Head of School's Corner

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

Last week I prepared a recorded speech for a conference called “The 21st China International Education Conference", the theme of which was “China's Education Quality Improvement and Innovative Talent Cultivation”. The gathering was hosted by China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), organized by KingLead Education, and supported by the China Children and Teenagers' Fund. Owing to ongoing public health precautions, the forum was held online, last Saturday. I was given this topic: Cultivation of Innovative Talents in the Post-epidemic Era. It was a pleasure to prepare and record some thoughts to share with the participants, and to have my colleague and Associate Head Jia Lili assisting with the Chinese. In this article, I wish to share with you a summary of this address.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2020/​​11/23-2020/​11/​29

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

Last week I prepared a recorded speech for a conference called “The 21st China International Education Conference", the theme of which was “China's Education Quality Improvement and Innovative Talent Cultivation”. The gathering was hosted by China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), organized by KingLead Education, and supported by the China Children and Teenagers' Fund. Owing to ongoing public health precautions, the forum was held online, last Saturday. I was given this topic: Cultivation of Innovative Talents in the Post-epidemic Era. It was a pleasure to prepare and record some thoughts to share with the participants, and to have my colleague and Associate Head Jia Lili assisting with the Chinese. In this article, I wish to share with you a summary of this address.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2020/​​10/​26-2020/​11/​1

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

I wish to make a few points about ‘commitment’ this week. The root of our English word commitment lies in Latin, and it is a combination of two shorter words: ‘com’ means ‘with’ or ‘together’, and ‘mittere’ has as its standard or typical meaning ‘to send’, amongst a few related possibilities. Commitment, therefore, literally ‘sends us with each other, together’. If we are committed, we are sent, we journey, on the same path, or mission. If we are committed to someone, we do what we do and we go where we go together. If I am committed to someone or something, I am ‘sent together with’ that person or ideal or value. Commitment and community are allied, tied.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2020/​10/19-2020/10/​25

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

I hope that you can recall a piece that I wrote on leadership at the beginning of last year. This was, in essence, a report on a series of reflective exercises by your Keystone leaders at our June retreat in 2019. We believe strongly that it is crucial for us to think and talk deeply about how we want and aspire to lead Keystone, and also to model leadership. We know that at least two major positives flow from this, if we do it successfully. First, our school functions smoothly and successfully. Second, our students learn an essential skill from observing, consciously and unconsciously, the process of leading. A school with resources such as Keystone must set out to produce future leaders, and do so humbly. Wise and strong leadership is so high in demand everywhere, and yet so low in supply. In our school there are openings for student leadership posts and positions of responsibility for many, at all ages, and opportunities for developing leading skills for all.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2020/​10/12-2020/10/​18

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

It was a pleasure speaking to some of you on Monday evening, September 21, with my colleague and Associate Head, Jia Lili. Just over 400 of you joined in the virtual townhall meeting arranged by the Keystone Parent Teacher Association (PTA). I said then that I would summarize in writing some of the important points that I made, and I shall do so in this article. I hope that these points are useful to you. Remember that I also said, as I have done before, that you are welcome to come to see me about anything, whether that be a request for information, clarification, or a suggestion for improvement. You may also ask the PTA to set up larger meetings to talk through particular issues. I hope that such meetings will not have to be virtual for too much longer. It will be such a pleasure to have you coming on to the campus in the ways that we used to.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2020/​​10/​05-2020/​10/​11

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

You all know by now how engaging it is for me, as I hope it is for you, to continue building our Keystone culture, all of us together, in our still new and evolving school. Many of my Friday pieces in In the Loop touch on this, at times quite directly. I wrote about courtesy two weeks ago. Five years ago, I wrote two short, direct pieces on six aspects of Keystone culture. Those were printed on August 28 and September 11, 2015, respectively, and both later republished in the first volume of my Keystone letters. These six aspects have not changed much, for me, and I want to revisit them now, with you. One of the many features of culture that intrigues me is the balance between what endures and what emerges, the old and the new. These six aspects have lasted well, but they perhaps need some refreshed interpretations.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2020/​​09/​21-2020/​09/​​27

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

Two weeks ago, early on a Friday morning Beijing time, I was in a group Zoom discussion led by Maxine Williams, the Global Chief Diversity Officer at Facebook. About 50 people joined in from different time zones. The topics, advertised in advance, were these three:

  • How are global organizations responding to Black Lives Matter and approaching the issue of diversity in the workplace?
  • How might they innovate as the conversation moves from diversity and inclusion to ending systemic racism?
  • How might individual employees, organizational leaders, and board members alike navigate and catalyze change?
Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2020/​09/​14-2020/​09/​​20

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

In this my second Friday article of the school year, I invite us all to start a new academic cycle with some old thoughts. Many of these opening-of-the-year thoughts below were in an article that I wrote for In the Loop some years back. I am updating that piece slightly here. My views on this topic are essentially the same as they were three years ago. The message seems to me fitting as we set out on a year that promises to be exciting and challenging, yet volatile and difficult, and in a world where civil discourse is more in demand and less in supply than before. May we emerge from it in June in harmony, and in health. This will not be easy. There are not many things that I feel certain about right now, but I know for sure that this will not be easy.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2020/​​09/​07-2020/​09/​​13

Dear Parents, Students, Colleagues,

At the end of our orientation week in August, I spoke to all our Keystone employees, about 450 people, about various aspects of the year coming. At one point I touched on leadership, and I said this:

As adults in this learning community, we are all leaders. Our students, the children of the community, watch us all the time, consciously and subconsciously, and learn leading and other skills and values from us. That is as it should be. As leaders, we are the guardians and the creators of our Keystone culture. Guardians protect their territory and creators push new boundaries. Leaders must conserve, and also create. Think about this balance, please. It applies to all of us, in all that we do here. Although we are all leaders, we think often of senior administrators as our obvious leaders. In this regard, we have welcomed recently 5 wonderful administrators to our school.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2020/​​08/​31-2020/​09/​​06

Dear Friends,

This is another school year, Year 6 for Keystone. Beginnings like this are always exciting and full of promise. We look forward to the growth and surprises that the year will offer. But, right now, I want to take you back to two years ago. Back to my opening In the Loop piece in August 2017. This is how I started, with a question:

What is the best way to start a new school year? 

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2019/​​​​08/​​​19- 2019/​​​​08/​​25
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.

 

LETTERS FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL