Talladega County Central High School has incorporated a unique form of learning into its curriculum this year that encourages leadership, pride and unity.

TCCHS Principal Quentin Lee introduced TCCHS to the “House system,” a program employed at the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.

“This is our first year to try out the House system in the school, and so far I would say it’s been extremely successful, even as a trial run,” Lee said.

After having the opportunity to visit the Ron Clark Academy, Lee decided the House system was something his students could rally behind and enjoy.

“I was just amazed at how engaged the students of the academy were and how the school made learning more fun and interactive,” he said.

The House system, fashioned after a concept originally made popular by the Harry Potter movies, was designed to build relationships across classes by older students mentoring the younger ones, as well as to encourage and promote more leadership throughout the school.

“The primary purpose of the House system is to further the mission of the school by providing greater care to all of our students while strengthening their sense of community,” Lee said. “The House system will also enable our students to develop leadership skills that will prepare them for the future.”

The Ron Clark Academy has immersed itself so deeply into the House system that the school’s appearance has been constructed to resemble a medieval castle, rather than the typical schoolhouse.

While that’s not the plan for TCCHS, Lee said school leaders “hope to continue to make our school feel more like home to our students and to be a place the students are proud of.”

House hunters

At the start of the school year, TCCHS students, staff and faculty are divided into four houses with an equal number of members in each house.

The TCCHS houses include Amistad, The Blue House, which is the “House of Love and Friendship;” Reveur, The Black House, described as “The House of Dreamers;” Altruismo, The Gold House, which represents “The House for the Good of All;” and Isibindi, The Green House, “The House of Strength and Courage.”

The selection process is a random draw for students, faculty and staff.

Each member remains in his or her house throughout their time at TCCHS, and house membership will even continue for alumni.

“It was interesting that even by random, the students and staff were placed into houses that suited them,” Lee said.

Each of the four houses has approximately five staff and faculty members, and each has its own house director, who is a member of the faculty or staff.

The house director plans and assists students in annual activities that focus on service, spirit and pride, social skills, and spiritual aspects of the students’ lives.

Once a month, each house meets to discuss its progress and future plans.

“We have created a set of goals for our House system,” Lee said. “By implementing the House system, the school hopes to strengthen the bonds and interpersonal relationships among students, faculty and staff.”

Throughout the year, the four houses work together to collect points through a point system based on student accomplishments, winning school-related contests, abiding by school rules and more.

“House points can also be taken away for disciplinary reasons, so it encourages students to want to perform and behave well,” Lee said.

The point system creates a healthy sense of pride and competition.

“By adding the House system to the school’s curriculum, students can now say that they truly belong to something,” Lee said. “We truly are a family here, and no one is left behind. I’m encouraged by the continuous support of our school system and community.”