The RCA House System Will Not Work for EHS

Natalie Becker, Opinion editor

My brother and I talk a lot about what changed with Liberty Middle School since he is a sixth grader and I’m a senior. More recently, Liberty changed to having houses, which separates kids into eight groups based on random chance. 

I also talked to my cousin, a seventh grader, about the house system. She said the main point of the system was to bring people together to plan and lead events. You also learn about the house trait you’re assigned. She said it works for middle school, but not high school.

There have been talks among parents about whether this system will be integrated into EHS.

So why is this house system being integrated in the first place? Does this actually work?

The Ron Clark Academy House System divides the school into eight groups. They all have their own unique “den” around the building and they participate in team-building exercises with one another. Each house earns points that can get them special prizes at the end of the year. They earn these points from learning about their house traits and exude the house mentality.

How the school chooses your house is at least entertaining. You pop a balloon during an assembly and whatever is inside your balloon is your house. Both my brother and my cousin said that part was enjoyable.

The eight houses are a bit of a stretch for me. There are about 800-900 kids at Liberty and that sounds like another level of separation. Kids are already separated by grade, interests and clubs. There’s no reason to divide that much and create even more separation. 

This system would not work for EHS. Considering the amount of students, separating into “dens” would not work. If the house system was implemented, the houses would at least have to meet in the auditorium during school, which still would be a hassle to communicate to teachers. In the last week, there have been multiple assemblies regarding each class. That in and of itself was a lot to manage.

Teachers need time to do their jobs. That time should not be wasted for an eighth of the student body in a group meeting discussing random topics about togetherness and teamwork. Sure, those are good topics, but teachers have their own team-building exercises in their own classes. There are many teachers I know who reschedule lessons due to over half of their class being gone for assemblies. Assemblies shouldn’t dictate how teachers lay out their schedules.

Teachers also reward points for homework or class participation that actually benefit your grade. The house points do nothing but boost your confidence.

The points system seems pretty vague. Who decides how you get your points? Who’s monitoring everyone’s progress? How do you actually earn points without cheesing the score?

With the points system, it makes you feel like you’re in Harry Potter earning points for doing something you didn’t realize could earn you points. Your house could be doing exceptionally well just because you were in the House of Success and you got points for completing assignments that you were proud of. There could be biases in each house and you would never realize until you hear what they earned their points for. 

Liberty is also letting students buy merchandise to represent their houses. It’s as if school spirit wasn’t already dwindling. It’s their version of Orange Rush multiplied by eight.

EHS is upscaling Orange Rush and I applaud its efforts to bring back school spirit. I haven’t felt such Edwardsville pride since my freshman year. I just don’t think Liberty is trying hard enough to get students involved and wanting to rep their house merch.

The RCA House System seems to be doing just fine at the middle schools. Liberty principal Allen Duncan was named Illinois Principals Association Southwestern Region Principal of the Year for implementing the house system. From my cousin and brother’s perspective, they are finding it easier to make friends.

The house system seems overwhelming and confusing to me. I think it would be awkward to implement it at a high school with over 3000 kids just to enforce teamwork, friendship and most importantly, showing “house spirit” by buying merchandise. EHS would be better off with the school spirit they have now.