Using House Points to Emphasize Positive Behaviors

How to build a community that is proud to work together by centering culture around creating a community.
I started down my journey with House Points after a conversation with one of my parents. She was in my office one afternoon and asked a rather innocent question; “how are you teaching kindness to your students?” I thought about it. Surely we are. Of course, we are. Aren’t we? Even if we are, I had trouble answering the ‘how’ portion of her question and that troubled me.
Featuring 
Kelly Rodriguez
Principal

I knew the results I wanted to see. I wanted a culture of mentorship and camaraderie. I wanted a system that inspired some friendly competition. I wanted to emphasize the traits that were lacking in our students and we felt like we could grow. I wanted to see students encouraging and congratulating each other for doing the right thing. I wanted our students to take pride in their school and their accomplishments within it. 

We settled on a House System similar to the one that Hogwarts runs on in Harry Potter. So we began researching how to set this up. I looked into Ron Clark Academy, which has tons of great resources. But from conversations with my staff, a common pain point for us was the logistical hurdle of setting something like this up and keeping it going. One of my teachers even said “I just can’t pass out another piece of paper” in reference to the paper bucks system we were already using.

Instead of running our system manually, we found a digital house points system where staff can document student points, and then they are tallied up by houses. This made our idea a reality. It helped us create the culture I had envisioned while also solving the logistical needs that we knew would keep it from becoming a reality.

A Little About Me and Maranatha

My name is Kelly Rodriguez and I am the Junior High Principal for Maranatha Christian Schools in San Diego, California. In 2018 I joined Maranatha Christian Schools as Director of Curriculum and Instruction and then eventually became Junior High Principal. Maranatha Christian Junior High is a Private Christian School serving 230 students. MCS also includes Elementary and High School students with our entire campus hosting 940 students. 

I believe in building a community that is proud to work together and does its best with all that is given to them. This is why I centered building MSC culture around creating the community.

Positive Behavior Reinforcement

The key aspect of our system that I hoped would shine was our emphasis on positive behavior reinforcement. Positive behavior reinforcement is a way of looking at discipline and behavior management from the perspective of what you want to see in your students as opposed to what you don’t want to see. 

For us, we looked at several traits we felt were important for development but were lacking with our students. We then decided to take a page from Harry Potter and dedicate our Houses to those traits. Integrity, Reliability, Courage, and Perseverance would be the connective tissue around our houses. 

Similar to focusing on expectations instead of rules, we hoped that by focusing on traits we would then in turn see more of those positive behaviors. This has been emphatically correct. Our kids have really adopted the reward system this year as 117,000 points have been awarded and 350+ prizes have been claimed in our school store.

How House Points Work for Us

No, I don’t have a magic sorting hat. So the task of sorting our students into the 4 houses was up to me. I made them equal in as many ways possible. I intentionally blended the houses by grade level because we wanted to create larger communities outside of the normal grade level bands. I wanted a culture of peer mentorship that just wasn’t possible before. 

We created a points system where students can earn positive points for their house anywhere at any time. They can be awarded by any staff member as well. We wanted to do everything we could to highlight the positive behaviors we wanted to see more of. So we don’t miss an opportunity to reward our students for doing well in the hallway, class, recess, drop off, pick up, lunch, etc. We want to catch them doing good!

Points can be earned individually or by teams in events such as weekly Chapel Competitions, or on monthly Spirit Days. Each semester we host a House Points Blitz that is packed with games and activities that allow students to showcase house and school spirit.

We display the points on a monitor in the hallway as well as in the office, it is always up to date. I love hearing students congratulate each other as they see who earned points for their house. Those little moments of encouragement are exactly what we envisioned when we started this journey.

Culture through Community

At MCS we are using House Points as a tool to facilitate our behavior management program. But it is achieving much more than that. Our staff morale has benefited. Our student morale has improved. Engagement and motivation are up as well. With House Points, we are building culture by developing community.

I am not getting in front of our kids and saying be kind to one another. But as they realize that their peers are humans too and it is beyond their friend group, you see those moments. That is what I love. That is why I love Houses.

About Maranatha Christian Schools

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Enrollment: 230
  • Grades: 6th - 8th

Using House Points to Emphasize Positive Behaviors

How to build a community that is proud to work together by centering culture around creating a community.
Chapter 
 | 
 🚀
 🥤

I knew the results I wanted to see. I wanted a culture of mentorship and camaraderie. I wanted a system that inspired some friendly competition. I wanted to emphasize the traits that were lacking in our students and we felt like we could grow. I wanted to see students encouraging and congratulating each other for doing the right thing. I wanted our students to take pride in their school and their accomplishments within it. 

