Elm Street Elementary has gotten creative as they focus on building culture, community, and character, as well as exercising a little bit of friendly competition through their new House program.
There are four, very detailed, Houses. Reveur (Blue House) is the House of Dreaming, Altruismo (Black House), the House of Giving, Amistad (Red House), the House of Friendship, and Isibindi (Green House) is the House of Courage. Each House is complete with its own animal, language, power, and crest.
The goal of the House program is to encourage positive behavior. Everyone participates, so each student, faculty member, and teacher strives to be RCS (Respectful, Courteous, and Safe) in effort to earn points for their House. The House with the most points daily, weekly, each semester, and at the end of the year receives rewards.
Melanie Arrington, Elm Street media specialist, explained that the model for the House system was inspired by the innovation of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. She explained how Elm Street worked to tailor the program to meet their needs.
“We looked at our population and decided what would work best for us,” she said. “We decided to keep the same Houses because we really love the meaning of each one of them.”
Arrington explained that the lower grades will take on the Houses of their teachers; if the teacher is in the Red House, then the students in that classroom are members of the Red House also.
The upper grades, she said, were picked by their House (in this case, their teachers) according to their individual personality traits.
Celeste Adair, a fourth grade student at Elm Street, is in the Red House. She explained why the system is beneficial to the students.
“A lot of students really like the House system because it gives a purpose to be 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 expressed why she thinks the Red House is the best, “The House of Friendship is honestly the best to me because it shows that you’re not afraid to make new friends every day and you’re not afraid to talk to people.”
Sixth grader, Miguel Perez, is a member of the Green House. He said that being part of the Green House has really encouraged him to have better behavior.
“It also helps us meet new friends,” he added, “because we’re all part of a huge family. The Green House is the House of Courage and it helps me when I do morning announcements because sometimes I’m camera shy, so thinking about it helps me get past that. It also gives me courage to talk to people I’ve never met before.”
Both Arrington and fourth grader, G’ Dyne Kinnebrew, are members of the Blue House, and they’re both convinced that it’s the best House.
“The Blue House is a good House because it’s the House of dreamers,” Kinnebrew said. “Being Blue helps you be more creative. If people are acting up, the Blue House helps them think back to their House and how they can get points. It’s a big help if they can look up, look back, and think about how many points they can get.”
As a member of the Blue House, Arrington is excited to work as a team with her Housemates to earn those precious points!
“We are the dreamers and we are creative, so we are just thinking of that creative way that we can 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 Houses, Arrington said they did so with mentorship in mind.
“We tried to pair the students with adults that would be great mentors for them and help encourage them,” she explained. “This is a family program, so we all work together and try to promote and encourage each other.”
Arrington believes that the program has been significant in bringing everyone back together. As Principal, Laura Walley says, Elm Street is “all in, all the time;” and always as a family.