Keystone Magazine - Page 37

known outcomes and responses. Students need to know that if they choose to act beyond our behavioral expectations, that there are consequences. Families also need to understand that our expectations for behavior are very high. It is our responsibility to be clear about those expectations and to bring students on board so that they understand what is tolerated and what is not tolerated. In this context we can all learn how to get along with each other; what lines are firmly drawn and what lines are not. Students will challenge this. Some will walk up to the line and put a toe over it and some will boldly step over the line. In the bigger scheme of things, there will be a hallway that will have many students living there. So you are not just dealing with one roommate but you are dealing with a group of classmates and faculty. Within this communal context, there is significant opportunity for students to distinguish themselves, teach others, admit that they are struggling with some aspect in connecting with people and develop skills such as self, time and relationship management, communication and consensus building skills. There will be adult presence that supports this kind of learning and structure. Students will find success and even though they might not have mastery over a certain skill originally, they will find that they can learn and improve. “…kids feel ownership of their community and of our school.” Q: The process of separating from their only child is difficult for many Chinese parents. If students become boarders then parents must deal with the fact that communication with their child might decrease. How can parents maintain communication with and a proper understanding of their child and their situation at Keystone? How can parents remain involved in their academic and personal life? A: We are not the kind of school that excludes parents. There will be times when we say that we need to really focus and have this time with your child, but not at the exclusion of parents. We will include them in partnership. It is a planned partnership, where we say we cannot do this without parents. We do not want to do residential and boarding life without parents. Some parents will live farther away from the campus than others and communication is critical. Our advising program will link parents directly to one adult on campus who is responsible for their child. We know that there will be two-way communication between that child’s parents and the advisor, or any administrator or teacher, for that matter. If there is an issue, parents will feel that they can be a part of the process to try and resolve things. This will be a learning process. We will have plenty of opportunities to talk about what the rules and responsibilities are for teachers, parents and students. We will have a residential curriculum that will be set out by age because the development of a child in grade 7 is different from that of a child in grade 9, so we will have to address those differences in maturity. Issues, such as homesickness, living with someone I do not know, and in community where chores and cleaning up after oneself is expected of the student, will be addressed early on. Orientation will include these items. We know that we are moving in the right direction if students say things like, “Pick your trash off the table.” Or “There is no way that you will pass room inspection because Ms. Wendy is coming down the hallway to inspect your room.” We need to be clear with our students regarding what our expectations are and they will rise to the occasion. As for parent visits, we will have guidelines. We want to be sensitive that not only your child lives on the hallway but many other children do as well. We will create a process where parents feel welcome, and during certain time periods. We want students to feel that their “home away from home” is their home. That said, we have an earlier release on Wednesdays. On these days, children might go home for the afternoon and come back for evening study hours. Or a family might decide to come to Shunyi and have dinner with their child. Parents can rest assured that they will have opportunity to see their child at some point during the week if they like, and also can check-in by phone. We hope that we have a thriving environment where students are involved in performances, games and showcases and that parents will get i