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Healthy House; Healthy School

September 08, 2016
By Jason Smith

Healthy House; Healthy School

{Written by Jason Smith, Dean of Faculty and Instruction}

Last year, Providence rolled out a new program for 7th through 12th grade student life: our House System. Lead by our House Governor Casey Smith and our Dean of Students Mark Wright, students from every grade were selected for induction into 1 of our houses and evenly distributed across all 8 houses. The houses are as follows: The House of King Alfred, Lewis House, The House of Saint Augustine, The House of Saint George, The House of Schaeffer, The House of Tolkien, Wilberforce House, and Wycliffe House. Each week before Exordium (our assembly time), houses gather to have their weekly house meetings. Every house is comprised of 4 student leaders who make-up our Logic and Rhetoric School Student Leadership Council: House President, House Vice-President, House Tournament, and House Community/Outreach.

We launched the House System

to provide a platform for mentoring student leadership in the Logic and Rhetoric School;

to allow for older students to mentor younger students (which is happening very intentionally now);

to have a more deliberate and expansive approach to student government (through our House officers and our student-led House meetings);

to host competitive events (tournament) and group service projects (outreach) that encourage community and lift up people at PCS and around the Wiregrass;

to give faculty an opportunity, in addition to their classrooms and their co-curricular activities, to get to know different students in different contexts in a different way;

to promote a healthy loyalty between students, between students and their Houses, and ultimately between students and PCS (and PCS’s Vision and Mission) by identifying with their House namesakes (Wilberforce, King Alfred, Schaeffer, etc.), their House lineage and House rituals, and their House servant-leaders and faculty representation.

We want every student in grades 7th through 12th to know that they are known, and House is a very effective way to orchestrate school community to pull off healthy and accountable community. I share all of the aforementioned because I think many parents still don’t quite know what House is and what House hopes to accomplish. Hope this information distills things for you a bit and provides context for the importance of supporting the House program (through any means but primarily through financial donation at Providence Night).

Subsequently, it is going to take some money to do the things we want to do to create a House culture and to host House events. For example, we have talked about a beginning-of-the-year kick-off retreat for the Houses. Also, Houses are now entering Exordium (formerly our Wednesday assembly time) together and sitting together: therefore, we would like for them to have their House crests on standards that they carry in with them. Additionally, we want to continue to provide House students with House shirts, and we want to look into other House paraphernalia (pins, etc.). These are only a few examples of where we could use House funds. I know Casey Smith (House Governor), Mark Wright (Dean of Students), Emory Latta (Head of School), and Kathy Compton (Logic and Rhetoric Principal) could share more about what costs lie ahead.

Because House is new and unproven, we know we can’t simply charge families with a House fee! But there have already been House expenses. The school has absorbed some of those. And some of our sacrificial teachers and parents have been supporting House by purchasing things for them. (I know you know that drill!) Until House is proven and it is a budget item, I think Casey, Mark, Emory, and Kathy have seen the need for some House funds to continue the cultural wins we’ve observed and to expand the program’s influence.

Bullying, gossip, cliques, and just good old grade-level rivalry (go Seniors!), can threaten healthy school community. Coach Latta often says, "The best way to allow for weeds in your garden is to do nothing." House is something. It is bold. It is counter-cultural. It recognizes that regular old school will more than likely yield weeds in student-life. Therefore, PCS has launched into unchartered territory (especially for the Wiregrass area) to

(1) discover how student government can be more than a popularity contest reserved for a few but an opportunity for our kids to answer the call of becoming character-driven, servant-leaders.

(2) create the conditions and cultivate the traditions of healthy student-life by involving all of our students all of the time in activities (tournament, service, and outreach) that allow for them to work and play together across the divisions of age, grade-level, and peer groups and make room to allow for older students and faculty to provide leadership and mentorship to the younger students.

(3) honor the Lord by pursuing a model of education that understands, acknowledges, and gives thanks for His creation and the unique way he has made us; we know that we learn more and take away a passion about learning when we not only love the material but we love the people we are sharing the learning experience with. (Yes, House has everything to do with academic achievement.)

As you can tell, we believe that House is a game-changer at PCS! We want to continue to resource our leaders to build it and to implement it using the vision that the Lord continues to reveal to them! Let me know if you need more information or have other ideas or would like to contribute. Appreciate you! And don't forget: a portion of the money raised at Providence Night will go toward supporting House at PCS!

Event Facility Time Notes
Sunday - September 1, 2019
 
Monday - September 2, 2019
 
Tuesday - September 3, 2019
 
Wednesday - September 4, 2019
 
Thursday - September 5, 2019
 
Friday - September 6, 2019
 
Saturday - September 7, 2019