So, last Friday, my school waded into new territory. We began the implementation of a House System. If you’ve ever seen/read Harry Potter, you may be familiar with this system. At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, students are sorted into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. In these houses, students get together to participate in activities and compete in certain events.
Students at the Ron Clark Academy (RCA) in Atlanta, Georgia engage in a similar system. Students at the RCA are sorted into four houses, which are like unique communities all to themselves. Students join the Altruismo (Black), Amistad (Red), Isibindi (Green), or Reveur (Blue).
At my school, because of its size and number of students, my team and I decided to develop a House System with six (6) different houses. The Houses include the Dolphin House (Blue), Turtle House (Green), Bear House (Black), Wolf House (Purple), Eagle House (Yellow), and the Lion House (Red). Each House has an associated character trait and a particular color. In our Houses, students will meet once a month and engage in a lesson/activity that allows them to connect, communicate, collaborate, problem—solve, and have fun. I will be working with my older students to emphasize the importance of leadership, support, and kindness. I want them to support all the smaller/younger students in their Houses.
Based on my initial research on House Systems, the benefits include:
• Opportunities to connect with different/more staff members
• Breaking down traditional, systematic barriers in our education system associated with grade and age. The House System gives students the chance to meet and connect with students they may not normally have a chance to interact with.
• Building/cultivating more UNITY (which is our school word this year)
• Positively changes/uplifts school culture
• Makes schools seem more personal and connected
• Helps generate a sense of pride in self and in the House
• Cultivates leadership in many students, especially older students
For this adventure to work, you MUST have a highly dedicated team of educators in your building. My team is comprised of educators with a wide variety of expertise: social work, elementary, middle school, special education, curriculum coach, paraprofessional, and interventionist. Luckily, for my school, this team is extremely committed, kind, intelligent, punctilious, open, respectful, resourceful, logistical, flexible, and well-planned. I can’t thank these teachers enough for all the planning and effort they put forth with this adventure!
I’m super excited to see where this new adventure takes us! I’ll continue to update the blog as we progress through this journey!
Do you have any experience with a House System? If so, what’s it been like? I’d love to hear from you!