Houses Concept

HOUSES WITHIN THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT:

Purpose of the House Concept©
When searching for the core causes of school dropout, the lead reason is NOT that the coursework is too difficult. The lead reason is that the dropout student does not feel affiliated to his/her school and/or does not see him/herself as "connected" to the school. It doesn't have to be that way.
Students who believe they are part of something are more likely to not only graduate, but are more likely to be engaged in our classrooms. If they see themselves as part of a team, they find reasons to be here for themselves. Houses provide a sense of "connectedness" to the entire school community.

Origin and Definition of the House
The notion of having students assigned to a grouping, or "house" is centuries old. The reasons they were developed in schools was to afford the students a clear sense of belonging. Houses are seen in the Harry Potter series, but they are used to sub-divide a school in a positive way in many parts of the world. It is for that reason Houses were brought to Okeeheelee Middle School.

Organization
Houses are created by gender, 15 boys' Houses and 15 girls' Houses. Men faculty are the leaders of boys' Houses and women faculty are the leaders of girls' Houses. There are approximately 45 students assigned to each House. All Houses have a House Leader and Support Leaders.
Mentoring among and between students is inherent to Houses. In other words, the older students are naturally expected to provide strong leadership for younger students, though this does not mean that younger students are not given leadership roles. For example, just because you are an eighth grader does NOT mean that you will be selected as team captain. It is possible that a seventh grader might be chosen for that role if he/she shows greater leadership skills.

There are House Competitions planned each year. Examples are:
1. Athletic
2. GPA
3. Academic
4. Food collection
5. Artistic

In addition, Houses are used to organize students around community assistance efforts such as the collection of food prior to Thanksgiving.
During the 2017-2018 school year, we are using a modified bell schedule when House Meetings occur (once per month). When the Athletic and Academic competitions occur, they are traditionally after lunches are concluded.

House History
The house system is a traditional feature of schools in the English-speaking world, particularly in Commonwealth countries, originating in England. The school is divided into subunits called 'houses' and each student is allocated to one house at the moment of enrollment. Houses may compete with one another at sports and maybe in other ways, thus providing a focus for group loyalty.
Different schools will have different numbers of houses: some might have more than 10 houses (with as few as 50 students in each house) or as few as four or fewer (with as many as 200 students in each). In some cases, individual houses can be even larger, as in McCracken County High School in the U.S. state of Kentucky, whose five houses have nearly 400 students each.[1] Facilities, such as pastoral care, may be provided on a house basis to a greater or lesser extent depending on the type of school. Historically, the house system was associated with established public schools in England, especially full boarding schools, where a 'house' referred to a boarding house at the school. In modern times, in both day and boarding schools, the word 'house' may refer only to a grouping of pupils, rather than to a particular building.
Houses may be named after saints, famous historical alumni or notable regional topics (e.g. in international schools, houses are sometimes named in honor of local celebrities). Other more arbitrary names—animal names or colors, for example—are also often used. Houses are also often referred to by the original name of the building or by the name or initials of the teacher in charge of the house (housemistress or housemaster). Each house will usually also be identified by its own symbol, logo, or colors.
At co-educational boarding schools, there may be separate houses for boys and girls, as at the Lawrenceville School, whose house system is itself based on that of Rugby School. Students may also be grouped by year groups or status as boarders or day students. At Winchester College and Eton College, there is a separate house for foundation scholars. Where the school has boarders and day pupils, they will often be allocated to separate houses. There have also been cases, for example at Cheltenham College, of pupils being allocated to different houses according to their religion. At traditional full boarding schools such as Radley College and Harrow School, students are grouped by boarding house.

Competition between houses
A secondary feature of house systems is the competition between houses. For example, the traditional school sports day is usually an inter-house competition. Debating competitions and charity drives are also often organized along inter-house lines. Merit points for behavior and academic achievement may also be totaled up for comparison between houses.

Some schools have a year-long program of inter-house events, in which each house 'hosts' an event at which all houses compete, with points contributing to the award of the House Cup at the end of the year.

Pupils are usually assigned to houses randomly, perhaps with the aim of balancing the houses in order to increase competition. Sometimes the assignment is based on the social and emotional needs of the student and to ensure proper peer mentoring is enhanced with the right fit of students within a house. Traditionally, however, once a pupil has been assigned to a house, any younger siblings he or she has may automatically become members of that house when they arrive at the school, but this varies from school to school. (This tradition sometimes extends to the children of former pupils.) Once a pupil has been allocated to a house they stay with that house as they move up through the year groups.
One notable feature of the house system is the appointment of house captains, and maybe other house prefects, who exercise limited authority within the house and assist in the organization of the house. Large schools may have a house captain for each year group (with vice-captains in the largest schools).
In boarding schools, the term housemaster or housemistress is the title held by the member of staff responsible for pupils living in a particular house (or dormitory). In state schools, members of staff are appointed as (or volunteer to become) head of house. However, both terms can be used at either style of school for the sake of formality.
In some cases, houses may have their own staff members other than housemaster or housemistress. For example, at the aforementioned McCracken County High School, each house has its own principal, guidance counselor, and teachers.[1]
The term "house system" is also used to refer to the residential college systems found in some US colleges and universities, such as Rice University, Caltech, Yale College, Harvard College, Notre Dame, and University of Chicago. These systems are based on the college systems of Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the United Kingdom, which in turn share many similarities with the house systems of British secondary schools.
Stories depict the popular conception of a British boarding school rather than how modern boarding schools work in reality, and often focus on the most positive aspects.[2] For example, loyalty to one's house is very important in real life houses, and is featured prominently in many of these books.

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