Going Beyond College Prep

Today’s students must be prepared to take on a world that is continually changing. At Keith, we recognize that tomorrow’s knowledge leaders need to be effective communicators, critical thinkers and strong problem-solvers. Our students will also need entrepreneurial attitudes and to be capable of working independently or in teams.

Announcing Intersessions

Keith Country Day School is proud to introduce a continuous learning model that not only prepares students for success in college, but also lives of meaning and purpose—making us the only school in the region to develop our students Beyond College Prep. Teaching them to indulge their curiosities, solve problems, draw conclusions and share ideas develops the skills they’ll need to be successful wherever life takes them.

Beginning with the 2019/2020 school year, we will enhance our already highly successful academic approach by extending the school year with two 1-week intersessions. We’ll increase the opportunities to four 1-week intersessions in the 2020/21 school year. We augment established classroom time with additional days of learning outside the traditional classroom. Intersessions offer programmed activities and opportunities appropriate for students at each grade level.

Each intersession meets Keith School’s high standards for student experience and learning and must be educationally, psychologically, emotionally and socially appropriate for the various grade level needs.

Community Involvement

We are fortunate to have a plethora of highly qualified and well-vetted business and partner organizations who are interested in creating valuable experiences for our students. Among the partners (not the full list) are:

• Burpee Museum of Natural History
• City of Rockford
• Collins Aerospace
• CoyleKiley Insurance
• Danfoss
• MercyHealth
• OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center
• Rockford Bank & Trust
• Rockford Dance Company
• Rockford Park District
• Rockford University
• Rock Valley College
• SwedishAmerican
• UIC College of Medicine
• Woodward

These are real hands-on experiential learning opportunities designed to:

• Immerse students in the region’s many cultural treasures
• Connect students with community businesses, government agencies and non-profits
• Explore career options and help students discover their strengths and passions
• Develop an appreciation for lifelong learning
• Offer a bigger picture view of the world and their role in it

Intersession Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is Keith introducing intersessions?

    As the premier private school in the region, Keith is consistently bringing innovative ideas and energy to our educational approach to best prepare students for the continually changing world. Through intersessions, our students will have the opportunity to extend their learning through real-life, hands-on, experiential opportunities appropriate to their grade levels and interests.
  • How will intersessions help my student?

    Just as the expectations for future leaders are different today than 50 years ago, so too must be our student’s educational experience. To prepare our students for lives of meaning and purpose, Keith is extending learning beyond the traditional classroom to hands-on, real-life, immersive experiences that bring theory to life and learning to practice. All of our intersessions will ensure our students are inspired, their curiosity encouraged, and that they continue to explore a world of possibilities.
  • How will intersessions be chosen?

    Students and families will be given details around potential intersessions and the opportunity to select their top three intersession topics of interest. The most popular selections among all students will be finalized in the weeks prior to the intersession dates, and students will be able to register for their preferred program.

    For our Keith seniors, we’ll develop customized intersessions that are based on their career aspirations and interests so they can gain firsthand knowledge and insight on the areas that interest them most.

  • What if we want to take a vacation during an intersession timeframe?

    Intersessions are a valuable part of the Keith academic experience, so should be treated like any other school day. As with any time during the year, vacation time is approved by the students’ primary teacher.
  • How much will intersessions cost?

    While intersession costs may vary depending on variables like supplies, transportation, and accommodations, most intersessions are being developed with a total cost of participation for less than $200 for the entire week.
  • Is food (lunch/snacks) included in the intersession?

    Yes, food is included in the total cost of an intersession although students are welcome to bring their own options.
  • Will I need to take my student somewhere other than the school to attend an intersession?

    Lower School intersession programming will have drop-off and pick-up from the Keith campus. For Middle and Upper School intersessions, drop-off and pick-up locations may vary based on the program or host site of an internship or job shadowing opportunity.
  • Will Keith faculty and/or administration be involved and onsite during all intersessions, whether on Keith’s campus or another site?

    Yes, there will always be Keith faculty and leadership at every intersession.
  • Who are the partners Keith is working with for intersessions?

    We are fortunate to have a plethora of highly qualified and well-vetted businesses and partner organizations who meet our high standards of student care and curriculum needs. Examples of partners already interested in creating valuable experiences for our students include local hospitals, colleges, engineering firms, professional services organizations and regional museums and agencies. At the launch, we have more than 20 qualified partners.
  • How are intersessions different at the Lower, Middle and Upper School?

