There are certain characteristics to each house--they have a unique name and motto, along with a distinct color. The houses compete for points through weekly and monthly challenges and winning houses receive different rewards--extra time at recess for elementary, or school "bucks" that they can redeem for spirit wear or accessories. The houses create a group where every student belongs and is part of something.
The best way to understand the benefit of the house system is to hear from the students and staff who are participating in the program. Check out this high energy video that perfectly captures the excitement generated as part of the house process.