We settled on a House System similar to the one that Hogwarts runs on in Harry Potter. So we began researching how to set this up. I looked into Ron Clark Academy, which has tons of great resources. But from conversations with my staff, a common pain point for us was the logistical hurdle of setting something like this up and keeping it going. One of my teachers even said “I just can’t pass out another piece of paper” in reference to the paper bucks system we were already using.

Instead of running our system manually, we found a digital house points system where staff can document student points, and then they are tallied up by houses. This made our idea a reality. It helped us create the culture I had envisioned while also solving the logistical needs that we knew would keep it from becoming a reality.

A Little About Me and Maranatha

My name is Kelly Rodriguez and I am the Junior High Principal for Maranatha Christian Schools in San Diego, California. In 2018 I joined Maranatha Christian Schools as Director of Curriculum and Instruction and then eventually became Junior High Principal. Maranatha Christian Junior High is a Private Christian School serving 230 students. MCS also includes Elementary and High School students with our entire campus hosting 940 students. 

I believe in building a community that is proud to work together and does its best with all that is given to them. This is why I centered building MSC culture around creating the community.

Positive Behavior Reinforcement

The key aspect of our system that I hoped would shine was our emphasis on positive behavior reinforcement. Positive behavior reinforcement is a way of looking at discipline and behavior management from the perspective of what you want to see in your students as opposed to what you don’t want to see. 

For us, we looked at several traits we felt were important for development but were lacking with our students. We then decided to take a page from Harry Potter and dedicate our Houses to those traits. Integrity, Reliability, Courage, and Perseverance would be the connective tissue around our houses. 

Similar to focusing on expectations instead of rules, we hoped that by focusing on traits we would then in turn see more of those positive behaviors. This has been emphatically correct. Our kids have really adopted the reward system this year as 117,000 points have been awarded and 350+ prizes have been claimed in our school store.

How House Points Work for Us

No, I don’t have a magic sorting hat. So the task of sorting our students into the 4 houses was up to me. I made them equal in as many ways possible. I intentionally blended the houses by grade level because we wanted to create larger communities outside of the normal grade level bands. I wanted a culture of peer mentorship that just wasn’t possible before. 

We created a points system where students can earn positive points for their house anywhere at any time. They can be awarded by any staff member as well. We wanted to do everything we could to highlight the positive behaviors we wanted to see more of. So we don’t miss an opportunity to reward our students for doing well in the hallway, class, recess, drop off, pick up, lunch, etc. We want to catch them doing good!

Points can be earned individually or by teams in events such as weekly Chapel Competitions, or on monthly Spirit Days. Each semester we host a House Points Blitz that is packed with games and activities that allow students to showcase house and school spirit.

We display the points on a monitor in the hallway as well as in the office, it is always up to date. I love hearing students congratulate each other as they see who earned points for their house. Those little moments of encouragement are exactly what we envisioned when we started this journey.

Culture through Community

At MCS we are using House Points as a tool to facilitate our behavior management program. But it is achieving much more than that. Our staff morale has benefited. Our student morale has improved. Engagement and motivation are up as well. With House Points, we are building culture by developing community.

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Using House Points to Emphasize Positive Behaviors

How to build a community that is proud to work together by centering culture around creating a community.
By 
Kelly Rodriguez
 | 
August 26, 2022
Register Now

About the Event

I knew the results I wanted to see. I wanted a culture of mentorship and camaraderie. I wanted a system that inspired some friendly competition. I wanted to emphasize the traits that were lacking in our students and we felt like we could grow. I wanted to see students encouraging and congratulating each other for doing the right thing. I wanted our students to take pride in their school and their accomplishments within it. 

We settled on a House System similar to the one that Hogwarts runs on in Harry Potter. So we began researching how to set this up. I looked into Ron Clark Academy, which has tons of great resources. But from conversations with my staff, a common pain point for us was the logistical hurdle of setting something like this up and keeping it going. One of my teachers even said “I just can’t pass out another piece of paper” in reference to the paper bucks system we were already using.

Instead of running our system manually, we found a digital house points system where staff can document student points, and then they are tallied up by houses. This made our idea a reality. It helped us create the culture I had envisioned while also solving the logistical needs that we knew would keep it from becoming a reality.

