Our faculty and staff don’t just talk about lifelong learning, we live it

Feb 24 2023

Our faculty and staff don’t just talk about lifelong learning, we live it

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.”
-Chinese proverb

At Keystone, we take seriously the commitment to lifelong learning. We hope that students develop a love for learning and a passion for pursuing the life of the mind. Because they are interesting people and in the hope that we are setting a good example, the Keystone faculty and staff members are also always learning.

Most recently, while students were sleeping in or traveling last Friday, we held an in-service day to teach and learn from one another and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Sometimes, we’ll bring in an educator or facilitator who takes us through a lesson or an activity. This time, we turned toward inward to take advantage of the wonderful resources here on campus and learn about the many new and exciting developments throughout the school. Teachers could choose among the following workshops led by their colleagues:

    • Travel Society: Upper School Head Mr. Spedding, Upper School Spanish Teacher Señora Fierro, and Middle School Science Teacher Ms. Sobieszczyk recounted last summer’s trip to Ecuador with the Keystone Travel Society, how it benefits teachers and students, and how teachers can incorporate the experiences into their classes.
    • Lower School and Outdoor Education: Fourth grade teachers Ms. Holden and Ms. Holiday shared with other teachers their experiences learning about possible places and experiences for Outdoor Education trips and how to incorporate these experiences into classes.
    • Student Directed Research: Middle School History/Social Studies Teacher Ms. Sadosky and Upper School English Teacher Dr. Lawrence shared how they approach service-learning research projects in their respective classrooms and offered suggestions to teachers for creating these kinds of projects in their own classrooms.
    • Making the most of Professional Development conferences: Coach Unruh offered a discussion around PD conferences and how to make them most effective and beneficial for an entire department.
    • Make It-Take It: Coach Hawk and Dr. Wivagg explained the Middle School’s newest class, Make It-Take it, showed off some student creations, and took the participants through the process of creating their own sticker.
    • PoCC Conference: Director of Enrollment Management Ms. Banks, Third Grade Teacher Ms. Steward, and Kinder Team Teacher and Director of Aftercare Ms. Golando shared lessons they learned from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference.
      E-sports: Ms. Troche shared the story of the Middle School’s newest interscholastic team, and had the teachers try their hands at e-sports.
    • Robot programming: Ms. Antuna explained robotics offerings at Keystone, and took teams of two through the process of learning how to program and use a VEX robot to complete basic tasks.

In an all faculty/staff meeting, we celebrated Middle School English Teacher Cindy Tyroff, who received the Edmund J. Farrell Distinguished Service and Achievement Award from the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts. After Middle School Head Dr. Wivagg led the recognition of Mrs. Tyroff, we heard from Art Teacher Dr. Maggie Hilburn, who described the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) upcoming Arts Festival. This year’s festival will take place in Fort Worth, where our students will join with peers across the region to revel in the arts and appreciate the contributions of fellow student-artists. We also heard from Middle School English Teacher Ms. Luckie and Innovation and Learning Specialist Ms. Troche, who spoke about a middle school digital media project that features a daily newscast, and then showed us an episode.

Following these short teacher presentations, we heard from seniors Lorenzo and Andrew about their ongoing research into the history of Keystone. Led by these two outstanding young adults, we viewed a slideshow and then moved to the library for a gallery walk to observe artifacts from our past. Since last May, Andy and Lorenzo have studied documents, contacted people across the country, analyzed blueprints, and interviewed long-term staff members, former employees, and alumni. They have provided the school with an invaluable study of our past, and we are grateful to them for their hard volunteer work.

In addition to these presentations, we joined in department and division meetings to discuss the latest research in subject areas, teaching, and learning. Teachers met in groups, large and small, to plan curriculum and projects and talk about topics pertinent to specific divisions.

As we learned together, taught each other, and just enjoyed one another’s company, teachers and staff members exemplified the lifelong learning that we hope our students will practice after they graduate from Keystone.

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