New year brings exciting new developments

Aug 18 2023

New year brings exciting new developments

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
-Lao Tze

I love the beginning of school. Every year, we have the opportunity to start anew with a clean slate and chart a course toward becoming the person we wish to be. It has been wonderful the past few days to see how students have changed over the summer. I don’t think I have shrunk, so it’s all the more amazing to see how much students have grown. Their enthusiasm and excitement have felt palpable.

As we start a new school year, we’d like to go over some of the new and exciting things happening on both campuses:

On the facilities side, we hope you take a moment to enjoy the new landscaping throughout the main campus. The theater has a new exterior paint color scheme and new carpeting inside. Our facilities and maintenance team worked hard over the summer repurposing and updating classrooms, refurbishing floors, installing new furniture and security items such as new locks, new alarms and new access controls.

This year, we are proud to offer several new classes in the Upper School:

  • AP Physics/Engineering 1 & 2
  • Modern Global Issues: Latin America
  • Calculus 3
  • French V
  • AP Art Portfolio 1 & 2

We also made significant changes to the Middle School academic offerings, such as expanding the French/Spanish sequence, adding a Computer Science class, and revising our Social Studies curriculum.

In the Lower School, we are adopting a new math program and the History Alive curriculum for first through fourth grades, and continuing to expand our Outdoor Education program. Lower School soccer will start soon, and our new basketball programs will commence later this year; we anticipate many children signing up for them and plenty of parents cheering them on.

At the Little School, we installed a new playground shade structure, and are thrilled to use a new type of large playground blocks that were donated to the school last year. Little School teachers have a fun and educational year planned for our youngest Cobras. In addition to Spanish, yoga, music, and physical education, we have also added a new Little School enrichment of sign language.

During our Annual August In-Service Week, we welcomed new faculty and staff members to Keystone:

  • Amélie Alizon – Upper School French
  • Anne-Victoire Bonnamour – Middle School French
  • Catherine Lloyd-Science, Grades 5 & 6
  • Emily Rodriguez – Assistant, Middle School
  • Angie Shotzberger – Assistant Head Lower and Middle School
  • Juanita Stehney – Lower School Spanish
  • Josh Welker – Studio Art

If you’re returning to Keystone, you may remember we conducted a survey of parents last spring. This summer, we began making changes in response to parent feedback. Among these new initiatives, we revised our Upper School off-campus protocols and attendance procedures in all divisions.

After much research over the summer, we decided to remain with the Schoolpass App for potential emergencies and visitor management; the Schoolpass app does these tasks very well. To oversee daily and per period attendance, Keystone hired an Attendance/Substitute Coordinator. Teachers will enter daily and per class attendance in Renweb. If students are not present in a class and they are not on the daily absence list, teachers will notify the Attendance Coordinator who will inform the respective division head and will proceed accordingly.

In our revised and tiered off-campus policy, students in Grades 10-12 may have a series of graduated privileges with their parents’ written consent. Students who go off campus have various requirements they must meet and follow, such as walking with schoolmates, providing the attendance coordinator and the Head of the Upper School with their cellphone number, and checking out via Schoolpass from one of the kiosks by the Wellness Center. If you want to see the entire policy, it’s here.

In our ongoing attempt to have students do well by being well, we are increasing our wellness programming with a variety of additions, including a universal wellness assessment, mental health programming, guest speakers for students and parents, and community and rapport building activities.

Please take a moment to look at the homepage of our website. We added a section of testimonials where alumni and parents reflect on their experiences at Keystone. In many ways, these stories describe what we do and why we’re so committed to providing the best educational experience for all of our children.

This new year is off to an exciting start. We look forward to watching our students learn and grow over the coming years. We hope to see you at tonight’s Cobra Cookout!

Let’s have a great year! Go Cobras!

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