Wednesday is always "House Day" at BHHS, and students wear a uniform different from their normal -- instead of Faith's navy jumper and white blouse, she'll wear her House uniform -- a khaki skirt and green Aquinas polo. Faith is in Aquinas House (pardon the blue headband -- it makes her look bald! She decided to put her hair up in a bun today -- must have been a popular style yesterday!).
Rather than try to explain the purpose and function myself, I am copying from the school's website:
Our innovative House System is a hallmark program for Bishop Hartley High School. The creation of the program began seven years ago when a team of Hartley administrators, faculty and staff led the charge to create an environment where every student felt at home. They wanted to ensure all students had a support system, healthy peer relationships, people to turn to with questions, great adult role models, and a place to be themselves. That effort led to the creation of Bishop Hartley’s House System. Every house contains members of the faculty and staff to mentor and provide pastoral care to all our students. In each of the six houses, there are approximately 120 students. Split into six mentor groups (five students from each grade for a total of 20 students per mentor group), students meet with their mentor teacher/group every day.
The primary purposes of the House System are to further the mission of the school by providing greater pastoral care to all our students, training and guiding our students to become leaders and strengthening our sense of community. Each student is assigned to one of six houses. Our House System assures that each student is embraced in the “Hartley Family Spirit” while recognizing them for their individual gifts and talents. Our program enables us to strengthen the partnership of school, student, and parent in the development of each child that walks through the doors of Bishop Hartley. No matter what house a student belongs, we are all Hawks committed to furthering the mission of Christ both in our community and in the world.
At Hartley, we believe it is imperative for students to gain not only knowledge in high school but also real world skills to be successful. One of the most critical skills is leadership. With the House System’s focus on developing leaders, the House Program was expanded in 2014 to include a unique leadership curriculum. Bishop Hartley is the only school in the Dioceses to offer an approved leadership curriculum for which students earn graduation credit.
While integrating many of the roles of our previous student government system, the House System provides more leadership positions than that of a traditional student council model. Students can serve in more than 100 school leadership positions, including: School Captains, School Vice-Captains, Senior House Captain, Junior House Captain, Sophomore House Captain, Freshman House Captain, House Chaplain, and House Service Coordinator.
There are six houses, all named after Catholic high schools in Columbus that have since closed their doors. The house Faith was placed in, Aquinas House, is named after Aquinas HS, where her great grandfather attended school.
I am very impressed with the concept of the House System, their service projects and and opportunities to pull together and work as a group. High school can seem like a very big place where you could get lost, and this system helps the school make each student feel like an important individual to the group as a whole. I think making a big school smaller is always a good thing. Do you have a House System in your child's high school?
As an aside, Faith was very excited to come home yesterday and tell me that she met another girl who had been homeschooled her "whole life, too!" She says they are destined to be best friends!