A Little About Me and Maranatha

My name is Kelly Rodriguez and I am the Junior High Principal for Maranatha Christian Schools in San Diego, California. In 2018 I joined Maranatha Christian Schools as Director of Curriculum and Instruction and then eventually became Junior High Principal. Maranatha Christian Junior High is a Private Christian School serving 230 students. MCS also includes Elementary and High School students with our entire campus hosting 940 students. 

I believe in building a community that is proud to work together and does its best with all that is given to them. This is why I centered building MSC culture around creating the community.

Positive Behavior Reinforcement

The key aspect of our system that I hoped would shine was our emphasis on positive behavior reinforcement. Positive behavior reinforcement is a way of looking at discipline and behavior management from the perspective of what you want to see in your students as opposed to what you don’t want to see. 

For us, we looked at several traits we felt were important for development but were lacking with our students. We then decided to take a page from Harry Potter and dedicate our Houses to those traits. Integrity, Reliability, Courage, and Perseverance would be the connective tissue around our houses. 

Similar to focusing on expectations instead of rules, we hoped that by focusing on traits we would then in turn see more of those positive behaviors. This has been emphatically correct. Our kids have really adopted the reward system this year as 117,000 points have been awarded and 350+ prizes have been claimed in our school store.

How House Points Work for Us

No, I don’t have a magic sorting hat. So the task of sorting our students into the 4 houses was up to me. I made them equal in as many ways possible. I intentionally blended the houses by grade level because we wanted to create larger communities outside of the normal grade level bands. I wanted a culture of peer mentorship that just wasn’t possible before. 

We created a points system where students can earn positive points for their house anywhere at any time. They can be awarded by any staff member as well. We wanted to do everything we could to highlight the positive behaviors we wanted to see more of. So we don’t miss an opportunity to reward our students for doing well in the hallway, class, recess, drop off, pick up, lunch, etc. We want to catch them doing good!

Points can be earned individually or by teams in events such as weekly Chapel Competitions, or on monthly Spirit Days. Each semester we host a House Points Blitz that is packed with games and activities that allow students to showcase house and school spirit.

We display the points on a monitor in the hallway as well as in the office, it is always up to date. I love hearing students congratulate each other as they see who earned points for their house. Those little moments of encouragement are exactly what we envisioned when we started this journey.

Culture through Community

At MCS we are using House Points as a tool to facilitate our behavior management program. But it is achieving much more than that. Our staff morale has benefited. Our student morale has improved. Engagement and motivation are up as well. With House Points, we are building culture by developing community.

Register Now

About the Event

I knew the results I wanted to see. I wanted a culture of mentorship and camaraderie. I wanted a system that inspired some friendly competition. I wanted to emphasize the traits that were lacking in our students and we felt like we could grow. I wanted to see students encouraging and congratulating each other for doing the right thing. I wanted our students to take pride in their school and their accomplishments within it. 

We settled on a House System similar to the one that Hogwarts runs on in Harry Potter. So we began researching how to set this up. I looked into Ron Clark Academy, which has tons of great resources. But from conversations with my staff, a common pain point for us was the logistical hurdle of setting something like this up and keeping it going. One of my teachers even said “I just can’t pass out another piece of paper” in reference to the paper bucks system we were already using.

Instead of running our system manually, we found a digital house points system where staff can document student points, and then they are tallied up by houses. This made our idea a reality. It helped us create the culture I had envisioned while also solving the logistical needs that we knew would keep it from becoming a reality.

A Little About Me and Maranatha

My name is Kelly Rodriguez and I am the Junior High Principal for Maranatha Christian Schools in San Diego, California. In 2018 I joined Maranatha Christian Schools as Director of Curriculum and Instruction and then eventually became Junior High Principal. Maranatha Christian Junior High is a Private Christian School serving 230 students. MCS also includes Elementary and High School students with our entire campus hosting 940 students. 

I believe in building a community that is proud to work together and does its best with all that is given to them. This is why I centered building MSC culture around creating the community.

Positive Behavior Reinforcement

The key aspect of our system that I hoped would shine was our emphasis on positive behavior reinforcement. Positive behavior reinforcement is a way of looking at discipline and behavior management from the perspective of what you want to see in your students as opposed to what you don’t want to see. 

