Key School was the defining experience of my young adult life. I am now a professor of Chinese History at Stanford University, recently tenured, and there is not a month that goes by that I do not think back upon my 8 years at Key School with affection, admiration, and pride. In terms of sheer intellectual power, Key School easily rivaled and surpassed my subsequent experience at Johns Hopkins, my Freshman year at which felt familiar if not slow-paced owing to my preparation at Key. It was not until I entered the PhD program at Columbia University that I felt as nurtured and challenged as I had at Key, surrounded not only by compelling faculty but also fellow students hungry to explore and pose questions, day in and day out. If I still lived in Maryland still, I would without question want to send my children to Key. I cannot speak for my fellow alumni, but I can say that their pathways through life have been inspiring (for interest of anonymity I can only outline educational careers): University of Chicago, Brown, Grinnell, Stanford, and the list goes on. Without qualification I can say that I love Key School and would eagerly recommend it to anyone who sought my advice.
The Key School has been a life changing experience for my son! He is the happiest I have ever seen him and has grown intellectually, socially, and emotionally. This our first year at Key, in 6th grade. My son has an notably high IQ and is absolutely THRIVING at Key, more than I could have imagined. His confidence has grown phenomenally, his desire to do well in school is great now - he used to have zero passion to do well, now he really looks forward to school and in learning. The faculty takes the time to understand the him, what motivates him to learn, his strengths and his weaknesses. Where there is a weakness, the teachers spend compassionate time helping him develop and grow. The transition from a very good huge public school in Howard County to a private school in Annapolis was a difficult change. The faculty focused carefully on his transition; the support structure there is like nothing I have seen in schools before. We drive 45 minutes each way to get to school and it is the best investment in time!! My son has Dysgraphia (struggles with physical writing) and the school has been fantastic in having him use a laptop for much of his work. He is now an avid writer. :}
Great school. Innovative. Only criticism is that it focuses on making the kids the center of the universe and that may be not serving them well when they hit "the real world." Also fresh blood coming in key leadership positions which is a good thing.
Don't believe the "small class size" stuff. In Middle School I am seeing 19-20 kids in class jam packed into class rooms that weren't built for that many kids. Also, take a look at the cost of McDonough vs. Key - exactly the same but compare the college acceptances - totally different. Key School is WAY too expensive for what it provides.
This is my daughter's first year at Key and we couldn't be happier! The teachers are absolutely amazing. At her last school, my daughter was a straight A student. When she got to Key, she was behind in math. Her excellent math teacher has worked with her to get caught up, and she just scored 100 on her math test! She also needed tutoring in music, and through the dedication of her music teacher, has caught up to the rest of her class. She is an advanced reader, and Key is the perfect place for that type of student. She is happy and challenged; her humanities teacher is just amazing. When I read previous posts about Key being "undisciplined" I couldn't disagree more. Students are given freedom and responsibility. There were a lot of behaviour problems at her last school, but the teachers here do not put up with that here. But they are respectful to the kids and clearly earn their respect in return. Amazing curriculum, outstanding teachers, excellent outdoor education and music programs and very nice kids and families.
I have to comment about this school. I was at the Open house this last Sunday Nov 10th with my kids and after the 2 hours middle school tours, my kid just fell in love. My son wants to start like tomorrow. I will say kudos!!! I was sold after the two hours. The teachers, the curriculum, parents involvement, the science teacher, the music teacher (22years), etc. The upper school, the SAT mean score, the campus, etc. Keep up the good work guys!!!! Looking forward to be a parent 2014-2015
Key School has been an excellent choice for my two daughters who both started in the preschool. I looked for a place where my children would become lovers of reading, critical thinkers, problem solvers, and well-rounded, passionate individuals. Key has been all that and more! Each of them have different personalities and learning styles and Key has met both of their needs. They love going to school each day and don't want to leave. How many kids can say that? Every staff member in their schools knows them by name. It is a great community and a great place to learn and grow. I, too, have learned so much as I've walked alongside them in their educational journey. If you're looking for drill-and-kill and lots of worksheets for homework every night, this is not the place for you. If you are looking for a place where kids learn to be independent thinkers and that there is more than one way to solve a problem; are able (and required) to present their thinking; and are excited to discuss what they are learning daily, then this is your school! One reviewer commented that Key only focuses on creating good people. Well, that's a mighty fine and noble priority in my opinion!!!!
FACT: Graduates of the Key School, as a percentage, matriculate into "highly," "very," and "most" competitive colleges at a higher rate than Severn, St. Mary's and Indian Creek. Not even close. I guess you could make your school decision based on personality differences described in the comments below or you could make it on academic performance and achievement.
Key School is way overrated. It charges significantly more than the adjacent schools like Severn, St. Mary's, Indian Creek yet doesn't produce any better outcomes. Moreover we have been deeply disappointed by the lack of support and transparency on the part of the administration. Parents have little understanding of how well their students are doing in comparison to other students. And the administration is obsessed with self protection to detriment of the larger community. Many good families have left Key in recent years - families that could well afford tuition but could not justify spending so much on a school that really doesn't value the needs to the parents or seemingly the students; it's all about "get more money" and "protect the reputation of the school."
I can't say enough good things about key School. Our son attended public school until he started at key in 9th Grade. He is now in tenth and doing extremely well. My favorate thing about Key School is that they teach children how to think for themselves and problem solve as opposed to just memorizing text. The school is not cheap but is a great investment in my son's future. Also, they have a wonderful committed staff .
