Mr. Parker brings out the Jackson Pollock in 4th graders

September 18, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team

If every child is an artist, as Picasso once said, then it takes the talent of a skilled art teacher to channel that talent into specific styles. So art teacher Mr. Parker took his 4th grade students through the process of creating abstract paintings inspired by Jackson Pollock.

It started with the children picking two primary colors and painting a 20x20-inch canvas, then mixing and forming a secondary color.

Once the canvases were dry, the students took them outside and threw dish soap on them, in the spirit of the legendary American artist. Mr. Parker also instructed them to include thin threads that showed action and movement.

Then the students spray painted the canvases with white, silver, gold or black paint. The soap acted as a mask protecting the acrylic paint. For a final step, the young artists hosed off the soap.

The pieces are on display in the Lower School Library.

Seniors complete essential paperwork

September 17, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team


As the members of year's senior class work on college applications and head toward the homestretch of their Keystone experience, several of them just registered to vote in their first election.

They took a few moments from Dr. Caraway's class to fill out voter registration forms. Assisting them was Bea Caraway, a volunteer deputy voter registrar and wife of Dr. Caraway. She works as a librarian at Trinity University.

And while the students are ready to vote in their first election, Mr. Handmaker filled out forms with them so he could vote in his first election in Texas.


Book tasting inspires broader reading

September 17, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team


Looking for a good book to read? Ms. Tyroff has a great way to try several. It's called a “book tasting," and it's kind of like speed-dating a bunch of books in a short amount of time.

Here's how it works: She divides her eighth graders into small groups of about three or four students and seats them at different tables. Each table features several books in a specific genre. She then sets a timer for 5 minutes and has the students read from a book and take some notes on a book menu. After time's up, they briefly tell their table mates about the book sampled before switching to a different table with books from another genre.

"Sometimes this prompts students to try another genre or to try other authors they haven’t read," she said.

Ms. Tyroff has challenged her 8th grade students and Ms. Bray has challenged her 9th graders to read one million words of choice reading by the end of the school year.



Shop on Amazon, support Keystone

September 13, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team

Your next purchase on Amazon could benefit Keystone. Yes, if you're like many of us, you spend a lot of time shopping online. So be sure to shop at Amazon Smile and designate Keystone as the nonprofit you want to benefit. This is an ongoing partnership, so make sure to log in at and start shopping. This link takes you directly to the Keystone page.

Happy shopping!

Update: Keystone merchandise on sale through Sept. 23

September 13, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team


It’s time to stock up on your Keystone Merchandise! The days of our online sale have been extended and it will be open through Sunday, Sept. 23. Choose your items, pay online, and pick up your gear at school. Following the conclusion of the online sale, it will take two weeks for gear to arrive on campus – keep an eye out for an email with pick-up instructions.

Click here for the online merchandise store.

The Keystone Lands End store is also open! Grab some dress shirts, outerwear, or tote bags here.

Any questions regarding merchandise? Please email Hannah Hyde at

Dr. Armentrout named an Outstanding Educator by University of Chicago

September 12, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team

We all have stories of great teachers and how they changed our lives. One of our teachers here, Dr. Anna Armentrout, just received The University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award, for doing just that.

This award comes for her work at Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, where she taught before joining Keystone.

Every year, University of Chicago asks newly admitted students to recognize the educators who have influenced, challenged, and supported their students “along the path toward intellectual growth.” One of Dr. Armentrout's students at Landon nominated her, and the university honored her.

She teaches history at the Upper School.

"I am honored to have been nominated by a former student, and also grateful," she said. "Any influence I've had on students has relied just as much on their openness, curiosity, and willingness to take intellectual risks as it has on anything I do in the classroom. And those exchanges have made me grow, intellectually, as well."


Author, Stanford dean speaking Sept. 25 at St. Mary's Hall

September 06, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team

Every Keystone parent should consider attenting an event our colleagues at St. Mary's Hall are hosting: a talk on Sept. 25 from Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former dean at Stanford and author of "How to Raise an Adult."

She will discuss how well-meaning parents overparent thier children, inadvertently harming them and what do do about it. The talk is free, but St. Mary's Hall is asking attendees to RSVP so they'll have an accurate count for seating. Register here.

Advice from Lower School students

September 06, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team

When parents search for ways to help their children succeed in Lower School, forget Googling. Instead, ask the experts: Lower School students themselves.

On Wednesday, Lower School head Mrs. Vilagi convened a panel for a discussion with parents on what their classes are like, and how young people can do their best. Some of the advice:

  • On a quiz, read the problems twice.
  • Remember, it's not a test; it's an assessment.
  • It's OK if you don't get something on your first try.
  • If you're stuck on a problem, move on a do more problems. By the time you finish with the others, you may have the answer to the one you were stuck on.
  • When someone says something mean, don't say anything back. Somtimes it's best to pretend they didn't even say it.
  • When the teachers say to learn multiplication facts, it's important.
  • Sometimes, you can do your homework in the car on the ride home. Unless that makes you carsick.
  • Use the Buddy Bench on the playground. When you're feeling lonely or don't have anybody to play with, it's easier for people to see you and come play with you.
  • Don't: talk too much, get distracted or look at other people's papers.
  • Do: always do your homework. Think of it as a way to get smarter. Also, if you don't do it, you'll get in trouble.


Yellowstone meets 8th graders

August 31, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team

All 39 eighth-graders traveled to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park during the first full week of school.

Traveling with Mr. Howk, Mrs. Mlcak, Mr. Neydegger, Mr. Lindsay, Ms. Arnold and the school's outgoing acting Head of School, Mr. Lindsey, the students learned camping skills, took several hikes and did some outdoor cooking.

And since it was a school trip, the teachers incorporated lessons in science, history, biology, geology, ecology, and astronomy -- complete with a Star Party.

Lockdown drill coming Sept. 7

August 30, 2018
By Keystone Communications Team


Keystone will hold an lockdown/evaculation drill on Sept. 7 at 10:20 a.m. You will receive an email in the coming days reminding you about this, and you'll receive two texts on Sept. 7. One text will notify you when the drill starts and another will notify you when it ends.

The school community conducted a fire drill on Aug. 27, and the students handled it extremely well. Mr. Handmaker said it was the most efficient evacuation of a school campus he had ever seen in his career.

Please look in your email over the coming days, and expect a pair of text messages from us on Sept. 7 for the drill.

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