JICHS House System FAQs
What is a House System?
The James Irwin Charter High School House System, established in the 2015-2016 school year, supports students by developing a stronger sense of community, belonging, identity, and accountability within our larger student body of over 400 students. The House System develops student responsibility for on and off campus projects and student life events across the student body, rather than relying on a small group of students involved with student government. Just like our annual Frontier Ranch groups, each of the 10 Houses has approximately 40 students heterogeneously mixed by grade, gender, GPA and behavior to form a microcosm of student life at JICHS. Each House has its own colors, symbol, name, flag, faculty sponsors, and seating in the gym during assemblies.
What are the purposes of the House System?
• To increase institutional and peer-to-peer support for each student;
• To ensure individual care for each student with at least two adults who monitor and support the academic, social, moral, and behavioral growth of each JICHS student;
• To multiply occasions to build strong, healthy student relationships;
• To provide opportunities for students to develop as servant leaders;
• To enhance school-family spirit spanning freshman through senior class divisions;
• To build stronger interpersonal relationship skills for each JICHS student;
• To provide more focused support internalizing JICHS character development;
• To enhance recruitment of new students; and,
• To maintain relationships with JICHS alumni.
What do students accomplish in their Houses?
Each House is responsible for one school-based student life event and one community-based service project each year. During House meetings, students check in with their House faculty sponsors regarding academics, behavior, other questions or concerns. They celebrate successes and plan upcoming projects. House meetings may also consist of team building and character education.
Why are students grouped in Houses and not by grade?
The success of our Frontier Ranch retreat each year hinges upon smaller communities of students. Rather than relying on a one-time event to shape our school society, the House System enables us to continue with these smaller communities during the year and throughout each student’s entire high school experience. Heterogeneously mixing students into Houses encourages them to get to know other students with whom they may not otherwise associate.
Are classes, lockers and lunches assigned by House?
Classes, lockers and lunches are not affected by the House System. Class schedules are determined by student course requests, academic readiness, placement and available faculty. Lockers are assigned in zones based upon each student’s grade. There are two lunch periods that are assigned based on the 5th period class in which a student is enrolled.
Will I be with my fellow House students all the time?
Each student usually meets with their House every other Wednesday for meetings and to connect with one another. Students may choose to participate in other Houses’ events or projects and earn points towards competitions for their assigned House.
How do teachers fit into the House System?
Each of the 10 Houses has two faculty sponsors who are responsible for overseeing the meetings and functions of their House. The Houses are student-driven with teachers facilitating and providing guidance. Faculty sponsors work with the Parent Volunteer Coordinator to draft parent volunteers to support with supervision for on and off campus events and projects.
What if I do not get along with some of my fellow House students?
In college, career and life, learning to get along and work with others we may not want to be around teaches us valuable relational skills which support the JICHS mission to develop students’ character. Faculty sponsors are there to support you in developing positive relationships with other students.
How do the points and competitions between Houses work?
Throughout the year, competitions are held for Houses to earn coveted special seating each month at assemblies and other awards, such as food, special privileges, jeans days, etc. with the chance to win the prized House Cup in May. Competitions may include most prompt to class, highest GPA, least JCs, best athletic/event attendance, etc. Each student and faculty sponsor earns their House points during any competitions. During events and projects, it is the responsibility of each student and teacher to personally check in with the adult in charge of House Check-In to earn points for their House.
Will I be identified by grade or class (freshmen, sophomore, junior or senior)?
Students are identified by their grade or class for transcripts, some courses, some spirit events, for our annual Promotion Ceremony and for other reasons.
How long will I be in my assigned House?
Once students are assigned to a House, they remain in that House until they graduate. Younger siblings are automatically assigned the same House as their older siblings out of transportation convenience during campus events and community projects and to build strong family traditions. In the spring, JICHS holds a House Induction Ceremony, to formally welcome new students to their assigned Houses.
What leadership opportunities are there in the House System?
The House System provides many more leadership opportunities than a traditional student government. Based on behavioral and academic eligibility, students may apply to be an Ambassador in the spring of each year. Ambassador candidates are selected by the administration based on their application and qualifications. In August, students may apply to be a Senator, Treasurer or Secretary for their House. House elections for these three positions are held in late August. There are two Ambassadors and two Senators who represent each of the ten Houses. Ambassadors are liaisons for new students and parents and also support with school functions like parent information nights and the Back to School Luau. Senators perform leadership duties for their houses and the school to include organizing fundraisers which benefit the entire student body. Senators also plan, organize and oversee the Homecoming and Prom formal dances. There are additional leadership opportunities as each House has its own Secretary, Treasurer and Connect group. There are also be many opportunities to serve your House and JICHS by connecting with new students and supporting them in adjusting to our high school culture. Out of the 20 senators elected by the Houses, a Cabinet is elected which has a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. The Cabinet and Senators comprise the student government and are responsible for accountability, reporting, Homecoming and Prom. Students elected to any leadership position that holds a title must be behaviorally and academically eligible to remain in the elected role.
When do Ambassadors and Senators meet?
Ambassadors meet monthly after school. Senators meet bi-weekly during school. Senate meetings occur during different periods on a rotating basis to have a minimal impact on instructional time.
What is Connect?
Each House has its own Connect group. Students involved in Connect serve their House by planning on or off campus social events and making sure everyone in their House, particularly new students, are connected to one another. There is no limit to the number of students in a House’s Connect group. Anyone in the House who has a heart to serve in this manner may volunteer to do so. All Connect members meet once per quarter with a faculty or staff sponsor to coordinate and brainstorm ideas.