Academic Calendar

Athletic Calendar

Student/Parent Handbook: 
Academic Information


 

 

 

Opening Day

The Key School 2022-2023 year will begin on Monday, August 29. On opening day, students should report to the following locations:

First School - First School Building
Lower School - Manse
Middle School - Barn
Upper School - Activity Building

There is a Back-to-School Coffee for all parents, hosted by the Parents’ Association, at 8:30 a.m.

School Hours

Key-Wee, Pre-School, Pre-Kindergarten
Arrival: 8:00 a.m.
Starting: 8:20 a.m.
Dismissal: 12:00 noon

Kindergarten
Before Care: 7:30 a.m.
Arrival: 8:00 a.m.
Starting: 8:20 a.m.
Dismissal: 3:10 p.m.

Lower School (Grades 1-4)
Before Care: 7:30 a.m.
Arrival: 8:00 a.m.
Starting: 8:20 a.m.
Dismissal: 3:15 p.m.

Middle School (Grades 5-8)
Arrival: 8:00 a.m.
Starting: 8:15 a.m.
Dismissal: 3:20 p.m.

Upper School (Grades 9-12)
Arrival: 8:00 a.m.
Starting: 8:15 a.m.
Dismissal: 3:25 p.m.

Arrival Time

Students should not arrive at School before 8:00 a.m. unless they are registered for Before School Care, available to students in Kindergarten through grade four. There is no supervision for other students prior to 8:00 a.m. All students are expected to arrive on time.

When a student is absent or will arrive late, it is the parent’s responsibility to inform the appropriate division by 8:30 a.m. A parent/guardian may leave a message in the Division Office's voicemail or use the Division-specific attendance email address as soon as they are aware that the student will not be present for homeroom.

First School - fsattendance@keyschool.org
Lower School - lsattendance@keyschool.org
Middle School - msattendance@keyschool.org
Upper School  - usattendance@keyschool.org

Homeroom/Advisory

The first minutes of each day are devoted to a homeroom period in First, Lower and Middle Schools. A similar gathering takes place mid-morning in the Upper School. Important announcements and activities take place at that time. It is essential that all students be present, as attendance is taken. The School asks for the cooperation of parents and students in meeting this requirement

School Supplies/Textbooks/Laptop Program

Information about school supplies will be communicated to families in the summer.

Grades 7-12: Parents are responsible for purchasing textbooks. Information regarding textbooks will be provided by the Middle and Upper School Divisions.

Grades 5-12: 1:1 Personal Laptop Program. 5th and 6th grade students will be issued laptops by the School, which will be kept at Key. 7th-12th must bring their own laptop to School each day.

School Year

Key is mandated by the State of Maryland to schedule 170 instructional days; the School adds additional days to offset any unanticipated loss of instructional days. Snow contingency days are included in the annual calendar, during the final week of the academic year.

Reporting Periods

The academic year is divided into trimesters in the First, Lower and Middle Schools. Written progress reports are provided for parents at the conclusion of each trimester. In the Upper School, the academic year is divided into two semesters, with progress reports provided at two intervals within each semester. Exams in the Upper School are administered at the end of each semester.

Before School Care

In support of parents who commute for work, Key School offers free Before School Care for children in Kindergarten through Grade 4 beginning at 7:30 a.m. daily, when school is in session. Before School Care is not available on days when Key School is operating on a delayed opening schedule.

Licensing parameters limit the ages served and the maximum daily capacity, therefore pre-registration is required and can be submitted online via the Family Portal > Extended Day Options.

After School Activities

FIRST SCHOOL

In the Key-Wee, Pre-School and Pre-Kindergarten, an optional early afternoon program is available from 12:00 noon until 3:10 p.m. During this time, students remain in their classrooms with their teachers.

The After School Program for First School students is available from 3:10 until 6:00 p.m. For this portion of the day, the classes are consolidated. Please contact the After School Program Director to register for these programs. If more information is needed, contact the First School Division Head and After School Program Director. 

LOWER SCHOOL

The After School Program is available from 3:20 to 6:00 p.m. This program is located in Katharine Hall in the fall and spring and in the Arts Building in the winter. Please contact the After School Program Director to register for the After School Program. If more information is needed, contact the First School Division Head and After School Program Director. 

After School Program Enrichment Activities such as chess and theater also are available after school. Contact the Director of Auxiliary Services for information about these offerings.

MIDDLE SCHOOL

The After School Program in grades five through eight is available from 3:20 to 6:00 p.m. in Katharine Hall and the Ford K. Brown Library. Please contact the After School Program Director to register for the After School Program. If more information is needed, contact the First School Division Head and After School Program Director.

