‘House System’ helping build elementary friendships, competition and future leaders

Excerpt from WFAA.com

“We keep it pretty live around here. It’s fun,” Principal Sharri Zachary said. “We have turned our campus around and so that makes it a very magical place for me.”

DALLAS — Friendly competition and constant encouragement can both go a long way. And they are part of the successful mix at a southern Dallas elementary school, where a “wheel of fortune” type spinning wheel in the hallway has its place in that budding success story, too.

“Our friends joining our team are going to spin for their house, and we’re going to show them some love, OK,” shouted Elisha M. Pease Elementary Principal Sharri Zachary on a recent Tuesday morning in a hallway filled with students.

“Give it a spin give it a good spin,” Zachary said.

It’s how they determine which of four houses, much like Harry Potter, each student will be in. With each spin – and each individual result – the students are given a boisterous welcome into their new family.

“We keep it pretty live around here. It’s fun,” Zachary said. “We have turned our campus around, so that makes it a very magical place for me.”

This magical place is a campus where 98% of the students come from economically-disadvantaged families.

So, with the help of Dallas-based educational nonprofit United to Learn, programs like the House System encourage friendship, courage, and dreamers with big dreams.

Like Sir Erric Hatch from House Reveur.

“Well, it’s a house of dreamers,” the 5th grader said. “And my goals are to be a leader to the younger students in my house.”

“It’s the house of friendship and love,” Kennide Pearson said of her place in House Amistad. “If you see somebody getting bullied, you can go tell a teacher,” she said of the points system that rewards friendship and citizenship. “Helping out one another and complimenting each other.”

“They celebrate each other,” Zachary said. “They celebrate their teachers. So, it just really contributes to an overall positive culture and climate here. Internally, we’re developing good citizens. Good students. Leaders. So United to Learn has helped us to provide the resources to make it all possible.”

 And on the day WFAA visited Pease Elementary, a big screen in the hallway showed that Kennide and Sir Erric were still racking up those House Points from a long list of good deeds.

“I hope to be a good leader and make good decisions in my life,” Sir Erric said.

With the help of some very loud encouragement along the way.