In Fall 2017, Benchmark's Child & Family Support Services Team launched three House Communities as a way to strengthen bonds across our community.
This community-building initiative mixes students from each grade level in three distinct “Houses" to nourish our already rich sense of community, provide more intentional opportunities for older and younger students to interact, provide more structured leadership opportunities for older students to mentor younger students, and offer everyone more ways to serve others.
House Community Events
Throughout the school year, House Community events are held featuring various themes and including activities that focus on “soft skills” (e.g. attitude, communication, creative thinking, work ethic, teamwork, critical thinking). These events are meant to focus on building relationships among students of various ages and also on building an awareness of themselves, as well as serving as great platforms for promoting messages and continuing the conversations we have begun with smaller groups of students in class meetings. All the events include activities such as discussions, games, reading books together, and leading community service projects.
The Continued Benefits
The formal House Community events have been obvious places for building closer connections among students of all ages, but the positive outcomes have not stopped there. All over the school, there have been numerous examples of the newly-shared bonds that are forming across grades. For younger students, the programs have provided a way to help them feel safe and connected. For older students, it's the rewarding feeling they get when connecting with and mentoring younger students. In addition, the middle school students who serve as House Captains have taken on leadership roles and continue to grow in ways that they themselves did not expect. After building a foundation for the House Communities in its first year, the sky's the limit for what these communities will do in the future.
The Three House Communities
The three Houses are named the House of Learners, the House of Thinkers, and the House of Problem Solvers, correlating with the school’s mission statement: Benchmark School is committed to helping bright students who learn differently, or have yet to reach their academic potential, develop the confidence, strategies, and knowledge to become lifelong learners, thinkers, and problem-solvers.
The House colors coordinate with the school’s primary colors of green and blue, and orange, one of its secondary colors.
Because of the House Communities, I think it’s less scary for the younger kids to come into the middle school and know some of the older students. It’s also been really cool for students like myself to have a say in the events we’re doing. I think it’s good for kids to have kid leaders, and I have really enjoyed this new role. It’s definitely made me more confident.
House Captain Dylan Spivack
Adam Lemisch, Ph.D.
Head of Child & Family Support Services