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K-8
Private
Palo Alto, CA
Students enrolled: 289

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2890 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto, CA 94306

(650) 328-1711
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Map of Keys School address.

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February 03, 2014
I went to Keys from K-8 and am now a freshman at Menlo High School. As much as I love Menlo, Keys will always be where my heart belongs. The school is extremely inclusive and does a great job of preparing me for what life will be like as I get older. The school has taught me many valuable lessons that will carry me through High School and beyond.

- submitted by a community member
June 18, 2013
This used to be a good school. The last 3-4 years have been fraught with turmoil and poor overall management since the school's expansion. Many great teachers have left due to lack of support from the administration. The school really hasn't settled in since the expansion. There seems to be a disconnect between the administration and the teachers, and unfortunately this affects the kids and families. The school's "whole child" philosophy has essentially become a marketing tool for prospective parents and not a reality anymore. The depth is just not there and there is too much teaching inconsistency from year to year. In addition the school pushes kids to be more independent more due to lack of resources rather than appropriate child development. Now that the Head of School AND Lower School Head are leaving the school (Spring 2013) I hope the school does some real soul searching and turns things around. I would not currently recommend especially the lower school due a host of problems.

- submitted by a parent
November 03, 2012
Since there have not been any posts since 2011, i thought it would benefit those looking to have an update. In 2011-2012 the school went through major transition. The school split into 2 sections, lower and middle school that are about 1.5 miles apart now. This did change the culture of the school. There was a huge teacher turnover (7 out of 9 homeroom teachers). In the last 4 years the school has doubled in size. Now in Nov of 2012, the school has really settled in. The new teachers are wonderful. The project based learning and Singapore math are back on track. At the end of this year there will be a change in the head of School. It looks like things are really looking positive. Our 2 children who attend Keys are thriving, and learning in a very supportive environment.

- submitted by a parent
December 10, 2011
We have two children at Keys, and have been thrilled with our experience. The teachers are outstanding, the parent community is warm and supportive, and the school really lives its mission to focus on educating the whole child with a broad, hands-on, project-based curriculum. It is true that there has been teacher turnover in the last two years, but all of the new teachers brought on board this year are exceptional. I think Keys may have suffered a few hiccups in its expansion to two campuses and two sections per grade, but those issues seem to be resolved and the school community has recovered nicely this year. This is really a special place, and we consider ourselves lucky to have our kids here.

- submitted by a parent
July 28, 2011
The teacher turnover at this school is a big problem. The lower school division head is problematic and in her short tenure has caused mayhem on the campus and teachers are leaving as quickly as they can. Too bad because the school has potential to be really great. Management needs a turnover big time

- submitted by a parent
July 01, 2011
Keys has a wonderful student body, involved parents and there were some gifted teachers present at this school. 5 teachers left the lower school this year and they were all excellent. It seems the new lower school head is a really poor manager and is driving away all the talent.

- submitted by a parent
April 08, 2011
Incredible place! Excellent hands-on curriculum, wonderful teachers, great community. Teaches love of learning. Strives to make kids both reach their full academic potential and become considerate, caring individuals who will make a difference. Our kids have thrived there!

- submitted by a parent
February 26, 2011
Keys continues to have staff turnover. This year the 3rd grade teacher, 4th grade teacher and middle school principal are all moving on. While some of the turn over is good - Keys now has a very good art teacher, for example - it is unsettling for the community. The 4th grade teacher who is leaving is quite gifted at sharing her enthusiasm for math, and will be missed. Spanish is poorly and lazily taught at the elementary level here, with a lot of dependency on worksheets and movies.

- submitted by a parent
January 30, 2011
I find it ironic that a parent rated this school without ever having their child attend it and years later they are still bitter. This review is based on my child actually attending Keys. She has been very happy with her experience there. We are pleased with the progress she has made. One thing that is outstanding is that, if there are any issues with her classes; she feels more than comfortable talking to her teachers during free time and also going to the principal for any concerns she may have.

- submitted by a parent
November 27, 2010
They only want very old boys. They wanted to make our son wait a year for kindergarten - they said he wasn't ready - and they were mean about it and said it would catch up with him. We ignored them and sent him off to Walter Hays. Now he's in 3rd grade - Each and every teacher says he is a delight to have. He has lots of friends and get this - his scores on the STAR are at the very top of advanced. Too bad he wasn't ready for school! We feel like we dodged a bullet - it's amazing how many people pull their kids out of that place. I'm happy to see that our preschool (Bing) no longer encourages parents to apply to Keys.

- submitted by a parent
October 22, 2010
Though we're long-time Keys parents, this is the first time I've seen this site. Some of the older reviews mention concerns which have been since rectified. (E.g., a very poor art teacher left several years ago & was replaced by an excellent one; a kiln was even added!) A new six-day block schedule ensures all classes get equal time (no more short stick for Monday classes). Fewer classes each day benefit from longer periods. Transitioning to two campuses did cause some initial disorganization and communication difficulties, but the school is quickly getting those back in place as they add more staff to meet the needs of an increasing student body. Outdoor Ed (two weeklong trips by 8th grade) is outstanding. Kids get in and are completely prepared for all high schools, public and private.

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 03, 2009
Keys School administration teaches the 'whole' child and has for over 40 years. The involved parent community supports the nurturing environment 100%.

- submitted by a parent
July 27, 2009
Keys School is the best school in the entire world! They have great teachers and students. They also provide a hands on expirience and provide a friendly, safe and fun environment. Keys School is everything I have imagined!