For us, we looked at several traits we felt were important for development but were lacking with our students. We then decided to take a page from Harry Potter and dedicate our Houses to those traits. Integrity, Reliability, Courage, and Perseverance would be the connective tissue around our houses. 

Similar to focusing on expectations instead of rules, we hoped that by focusing on traits we would then in turn see more of those positive behaviors. This has been emphatically correct. Our kids have really adopted the reward system this year as 117,000 points have been awarded and 350+ prizes have been claimed in our school store.

How House Points Work for Us

No, I don’t have a magic sorting hat. So the task of sorting our students into the 4 houses was up to me. I made them equal in as many ways possible. I intentionally blended the houses by grade level because we wanted to create larger communities outside of the normal grade level bands. I wanted a culture of peer mentorship that just wasn’t possible before. 

We created a points system where students can earn positive points for their house anywhere at any time. They can be awarded by any staff member as well. We wanted to do everything we could to highlight the positive behaviors we wanted to see more of. So we don’t miss an opportunity to reward our students for doing well in the hallway, class, recess, drop off, pick up, lunch, etc. We want to catch them doing good!

Points can be earned individually or by teams in events such as weekly Chapel Competitions, or on monthly Spirit Days. Each semester we host a House Points Blitz that is packed with games and activities that allow students to showcase house and school spirit.

We display the points on a monitor in the hallway as well as in the office, it is always up to date. I love hearing students congratulate each other as they see who earned points for their house. Those little moments of encouragement are exactly what we envisioned when we started this journey.

Culture through Community

At MCS we are using House Points as a tool to facilitate our behavior management program. But it is achieving much more than that. Our staff morale has benefited. Our student morale has improved. Engagement and motivation are up as well. With House Points, we are building culture by developing community.

About the Presenter

Kelly Rodriguez received her B.A. in Journalism from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. After working in journalism for several years, Kelly decided to return to the school that ministered to her throughout her education, Calvary Chapel. It is where she taught English Literature for twelve years while maintaining the role of ASB Advisor, Vice Principal of Staff and Curriculum. In June 2018, Kelly moved to San Diego and joined the MCS family where she served as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for three years before becoming Junior High Principal. Kelly currently holds a California Teaching Credential and a Masters from Concordia University in Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Rodriguez has a passion for finding victory in Christ as we daily strive to be His disciples. She is always working towards building a community of believers who are proud to work together as we do our best in all that we were given!

Using House Points to Emphasize Positive Behaviors

How to build a community that is proud to work together by centering culture around creating a community.
By 
Kelly Rodriguez
 | 
August 26, 2022

I started down my journey with House Points after a conversation with one of my parents. She was in my office one afternoon and asked a rather innocent question; “how are you teaching kindness to your students?” I thought about it. Surely we are. Of course, we are. Aren’t we? Even if we are, I had trouble answering the ‘how’ portion of her question and that troubled me.

I knew the results I wanted to see. I wanted a culture of mentorship and camaraderie. I wanted a system that inspired some friendly competition. I wanted to emphasize the traits that were lacking in our students and we felt like we could grow. I wanted to see students encouraging and congratulating each other for doing the right thing. I wanted our students to take pride in their school and their accomplishments within it. 

We settled on a House System similar to the one that Hogwarts runs on in Harry Potter. So we began researching how to set this up. I looked into Ron Clark Academy, which has tons of great resources. But from conversations with my staff, a common pain point for us was the logistical hurdle of setting something like this up and keeping it going. One of my teachers even said “I just can’t pass out another piece of paper” in reference to the paper bucks system we were already using.

Instead of running our system manually, we found a digital house points system where staff can document student points, and then they are tallied up by houses. This made our idea a reality. It helped us create the culture I had envisioned while also solving the logistical needs that we knew would keep it from becoming a reality.

A Little About Me and Maranatha

My name is Kelly Rodriguez and I am the Junior High Principal for Maranatha Christian Schools in San Diego, California. In 2018 I joined Maranatha Christian Schools as Director of Curriculum and Instruction and then eventually became Junior High Principal. Maranatha Christian Junior High is a Private Christian School serving 230 students. MCS also includes Elementary and High School students with our entire campus hosting 940 students. 

I believe in building a community that is proud to work together and does its best with all that is given to them. This is why I centered building MSC culture around creating the community.

Positive Behavior Reinforcement

The key aspect of our system that I hoped would shine was our emphasis on positive behavior reinforcement. Positive behavior reinforcement is a way of looking at discipline and behavior management from the perspective of what you want to see in your students as opposed to what you don’t want to see. 

