Code of Honor
As a Board Member, I will collaborate in creating the school’s mission, philosophy, strategic plan, and vision, I will secure the school’s financial needs by being totally committed to and participating in fundraising for the school as my primary responsibility, I will assist in creating the needed policies for the school, and I will go above and beyond to care for the school’s leaders who work tirelessly on behalf of the parents and students at Keystone Prep High School.
To offer a different approach to high school, where students with unique learning styles thrive academically, emotionally, and socially, as we attempt to prepare them for life beyond graduation.
Keystone Prep High School will be the nationally recognized educational model for individualized support for students who learn differently to become successful, independent thinking, self-sufficient, creative problem solvers who are responsible contributing members of society.
We always focus on removing the barriers, not lowering the bar. We provide a personalized learning environment and evidence based instruction which engages teens and creates self-motivated learners. We never stop challenging students to achieve individual success.
We always honor individual uniqueness. We believe in each child’s potential to learn and his ability to succeed and in helping provide supports for them to explore their personal passions. We never give up!
It’s always our priority to understand each student’s strengths, weaknesses, interests, and what motivates each individual. Our continuous desire to help each student realize his or her full potential and to create a personalized learning environment. We never underestimate the value of continuously adapting to the educational needs which best support each student.
Why is Keystone Prep Needed?
Our current education system provides students with a standardized, one-size-fits-all education, not recognizing or adapting to the notion that students are individuals with unique learning needs, each of whom is on an individual journey. Put simply, some try to force “square pegs into round holes,” and in doing so, they may cause long-lasting damage to the psyches of our future dreamers, innovators, and thinkers squandering their talents. KPHS prides itself as an institution that applauds the uniqueness of each student.
The Keystone Prep Solution:
Keystone Prep High School seeks to nurture those students who are the “square pegs,” who think and learn differently. We want to develop an academic environment where students can thrive.
The KPHS Educational Model
• Celebrates the unique gifts and interests of all individuals
• Curiosity, collaboration, compassion, confidence, critical thinking, and respect
• Develop a center for educational excellence and professional development to disseminate best practices to educators by providing access to the latest, research-based curriculum, technology, and training
• Driven by the belief that children who learn differently, challenge conventional ways of thinking and have an advantage over their peers when it comes to essential 21st century skills for success, they need to learn how to use their learning challenge to their advantage, by teaching students not only to cope with their differences but to capitalize on them
• Executive functioning skills
• Focus on college preparation and skill development
• Frequent feedback
• Helping students to be aware of the times in which they lose focus, so that students learn to identify such situations and cope with them in and out of class
• Individualized learning plans
• Multiple intelligence and multi-modal techniques
• Open communication between students, teachers and parents
• Safe environment
• Small, supportive classroom environments with low student to teacher ratio
• State-of-the-art technology
By focusing on our mission—providing “a different approach to high school where students with unique learning styles thrive academically, emotionally, and socially”—Keystone Prep High School (KPHS) desires to be a nationally recognized unique learning institution, preparing young adults to become effective contributing members of society, thus making the world in which they live and work a better place for all.
Beyond our enrollment goals, we chose to break our plan into major projects that we feel will be measurable and that we can better define how we intend to accomplish these goals.
During 2016 – 2017: In any school culture, change often begins with the top. To that end, our board is changing its own culture first. The Trustees Project will promote, preserve, and rebuild a newly designed Board of Trustees that assures the long-term sustainability of KPHS. The former Board of Directors was a management-centric board. The new Board of Trustees will be future-centric and fundraising-focused, thus adhering to FCIS guidelines for best board practices.
This will be accomplished in the following ways during the 2016 – 2017 school year:
1. The Board Chairman will attend FCIS-appropriate conferences, thus advancing the Chairman of the Board’s understanding to better guide the overall Board.
2. The Board will expand by finding and vetting highly qualified leaders under a process developed by the Governance Committee. Candidates must be passionate about our mission and the unique students we serve and must have prior board experience.