After School Program Enrichment Activities such as chess, robotics, Girls Who Code, and theater also are available after school. Contact the Director of Auxiliary Services for information about these offerings.

Intramural athletics are offered to fifth grade students twice a week during the fall and spring. Fifth graders also participate in games with other area schools during spring and fall seasons. Interscholastic athletics are offered to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Sports offered include:

FALL
Cross Country (co-ed)
Equestrian Team (co-ed)
Field Hockey (girls)
Sailing (8th Grade only, co-ed)
Soccer (boys & girls)

WINTER
Basketball (boys & girls)
Equestrian Team (co-ed)

SPRING
Equestrian Team (co-ed)
Lacrosse (boys & girls)
Sailing (8th Grade only, co-ed)
Tennis (co-ed)

Practice and game schedules are distributed at the beginning of each season and are posted on the School website. Contact the Athletic Director for more information.

Key Theater offers a Middle School spring theater performance.
When school dismisses at noon, these programs are not available.

Important note: Any students who do not participate in a supervised After School Program are expected to leave campus promptly after dismissal.

UPPER SCHOOL

An array of Junior Varsity and Varsity interscholastic sports is available to Upper School students. Sports offered include:

FALL
Cross Country (boys & girls)
Equestrian Team (co-ed)
Field Hockey (girls)
Sailing (co-ed)
Soccer (boys & girls)
Volleyball (girls)

WINTER
Basketball (boys & girls)
Equestrian Team (co-ed)
Indoor Track (co-ed)
Swimming (co-ed)

SPRING
Baseball (co-ed)
Equestrian Team (co-ed)
Lacrosse (boys & girls)
Sailing (co-ed)
Tennis (co-ed)

Practice and game schedules are posted each season on the School website. Contact the Athletic Director for more information.

There are many available activities in Visual and Performing Arts. Key Theater offers several productions each year. Audition notices are posted by the Theater Director, and rehearsal schedules are distributed once each production is cast. So that student athletes may participate, rehearsals are generally scheduled in the evening, following athletic practices and games.

In addition, the Upper School Library is open to Upper School students for supervised study after school until 7:00 p.m. through early May and until 6:00 p.m. for the remainder of the year.

Important note: Any students who do not participate in a supervised after-school program are expected to leave campus promptly after dismissal.

Parents as Partners

To be successful, every independent school needs and expects the cooperation of its parents, who must understand and embrace the school’s mission, share its core values, and fully support its curriculum, faculty and staff. When joined by a common set of beliefs and purposes, the independent school and its parents form a powerful team with far-reaching positive effects on children and the entire school community.

Working together, parents and school professionals exert a strong influence on children to become better educated; they also help them to mature by modeling adult working relationships based upon civility, honesty and respect.

-Statement from the Association of Independent Maryland Schools

Key School relies heavily upon its partnership with parents in sustaining both the effectiveness of its educational programs and the health of the School community. Such partnerships involve trust, mutual respect and common understanding. As a community that is responsive to individual needs and dedicated to providing an optimal learning environment for each of its students, positive communication between home and school is essential. Key parents support their children and the School, knowing that the spirit of cooperation is a vital resource in the School’s fulfillment of its Mission.

Key benefits enormously from the support and cooperation of parents. While occasional misunderstandings may be inevitable, communication that works toward an acceptable resolution with the students’ best interest at heart is the common goal. In most cases, conversations are best initiated with the teacher/advisor or Division Head.

Because stewardship of an independent school requires such support, Key School reserves the right to terminate, at the discretion of the Head of School, the enrollment of any student whose parents are unwilling to cooperate with the School and thus honor the long-established values of the community.

Citizenship

Perhaps no mandate in Key School’s Mission Statement lies closer to the heart of the community than its injunction to “Sustain an ethical school culture that engenders an inherent respect for the dignity of every human being, recognizes that personal liberty must be balanced by personal responsibility and individual action by the needs of others, and stresses to all members of the School community the importance of trust, mutual respect, and compassion.” The School’s objective is not just to teach children to be good students; it also bears the responsibility to encourage them to be good citizens and, over time, to internalize core values of respect, responsibility and honesty.

Key School does not rely primarily on the enforcement of rules to teach students these values. Instead, it uses a method of instruction that may be best described as discursive: Students learn to respect and uphold the School’s values through discussion with teachers and other adult members of the community. Experience shows that, in most cases, the most powerful lessons about how to behave are learned through rational discourse with respected adults. Students also learn values at Key School from their peers and from behaviors they observe being modeled by adults. Through this process, children understand for themselves the importance of the School’s values and feel invested in the welfare of the School community.

