Elm Street Elementary got creative by focusing on building culture, community and character, as well as exercising a little friendly competition as part of their new House program.
There are four very detailed Houses. Reveur (Blue House) is the House of Dreams, Altruismo (Black House), the House of Don, Amistad (Red House), the House of Friendship and Isibindi (Green House) is the House of Courage. Each house has its own animal, language, power and crest.
The goal of the Maison’s program is to encourage positive behavior. Everyone participates, so every student, faculty member and teacher strives to be RCS (respectful, courteous and safe) with the goal of earning points for their house. The house with the most points daily, weekly, semester and year end receives rewards.
Elm Street media specialist Melanie Arrington explained that the House System model was inspired by the innovation of Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. She explained how Elm Street worked to tailor the program to their needs.
“We looked at our population and decided what would work best for us,” she said. “We have decided to keep the same Houses because we really like the meaning of each one.”
Arrington explained that the lower classes will take over the homes of their teachers; if the teacher is in the Red House, then the students in that class are also members of the Red House.
The top grades, she said, were chosen by their house (in this case, their teachers) based on their individual personality traits.
Celeste Adair, a fourth grader in Elm Street, is in the Red House. She explained why the system is beneficial for the students.
“A lot of students really like the House system because it gives a goal of being RCS all the time,” she explained. “It’s a way to meet new people in other Houses and it can let your competitive spirit fly. “
Adair explained why she thinks Maison Rouge is the best, “The Maison de l’Amitié is honestly the best for me because it shows that you are not afraid to make new friends every day and that you are not afraid to talk to people. “
Sixth year, Miguel Perez, is a member of the Green House. He said being a part of the Green House really encouraged him to behave better.
“It also helps us meet new friends,” he added, “because we are all part of one big family. The Green House is the House of Courage and it helps me when I make announcements in the morning because sometimes I’m shy in front of the camera, so thinking about it helps me get over that. It also gives me the courage to talk to people I’ve never met before.
Arrington and fourth grader G ‘Dyne Kinnebrew are both members of the Blue House, and they both believe it is the best House.
“La Maison Bleue is a good House because it is the House of dreamers,” said Kinnebrew. “Being blue helps you be more creative. If people take action, the Blue House helps them rethink their House and how they can get points. It’s very helpful if they can search, look back, and think about how many points they can get.
As a member of the Blue House, Arrington is delighted to work as a team with her roommates to earn these precious points!
“We’re the dreamers and we’re creative, so we’re just thinking about this creative way to earn those extra points,” she said. “Being RCS, helping others and working hard is how we’re going to do it! “
When assigning students to their homes, Arrington said they did so with mentoring in mind.
“We tried to match the students with adults who would be great mentors for them and help them encourage them,” she explained. “It’s a family program, so we all work together and try to promote and encourage each other. “
Arrington thinks the program has been important in bringing everyone together. As the manager, Laura Walley says, Elm Street is “all the time”; and always with the family.