Recognizing that early adolescence is a time of tremendous physical and emotional change, Key helps students gain confidence and develop independence by providing a supportive and caring environment in which to learn. Multidisciplinary experiences, hands-on student-directed activities, and first-hand contact with primary sources promote enthusiastic student participation.
Sequential in design, the English program focuses on the continuation of the language arts skills of reading, analysis, writing, and oral expression. In every grade, these skills converge as students read and discuss a rich array of literary selections. Analysis is the centerpiece of the program that encourages students to explore plot, structure, character development, conflict, setting, and themes in increasingly sophisticated ways. Writing instruction centers on writing as a process that involves creative expression, research skills, and logical and effective paragraph development, as well as sentence building and correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary.
Middle School social studies, in conjunction with the English program, further develops students’ reading, writing, and discussion skills. Fifth and sixth grade students are given a strong foundation in American history. In seventh grade, Civics students assume politically active roles as they engage in critical analysis of current events. In the eighth grade, World Geography students explore the political, geographic, economic, cultural and environmental aspects of countries throughout the world. The social studies programs are complemented by a wide variety of projects and field trips.
The mathematics program begins by consolidating whole number computation skills, extending them to rational numbers. Students encounter the algebraic process early and build facility over four years as they progress through Algebra I, while gaining a solid foundation in geometry. Through the use of manipulatives, as well as frequent collaborative work, students develop sophisticated and analytical problem solving strategies and learn about practical applications of mathematical skills and concepts.
The science program involves students in the study of earth science, life science, and physical science, with understanding facilitated through extensive laboratory work coupled with many opportunities for observation and study in the field. Strengthening the students’ method of investigation and developing competence in the manipulation of laboratory equipment are primary goals of the curriculum.
The foreign language program includes courses for beginning and continuing French (through French II) and a two-year Spanish I curriculum. The program uses dialogue, reading, written exercises, research projects, and field trips to strengthen understanding of language and culture.
In computer classes, students hone basic skills in keyboarding and word processing and develop more sophisticated skills in graphing, multimedia presentation, desktop publishing, and the application of Internet search techniques in support of joint projects with other disciplines, including English, social studies, science, and French.
Activities such as theater, chorus, dance, newspaper, ensemble, community service, math club, web page design, creative writing, amateur radio, and French club are an important part of the Middle School experience.