The mission of West Catholic is to form Disciples of Christ through a dynamic, excellence-driven, Catholic education. The Household System is tasked with relational development among students and staff through a persistent experience of Christian community. Recognizing the need for clear purpose to Households in advancing our mission, the Households will focus particularly on excellence in Prayer, Presence and Persistent Growth.
What is a household system?
The Household System is a way to organize students into smaller, close-knit groups that prioritize relational development and a persistent experience of Christian community.
What are the three guiding principles for West Catholic's Household System?
- Prayer – A disciple of Christ “prays unceasingly” and orders her or his whole life, work and activities towards God.
- Presence – A disciple helps others be and feel known and loved, having been listened to and cared for with great attention and joy; the presence of a disciple is a powerful witness to the love of the Father.
- Persistent Growth – A disciple rests only at the perfection of holiness, the excellence of her or his state in life and conditions of work, and the excellence of persistent commitment to forgiveness, reconciliation and growth
What will the Household System look like?
The West Catholic Household System will divide all students into four communities. Each community will be composed of eight households, be led by a community dean, and have the support of student leadership. Each household will be led by a mentor supported by student leadership. Households will each have a cross-section of the student body; the ratio of students to mentors will be approximately 1:16.
What is the staff leadership for the Household System?
The four communities are each led by a dean, who does not mentor a household but oversees the household and supports the mentors and students in living out the guiding principles. There is also one director of the household system who, in addition to being the dean for one community, oversees and makes decisions for all of the communities. The deans and their communities are:
- Joe Gietzen, St. Padre Pio Community Dean
- Lisa Nawrocki, St. Catherine of Siena Community Dean
- Sean Nolan, St. Josephine Bakhita Community Dean & Household System Director
- Joe Rolf, Blessed Miguel Pro Community Dean
Will there be opportunities for student leadership?
West Catholic High School values the development of the whole person. In this development, both leading and being led contribute significantly. The Household System will allow students various opportunities to lead their peers and shape the Catholic community of the school. These leadership opportunities are:
– Each community will be led by one boy and one girl.
– Each household will have one representative who collaborates with the mentor in leading the household.
– Each household will also be responsible for various activities, events and drives throughout the school year. Ad hoc leadership within the Household will be established to help manage these responsibilities.
What is the benefit of a Household System?
The West Catholic Household System will allow for more personal connections between students of all grade levels and dedicated mentors. With this alternative alignment for student engagement, there will be increased peer-to-peer mentoring and leadership development opportunities. The Household System approach also allows community deans and staff mentors to guide a student through the full four years of high school – providing continuity, resources and appropriate accompaniment through the student’s WC journey of education and faith. West Catholic is much more than just a high school. One of WC’s goals is to promote the development of the whole person, and the Household System structure will help accomplish this.
Is West Catholic the first school to do this?
West Catholic will be among the first schools in the West Michigan area to debut a household system. To advance our mission, WC leaders visited and researched the household systems of private schools around the country, examining them for best practices. The West Catholic Household System, however, will be unique to WC in order to meet our particular student needs.
How often will Households meet?
The households in each of our communities will meet several times each week. Meetings will vary in length from short informational meetups to longer service-oriented gatherings. Community meetings will occur regularly but not as frequently as household groups. The West Catholic daily and weekly schedule is being changed to accommodate the Household System in addition to other scheduling needs. Classroom time will be minimally impacted by the Household System.
Can I pick my Household?
Students will be assigned to households on the basis of maintaining a cross-section of the student body in each household. Siblings will be assigned to the same community, but not the same household, for family continuity.
What are the Community names?
- St. Josephine Bakhita
- St. Padre Pio
- Blessed Miguel Pro
- St. Catherine of Siena
What is the correlation between the Household System and academic performance?
Studies show that academic performance is positively impacted when there’s an atmosphere of care and connection. With the West Catholic Household System, student care and connectedness will be intentionally amplified, especially by the persistent presence of the adult mentor for all four years of a student’s WC career. The Household System will address student’s social and emotional learning through the lens of our mission to form disciples of Christ. These so-called “soft skills,” like cooperation and empathy, while vital for both career success and excellence in responding to one’s vocation from God, are often lacking in our tech-focused world. The Household System model is designed to support students in their integral development.
Will we still have a class (Freshmen, Sophomore, etc.) identity with the Household System?
Yes! Class-level camaraderie is an important part of high school. Students will still identify with their freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classmates. The West Catholic Household System just provides additional opportunities to get to know and learn from students in other grades. Placement in a household isn’t a replacement for one’s grade level – it’s a bonus! Within the household structure, students will be able to interact with a diverse cross-section of the student body.