Key balances the tests with the independent creative learning and style of each teacher. There is nothing typical or cookie cutter about this school or their teachers. Key is a gem of a school on a little hill. I wish it went on through middle and high school.
This is not a Blue Ribbon school. Period. (If you come from another state or country, just compare it to the best schools there and you'll end up agreeing. DC parents have lower perceptions of quality.) This is a test-taking factory. The principal may be organized, but he is an extremely weak academic leader. There is no common vision or plan for improving teaching. The curriculum more often than not defaults to pre-packaged worksheets and test preparation drills. Poor learning disabilities and ESL support. Most teachers teach the same things year-after-year and seem more intent on getting home or to their side-job rather than developing deep learning activities. We were very disappointed. You'd do better at Janney, Mann, Eaton, or Lafayette.
Key is arguably the best public elementary school in DC. The teachers are outstanding and take great care in attending to the needs and education of their students. Plus, it is small compared with other excellent DCPS elementary schools. The parent body is very active and involved, raising money for aids, and playground equipment, expanded library and more. The principal is committed to his team and does an excellent job maintaining an outstanding public school. Our family has spent 8 years collectively at Key with 2 students, and both had an excellent experience. It is truly a "neighborhood" school where people look out for each other's kids, and it is a warm and close-knit community. My older child who has already graduated was well prepared for private middle school afterwards. We love Key!
Key School is a happy place, and I think that is the best thing you could say about an elementary school. I've had two kids now, go all the way through. 2/3 teachers are excellent, and the rest are fine. The principal is a true leader. Many public schools have the same fault, that they are geared toward moving the middle, rather than the top or the bottom, and I suppose Key has this flaw. If your child goes from Key to a rigorous school, some parents complain that Key did not prepare them. Not only have I been happy with Key School, but I'm jealous of it. I wish I had gone to a school like this for K-5. It's a very good school, and a great community. Your child will love it. I found it to be very welcoming, and they had many opportunities to not welcome me.
Key School can be a great school for children that do not have learning differences and that fit into "the box". There are some fabulous and very committed teachers here. If your child has moderate learning differences, like both of ours do, it was our expericence that Key School was not equipped to meet their needs. The IEP process was ineffective and did not provide our children with the necessary resources they needed to succeed. When the IEP was written, it is weak and lacking substance. Confidence and self esteem took a huge hit with both of our children. It was challenging to get them back on track and even more difficult to reingnite their love of learning and of school. If your child has learning differences and you choose to place your child at Key School, my advice is to hire a special education consultant who can guide and direct the IEP process with you to make sure that your child is getting as much support as possible.
This school did not live up to its expectations. This school is completely run by the parents. The principal is very committed to parent involvement but gives the parents whatever they want without being objective to the current situation. This school (parents) is not very welcoming to new parents and has a hard time integrating different cultures into their school community. I am a very involved parent within the classroom and the PTO. The students can be very rude and mean to their peers and the teachers picks their consequences based on the relationship they have with the child and their parent. If you are looking for an objective school were the best interest of your child is a priority then the Key school may not be for you. On a positive note the curriculum seems to be a lacking substance but my child is learning, which makes me happy. I truly like the daily structure of the classes to keep the students in engaged and interested in learning. All in all I just wish the leadership at the school would spend more time protecting the students and less time trying to be best friends with the parents.
Key School is a phenomenal school for children in the pre-k to 5th grade age. The school nurtures love of learning. The friendships and parent's involvement are one of the strongest I have seen. Their before/after school foreign language program is great. Key school was designated a Blue Ribbon School in 2008 - and is by far one of the top private/public schools in DC.
Key School is an outstanding Blue Ribbon school with high-quality teachers, good student-teacher ratio (20-1), impeccable facilities, and a positive and enriching learning environment. Sometimes characterized as overambitious (partnership with overseas schools, etc...) but also the reason why it is the best DC Public School and private or public school in the area. It was the only school in the Metropolitan Area (public or private) to receive the U.S. Education Departments Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence in 2008, which is a testament to its dedication to teaching and learning.