A salute to our outstanding faculty and staff

May 02 2024

A salute to our outstanding faculty and staff

“I touch the future. I teach.”
-Christa McAuliffe

During the annual student-faculty basketball game last Friday, students cheered when varsity players scored – and yelled just as loudly when one of their teachers knocked down a shot. The game was exciting and fun to watch, and the play-by-play commentary by senior Caden G had us all in stitches. Fortunately, nobody was injured, except for maybe a little ego bruising.

Behind the laughter and layups, the game provided another example of the myriad ways that students and faculty/staff at Keystone interact with each other. On any given day, you can find teachers and students before, during, and after school, going over a paper or lab, practicing in the theater, music, or art studio, or running drills in the gym or on the field. Teachers and coaches encourage students on ways to improve or help them see where they went wrong.

At the Little School, children learn to count by taking care of newly hatched chicks in their classroom. In fourth grade, students come to comprehend how trout grow in the aquarium in their classroom and then release them into a local river. Middle schoolers analyze a topic of their choosing and share their findings in a multi-draft paper, while their high school counterparts excel in honors and Advanced Placement classes and even produce original research.

As we know, the work at Keystone is challenging and we hear from alumni again and again that they are more than ready for the rigors of college. Teachers guide students to go beyond their comfort zone and discover what they are capable of doing.

In the process, children and young adults transition from one level of cognitive development to the next and create pieces of work that impress us. I recall the shock of Keystone parents when they read a recent student essay in the Keynote and said, “I can’t believe that was written by a high school student!”

Those of us who work in schools are in the business of change. The student who leaves a classroom in late May is not the same person who entered in mid-August. They have grown and morphed into a new person as they have acquired skills and knowledge they didn’t have before. If we don’t challenge our students to take on new ideas and grapple with difficult concepts, they will not become the person they were meant to be. We teach them as the old saying goes, “We can do hard things.”

At the same time, if we don’t support them in their intellectual and social-emotional growth, they burn out and cease to develop. By giving them a both real and metaphorical pat on the back, teachers and staff members demonstrate our belief in them as students and human beings. With profound respect and admiration, I watch our faculty/staff pick up a student when they are down or nurture a child when they are struggling. Some days, it may be a new problem in math; other days, it could be a conflict with a friend.

This kind of bolstering happens all over both campuses whether a teacher is showing students how to say something in American Sign Language at the Little School or rehearsing a monologue in the theater on the main campus. But it also occurs in locations beyond the school walls like on a long and arduous hike or showing students how to catch a fish on outdoor education trips.

On International Day last week, children in Kindergarten through twelfth grade performed skits, presentations, and music for their peers. It’s hard enough speaking or singing in front of a crowd in your native language; it’s all the more impressive when it’s a second language that a student has learned in school. Kudos go to their teachers for helping these students develop the facility to do this, and convincing them to take risks and try new things. (Good work to the Keystone students who were so encouraging when either younger children or their peers took to the stage!)

Working with children and adolescents is truly a labor of love. Whether teachers are going over a knotty lesson in class or staff members are giving pointers to players at the State Tennis Tournament, they are the students’ coach and cheerleader. They demonstrate their love for their students by showing them that they are more capable than they ever thought possible and helping them reach their potential.

As we prepare to celebrate our Annual Faculty/Staff Appreciation Week on May 6-10, we thank with a profound sense of gratitude and awe the teachers and staff members at Keystone. Your impact is both far and wide, and we are sincerely and deeply grateful.

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