CREATING A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
The House system at Amana strives to create a supportive community and culture where students and staff feel safe to take risks, celebrate their success, and learn from failures together.
What is the House System?
The house system is a traditional feature of schools that originated in England. In school house systems throughout the world, the school is divided into subunits called ‘houses’, and each student is allocated to one house at the moment of enrollment. Houses may compete with one another at sports, academics, and in other ways, thus providing a focus for group loyalty. Different schools will have different numbers of houses: some might have more than 10 houses (with as few as 50 students in each house) or as few as four or fewer (with as many as 200 students in each). In some cases, individual houses can be even larger.
At Amana Academy, the word house in this context does not designate a building, but rather a body of people. It is a network of member relationships, developed through long acquaintance in a stable community and regular interaction throughout the year. The fundamental purpose of these house system is to portion Amana Academy into smaller communities that promote both learning and loyalty to the school overall. At our school, the house system is the overarching program that ties our culture and character program together (crew and counseling). It requires parents, students, and staff to be active contributors to their houses and the school at large.
Benefits of the House System
- It allows students and staff to have an opportunity to interact with students from all grade levels
- Students have the opportunity to engage with true faculty mentors
- It increases opportunities for student leadership
- It allows students to participate in a variety of activities that are non-academic and non-athletic
- It is a great way to know more people outside of the classroom setting
- It can be a source of positive peer-pressure and motivation that can have a positive effect in the classroom
- Marquee events bring more fans to athletic and fine arts events
- The school will benefit from increased school spirit and healthy competition
- Studies show that schools with House systems have happier students and have more school spirit than they did before a House system was implemented
Houses at Amana
The Principal is the headmaster and oversees and approves all house activities. The Headmaster is responsible for effectively communicating all needs, direction, and vision to the Head(s) of House.
Head of House
There are 4 Head of Houses per “school” resulting in a total of 12 Head of Houses. Schools are grouped by grade Primary (grades K-2), Intermediate (grades 3-5), and Middle School (grades 6-8). The Head of House is responsible for communicating expectations outlined by the Headmaster and Gamemakers to all other teachers in their school. In addition, the Head of House is responsible for communicating needs and concerns to Headmaster and Gamemakers.
Student Government Association
There are a total of 12 students in Student Government (3 from each house; 1 from each grade level 6-8). As a member of Student Government Association, the individual will be responsible for communicating student concerns and will be the chief of moral as they will conceptualize ways to raise student spirits and interest in all activities. These students will also work closely with the Headmaster to synthesize student feedback etc.
These are staff members who generate and set forth all rules for all games. Gamemakers should consult the student support staff (e.g.RTI, ESOL, SPED, TAG, etc.) to ensure that all programming is equitable and inclusive. There are 4 Gamemakers per “school”. Schools are grouped by grade Primary(grades K-2), Intermediate (grades 3-5), and Middle School (grades 6-8). Gamemakers will meet within their school to organize games and activities. There are a total of 12 Gamemakers.
Heads of House and Gamemakers work together to schedule competitions and select what games will be best fit for students according to ability, taking advantage of themes of learning, and catering to the overall moral of each school.
Heads of House and Gamemakers will meet once a month. The meeting will be scheduled on a recurring date that is agreed up by Heads of House and Gamemakers. The goal of the meeting is to review the status of the competition and to vote on needed changes. In this monthly meeting, the leaders will also break into small groups to organize as needed. SGA representatives can attend meetings when invited by either the Headmaster, a Head of House, or a Gamemaker. The monthly meeting is where the Headmaster relays any, questions, comments, and/or desires for the competition.
Staff members who are interested in being a Head of House or Gamemaker will have the opportunity to sign-up during pre-planning and will plan to meet as soon as possible to get a better understanding of the competition and to plan the Sorting Ceremony. In the event of the staff sign-up being fruitless, Heads of House and Gamemakers will be assigned by the Headmaster at least 2 weeks before the Sorting Ceremony.
The Role of Teachers
Teachers are essential for the House System to be effective. At Amana, teachers have the opportunity to earn points for their house. While they are the chief supporters of their students this year we will host activities/friendly competitions that help teachers achieve more than they think possible. Amana Academy aims to increase the quality of work-life for its Teachers. Teachers will gain points through physical activities, social activities, and by participating in creative competition. Teachers guide and monitor the student experience and are immersed into house competition themselves.
Students with exceptions will be able to gain extra points for their teams by reaching personal benchmarks that are monitored and set with the support of Interventions personnel: RTI staff, ESOL teachers, TAG teachers, and counseling staff. The program is inclusive and does its best to balance gender roles as all students can lead and participate equally in all activities regardless of race and or gender and physical abilities. Students will be placed in competition that will give them an equal opportunity to succeed. If a student has an occurrence or exception that will lead to an unfair disadvantage, crew leaders are to consult the Head of House and from there the Gamemakers will create activities that promote equality.
