Head of School's Corner

Dear Members of our Keystone Community,

My nine years in Beijing, and eight years on our lovely campus in Shunyi, have passed oh so quickly.   To me it seems recent that I wrote a special letter to all those pioneering parents and students who had signed up to join our new school, shortly before we opened. This was at the end of our planning year, in the summer of 2014.  I called it: “Sunrise in Shunyi: some thoughts on joining a new school.” 

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/06/13-2022/​06/19

Dear Members of our Keystone Community,

Tomorrow was going to be our Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2022. We will still have it, for sure, but it will have to be later, as it was in 2020. The Keystone Diplomas are all signed and waiting to be presented!  In the meantime, while you are waiting, this is written for you, Class of 2022. I salute you

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/05/16-2022/​05/22

Dear Members of our Keystone Community,

It is not at all surprising that our seniors have a deeper sense of their Keystone experience as each year passes.  As we graduate students who have spent more and more years in our school, it is natural that they understand better what we are trying to do here, and how their distinctive Keystone experiences have influenced and transformed their lives. 

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/04/04-2022/​04/10

Dear Members of our Keystone Community,

Last weekend we enjoyed an uplifting three days.  It was a closed weekend for the boarding students.  On Friday afternoon all the secondary students were involved, in advisory groups with their advisors, in a World Day.  This consisted of stalls in both secondary gyms, stalls dedicated to national foods, games, and interesting information from many countries from all continents.  

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/03/28-2022/​04/03

Dear Members of our Keystone Community,

Last Friday all our students had a day off school, and so for many it was a long weekend.  For the Grade 12 Seniors, this was a most welcome short break as they had concluded their full set of weeklong Trial Exams the day before.  Many boarding students went home for the three days.  I hope that you parents enjoyed having your children at home on a Friday.  Here at Keystone, we had a varied and stimulating Professional Growth Day in which all employees could participate.  There were different tracks and workshops for teachers and non-teaching staff, but there was something for all.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/03/21-2022/​03/27

Dear Members of our Keystone Community,

Last week I wrote, in part, about the importance of protecting community, and specifically our community.  This week, I have asked a recent graduate to write for all of us.  She is Gu Shiyang (Tori), Keystone Class of 2021, currently enrolled in a pre-med course at the University of Rochester.  Tori’s thoughts about Keystone, and what our learning community means to her, give us all a lovely example of just how precious our school is.  Thank you, Tori.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/03/07-2022/​03/13

Dear Members of our Keystone Community,

Welcome back from a lovely, long break, full of events and incidents.  I led us into the New Year, in my weekly column, with Blake’s powerful poem about the ‘Tyger’, and some thoughts about tigers in the Chinese tradition.  Tigers inspire awe, for many.  Certain other phenomena, events and experiences inspire awe too.  Awe is a sensation to treasure.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/02/21-2022/​02/27

Dear Members of our Keystone Community,

It feels good to reach the end of this part of our school year having had our students on campus every day, without any need to fall back on remote teaching and learning.  Schools in some other countries have not been so fortunate.  We know, however, that matters could change any time, and that we all need to continue to follow our health and safety protocols.  That was one aspect of my letter to you sent on Monday this week, in which I gave guidelines for holiday travel

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2021/12/20-2021/​12/26

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

My letter last week was, in part, about dancing to different songs.  The previous week, I took a slightly different angle on difference.  I stated that difference can be a great educator.  Living with diversity, celebrating difference, and embracing otherness are powerful engines for expanding our awareness, growing our compassion, and enriching our lives.    

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2021/12/13-2021/​12/19

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

In the most recent letter from the Primary School leadership team to parents of children in that division, sent last Friday, December 3, my attention was caught by this absorbing paragraph:

Our Foundation students have been reading Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees, a book about a clumsy giraffe who wants to dance but cannot...

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2021/12/06-2021/​12/12

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

I want to share with you this week something that I wrote 25 years ago!  It was sent to me recently by the archivist at the Maru a Pula School in Botswana where I was Head during the 1990s.  In March 1996 I was invited to Washington, D.C., to talk about Maru a Pula School to the delegates at the annual conference of the US National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2021/11/29-2021/​12/0​5

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

I ended my letter last week with reference to the graduates who have already completed their learning at Keystone, and are now at colleges and universities in different parts of the world, including China.  Writing ‘completed their learning at Keystone’ in the previous sentence was deliberate: these graduates have not completed their learning from and for Keystone.  One of our mantras as a school is that we learn from and for the world. 

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2021/11/22-2021/​11/​28
HEAD OF SCHOOL

Malcolm McKenzie

Malcolm McKenzie is the Founding Head of School of Keystone Academy. He grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and studied at the Universities of Cape Town, Oxford, and Lancaster.