KEYnotes from Matthew

The warm sunny days of this past week were a welcome reminder that spring is right around the corner. I believe the change of season and all it represents will buoy all of our spirits. I can hardly wait to hear the familiar sounds of Middle and Upper Schoolers hard at work on the fields as spring sports practices and competitive games start in the next several weeks! 

As I look back through my previous letters to you, I am struck that one year ago, as I sat to write my March KEYnote, we had no idea what lay ahead. While some of the events I highlighted in that note have not been able to take place this year, the reference I made to "the memorable experiences that inspire confidence, encourage risk-taking, and promote an understanding that to grow as a person, you need to put yourself in a position for others to see what you have to offer," have continued, each and every day. 

  • Our First Schoolers are actively developing the essential social/emotional skills that are truly the underpinning of all their future endeavors, both academic and personal. As I watch them adventurously trekking to the Magic Forest, using recycled materials to build their final dinosaur projects, and excitedly celebrating the 100th day of school, their shared sense of excitement about learning is palpable.
  • Lower School students are learning about the importance of reflective well-being and self-care as they continue with their Strong Start Morning Routine. This brain science based program incorporates mindfulness, community building, connecting, and goal setting, and provides a powerful foundation for their academic and personal pursuits each day. Embracing Key's core values of respect, compassion and trust, Strong Start encourages self-reflection and collaboration.   
  • Our Middle Schoolers are making meaningful real-world connections to their studies through virtual field trips to places like the Baltimore Museum of Industry, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Maryland State House/General Assembly. Their ability, even in this virtual environment, to actively engage with thoughtful questions and dialog is often noted with great appreciation by the docents and guides. The value of interactive exchange endures.
  • Upper Schoolers continue to stretch themselves by creating and participating in new experiences that promote leadership and growth, both personal and academic. Our Black Affinity students planned and presented a fantastic student-led afternoon event celebrating Black History Month. Another group appeared in the first It's Academic competition of the year. (While the segment has yet to be aired, I can report the students did well!) And, undaunted by Anne Arundel County Community College's decision not to provide a virtual option for the high school math team competition, students at Key are participating in Math Madness 2020, a bracketed competition much like NCAA Basketball's March Madness, with 64 math teams from across the country. 
  • Our Career Explorations Networking Workshops continue to connect Upper Schoolers with Key alumni/ae/x from across the nation, with this past week's session focused on the field of Engineering. The students were thoroughly engaged, asking very thoughtful questions, and our alums were absolutely stellar. Science & Technology and Business & Finance explorations will be offered this month.

I am humbled by our parents and guardians who continue to strengthen the heart and soul of the School–giving of their time, talent and treasure.

  • More than thirty volunteered to speak with our students who are studying historically black colleges and universities in February.
  • With the support of its parent ambassadors, our Admission Office has launched a new outreach initiative enabling prospective families to connect directly with current parents.
  • Our Parents' Association volunteers, who are working on the eighteenth Annapolis Book Festival, are taking things to a whole new level this year with Key's first two-day virtual event.
  • And, thanks to the support of current parents and other members of our community, our Annual Fund and Endowment Giving are hitting new milestones.

Despite the ups and downs of the past twelve months, there is one thing I can state with certainty and pride–Key remains a vibrant and cohesive community dedicated to its students.

I thank all families who have submitted their reenrollment contacts for 2021-2022. With incredibly low attrition, it is wonderful to know so many of our students will be returning next year and we appreciate your trust and the value you place on the Key Experience.

I hope many of you will join me for the PA Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, March 3 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. where I will discuss our latest thinking about the remaining months of the school year and school operations for 2021-2022.  While I will not likely have all the answers about what's to come, I do look forward to sharing the issues we are grappling with as we continue to evaluate the safest ways to maximize onsite programming for students. 

Stay well,