For us, we looked at several traits we felt were important for development but were lacking with our students. We then decided to take a page from Harry Potter and dedicate our Houses to those traits. Integrity, Reliability, Courage, and Perseverance would be the connective tissue around our houses. 

Similar to focusing on expectations instead of rules, we hoped that by focusing on traits we would then in turn see more of those positive behaviors. This has been emphatically correct. Our kids have really adopted the reward system this year as 117,000 points have been awarded and 350+ prizes have been claimed in our school store.

How House Points Work for Us

No, I don’t have a magic sorting hat. So the task of sorting our students into the 4 houses was up to me. I made them equal in as many ways possible. I intentionally blended the houses by grade level because we wanted to create larger communities outside of the normal grade level bands. I wanted a culture of peer mentorship that just wasn’t possible before. 

We created a points system where students can earn positive points for their house anywhere at any time. They can be awarded by any staff member as well. We wanted to do everything we could to highlight the positive behaviors we wanted to see more of. So we don’t miss an opportunity to reward our students for doing well in the hallway, class, recess, drop off, pick up, lunch, etc. We want to catch them doing good!

Points can be earned individually or by teams in events such as weekly Chapel Competitions, or on monthly Spirit Days. Each semester we host a House Points Blitz that is packed with games and activities that allow students to showcase house and school spirit.

We display the points on a monitor in the hallway as well as in the office, it is always up to date. I love hearing students congratulate each other as they see who earned points for their house. Those little moments of encouragement are exactly what we envisioned when we started this journey.

Culture through Community

At MCS we are using House Points as a tool to facilitate our behavior management program. But it is achieving much more than that. Our staff morale has benefited. Our student morale has improved. Engagement and motivation are up as well. With House Points, we are building culture by developing community.

All Reward Ideas for Students

🎉
👑
🎁
Movie Night
Grades 9-12
Student
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Play Games
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Student Messenger
Grades 3-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Virtual Field Trip
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Class Book
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Silly School Leader
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Bonfire
Grades 9-12
Class/House
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Early Lunch Dismissal
Grades 9-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Music Fest
Grades 9-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Picnic Lunch
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
School Assembly
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Hat Pass
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Student Spotlight Board
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
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👑
🎁
Game-Based Simulation Learning
Grades 9-12
Class/House
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Wild ‘N Out High School Edition
Grades 9-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
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“Let's Make A Difference Week"
Grades 9-12
Class/House
Event
Low Cost/DIY

All Reward Ideas for Elementary School Students

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STEM Field Day
Grades K-8
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Partner Work
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Theme Party
Grades K-8
Class/House
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Show & Tell
Grades K-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Extra Reading Time
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Certificate of Achievement
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Morning Meeting Leader
Grades 3-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Holidays Around the World
Grades K-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Special Pen
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Brain Break
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Dress Up or Down Day
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Toys
Grades K-8
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Tech Time
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Extra Recess
Grades K-5
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Movie Posters
Grades 3-12
Student
Tangible
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Art Contest
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Event
Free

All Event Ideas for Schools

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STEM Field Day
💰
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Kickback Vibes
💰
🎨
Camp Read Away
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🎨
School Dance
💰
🎨
Career Day
💰
🎨
Glow Party
💰
🎨
Game Week
💰
🎨
The A-List
💰
🎨
Karaoke Night
💰
🎨
Family Feast
💰
🎨
Meet the Teacher

All Free Reward Ideas for Schools

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🎁
Line Leader
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🎁
Drop Lowest Quiz
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Partner Work
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👑
🎁
Locker Choice
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👑
🎁
Art Contest
🎉
👑
🎁
Extra Reading Time
🎉
👑
🎁
Brain Break
🎉
👑
🎁
School Assembly
🎉
👑
🎁
Stairway Messages

All Reward Ideas for High School Students

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👑
🎁
Positive Note or Call Home
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Silent Disco
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Sports Tickets
Grades 3-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Board Game Party
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Holidays Around the World
Grades K-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Teacher v Student Competition
Grades 6-12
School
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Create the Seating Chart
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Be a Comedian.
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Podcast
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Early Lunch Dismissal
Grades 9-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Graduation Celebration
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
School Supplies & Merch
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
♟️Chess With the Principal
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Wild ‘N Out High School Edition
Grades 9-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Drop Lowest Quiz
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Hat Pass
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free

