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The House System

Overview of the House System

Within the parameters of the Characteristics of Jesuit Education, the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, the BC High Mission Statement, and the strategic plan, the house system provides a holistic formation of our students, centered on cura personalis — care of the whole person. As stated in the strategic plan, approved by the Board of Trustees, the priorities include:

  • Meet the needs of all students by providing a significantly improved level of holistic care, acknowledging the symbiotic relationship that exists between student care and wellbeing and their learning and growth
  • Bring the provision of student pastoral care in line with best practice in a 21st century educational setting
  • Develop a house system to become a ‘community within a community’ based on the empirical data around the importance of strong relationships and a deep understanding of context
  • Create an enhanced environment / context where students can optimize their growth and ultimately fulfill the mission of BC High
  • Promote deeper connections through a student led inter-house competition, covering athletic and co-curricular activities
  • Provide meaningful opportunities for student leadership through the construct of the House System

principal lewis with students at bc high

The Importance of the House System

• In a large school such as BC High, pastoral arrangements that cater for 85 – 100 students on a vertical basis will provide ongoing continuity of care throughout the high school.

• The primary responsibility for a student’s whole education will belong at one point, the house.

• To meet the needs of all students by providing a significantly improved level of holistic care.

• To create opportunities for student leadership and mentoring within and across grade levels.

The Role of the Head of House

The Head of House is an outstanding Ignatian educator, fully aware of the symbiotic relationship that exists between pastoral care and learning and the centrality of cura personalis. Leadership of a house involves the formation and nurturing of a community based on the Christian values of love, compassion, justice and faith. It is expected that students feel a sense of belonging, safe and ‘at home’ at all times in the environs of the house, as they deepen their experiences through reflection in the Ignatian tradition. The Head of House is the key leader of this process.

As the leader of a particular house, the Head of House has responsibility for the efficient operation and team leadership of that house and will be supported directly by house mentors, the Dean of Students, and the Vice-Principal of Students. By knowing their students and developing strong relationships, Heads of House will help students discern their special talents, rejoice in them, develop them and put them at the service of others in a community of faith on a journey towards God.

Roy Zhu '21 graduation

House Missioning

On the last day of school, Thursday, June 9, leadership of each house was missioned to carry out their work for next school year. With the 12 House Patrons chosen, each House Captain shared a brief reflection and description of the Patron. Further, the rising eighth grade students were welcomed to their respective houses by their house brothers.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will academic classes change?

    Academic classes will go completely unchanged. Students will continue to choose academic courses as they traditionally have.

  • How are houses chosen?

    For rising seniors, houses will be assigned according to their current guidance counselor. All other students will then be assigned to houses based on a number of factors including demographics, demonstrated interests, sending schools, etc…

  • Will brothers be in the same house?

    Yes, regardless of grade, brothers will be assigned to the same house. This allows the family to have one point of contact for the school in the head of house (HOH). Likewise, it allows the HOH to understand the family context.

    In the case of twins, families may choose to have the boys in different houses.

  • Can we pick a house?

    No, students/families cannot pick which house they’d like to belong to.

  • Does my son stay in the same house for all four years?

    Yes, there is great value in each student developing fully as they progress from year to year. They will become closely connected to their house and engage in house activities, creating enthusiasm and camaraderie for their peers in the house. Further, the HOH will learn each boy’s story and understand, more fully, each student as they mature through high school.

  • Will they have a connection to the students in their grade?

    Yes, students will continue to gather as a class at various times. They will still be in classes together, engaged in sports and co-curriculars together, and on retreats and service together.

    The House System is not intended to take the place of the grade levels.

  • Are there still senior mentors?

    There is still a mentoring program and it will take place in the construct of each house.

  • Who do I contact if...

    My son is late for school: Student Life AND copy the Head of House (HOH)

    I have an academic concern: Contact the individual teacher AND copy the HOH.

    I have an athletic concern: Contact the coach or athletic director AND copy the HOH.

    I have questions about the college process: Contact the guidance/college counselor AND copy the HOH.

Timeline

  • By February 23:
    • All 12 Head of House appointments complete.
    • Rising seniors divided into houses according to current guidance counselor
  • Week of February 28: Center for Ignatian Identity & Formation solicits and accepts feedback for house patrons
  • March 14: Assign house patrons
  • March 21: Applications for house leadership positions due
  • April 26 – House Student Leadership positions finalized
  • By the end of the year:
    • Assign House Mentors
    • Put all new students into houses