OTHELLO — Most of us have heard about the houses in the “Harry Potter” book series. But what may be new to some is that area schools are adopting a similar system in their schools.
Mattawa has been doing houses at the junior high level for a few years. Last year, Wahitis Elementary School started their own house system. Sandy Anderson, Hannah Mohs and Liz Carosella, staff at Wahitis, presented members of the community with information about the house system on Monday.
The house system is modeled after the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. The school is divided into four groups or houses. Each of these houses is given its own name.
In the case of Wahitis, the school chose to give their house names that went along with the GRIT theme that the school already had in place. They named their houses the Game Changers, the Risk Takers, the Innovators and the Thrivers.
The houses compete to see who can get the most points. Students of all ages are assigned to a house. Once a student is in a house, they will be in that house for their entire career at Wahitis.
One of the goals of the house system is to help train students to be respectful, confident and know how to use soft skills, such as how to interact with others. This coming school year, Wahitis students will participate in the Amazing Shake, a competition put on at the Ron Clark Academy.
Students in grades three through six will practice their extemporaneous and conversational skills for the first four months of the school year. The last day before Christmas break, students will put their practice into action by competing in a school-wide Amazing Shake. Students will progress through a few rounds to determine their placement. The top five students from grades five and six will go on to compete in Atlanta in April.
For the past two years students from Wahluke Junior High have competed in the Amazing Shake. Staff has seen an improvement in students over those two years.
Jill Powell, who used to work for Wahluke Junior High and will now be a counselor at Scootney Springs in Othello, said that while it is a lot of work to put on, it is turning kids into successful community members.
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.