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House system finds a home at Pinewood

Similar to the way Harry Potter and friends at the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are divided into four houses, some students at the real Pinewood Intermediate School are being sorted into houses that are intended to provide continuity from grade to grade.

Going into the second year of the pilot program, about 125 Pinewood students in all three grades are involved with a house. They call themselves the Pinewood Flyers.

The idea for a house system began about two years ago. Last year, the first houses were created to test out the system, former Pinewood Principal Michael Johnson said.

Johnson, who is now the interim superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the house system is supposed to increase student connections throughout their three years at Pinewood.

"This is an exciting initiative," Johnson said. "I think Pinewood has a lot going on and this is something that the teachers and parents have really gotten behind to make life better for the students."

About 700 students attend Pinewood each year for third, fourth and fifth grades. The school is broken down into three separate wings by grade level.

Because there are so many students and the wings are so separate, the challenge is creating an environment where the students felt comfortable and teachers can collaborate.

"Research shows that creating smaller communities especially in a large school is critical," Mohonasen superintendent Kathleen Spring said.

The house system creates teams of students who stay together for their three years at Pinewood. The students develop connections with each other as they travel through the grades and get to know the teachers on their teams. The teachers also get to know their students and their needs. The house system allows for continuity throughout the grades by providing common planning time for each teacher.

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