The House System
What do Harry Potter, St. Raphael School in Kentucky, and Divine Mercy Catholic Academy in Merritt Island, Florida have in common?
They have all implemented “The House System” approach to help boost moral and achieve goals. Just as in the Harry Potter series, there are many positive outcomes to this type of approach.
According to Ron Gagnon, Principal at Divine Mercy Catholic Academy, this type of approach is just beginning to show the benefits to this private school in Merritt Island. “We had been talking for years about doing something different for our middle school students. We have seen great strides in student enthusiasm and attitudes along with school spirit and excitement. These changes also benefit positive discipline.” This exciting new idea would made its debut when school started in August, 2007.
Most of the students have been receptive to the idea. “I think the 6th graders have an easier transition and higher school spirit then in the past with this system” said the 8th grade student leader for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House. St. Joan of Arc House 8th grade leader also thinks that people are “being nicer to each other” and it is bringing the grades closer together. One of the middle school teachers at Divine Mercy shares a similar thought when she states that the House System has really “helped the kids bond across grade levels without losing any of their own identity. They are still together as a class 90% of the day.” An 8th grade student from St. Francis House says that there is an element of “fun” during the school day with the House System.
Once a month, a “friendly” competition is held between each House, consisting of anything from brainwork to physical activities. This helps to build team support and involvement. The students have even come up with their own theme songs that they chant on the way into the monthly pep rally. With every hand clapping and all the students singing, it is truly a sight to see.
The House System idea does not detract in any way from the uniqueness of each grade level but enhances it. The students learn to understand the benefit of many often outweighs the benefit of a few. So the next time your middle school child says, “Hey dude, I’m just too cool for school” consider a school like Divine Mercy that provides the “House System” as a new approach to learning. The sense of pride and confidence is overwhelming when students feel that they can make a difference everyday.