The Keystone Programs
The KEYSTONE programs are an initiative of NextGen Immersions, LLC in partnership with the Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville, NY, where many of its workshops are hosted. Keystone and its mentors strive to inspire today’s young minds to set higher achievement goals and make meaningful contributions to our community, nurturing a brighter world and more vibrant future for the Capital Region.
Keystone annually touches the lives of over 1000 Capital Region students and their teachers. Most workshops are held at sites away from the students’ home schools to minimize distractions, integrate students from various school districts, and encourage teamwork and cooperation while participating in problem solving. Their teachers are introduced, through mentor modeling, to new teaching methods, especially the 5E model proven to be most effective in following the 3-dimensional system included in the NYS Science Learning Standards.
Alison Miller is a retired Biology teacher with 32 years of classroom experience in the public school system. She holds an MS in Educational Communications and has taught all levels of biology from non-Regents to AP. She is the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT) Regional Coordinator for the Capital District and a guest speaker for molecular biology topics for area middle and high schools.
Marilou Pudiak-Town is a retired Earth Science and Chemistry teacher with 32 years of classroom experience in the public school system. She holds an MS in Science Education and taught all levels from non-Regents to AP. She is a volunteer educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County 4-H and has volunteered at Hoosic Valley Elementary School since 2010.
Both women were mentors for Minds On of The Rensselaerville Institute and served as assistant coordinators for Minds On before becoming key facilitators for the NextGen Immersions, LLC Keystone programs. They have been consultants for teaching literacy and science to elementary teachers and have introduced the New York State Science Learning Standards and 5E lesson format to area school districts and elementary teachers. They are also members of the National Science Teachers Association.
“I learned that making mistakes is just as important as not making mistakes.”
“I loved watching today’s lessons. Modeling the lessons was very helpful and valuable for me as a teacher…the lessons were engaging in all subject areas (math, science, ELA).”
“This conference does a phenomenal job preparing students for post-high school life. Students are learning and practicing public speaking, critical thinking skills and taking a stance on key historical issues. Their experience is unlike any other they will have in this realm.”
“(Model United Nations) taught me more about how to formulate questions better and how to form better arguments.”
“(In future writing) I will think about my story and really describe the characters I write about.”
“Thank you Keystone for the awesome science day!”
“I definitely felt more comfortable because I was in an environment where, if I made a mistake, it was not a big deal. The teachers corrected my French and moved on. Through the teachers giving us mini-lessons mixed in with the activities, I was able to pick up on the grammar tricks that I had been unaware of.”
“The exposure to native speakers (is most valuable). I’m a gringa. This gives students an idea of the mental energy needed to comprehend. My own Spanish got some practice too.”
“The opportunity to speak French all day and to experience French speakers who come from la francophonic is invaluable. Just wonderful. This particular workshop is unique in that it introduces students to accents and cultures through la francophone in addition to France and Canada.”
“Some students spoke French very well and it was fun to be able to chat with them and learn interesting things about them.”
“I learned that you really need to be specific with your details and that it will help you write more interesting stories.”
I liked learning about the Underground Railroad. It was like you were there when it was happening.
I learned a lot about history and got to work with people I didn’t know.
I learned how to measure the height of things with a protractor and meter stick.
We heard stories from reporters and film makers who put themselves into situations dealing with current events.
It has let me identify fake news an understand stories based on who they benefit.
It was a fun way to write. It was risk free so it took the stress off. As a result, kids could enjoy the writing process rather than have it feel like work.