Head of School's Corner

Dear Members of our Keystone Community,

Throughout my secondary schooling and college, athletics were a big part of my life. I loved being a member of a team and my enduring memories and friendships were part of those experiences in sports. While we all know the physical benefits of sports, the learning and cognitive outcomes of sports are equally important.  Sports provide a great metaphor for excellent personalized learning, something we describe in our Keystone definition of learning. 

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/09/26-2022/​10/01

Yesterday, on the outskirts of Beijing, I crouched around a small hole dug in the ground with a group of primary school students. One had a flint, and the others were carefully collecting small bits of sticks and dried leaves. They were trying to start a fire and were having a little bit of trouble. They were also looking around at their peers and who had already gotten little fires going. They thought about giving up, but they persisted through failures. They piled up a bunch of little leaves, which lit, but then quickly went out. Then they pressed bigger sticks into the smoldering hole, but there was no fire. Then, with a little instruction about how fires need air to burn, they regrouped and tried again. Next thing they knew, they were successfully cooking marshmallows over the roaring flame. They did not finish the task first, or have the easiest go at it, but they kept at it and were deeply satisfied with their ultimate sweet success

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/09/12-2022/​09/18

Greetings and Happy Friday to each of you! Shortly after I arrived in Beijing this summer, I spent a day with some colleagues and students downtown. We biked around Tiananmen Square, visited the Forbidden city, had two wonderful meals and spent some time in the workshop of a master kite maker. It was an incredible experience to sit in that beautiful space with kites of all shapes and sizes hanging from the ceiling. 

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/09/05-2022/​09/11

Good morning colleagues, families, distinguished guests, and treasured students!  And hello to those watching online as well, our community of Keystone parents, families and friends.  A special thank you to the parents of these amazing Keystone students; we are so grateful to you for sharing your students with us. Your trust in Keystone is the foundation of this remarkable school.

Read More about WEEKLY MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL 2022/08/28-2022/​09/04

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
EXECUTIVE HEAD OF SCHOOL

Emily McCarren, Ph.D