Competitions teach students to interact with dignity, humility, and with positive attitudes towards competition. Students are encouraged to compete, not against each other, but with their own personal best and with rigorous standards of excellence.
Throughout the year houses compete against each other for points which have the potential to earn their house various rewards that are awarded on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. At the end of the year, the house that has accumulated the most points wins the house competition and is named house of the year (they win the Amana Cup/Seal of Excellence).
Points will be wiped clean each week but the totaling of all points will not be erased from the master score. House point totals will be the sum of the average of all Homerooms in each house K-8. Averaging points of each homeroom ensures equality as some houses may have a greater number of students than others.
Students who attend an approved event (sporting event, drama production, concert, dance, service learning, etc.) will receive one point for his or her House. The House with the largest number in attendance for each event will receive an additional ten point bonus.
Participation in Programs
Students who belong to an Amana Academy program (sports team, drama, band, chorus, etc.) will receive one point for his or her House. For athletics, points will be awarded as follows: Fall Sports – November, Winter Sports – December, Spring Sports – February.
Conduct / Uniform
On the first Friday of every month, Houses will be awarded two hundred conduct points: 100 points for conduct and 100 points for wearing their proper uniform. Every time a student receives a detention or violates the dress code during that month, five points will be deducted from his or her House’s allotted Conduct/Uniform points.
Students may earn one point for his or her house for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarters by making the Honor Roll. Points will be awarded during the months of October, January, and March.
Points will be tracked on the Spirit App. In addition, event attendance, participation in programs, conduct/uniform, academics, IXL, and Study Island points will be reported and tallied weekly. Point results are to be used by Crew leaders to better assess student needs and progress.
Each week’s points will be totaled and displayed in common areas: lunchroom; lobby, school website, weekly updates.
Each month, house members will compete to accrue the maximum possible points for their House via competition, event attendance, and adhering to Amana Academy’s disciplinary policies. The House with the most points at the end of the month will be named the House Monthly Champion and will be allowed to be out of uniform every Thursday for the following month. All houses will begin each month with zero points.
Each House’s monthly point totals will be tallied into the House’s Quarterly Totals. The House with the most points for the quarter will have the Golden Eagle placed on their flag.
Each House’s monthly point totals will be tallied into the House’s Yearly Totals. The House with the most points for the year will be named House Champions for that year.
School Wide Events
Amana Cup Games
The entire school will come together for some friendly competition among the four Houses throughout the year. Students display school spirit and House pride as they work together to achieve a common goal. Older students are available to assist younger students.
One of the many benefits of being a K – 8th-grade school is that older students can assume leadership and mentor roles and our youngest learners have older students that serve as role models. Each student is connected with others in their House through the mixed-grade Buddy Crew. Students earn points for STEM Venture and Service Learning projects with their Buddy Crews.
High Five Flyers
- Each grade level will come together to figure out what the reward will be at this point it will be a small token
- The school counselor is the keeper of the weekly rewards but she does not deliver them. She will, however, remind teachers to pick up rewards by Thursday
- Scorekeepers (a position to be added to the Who’s who portion of the manual) will be responsible for collecting point data. This task can be done with the help of other teachers but if it is not done or if there is a discrepancy the Scorekeeper will be the point of contact. There are a total of 9 Scorekeepers (one per grade level)
- Recognitions will happen every Friday. If we do not have school on a Friday the current week’s rewards and announcements will be carried over into the next week
- The rewards will be given out on the grade level hall/common area
Note: The weekly meeting can also be a time to address any behavior trends etc.
Monthly Recognition (Community Circle)
High Five Flyers
- The reward for students who have reached a predetermined level on the high five tracker. One person per grade level will receive a prize.
- Each student who has maintained a predetermined level on the high five tracker for the month will have their name entered into a raffle (students cannot be entered into the raffle more than once per month).
- The recipients of the Outstanding Eagle recognition are students who have been observed by their teacher (s) as exemplar citizen scholars or have been observed making improvements worthy of such recognition
- The recipients will have their picture taken and displayed on the “Outstanding Eagle” board and will receive a lapel pin.
- 2 students per grade level per month 1 boy 1 girl
Monthly House Champions
- The House with the most points at the end of the month will be named the House Monthly Champion and will be allowed to be out of uniform every Thursday for the following month
High Five Flyers
- Anyone participant who maintained the predetermined level on their high five habits tracker for the quarter will be invited to attend a school-wide celebration
- The celebration will take place on the blacktop behind the school or in a secured area in the parking lot at the front of the school. The celebration will be held on Fridays. If there is no school on Friday the celebration will be held on Thursday
- After assessing the number of students who have maintained the predetermined level on the high five tracker for the quarter the Culture and Character crew will then determine the location and schedule for the celebration. Teachers will be expected to attend the celebration and supervise their students.
Golden Eagle (During Lunch)
- Each House’s monthly point totals will be tallied into the House’s Quarterly Totals. The House with the most points for the quarter will have the Golden Eagle placed on their flag