Bishop Kearney High School is halfway through the first year of its new House System initiative that “Pottercularly” encourages professional development, relationship growth and a “Sirius” sense of community.
The school has been reorganized under four different Houses, named after significant areas in Ireland and Germany-Avonmore, Bayern, Castlebar and O’Dea. Each House has about 80 students, a group of teachers and student leaders. Studies show having a House System contributes to positive relationships between students and faculty, while decreasing feelings of isolation. It “Rons” on providing opportunities to grow socially, academically and spiritually together, as it provides an increased sense of community.
“We have always sought unique opportunities for students to enhance their education and grow professionally here at Bishop Kearney,” said Steve Salluzzo, Bishop Kearney president. “Our House System challenges students to step outside their comfort zone and make new friends they may not have had the opportunity to engage with. Since implementing this program we’ve seen students improve their leadership and relationship-building skills.”
Twice a week, students participate in small mentor groups that encompass academic advising and character-based instruction. Mentor groups are a major component of the House System as research shows mentorship strongly correlates with positive youth development and increases student grades while decreasing disruptive behavior. Students stay in their house throughout their time at BKHS, growing their leadership roles each year.
BKHS’ House System includes a running point system to encourage participation and healthy competition. Points are earned through academics and attendance; community service; school spirit; direct competition; adherence to dress code; and positive behavior. Points are totaled monthly, quarterly and at the end of the school year, with privileges awarded to the winning house.