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Peacemaker Houses gives students a sense of belonging

Posted at 6:31 PM, Sep 21, 2018

Students have been back to school for a few weeks now and getting adjusted to their new classes and schedules. For some students, having a sense of belonging can be difficult. One local school has a unique method to make every student feel accepted.

At Rodgers Forge Elementary School, learning goes beyond the classroom. Teachers and staff are helping students learn life skills through their new initiative, the Peacemaker Houses.

“The Peacemaker houses are six colored houses where all of our staff and all of our students are sorted into six different colored houses,” said Katie Schmidt, a STAT teacher at the school. “The whole idea is just to really bring everyone together as a whole community and show that we all belong.”

Although students are divided by colors, the ultimate goal is to provide a sense of belonging.

“For us, it’s being able to walk down the hallway and see another adult or another student and give them a hi-five or a hi or a how was your day and show that we really all do belong and we’re a special part of the school together,” said Missy Fanshaw, the Principal of Rodgers Forge Elementary School.

Students learn which house they belong to through the sorting assembly where each student selected an egg with a colored wristband. Each wristband indicating which house the student belongs to.

“It was really exciting,” said 5th grader, Colin Secrist. “It was fun to see whose house you were in”

“I think it’ll be really fun to have to compete against the other houses and earn points,” said 5th grader, Lila Hausner.

Students are sorted into one of six colored houses regardless of class or grade. Each house competing against each other and earning points by showing good behavior.

“You’re going to have to be respectful and responsible and safe and prepared for whatever you’re doing,” said Secrist.

By making friends they may not have met otherwise.

“I think it’s a really good idea,” said Hausner. “It could be another way for people to meet new people and have different friends.”

Adding a new twist to learning and working to make sure everyone feels like they belong.

“When they’re excited to come, they’re going to give us their very best every day in that learning environment,” said Fanshaw. “That’s really what we want to achieve with this”.

Students will compete throughout the year and earn points by being respectful, responsible, safe and prepared. At the end of the school year, the winning house earns a special prize. But school officals hope that every student walks away with an invaluable lesson.