stmarys - Raise The Bar

Elementary Model Programs
St. Mary Catholic School
Intramurals/House League
We have a house league program that is steeped in
tradition. It started in the early ‘70’s and I have just inherited the program. Even the
names of the four houses, Aces, Marauders, Olympians, and Temiskamings have been
around since the beginning. Intramurals is just one component of our house league
In September of every school year, the five members of the elected
Student Council, with a little guidance, divide the students in grades 4 - 8 into the four
traditional houses. For intramural purposes, each house is divided into a boys team
and a girls team.
The size of the team varies from year to year depending on the student population.
Each team has a grade 8 captain who is responsible for organizing and encouraging the
members of their particular team.
Once cross country is over in October, we begin
the sports program. A schedule is set alternating boys’ games and girls’ games. The
gym is available four days a week for the intramural program and games are scheduled
and played on those days. We begin at 12:10 and the game ends at 12:50. Games will
not be scheduled on days that have class field trips. This is to ensure maximum
participation. Participation and attendance at games are an important component as
students earn personal points for participation and teams receive bonus points for
perfect attendance for their house.
Student Council is responsible for getting student
refs and scorers.
The activity is supervised by a teacher. This supervision has become an extra voluntary
duty. It used to be part of the supervision/yard duty schedule. However, two years ago
that changed as a result of a local OECTA directive which states that this supervision
cannot be part of the duty schedule anymore. This makes the program a little harder to
run because our school is small and we already have a lot of yard duties. I believe this
supervision aspect should be left up to the individual school and be a site based
decision, especially when a number of students are in the gym rather than out on the
yard. The sports that are offered are indoor soccer followed by basketball and then handball.
Scores and points are kept. We have playoffs to determine champions in each sport.
House league points are awarded for finalists and semi finalists. This year we also
offered dodge ball with modified rules between sports. This was just for fun.
sports program runs from mid October to the end of April. However, it is an
interrupted program with various holidays, snow days, field trips and any other special
events that could make the gym unavailable. Schedules are posted in each
classroom as well as on the sports board. The games are announced daily.
The noon hour gym schedule is posted on Friday afternoon for the following week.
Our entire house league program is very important to our school. The intramural
program is one aspect. Students receive personal points in three areas – academic,
athletics, and respect and responsibility. They are able to earn as many as five points
per term in each area. If they earn more than 39 points in the school year, they receive
a school letter at the year end awards assembly. Points are also earned for their house
for activities students participate in throughout the year. This includes choir, chess,
drama, kindergarten helpers, milk monitors, and office helpers. Students also earn
house points for participating in the monthly theme days such as Wacky Hairdo Day,
Crazy Sock Day, and P.J. Day. We keep track of the points and they are posted on the
sports board. The students in the winning house receive medals at the awards
assembly. This entire program does a great deal for the spirit of the school.
We also have a Little Leaguers program for students in the primary grades. All of the
students in grades 1, 2, and 3 are divided into teams of 12. Depending on the student
population, the number of teams varies from year to year as does the length of the
schedule. This year we have 12 teams. And they are named after Canadian and local
hockey teams. Each team plays each other once and no record of the scores or
standings are kept. One Little Leaguer says quite simply, “Mom, I get to play games and
have fun with other kids – it’s not about winning.” Little Leaguers is scheduled in the
gym every Tuesday from 12:10 to 12:50. Our librarian and I supervise. The games are
reffed and coached by students from grade 6. The sports played are indoor soccer,
pool noodle hockey and various games on scooters involving softee hockey sticks,
rubber chickens, pigs, and fish. I know that students look forward to Little
When I asked for comments from parents, teachers, and students, the consistent
thread was how students looked forward to the activities. The programs offered at our
school contribute to a sense of community and team enthusiasm as students mix with
other classes and grades. The programs encourage fitness and also “fosters a safe,
competitive attitude in an atmosphere of fair play”, as well a “chance for some of the
older students to take on responsibilities such as scoring and reffing. Team captains
and older students look out for the little ones and weaker ones to involve them in the
All in all, I believe we have a rather successful program.
Johanne Martin, St. Mary, Elora