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Key School

Private | PK-12 | 698 students


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Living in Annapolis

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $302,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,430.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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48 reviews of this school

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Posted Friday, November 21, 2014

I have recently had two children at Key School and both have done well. Key is excellent for its educational environment, outdoor education and writing intensive.. Many teachers are outstanding, but there are certainly some in the middle and upper school (for instance, in the math departments) whom many parents believe are mediocre instructors with extremely poor communication skills with students. There seems to be little effort on the administration's part to work with these teachers consistently to bring them to a higher level or, alternatively, to fire them. And thus, you hear the same justified complaints about certain teachers year after year. Key has the potential to be a truly extraordinary school, but there needs to be a higher standard and more rigorous evaluation of the teachers, taking into account even the students' and parents' point of view. Key School has had a reputation for being free-spirit and without rigor; that is not the case. It offers a serious academic and challengingenvironment, but one where some teachers are far superior to others. And, unfortunately for everyone, Key allows the lesser teachers to drag the school down.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 3, 2014

I chose Key for my daughters because I wanted an environment where learning was an exploration; I wanted my children to absorb information through all of their senses, not just their ears. Having spent 12 years as a student at Key, I can attest for the "hands on" nature of the curriculum throughout all levels. Learning at Key is never passive; students are expected to join in daily discussions, to ask questions, to challenge each other and to learn from not only the teacher but their peers. I also know that while the journey is important, the goal is equally so. The list of college acceptances each year is astounding. More than half of my class at Key applied and was accepted "early decision" to highly selective colleges. My class has now spent more years apart than we did together but we are still fast friends, spread across the globe as lifelong learners. I can't imagine a better place for my children to grow and explore their worlds, and I will forever be indebted to Key for my strong foundation.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 21, 2014

In the name of diversity, inclusion and openness Key is like Peyton Place. A lack of role models among the teachers. It's essentially anything goes and you have to accept it. No one is held to a standard of conduct. Contrast that with Severn where strict decorum and high standards are enforced. Teachers take very seriously the "role model" ethos for personal conduct. Key has abdicated this in the name of political correctness. No personal conduct among the teachers, no matter how egregious is challenged. If you are looking for a school that models behavior and takes seriously the idea of role models, look elsewhere. The academics are good, perhaps very good, but character development isn't on the map. Anything goes.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 10, 2014

As a graduate of the Key School, I have critique of the institution as a whole. Well into my undergraduate career at a highly competitive liberal arts college, I will preface by saying that Key offered me a foundation that allowed me to find academic success in college. My easy transition was made possible by Key's curriculum and some of the school's incredible teachers. Having said that, I have plenty of complaints about the school's culture. Other than having a tendency to socially shelter its students, I find the school's lack of diversity to be absolutely unacceptable. In addition to having very few students of color in my graduating class, I often noticed the institutional tokenization of students of color, students of queer identities and low-income students. Unfortunately, the homogeny of white, upper-middle class cis-gendered persons is not a reality in the greater world and Key refuses to address these delicate, yet critical issues.

Posted April 8, 2014

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.

Posted February 6, 2014

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. :}
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 20, 2014

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.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 30, 2013

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.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 18, 2013

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.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 12, 2013

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
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 9, 2013

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!!!!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 31, 2013

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.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 5, 2013

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 .
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 4, 2013

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!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 1, 2013

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!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 1, 2013

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!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 10, 2013

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?
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 29, 2013

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.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 21, 2013

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.

Posted July 18, 2013

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.
—Submitted by a parent

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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 70% 42%
Black 17% 35%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 4% 6%
Hispanic 4% 12%
Two or more races 4% 4%
American Indian/Alaska Native 1% 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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534 Hillsmere Drive
Annapolis, MD 21403
Phone: (410) 263-9231


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