During 2016 – 2017: We also want our parents to embrace an entirely new educational culture and partner with our administration and Board to accomplish our goals. In a board partnership with parents, students, staff, faculty, and administration, a School Renovation is needed to better and more effectively serve our high school of unique learners. To that end, we will re-conceptualize and re-design mission-specific financials, materials, projects, and programs. Any changes must point toward improving good basic educational practices and standards. Adjustments will be made where necessary to accommodate students based on diagnosis.
This will be accomplished in the following ways during the 2016 – 2017 school year:
1. The Head of School will delve deeply into every area of the school to gain an overview of what needs to be altered and/or expanded. Upon that review, subsequent changes will be instituted that follow educational best practices and include improved protocols in any area identified as needing revision. This project may extend into the 2017 – 2018 school year.
2. The Dean of Students, under the Head’s guidance, will institute a Progressive Discipline Policy that considers alterations needed based on our specific learners. Such alterations will be driven by students’ individualized IEP, 504, or psycho-educational plans. The goal is to empower our students and move them in ways that will help them grow academically, emotionally, and socially.
3. The Principal, under the Head’s guidance, will revamp the curriculum and better align the classes with the proper educational credit and graduation requirements, and plan future classes to ensure a natural progression from 9th through 12th grade. The Principal will also reverse dependency on unmonitored virtual classes.
During 2016 – 2017: By assigning specific teachers to specific students, the Advocacy Program will create a culture and environment to assist our students by ensuring they have the resources and support they need. These Advocate Teachers will help guide students through their high school career. Students need to know they have a person within the school on whom they can rely, a person they can go to when they need help in problem-solving a subject- or student-related issue, a person who can help them through their individual perception and processing challenges, a person who can assist them in planning for their future.
Establishing the Advocacy Program will be accomplished in the following ways:
1. Redesigning the school schedule to include dedicated homeroom time with an Advocate Teacher. While some students may wish to work independently, The Advocate Teacher is ever-present to assist a student at any time. When a student needs help—whether it be on an academic, emotional, or social level—the Advocate Teacher is there for immediate one-on-one individualized and personalized mentoring. Students may also use this time as a Homework Lab. Again, the Advocate Teacher is there if additional guidance is needed.
2. Supporting the unique struggles of our students. The Advocate Teacher is there, too, to help those students who may encounter specific executive function or processing issues, or who may need a personalized guide in situations of social conflict. Through a shared exploration of options and resolutions, students can learn to resolve conflicts with others with the support of the Advocate Teacher.
3. Promoting the exploration of each student’s future. With guidance from the Teacher Advocate, each student will be driven to research, learn, and discuss areas of interest that will lead to higher education pursuits and/or career planning and opportunities. Resources, such as their Chrome Books and the nearby Alton P. Davis Library, will help students look beyond their high school years. Culminating in a carefully curated three-ring binder filled with their ideas, research, and reflections, students will have a product that taps into their uniqueness and fits their aptitude and interests. While this project is primarily student-driven, the Teacher Advocate is there to help students as needed, allowing them to mold their own Individualized Life Plan.
During 2016 – 2018: The Giving Plan will direct efforts toward immediate school growth via finance acquisition through both giving and fundraising. The school needs five additional classrooms, more dedicated office spaces (which are currently in hallway cubicles), and a Library and Media Center for the 2017 – 2018 school year.
1. Building Committee and Finance Committee. Established by the Board, these two committees will drive the details needed to further develop key projects and will break them down into smaller areas of focus: a) school grounds improvement plan; b) building and classroom needs (to be secured in the best way possible during 2016 – 2017).
2. Short-term and long-term giving will be explored to include: a) a capital campaign for future building needs; b) an annual Gala dedicated to the Library and Media Center or other future projects; c) a successful U-Knighted for Keystone annual fund campaign to fundraise to fill the tuition gap each year and for other specific goals; d) a fundraising event done yearly beginning in 2017 – 2018; e) an Endowment Plan for long-term giving and future sustainability to be initiated during 2017 – 2018.
During 2017 – 2018: KPHS will be in its fifth year of operation in 2017 – 2018. Our enrollment goal is 72 students. We also wish to expand our school-within-a-school Réussir Program from three to ten students. (The Réussir Program, one that needs more time to grow and evolve in order to most appropriately mainstream its students, has an intentional slower growth vortex.) It should be noted that meeting our enrollment goals will reach the student capacity for our existing building.