- submitted by a student
May 19, 2009
Keys School is one of the few schools you will find that has a clear mission and sticks to it. The students at Keys are kind, engaged, and the school helps them to become self advocates. The parent population is wonderful - many opportunities to get involved. The administration is committed to finding the best teachers and curriculum for the students. My child was so well prepared for high school after Keys. Not sure what went wrong for some of the other reviewers as this school is really special in so many ways. The outdoor ed program is great, the music and art programs rock... They are building a beautiful new campus for middle school.

- submitted by a parent
March 31, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 12, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
January 04, 2009
We are consistently impressed with all aspects of Keys School - academic, social and extra-curricular. The staff is very responsive, and we feel like our family is truly valued and has a 'voice' at Keys School. We are certainly not wealthy, but feel we are every bit as 'important' to the faculty/staff at Keys as some other families who might have more means. We transferred from a local, top-ranked pubic school, and there is simply no comparison... our children are thriving at Keys, while they were merely going through the motions at their previous school. I grew up in Palo Alto, and am horrified to think we almost missed out on discovering all Keys has to offer by blindly sending our children to our achievement-at-all-costs-oriented public school. Music! Art! Foreign Language! Social Skills! Tons of PE! Outdoor Ed trips! Wow! Keys is school just exactly like it should be!

- submitted by a parent
July 25, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 25, 2008
Keys is a fabulous school, with a real hands-on and experiential approach to education, but which also fosters high academic achievement. Contrary to a former post, the kids are hardly 'chained to the desks' but are perhaps the most active students on the Peninsula! Outdoor education and drama is offered, K-8, and all classes and teachers live up to the school's mission. How many other teachers at Peninsula private schools even know their mission, nonetheless strive to live up to it? The combination of high academic goals with a nurturing supportive atmosphere is unequaled. Most private high schools will tell you that their best prepared applicants come from Keys. That speaks volumes about Keys' academic preparation as well as its focus on the whole child. The breadth and depth of the curriculum is wonderful, and its graduates are known for their independence and self-advocacy skills. A great school!!

- submitted by a community member
January 19, 2008
Keys is a marvelous school, and unique on the Peninsula in being a K-8, non-sectarian, independent school. Our kids have thrived here because of the wonderful curriculum and fabulous teachers. The teachers know the children well, and are responsive to their needs. All aspects of the program are strong, and are constantly reviewed to make them even stronger. This is a school that truly does what its mission says it does. The community is wonderful and inclusive. The administration is top notch, and very responsive.

- submitted by a parent
July 22, 2007
We moved our child out of Addison, the local elementary school, where she was completely unchallenged and spent long hours doing coloring... At Keys, she has been completely happy, her teacher makes her personalized 'fast finisher packets' so she always has something appropriate to do. We like the way themes are integrated through difference lessons. The small size makes a difference too. Each class puts on an incredible play each year, and the outdoor education trips, which start in kindergarten, are a great addition.

- submitted by a parent
July 04, 2007
Our children did very well at Keys, but the administration can't handle even the smallest of problems. Their intentions are good but on the whole the staff is much too inexperienced and uneven in their abilities to create a cohesive educational experience. They cannot handle conflicts in the classroom. Music is strong, art is very weak, reading is strong, Spanish is just ok, science is stronger than math. They are planning to expand, which is worrisome given how uneven the teaching is now. Prospective parents should think long and hard about having their child there during a time when Keys is planning/executing such huge changes. Lots of potential for disaster through the transition.

- submitted by a parent
June 08, 2007
Inconsitent programs, math program that is behing the public schools.

- submitted by a parent
April 02, 2007
Keys School offers an inspiring childhood environment, quite distinct from the region s emerging educational culture characterized by overemphasis on achievement, fear of failure, and pressure to get ahead, which often inadvertently promotes the pursuit of success at the expense of others.

- submitted by a parent
March 23, 2007
Not as welcoming and inclusive as they would have you believe. A couple of the teachers are good, but mostly mediocre.

- submitted by a parent
March 23, 2006
A wonderful, nurturing environment for children. Balances strong academiss with education of the 'whole child.' Inidividualized attention, strong academics and leadership. Excellent music program and well organized and enriching educational field trips/overnights

- submitted by a parent
December 28, 2005
Great school! Understanding cooperative teachers. Mostly nice welcoming families.

- submitted by a parent
October 27, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a former student
October 15, 2005
This is a hidden gem. It is truely a wonderful little school that offers a magnificent education. We are so happy that we found something that offers our very bright child something special. He loves going to school every day.

- submitted by a parent
June 20, 2005
Good student to teacher ratio and personal attention to the students.

- submitted by a parent
June 14, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2005
We chose Keys after a careful review of the curriculum and teaching philosophy. We had our daughter at Keys for 1st and 2nd grades. While they had a wonderful Music and Art program (1 week), we found their practice DID NOT follow their stated 'inclusive' pilosophy. We had a few issues and DID NOT get a response from the Head of School for an entire year. Many of the teachers had short tenures and the end result was that our child's reading, writing, math, and science skills were behind when we transferred to another private school. While we found good parental participation, there were too many cliques and a few, wealthy parents were much too influential in school direction. Although hard for our daughter, we were happy to move on.

- submitted by a parent
May 09, 2005
School is very traditional, kids are glued to their desks and must keep them ultraclean. High staff turnover in lower school. We are former parents and were underwhelmed.

- submitted by a parent
March 15, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
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Last modified: October 28, 2014

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Keys School
2890 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA  94306
(650) 328-1711
Last modified Keys School is a Private school that serves grades K-8
Keys School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 34 reviews. Top