Divine Mercy utilizes the House System approach in middle school. Each year the incoming 6th grade students eagerly await the “sorting” ceremony to find out which house they will join. The current 7th and 8th grade students welcome them with special greetings, a house shirt and a morning of team building and goal setting activities.
The House System has been in effect for over 8 years and is one of the highlights of our middle school. The transition into middle school can bring its share of anxiety, but the house system has turned this in to a non-issue for Divine Mercy students. Through its design, the house system creates an atmosphere of belonging. Students begin and end each day lifting one another up in prayer. For the remainder of the academic day they take part in their classes with their grade level peers.
Each house is led by a team of 8th graders. Under the supervision of the house teacher, the 8th grade leaders take charge of weekly house meetings and house sheets. The house sheets give students an opportunity to earn points for their house by participating in extracurricular activities, volunteering their time and meeting a monthly principal challenge. At the end of every month a friendly competition, known as the house challenge, is held among the houses consisting of anything from brainwork to physical activities. Students flock into the courtyard waving house flags and singing original house songs. The energy is contagious!
The benefits of the house system have exceeded expectations. To witness 8th grade students as role models in faith, leadership and character for their middle school underclassman is to see Jesus working in each and every one of them.
Our students say it best.
“The house system made me feel like I wasn’t at a low point. I felt involved from the very beginning.” – Kacey
“ The house system helps kids feel more like they are in a family.” – Olivia
“My house leaders helped me feel secure. They spoke respectfully to me and never barked out orders.” – Daniel
“The upperclassman gave me good advice about teachers and helped me out the first few weeks of school.” – Andrew
“Knowing that the 8th graders have been through what I am going through in 6th grade is very reassuring. “ Lucas