All Reward Ideas for Middle School Students

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Drop Lowest Quiz
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
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Sports Tickets
Grades 3-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
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🎁
Design the Bulletin Board
Grades K-12
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Partner Work
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Theme Party
Grades K-8
Class/House
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Morning Meeting Leader
Grades 3-8
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Virtual Talent Show. 🎤
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
The Love Soiree
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Meet the Teacher
Grades K-8
School
Event
Free
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👑
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Using House Points to Emphasize Positive Behaviors

How to build a community that is proud to work together by centering culture around creating a community.
By 
Kelly Rodriguez
 | 
August 26, 2022

I started down my journey with House Points after a conversation with one of my parents. She was in my office one afternoon and asked a rather innocent question; “how are you teaching kindness to your students?” I thought about it. Surely we are. Of course, we are. Aren’t we? Even if we are, I had trouble answering the ‘how’ portion of her question and that troubled me.

I knew the results I wanted to see. I wanted a culture of mentorship and camaraderie. I wanted a system that inspired some friendly competition. I wanted to emphasize the traits that were lacking in our students and we felt like we could grow. I wanted to see students encouraging and congratulating each other for doing the right thing. I wanted our students to take pride in their school and their accomplishments within it. 

We settled on a House System similar to the one that Hogwarts runs on in Harry Potter. So we began researching how to set this up. I looked into Ron Clark Academy, which has tons of great resources. But from conversations with my staff, a common pain point for us was the logistical hurdle of setting something like this up and keeping it going. One of my teachers even said “I just can’t pass out another piece of paper” in reference to the paper bucks system we were already using.

Instead of running our system manually, we found a digital house points system where staff can document student points, and then they are tallied up by houses. This made our idea a reality. It helped us create the culture I had envisioned while also solving the logistical needs that we knew would keep it from becoming a reality.

A Little About Me and Maranatha

My name is Kelly Rodriguez and I am the Junior High Principal for Maranatha Christian Schools in San Diego, California. In 2018 I joined Maranatha Christian Schools as Director of Curriculum and Instruction and then eventually became Junior High Principal. Maranatha Christian Junior High is a Private Christian School serving 230 students. MCS also includes Elementary and High School students with our entire campus hosting 940 students. 

I believe in building a community that is proud to work together and does its best with all that is given to them. This is why I centered building MSC culture around creating the community.

Positive Behavior Reinforcement

The key aspect of our system that I hoped would shine was our emphasis on positive behavior reinforcement. Positive behavior reinforcement is a way of looking at discipline and behavior management from the perspective of what you want to see in your students as opposed to what you don’t want to see. 

For us, we looked at several traits we felt were important for development but were lacking with our students. We then decided to take a page from Harry Potter and dedicate our Houses to those traits. Integrity, Reliability, Courage, and Perseverance would be the connective tissue around our houses. 

Similar to focusing on expectations instead of rules, we hoped that by focusing on traits we would then in turn see more of those positive behaviors. This has been emphatically correct. Our kids have really adopted the reward system this year as 117,000 points have been awarded and 350+ prizes have been claimed in our school store.

How House Points Work for Us

No, I don’t have a magic sorting hat. So the task of sorting our students into the 4 houses was up to me. I made them equal in as many ways possible. I intentionally blended the houses by grade level because we wanted to create larger communities outside of the normal grade level bands. I wanted a culture of peer mentorship that just wasn’t possible before. 

We created a points system where students can earn positive points for their house anywhere at any time. They can be awarded by any staff member as well. We wanted to do everything we could to highlight the positive behaviors we wanted to see more of. So we don’t miss an opportunity to reward our students for doing well in the hallway, class, recess, drop off, pick up, lunch, etc. We want to catch them doing good!

Points can be earned individually or by teams in events such as weekly Chapel Competitions, or on monthly Spirit Days. Each semester we host a House Points Blitz that is packed with games and activities that allow students to showcase house and school spirit.

We display the points on a monitor in the hallway as well as in the office, it is always up to date. I love hearing students congratulate each other as they see who earned points for their house. Those little moments of encouragement are exactly what we envisioned when we started this journey.

Culture through Community

At MCS we are using House Points as a tool to facilitate our behavior management program. But it is achieving much more than that. Our staff morale has benefited. Our student morale has improved. Engagement and motivation are up as well. With House Points, we are building culture by developing community.

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