On Friday morning, the gymnasium at Symsonia Elementary School buzzed with impatience as students, faculty and staff gathered to launch a new home system designed to create a team mentality within their school.

Similar to the sorting system featured in the Harry Potter series, the school’s students were divided into five houses – Briga, Jasiri, Kamahalo, Ukudala and Zinafuna – all with their own color and animal mascot.

The house the students were assigned to remained a mystery until they were called to the center stage in groups, where they opened envelopes to reveal a sheet of paper with the color assigned to their house. .

Once the students were distributed to their homes, they “ran home” to their head of household and teammates, who were waiting with house flags, a pearl necklace and cheers of excitement.

Principal Alison Gregory said that during the early planning stages of the home system at Symsonia Elementary School, teachers asked themselves what character traits they would like their students to have when they leave school.

The houses, she said, were based on these traits.

The Brigas are known to be caring, kind and compassionate. Jasiris are known for their courage, bravery and fearlessness. The Kamahalos are known to be respectful and proud. Ukudalas are known to be creative and inspiring dreamers. Lastly, Zinafunas are determined and tenacious, known for their persistence and ability to thrive.

Gregory said each house holds students from all grade levels and allows older students to bond with younger students and vice versa.

“At the end of the day, it’s the relationships that matter most,” she said. “If kids feel like they have someone to talk to at school, that’s important to us. They won’t learn if they don’t feel like they belong.

Family Resource Center coordinator Monique Zuber said the idea to initiate a house system in the school only came after a few teachers from Symsonia Elementary visited Ron Clark Academy, a college nonprofit in Atlanta. After seeing their house system, the teachers were won over by the idea.

“I think the house system really creates a sense of belonging, so that students don’t fall through the cracks,” Zuber said. “They all have a place, they all have older students who are going to mentor them, and that gives the students a chance to interact with staff members that they may not know as well.”

There are many possible ways you can use Houses for team building, but these have not been finalized. For starters, she said, the students will sit with their homes for the monthly assemblies.

“We’ve had these monthly assemblies before that create a general feeling of family, and having these homes will only deepen that,” Zuber said. “Each student will have their own little (school) family.”

“We want every student to feel in their place and have a place,” Zuber added.