Their family of four consists of dad Dan (51), mom Erin (51), brother Conor (24), and sister Aevyn (16). When visiting schools in Beijing for the first time, they found Keystone Academy, and Aevyn applied and was accepted in late Spring 2017. She began school in early August 2017. Aevyn was involved in the choice of school and had a Skype meeting with Mrs. Beare in admissions, which reassured both Aevyn and her parents that she would be known and valued as an individual and as part of a community of learners. More importantly, Keystone offers the perfect combination of a rigorous curriculum with the support of a vibrant array of extra-curricular activities. Aevyn now is in Grade 11 and she is a boarding student. They feel very supported by the school’s faculty and administration. Aevyn started studying Mandarin and Chinese culture and history at school and also voluntarily attended Chinese school on the weekends where she learned Chinese history and even the country’s rich culinary traditions. Dan and Erin have seen incredible changes since Aevyn has been at the Keystone School. Her world view has increased and she is now more confident when exposed to new situations.
Favorite part of school life
Our teachers are almost always available to work with us
Coolest project or activity you’ve done so far
The eleventh-grade trip to Inner Mongolia.
The biggest challenge at Keystone for you
Having the courage to speak Chinese with my peers.
The most awesome thing that you’ve learned about Chinese culture
We often talk about different Chinese idioms, which are deeply rooted in traditional Chinese stories.
How do you practice your second language besides school and home
I practice my Chinese with waiters, drivers, my friends’ parents, among others
Best experience with your friends during class
Making a performance based on a poem that we needed to add Peking Opera elements to.
Curriculum Spotlight: Hybrid Curriculum
This curriculum can be described as the best of both worlds. It blends the Chinese education system (in the case of China-based schools) with internationally recognized styles such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), the English National Curriculum (ENC), American Common Core Standards, and the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). The development of the curriculum is a customized model using the best practices from different types of approaches to creating a unique program for the specific school. In China, this type of curriculum focuses on bilingualism and Chinese culture. Keystone Academy helped us understand this diverse curriculum.
What’s unique about the curriculum?
The hybrid curriculum is ever evolving and is offered from kindergarten to high school. In the case of China, students get the rigor of Chinese teaching, the inquiry-based and experiential pedagogies of the American tradition, and the emphasis on critical thinking, creativity, and intercultural fluency of the international curricula. Parents who are seeking a curriculum that dives deeper into Chinese language and culture while maintaining high standards of written and spoken English should look into schools who offer this curriculum.
How is it applied?
A hybrid system differs from institution to institution and country to country. The main driving force is the collaboration between curriculum developers and teachers to think, plan, and execute the implementation of the program. An F-12 school will implement the IPC for lower grades, IB for higher grades, and Chinese immersion at every grade that touches on culture, language, history, and other threads. Every unit and lesson planning is carefully crafted to have elements of both.
How well does this education system prepare students for the real world?
Graduates will possess the intellectual, cultural, and ecological fluency to navigate their preferred universities, cities, and professions due to the flexibility and versatility of the curriculum. A hybrid model can equip students to be ready to adapt to the ever-changing global landscape.
Where is it offered?
Based on the country (Chinese education system in China, Thailand education system in Thailand, etc) the hybrid system will use the best aspects of the local education system then couple with an internationally recognized education system. This system can be found all over the world, however, each tailored to the local system. Parents are advised to ask the admissions offices for more information about the curriculum to get a clearer view.
Photo: Courtesy of Keystone Academy
This article originally appeared on p14-15
of beijingkids School Choice Guide 2018-2019.