Our daughter, who is now in the Upper School, has been at Key since Pre-School and has gotten an excellent education. The rigorous academics and emphasis on discussion and writing, we believe, will be invaluable in college. What drew us to Key many years ago was the fact that it went from Pre-School through 12th grade, that foreign languages were taught beginning at the elementary school level, and that it had an extensive outdoor education program. We have not been disappointed. If you're looking for a school for your child, come visit. It's a beautiful campus!
Key School is amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone who really wants their child to learn the value of independent thinking. My daughter has learned to push herself out of her comfort zone and try new things because she has been in a safe environment that encourages kids to speak up, share their thoughts, work together and appreciate differences. She has strong opinions, but she also understands the importance of listening to what others have to say. She likes school, she likes her teachers, and she loves her friends--thank you Key School!
An engaging curriculum and faculty who inspire! Our two daughters have been at Key for over a decade each. And, while we have considered other schools, our own daughters have been the ones to analyze the differences among schools and highlight what really defines Key - the classroom and the faculty. The curriculum at Key is rich with content, discussion and collaborative projects that challenge our girls to be analytical, thoughtful, and even confident enough to assert an opinion that may be divergent. It's a supportive and respectful classroom environment in which questions are encouraged and ideas are shared. The energy of the classroom and the excitement of learning don t end at dismissal. As Pre/Lower School students, our girls were always sharing details of the fun and curious explorations of the day. Now, as Middle/Upper School students, they are bringing to the dinner table conversations of scientific inquiry, ancient history, global issues, as well as political, social and moral debate. Their ideas are BIG! The impact of such an engaging curriculum would not be felt, however, without teachers who inspire learning and truly care for their students. Thank you, Key!
No security!!!! No locks used when kids are in school! Serious lack of concern for safety of the children. No crossing guards or police present in the morning when every child's parent is driving them into school. They have only two buses, so everyone drives in to drop off their child!!! A complete cluster at drop off in the morning! No exterior lights outside. I came in to pick my daughter from aftercare and they were playing in the dark outside! Horrible to think what would happen if someone were to take a child! Horrible unsafe school. For all that money you spend, you wonder where it is going?
We are so pleased and happy with Key school. This is a school that goes beyond everything else, excellent teachers, excellent curriculum, excellent administration and excellent parents. My son is so happy and we can see that he learns something new everyday. Not conviced? compare the Key curriculum to any other school and you will see why they are the best school in Annapolis.
I'm about to start my junior year, and I've been here since second grade. Sometimes at sleepovers my friends and I just burst into discussions about morality. I'm not even joking, that happens, and not just when there's a paper due, either. The overall approach is not to teach to the test, but to get students to learn; there is no tracking, anyone with a good enough grade in the right class can take an advanced class in high school, and every advanced class is AP optional. The highlight of the high school program, in my opinion, would have to be the humanities department: literature, history and philosophy are all taught with the students and teacher sitting around a table discussing a reading and the principles behind it. The science and math programs are excellent too. The mandatory biology course is incredibly intense, and the year finishes with a multiple-day biology field trip. Key offers college-level calculus as well as advanced courses in statistics, biology, physics, and chemistry. The student body is incredible; we wrote, produced and directed a musical revue this year with about fifty dollars, on the idea of one student. Key is well-balanced and very challenging.
I have been a parent at Key for 10 years, and have had experience in each of the 4 divisions (pre-school through upper school). I am continually impressed by the academic standards and rigor, the strong sense of community among students, faculty and parents, and the overall love of learning that has been instilled in my two very different children. My oldest is currently visiting top-rated colleges and where she plans to major in the sciences. She is active in sports, theater and music as well. This is typical at Key, which has a long history of nurturing well-rounded students who have the ability to participate in a wide array of activities.
I have been a parent of Key School kids for years and am thrilled with the school, it's program, the culture, and the way my kids are learning, developing and thriving there. The program is rigorous, and the academics are strong across the board. The faculty knows every student and their learning styles, and can modulate the curriculum in ways to support kids when they're struggling and challenge kids with enrichment when they're advanced. The amount of individual attention and mutual respect between students and their teachers is incredible. The students are active in their education and develop lifelong skills that take them beyond just "making the grade" but really help them know how to dig deeper, persevere, overcome obstacles and enjoy the process of learning. It's a community that fosters appreciation of different points of view and backgrounds, and encourages kids to take risks, try new things, and push themselves beyond where they may have thought they could go. My kids are challenged, but seem to enjoy the challenge. It's cool to be smart here, and each student raises the bar for their peers. The enthusiastic attitude my kids have for school is invaluable.
Tomorrow my son will graduate from The Key School after 15 outstanding years. I can't say enough about his experience. He honestly could not wait to get to school every single day. From debating in the classroom to giving his all with his team mates on the sports field he has grown into an amazing young man. I am so grateful the the Key School for all the wonderful opportunities he has had and the excellent program they offer. Thank you Key!
I don't normally write reviews, although often read them and generally take on board whatever comments were posted. In this case I'm moved to write because I know how valuable parent feedback is when trying to find the right school, especially if you are making sacrifices to cover the costs of a private education. We have one child in the pre-school at Key, and based on our experience with the staff and wider parent community (and, contrary to the standard perception of private school Key families come from all cultures and walks of life) I cannot recommend it more fully. It's tough to summarize, but in a nutshell the teaching is rigorous, dynamic, creative, inspiring and caring. Courtesy, respect, tolerance and friendliness are considered key values and go hand in hand with with literacy, science and math skills. Ultimately it's such a personal choice for every family as to what they feel their priorities amount to, but for what it's worth our own experience has surpassed all expectation. If I had to point to a criticism, I honestly can't. I'm sure we'll have some as the years go by, but right now our pre-schooler loves going to school and we could not be more excited for her.
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