unique. The best opportunity for me to do this is through the new age of technology. Working with digital natives, I try to incorporate low-tech and high-tech technology into my lesson planning as effectively as possible, and with the upgrades implemented in each classroom through the construction phases, can do this on a daily basis. With the help of the Prometheon board, Blended Schools, FlipChart Presentations, apps, and the Internet, students are able to gain an unlimited supply of information to process and connect. I also advocate the use of the Kurzweil program, as well as Inspiration to assist with reading and writing needs (Visit www.kurzweiledu.com or www.inspriation.com for a preview). You will be able to access my website and Blended Schools to find resources to assist with Spelling and Reading, podcasts, blogs, and much more!
Overall, once again, I thank you for the opportunity that I am receiving to work with your child. I truly enjoy teaching and life in general, and cannot think of anything else that I would rather be doing each and every day. My door is always open, and I encourage you to contact me as much as possible to discuss any questions or concerns dealing with your child. I am open to discuss the current progress of your child, as well as any ideas to better educate and better provide opportunities for success. I try to be as readily available as possible, so it is never to early or late to get in touch. Please feel free to call (412) 833-1600 ext. 5125 to reach me at school, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call my cell at (724)-331-6754, or visit me in person in room 27. You can also check out my teacher page at www.uscsd.k12.pa.us, as this is usually current with information. I know that great things are going to happen this school year, and with great teamwork, dedication, and some fun, we can make this the best school year ever! Go Steelers!
Matthew N. Dudley
~Boyce Middle School Learning Support