Building team players and student leaders, the “Houses Initiative” at Kensington Elementary creates a sense of belonging and promotes student leadership. We’re in Georgetown county for our Cool School of the week.
Welcome to the five houses of Kensington Elementary, where students proudly assume the role of leaders and through the school’s house initiative, students follow “The Three R’s.” “One of the the Three R’s is Respectful, says fifth-grade student Luke Johnson, everyone should respect yourself, especially respect others and respect teachers. Another one is Responsible, keep up with your stuff. Our last one is Ready to learn. That means come to school ready to learn not in a bad mood.”
Kensington is divided into five houses. Each house is named for one of the bodies of water that represent the geographic make-up of Georgetown county, Black River, Sampit, Winyah, Waccamaw, and Pee Dee. Each house is comprised of a kindergarten through fifth grade class as well as a special needs class. Principal Jamie Thompkins says, “Every house has a seal and symbol. The houses are really neat because the kids are able to work on some very important things, not only soft skills, we have 25 of them.” Fifth-grade student Hillary Parsons says, “Everyone here is respectful and nice, and they’re aren’t any bullies. All the teachers are great and staff are great.” The Houses earn points and crest cash based on good behavior, social skill, academics and attendance. “They come and deposit in the bucket,” says Principal Thompkins, “Everybody’s House has a a bucket in the front of the office.” The House with the most points gets incentive prizes at the end of 9 nine weeks. Gracey Neely is a fifth-grade student at Kensington, “It’s just a great activity we do here at KES,” says Neely, “I just love KES, the Cool School we have here, and I love our principal, and all the family and love and everything we have here.”
Teacher Michael Russo says the Houses model developed after staff visited the successful Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. Russo says, “It teaches our kids to work toward a goal and how in life most of our goals, we have to come together as a team to work for and my actions are dependent on not just my work and my behavior, but also those around me. A part of the House system is rewarding us for our good behavior, but also teaching our kids that it’s ok to celebrate someone else’s victory. We can do that in a positive manner,” says Russo. Fifth-grade student Elisha Hemingway says, “I have a Cool School because everybody that surrounds us has a great mood. Everything we need to develop in our life, Three R’s we have to develop and learn from it, not just come up here and be sad. If you’re sad, they will influence you to be great, not just to bring you down, somebody to bring you up.” When Asked what he thinks about the Houses, Elisah says, “That’s really fun because although the Peed Dee slipped two points from us, we still encourage all our houses to do great.” For Elisah and his classmates, Kensington is filled with so much love and fu, they get emotional when they think about moving to middle school.
Coming up Friday on News 2, we’ll present Kensington Elementary with our Cool School award. We’ll also tell you about a special surprise for the school’s principal from the American Heart Association.