Throughout this school year, we will feature guest bloggers to share different perspectives on or experiences with boys education on our Head of School blog. Our next guest blogger is Mac McStravick, Regis Dean of Students, who writes about "How Boys Benefit from Leadership Programs in Middle School?"
The House Program in Middle School at The Regis School of the Sacred Heart is designed to promote community, facilitate relationship building and communication, instill responsibility, and foster leadership to prepare Regis scholars and gentlemen for success. This intentionally designed program gives boys the opportunity to take risks, collaborate, engage in competition, and work across grade levels outside of the classroom environment. The Houses include students in fifth grade through eighth grade, with each grade level having designated roles and responsibilities. At Regis, House activities include playing games, participating in academic and athletic competitions, performing skits, reciting poetry, telling stories, and more as they work throughout the year to earn points for their House.
Community & Relationship Building
Boys who are part of a community feel accepted and connected. The Houses of Regis are designed for boys to experience competition in academics, athletics, the arts, and other subjects, allowing each boy’s unique talents to shine in his areas of strength. As other students witness a boy who is able to make the most layups or solve the math equation fastest or recite a poem with poise, they are given opportunities to applaud other’s strengths and recognize the vast gifts and talents they each possess. These activities involve taking risks and being vulnerable, but they also become opportunities to inspire those who might otherwise be quiet, shy, or reserved to participate for the good of the team. Since the Houses of Regis is comprised of students throughout Middle School, these structured opportunities for boys to collaborate across grade levels promotes a sense of engagement and connection. The natural result is for the members of each House to begin to find ways to engage every individual and find out what talents they each have in order to work together for the success of the House. Boys who are able to spend time together in House activities get to know one another outside of the classroom or other structured school activities—this strengthens their own relationships and sense of brotherhood. In addition to the strengthening of community amongst Regis’ Middle School boys, the Houses of Regis program also reduces disciplinary issues because boys feel connected and engaged and are less likely to be disruptive.
Responsibility & Leadership
Being a part of a community allows each student to take responsibility for his actions and demonstrate leadership. Boys who are given opportunities to take responsibility become positive leaders. Leaders are effective communicators who know how to be in relationships with others and are able to establish and accomplish goals. In the Houses of Regis, boys compete in an array of activities and are encouraged to learn through participation and to encourage the weakest member with enthusiasm and grace for the benefit of the whole House in any given activity. After having varying responsibilities to support their house in fifth, sixth, and seventh grade, the Houses of Regis program culminates with eighth grade students serving as the overall leaders of each House. Eighth grade responsibilities include recruiting members to be a representative for a particular competition, setting up or cleaning up the competition space, communicating with the House about the upcoming activities, and more. Each of these responsibilities, when executed properly, results in House success. Boys who are successful feel connected to others in their community, take responsibility for their actions, are good communicators, and know when and how to be an authentic and compassionate leader.
Bio: Mac serves as Dean of Students and also as a Social Studies teacher in Middle School at Regis. He holds a B.A. in History Education from the University of Houston and is also a certified trainer for The Gurian Institute. Before college, Mac joined the United States Marine Corps, and spent three years serving as an infantry man and squad leader with the 2nd Marine Division. He has over 30 years of teaching and coaching experience in Middle School and believes teaching to be his vocation. Mac created the Houses of Regis program currently utilized in Middle School and actively works with Regis students to create new programs and opportunities that suit students' diverse interests.