    All Keith intersessions meet our high standards for student experience and learning and must be educationally, psychologically, emotionally and socially appropriate for the various grade levels. As an example Lower School students may be exploring the natural world around them, Middle School students may be learning how local businesses protect natural resources and Upper School students may be job-shadowing careers in the environmental sciences.
  • What if I/my spouse or my company has an interest in offering an intersession through our business?

    We welcome all new opportunities and ideas to further enhance experiential learning for our students. If you have an interest in exploring an intersession or a topic to share, we ask you to forward them to Chris Doherty at chris.doherty@keithschool.net.

Intersession Examples

Want to know how Keith School intersessions will add value to your child’s education? Here are a few examples of potential intersessions. Keep in mind that many more opportunities are being developed. Parents and students will have a full list of options to choose from at the beginning of the 2019/20 school year.

Lower School Intersession Examples
Pre-K through 4th Grade

Outdoor Explorations
In partnership with the Rockford Park District, this intersession option immerses students in environmental sciences and agricultural education. Students will visit local farms and parks to gain a better understanding of our ecosystem. They will learn about animal habitats, as well as how our food is produced. There will be a social focus centered on team building through hands-on experiences at local farms like Angelic Organics, Greta’s Goats, Edwards Apple Orchard and an alpaca farm.

Creative Expression through Movement
This intersession in partnership with Rockford Dance Company is designed to nurture artistic growth, both mentally and physically. Students will learn the fundamentals of movement, improv, choreography, ballet techniques, modern movement, dance composition and creative expression. Through participation, students will cultivate an appreciation for dance as a tool for creative expression that will foster awareness of body-mind connection through movement.

New Ways to Learn
This intersession is designed for our Pre-K students. Through a student teacher partnership with Rockford University, our Pre-K students will be exposed to the latest teaching techniques while helping future teachers gain experience. Each student teacher will develop and provide a week-long enrichment experience approved by the Keith Lower School Director.

Middle School Intercession Examples
5th through 8th Grade

Museum Science Research Program
This unique experience will bring students face-to-face with current science research and provide a real-world, behind-the-scenes look at career-oriented sciences. In partnership with the Burpee Museum of Natural History, students will spend time in the biology and paleontology labs to gain an appreciation of the museum’s many disciplines. Under the direction of an entomologist, they’ll learn how to preserve, identify, study and pin insects. They’ll also learn about augmented reality technology and other cutting-edge technologies used to share sciences with the general public.

College & Career Exploration
To help our Middle School students begin thinking about college and career options, this intersession focuses on local businesses and colleges. Students will visit local college campuses to gain insight into college campus life. Additionally, through site visits with partner companies in the areas of engineering, medical, business, and manufacturing, they’ll begin to discover their passions by understanding what it’s like to work in a variety of jobs and industries.

Upper School Intercession Examples
9th through 12th Grade

Focus on College
This intersession will provide additional time for students to focus on college admission applications and essays, as well as evaluate progress on their Upper School four-year plan. Students also will be provided with options to visit non-local college campuses, including Big 10 and Ivy League schools.

Focus on Career
In partnership with local businesses, this intersession offers in-depth career exploration. Students will have the opportunity to engage with local businesses through site visits, job shadows, mock-interviewing and volunteering. They will walk away from each experience learning what it takes day-to-day to perform and succeed in that job. Students will have the opportunity to explore several careers in one week.

Adulting 101
This intersession is designed to give students a better understanding of life beyond high school and college. Through hands-on experiences and discussions, they will learn to develop the skills they’ll need to successfully navigate the world independently. They’ll learn practical skills like managing finances, finding a job, renting an apartment and buying a car. They’ll also learn about how to be successful in goal-setting, prioritizing and navigating personal and professional relationships.

Exclusively for our Seniors
We gain insight from our seniors before the school year to learn about their career interests/goals and develop customized week-long programs for them to learn from our community partners. Interested in engineering? We’ll team them up for a week with the numerous engineering companies in our community to gain firsthand insight and potential internships. Want to go into medicine? We are fortunate to have not just a medical college across the street from Keith School but three major hospital systems and numerous specialty health care groups who have agreed to partner with Keith for this exciting program.