Keystone Magazine - Page 46

Interview Q: How are admission decisions made? A: Admission decisions are made in committees, consisting of admission counselors and members of the Leadership Team. Much like having different perspectives in a classroom, you need to have different perspectives in the Admission Committee as well. Admission counselors meet different kids during the process, and one counselor might have a group of students that they feel very strongly about, while another counselor might advocate for another, for example. Committee members go through a process of discussing the goals for the particular class in consideration, and then deciding which applicants most align with those goals. These conversations are an important part of developing and understanding who we are as a school and identifying which students are capable of being successful in our program. We ask questions like, “Is this student within our range? If they are outside of it, then what do we do about that? Is our range too narrow? Does the student just need more time?” Admission committee conversations are some of the most meaningful conversations that I have had in any school that I have worked because the decision to say, “Yes,” or “No,” about a particular child really reveals the things that matter to you as a school. Q: Are there any differences between the role of Admission Directors in international schools and your role as Dean of Admission of Keystone Academy? Can you explain your specific responsibilities? A: Most of Keystone’s students will be Chinese. So the makeup of our student body affords us the opportunity to think about our enrollment over time, and create an admission process that is deliberate, and intentional about the groups of students that we are putting together. We have the luxury to create, tweak and grow the most interesting and dynamic class possible. This also means that I am very much connected to the school on the academic side; to what is happening in our program, to how our kids are growing over time, to who they are, and who they are becoming. These specific tasks are perhaps challenging for international schools to accomplish due to the fact that their student body is coming and going from all over the world and at different times of the year. I can imagine that Admission Directors at these schools are spending a lot of time managing student turnovers, and transition points for kids and faculty. We will have much greater stability at Keystone. 44 The Keystone Magazine Rachael Beare speaking at an information session for parents “Our students need to be able to see how failure can be a step on the pathway to success.” Q: How will you assess and make selection decisions for younger students, five or six years old, who perhaps do no yet display any particular talents or interests? A: For younger kids, it is more a matter of observing what they enjoy doing, how they express themselves, where their areas of strength are, and how they enjoy spending their time most. We require similar information from older students, though it is easier to obtain. I have two very different children. My daughter spent much of her early years with books; she could never get enough of them. From the time she could sit up and turn a page herself, she would turn pages over and over and over again and look at as many different books that she could get her hands on. I am not at all surprised that my daughter is now an avid reader. My son never met a ball that he did not like as a child; he always wanted to play ball, no matter what kind. He wanted to throw it in the basket. He wanted to throw it at you. He wanted to play catch. He wanted to kick it around. That is still very much a part of his personality – he likes to play. So even at a young age, kids start to express preferences in very subtle ways. While these preferences do not express everything about a child (after all, they have yet to experience all of the things they will come to find they are talented in), this information is insightful and does provide us a basis from which to build a class of students.