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The Cambridge School Of Dallas Adopts The 'House System'

With the goal of strengthening its mission of "Academic Discipleship:  Fostering a Love of Learning with a Passion for Jesus Christ," this fall The Cambridge School of Dallas adopted the "House System."  Based on the structure common in British public schools, the House System is designed to enhance school culture by fostering friendly competition and camaraderie amongst students and faculty alike.   In addition to organizing intra-House events, such as community service projects, social events, and other activities, the Houses will collaborate to organize inter-House events and competitions.  Many long-standing Cambridge traditions have been incorporated into the House System in order to enhance the existing culture of the school.

The fundamental component of the House System is its separation of students and faculty from a large community into smaller ones. In those smaller communities mentorship, accountability, ownership and leadership are purposefully and productively taught and embodied with the ultimate goal of building a stronger school community. 

In keeping with Cambridge's mission as a classical, Christ-centered school, each house is named for a Christian monarch or emperor who ruled valiantly and honorably.  Each house has a symbol that is significant to their Patron. 

The House of Alfred the Great is named after the King of Wessex from 871-899. Known for his mercy and gracious demeanor, he is considered a saint by some Catholic communities. For his valiant defense of his kingdom against a stronger enemy, for securing peace with the Vikings, and for his farsighted reforms in the reconstruction of Wessex and beyond, Alfred is the only English monarch to bear the title Great.  The symbol of the House of Alfred the Great is the Triquetra, or Trinity Knot.  It is made of three interwoven arches and has been found in some of the earliest paintings of Jesus and on stone crosses in Great Britain.

The House of Charlemagne is named for the King of the Franks from 771-814 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 800-814.  He greatly revered Augustine’s teaching and sought earnestly to “internally strengthen the Church.”  Charlemagne is credited with unifying Europe and garnered the name Rex pater Europae, King Father of Europe.  The symbol of the House of Chalemagne is the Fleur-de-lis.  It was a symbol associated with French monarchy in which the three petals stood for faith, wisdom and chivalry.

The House of Constantine is named in honor of the Emperor of Rome from 306-337.  Constantine was the first Christian Emperor and ended the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire in 313 through the Edict of Milan.  The symbol of the House of Constantine is the ChiRho.   In 312, Constantine sought the help of God during a battle and saw a vision of a cross with the letters Chi and Rho on it with the words, “In this sign conquer.” After this vision, he devoted himself to Christianity.  

The House of Justinian is named for the Byzantine Emperor from 527 -565.  He is responsible for building the Hagia Sophia, a church which was central to the Eastern Orthodox Church for many centuries, and he is considered a saint in that church tradition.  The symbol of the House of Justinian is the Alpha and Omega, most common christogram, and the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In the book of Revelation, Christ is described several times as “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6).

Houses have an equal number of students, with a relatively equal distribution of age and gender.  In addition, all student siblings are assigned to  the same House.  Each House is led by a student, who serves as the House Head and is ultimately responsible for all of the house operations. Playing a supporting role to the Head are the House Advisors - a male and female faculty member whose primary responsibility is academic, personal and spiritual student mentoring.  Both students and faculty remain part of the same House during their time at Cambridge. 

The concept of mentoring and discipleship is core to the school's mission.  Cambridge assigns each new student an upperclassman mentor, and those relationships are fostered throughout the school year in an intentional and personal manner through planned activities and events.  With the integration of all students, grades 6-12, into the House system, the school hopes to continue to strengthen the relationships between younger and older students that is a hallmark of Cambridge.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014