About the Practice
Every student in grade 9 and 10 is placed in a house at the beginning of the academic school year. Each house is named after a university. The houses are named: Harvard, Columbia, Yale and UWI (University of the West Indies). Each house has teacher and student leaders. Houses compete all year long in events. Each event adds points to your house bank. Some of the events include but are not limited to: Academic debates, Academic Inter house quick-fire challenge, spelling challenge, Report Card challenge (house points for each report card grade over an 85), House Banner Challenge, Dodge Ball, Inter house events and Field Day Challenge. The house with the most points in their bank receives a free trip (Great Adventure or similar location) and a Trophy emblazoned with the House name for all to see. (bragging rights).
Target Population/Total Students:
The practice has existed for 4 years now but incorporated 9th grade last year and 10th grade this year. Inclusion of the 9th and 10th grade was in result of last year’s EPIC survey which identified a need for school wide advancement toward college readiness and cultivating a college-ready culture. In total (9th and 10th grade students) there are 170 High School students (boys and girls) participating in the House Challenge.
- Finding time in a busy school schedule to include House Meetings, competitions etc.
How did school overcome challenges?
In August Ms. Miller (Assistant Principal) Mr. Holmes (Assistant Principal, ESI Liaison) and Ms. Gregory (English Teacher, ESI Team) outlined a schedule inclusive of City Wide Instructional Expectations, testing schedules, etc. and mapped out a schedule (for the year) for House Challenge related events.
How will you continue to sustain this practice?
The House Challenge existed in the middle school before ESI and STAR will continue to support the program (through its own funding) although it may be difficult to incorporate 11th graders next year as many will be taking Brooklyn College courses off campus for most of the week. STAR will send its best and brightest staff members to take advantage of any summer institute training offered by ESI. Staff will be expected to turnkey main points at future whole staff PD meetings. Finally, Dr. Blake and Mr. Holmes will continue to find grant opportunities to support ESI initiatives deemed valuable.