At Bradford every student is placed into one of four houses: Paz, Esperanza, Fuerza, or Sabio. The house names correspond with important qualities we try to build in every student: peace, hope, strength, & wisdom. Every other Friday Bradford students meet with their House Buddies, a grade level paired to foster relationships between students in Lower, Middle, & Upper School. This is an opportunity for students to practice leadership and conversation skills as well as work together to serve our community through service projects. Fourth grade is paired with 9th & 10th graders and are the oldest of the pairs. Next year, fourth graders will become the elder buddies and partner with Kindergarteners. So this is a great year for them to learn to be leaders and good examples of what Bradford House Buddies should be.
The motto of the House program is Bradford Cares. Not only do we foster caring among students at our school; we also teach them to care for the community. Throughout the year, each House Buddy pair will decide on a project they want to sponsor for the school. The groups brainstorm ideas, vote for the one they believe will be the best, promote the project throughout the school, collect items, run the competition between houses, and announce the winner. It's a chance for them to show initiative and be proud of the positive difference they can make in their community. Fourth, ninth, and tenth grade go first and we brainstormed our ideas on Friday. They will vote in their homerooms next week for the project they want to sponsor.
We have seen this program grow so much since it's start in 2016. Each year students learn new ways to work together and what it means to be a Bradford House Buddy. Because we welcome new students each year, it's a great chance to teach others The Bradford Way. You can help your child develop these skills in a variety of ways:
• Watch for the announcements of the current project. We will announce the projects in our newsletters but communication may also come from the school and be on the web page.
• Talk to your child about how they can participate in the current project. Incorporate it into everyday conversations and dinner table talks.
• Allow your child to make sacrifices to contribute. Giving of themselves is an important part of students feeling like they made a difference.
• Help them be responsible for bringing the items in. Bins will be placed in the front hallway that students can drop donations into. If there is an option to purchase online, a receipt of purchase is enough to give their house credit.
• Encourage healthy competition between houses. Help your child be proud of his/her house buddies, color, and quality (peace, hope, strength, wisdom). Talk about how great it would feel to know your house made the biggest impact in helping others.
If you know of any charitable organizations and ideas that we can consider for our projects, please let the school know. We are always looking for ideas to help the community and although we can only choose a few, it's important that we hear about what is out there and where the needs are around us. Secondly, if you have any concerns throughout the year about your child and their buddy, please let your child's teacher or House teacher know. I am the House teacher for Fuerza and I would hate to find out at the end of the year that your child never connected with their buddy or didn't have a good experience. We can't make a difference if we don't know about the concerns. So please keep us informed. The house teachers are as follows:
Sabio - Julia Haferman
Paz - Kayla Champion & Lori Hawes
Fuerza - Liz Hill
Esperanza - Brittany Flair
Buddies are flexible from year to year, so if your child has had a certain buddy in the past that they didn't connect with, the beginning of the year a good time to change things up. The bottom line is that we put student safety first and we will do our best to make sure every child is placed with someone who will nurture and be a good example to them.
Thank you for all you will do this year to help us build this program! We look forward to this year and showing just how much Bradford Cares!