Achieving our enrollment goals will be accomplished in the following ways:
1. In 2016 – 2017, we overhauled the website but without any attention to SEO markets. We will add components to the new website through upgraded technology features that draw greater parent interest. The website is planned to become even more interactive.
2. We plan to market multiple feeder schools that educate our specific learners through new materials and packets. We are requesting to attend these schools when appropriate and meet with their 7th and 8th grade parents and students. And we plan to expand our Athletic Programs to draw more students who are interested in specific sports.
3. We will host events in our school for the mental health community. This community knows our student population and they know how our students struggle in traditional school settings.
During 2017 – 2018: The Failure is Fuel plan will assist our learners in grasping that failure is a natural and positive learning experience one must understand and accept. As students and as adults it is vital to handle failure and use the challenges of failure to fuel the celebration of failure becoming victory. With genuine effort there may come failure, but with effort and failure, and learning from failure, there will come unprecedented growth. This philosophical change will assist our unique students in better preparing for a successful life.
Establishment of the Failure is Fuel plan will be accomplished in the following ways:
1. Led by the KPHS administration team, Failure is Fuel will be launched at a school-wide assembly. The goal: to change the mindset that failure is a bad thing and instead instill that failure can be something that sets us on a course to success, that teaches us how important it is never to give up. KPHS administrative will share with students their own failures in life that ultimately led to personal successes. Students will also be invited to share their own stories.
2. Photographs of (and quotes from) icons who overcame their own failures and who have made significant success and contributions to mankind (e.g., Albert Einstein and Michael Jordan) will be placed on the gym walls. During monthly assemblies, new topics and new icons will be covered. As the program advances, students who have embraced this philosophy will also be highlighted publicly.
3. Students will journal their own travels while overcoming perceived failure. This journal will be a guidebook into the future to which they can refer, reflecting on how nothing—no challenge, no failure—can stop them. There will be opportunities for students to share their experiences during their homeroom Advocacy Program as they showcase their personal resiliency.
During 2017 – 2018: The Passionate Professionals project will establish a thriving and robust lifelong learning community at KPHS where staff, students, parents, and visitors get excited and inspired by each other’s personal passions of individual pursuit, thus spreading engagement and education to new heights. Development will begin with discussions via small breakout groups, each advancing their own lifelong learning ideas together through shared exploration. This fluid project will involve all stakeholders in our community and thus enrich the overall environment at KPHS.
Establishment of the Passionate Professionals project will be accomplished in the following ways:
1. Individuals will be selected from the entire school community—board members, community leaders, administrators, staff, parents, teachers, students, bus drivers—to come and share their personal passions at monthly school events. We want our learners to get excited about learning regardless of the subject. We want our learners to understand that a well-balanced exploration and pursuit of personal interests often lead to happiness and success. So, if one is a surfing enthusiast, a chef, a marathoner, a quilter, a singer, an artist, etc., others will learn about that passion and thus foster interest in diverse subjects. Sometimes passions and hobbies can turn into careers. Exploration and discussion of the personal passions of others will continue during students’ homeroom Advocacy Program.
2. Our staff will visit other accomplished schools to stimulate their own learning as they refine their craft. Such a program will reinvigorate our teachers and can bring a renewed and fresh enthusiasm back into their classrooms.
3. We will foster professional development for our entire staff. To that end, we will create fundraisers dedicated to securing monies to advance our professional learning community. Giving our staff a chance to attend content- or area-specific professional workshops of their choice will allow our teachers to bring in new and exciting best teaching practices into the classroom.
Keystone Prep High School is intentional in its desire to become a respected creative school leader. We will be a regional voice for our specific style of learners as we make education more exciting and viable for all types of students. KPHS will foster a culture of acceptance and passion, encouraging inclusive, respectful, and uplifting learning, as we focus on what is best in each human being placed in our trust.
We will develop and carry on future growth in building projects, grounds development, program innovations, and the passionate delivery of each. We will achieve, honor, and understand the learning community we serve and we will collaborate with parents and the community in this endeavor to create a wonderful school of excellence. The only limits our students will ever have are the ones they put on themselves and we will nurture them so that even those self-imposed limits will not stop them.