Superintendent’s Corner: H.B. Whitehorne House Model


Share post:

RuiWebpage“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” -Steve Jobs

I am thrilled to share with you an exciting opportunity that will benefit every child in the Verona Public Schools. Our leadership team has been hard at work all year in developing a middle school house model with the primary goal of cultivating smaller, more personalized learning communities for our students. The middle school house model structure is established on years of research and practical application in many school districts where the design enables the creation of two smaller schools within a school.

The transition from elementary school to high school is critically important. Middle school children greatly benefit from social, emotional, and academic support through a focused, concerted effort by educators. The most effective way of accomplishing this goal is to design a system where teachers are provided opportunities to collaborate and utilize their time most effectively to constructively dialogue about students. Most importantly, the house model provides a sense of community to foster meaningful relationships amongst teachers, students, and parents.

- Advertisement - LynneMortimeri

Our house model will enrich each student’s total educational experience in academic learning, personal development, and group citizenship. Teachers and students are organized and grouped into interdisciplinary teams. In these teams, teachers share the same students, the same core schedule, and the responsibility to share in the planning of the major academic subjects, which students encounter daily. Each house will be comprised of a grade level team of teachers in English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Special Education. Our team teachers will each focus on one subject enabling greater depth of teaching, creativity, and differentiation suited to individualized student instruction and improved student learning. Built within the house model structure will be common planning time carved out of each day’s schedule for our teams of teachers to discuss social, emotional, and academic needs of all children. This common planning time is critical for close monitoring of academic progress and the development of social skills for children. Each child will be assigned to a specific house with opportunities for academic and social interaction across the entire grade level.

Each house will have an administrative leader and guidance counselor assigned to most effectively coordinate student and staff needs. Each house administrator will frequently meet with each grade level team to discuss student needs, strategically support student learning, and most effectively communicate with parents in an effort to maximize each learner’s potential. As you know, the Verona Public Schools will be seeking a new administrator with Mr. Freund’s departure in September as he embarks on his new leadership role as principal at Laning Avenue School. We will be seeking his replacement with a principal position, in lieu of an assistant principal role, to maintain complete equity between both houses. Moving forward, H.B. Whitehorne will have two principals, one for each house working collaboratively in our new middle school structure.

My own experience in professionally leading a house model in a prior district has convinced me that there is no better way to create a structure that best supports all learners. Walt Disney said, “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” Since November, we have been designing the most effective model to enhance the middle school experience for our students. We continue to strive toward supporting an engaging learning environment to maximize the unique potential of every learner.

There will be a House Model Parent Presentation at H.B. Whitehorne on June 10th at 7 p.m. and June 11th at 7 p.m. Please join us for one of the sessions to learn more about this exciting initiative. We hope to see you there.

All our best,

Rui Dionisio
Superintendent of Schools

Yvette McNeal
Principal, H.B. Whitehorne

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles

2022 BOE Election: The Candidates Respond

Mike Boone, Sara Drappi, Diana Ferrera, Aaron Spiegeland and Denise Verzella are the five candidates running for two...

Michael Boone, BOE Candidate 2022

Michael Boone, Line 3 Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Common Questions When you talk to prospective voters about what the Board of...

Sara Drappi, BOE Candidate 2022

Sara Drappi, Line 4 Website, Facebook, Instagram Common Questions When you talk to prospective voters about what the Board of Education...

Diana Ferrera, BOE Candidate 2022

Diana Ferrera, Line 1 Website, Facebook Common Questions When you talk to prospective voters about what the Board of Education can--and...