Parents also bear a great responsibility to teach their children the importance of respect, responsibility and honesty. Indeed, the School’s efforts to teach these values can only succeed when students hear the same messages at home and at school. An effective home-school partnership is essential to our collective ability to teach our children to be good citizens.

Expectations
The process of learning to be good citizens begins in the First School, where children learn to work cooperatively, to share, to respect others, and to honor established standards for behavior, and culminates in the Upper School, where students are expected to be largely self-regulating. In each higher Division of the School, students are encouraged to assume an ever-greater role in upholding the School’s core values.

As members of the School community, students are expected to make appropriate decisions for themselves and to take responsibility for those decisions. In each Division within the School, established age-appropriate guidelines for behavioral expectations are communicated primarily through ongoing discussions and also in writing. In addition to adherence to the School’s core values, all Key students are expected to behave in a manner that is consistent with the safety of the School community and with all local, state and federal laws.

Using, possessing or being under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol or other controlled substances (without prescription), possessing a weapon, or engaging in sexual activity while at School or at School-sponsored events is strictly prohibited.

RESPECT

Students are expected to:

  • Be courteous in their interactions with others, practice good listening skills, be respectful of the objectives set forth by teachers, and limit any behavior that would distract from those objectives.
  • Refrain from interfering with or impeding the learning process of any student.
  • Never physically or verbally abuse or bully another community member in any interaction.
  • Respect School property and the property of others
  • Refrain from using profanity or language that includes negative gender, racial, ethnic, sexual, or religious references
  • Dress in a manner that is respectful to oneself and others.
    • Students shall not wear: clothing that contains inappropriate language or images that are contrary to our school values or clothing that is overly revealing or restrictive of normal daily school activities.
  • Abide by the mandates in the School’s Harassment Policy

RESPONSIBILITY/COMMUNITY SAFETY

Students are expected to:

  • Accept responsibility for their actions at all times.
  • Not possess, distribute or use alcohol, tobacco, illegal or unprescribed drugs, vaping devices, and/or any other illegal substances on campus or at school-sponsored events and activities
  • Not possess dangerous items including but not limited to – pocket-knives, matches, lighters
  • Not possess a weapon of any kind on campus
  • Not engage in sexual activity while at School or at School-sponsored events

HONESTY

Students are expected to:

  • Act in an honest and ethical manner in all interactions at School and during off campus school-sponsored events.
  • Not give or receive help in any way that could be considered cheating and therefore, dishonest.
  • Act in a trustworthy way with regard to others’ property and possessions.
  • Never go into another student’s locker or bags without permission
  • Give credit and cite sources appropriately when using the ideas or words of others in any academic work

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION EXPECTATIONS

Since our inception, Key School has intentionally opened its doors to families from all backgrounds and experiences, because when students and adults of diverse identities come together as a community, we develop an appreciation and respect for our commonalities and differences. We understand that educators have a unique responsibility and opportunity to advance equity in education locally and globally.  Our work is guided by the NAIS Good Practice - Equity and Justice principles and the National Association of the Education of Young Children Equity Position and led by the Key Administrative team with input from all community members.

Students are expected to:

  • Treat their peers and all members of our community with kindness and respect, including using accurate language for human differences.
  • Consider how their behaviors impact others in our community, including those with different perspectives, identities, and backgrounds.
  • Speak up (with others or alone) in age appropriate ways against prejudice and or discriminatory actions, whether intentional or unintentional. 
  • Actively participate in curriculum and co-curricular activities that advance and improve the School’s culture of inclusion and belonging for every student.

Families are expected to:

  • Treat fellow community members from differing backgrounds and identities with kindness and respect. 
  • Support their students' participation in curriculum and co-curricular activities that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. 
  • Co-create an inclusive and equitable community that respects and affirms each of its members and recognizes DEI's benefits and power for students. 

Attendance

Success in school requires regular and punctual attendance. If a student and his/her parents do not emphasize the importance of regular and punctual attendance, they detract from the student’s potential performance at Key and hamper the progress of others. Regular attendance and arrival on time must be top priorities.

The School understands that students will occasionally be absent or late for legitimate reasons, such as illness, family emergencies or religious observance. The School strongly discourages absences for other reasons and reserves the right to decide on a case-by-case basis whether an absence will be excused. Students and families should be aware that an unexcused absence may result in the following: 1) the student may not be allowed to make up the work missed; and 2) the student’s grade or written assessment may be negatively affected. Repeated unexcused absences may result in: 1) the student being placed on probation; 2) the student being suspended or dismissed; and 3) a reenrollment contract for the following year being withheld.

In the case of chronic or prolonged absence, the School will require the family to furnish a physician’s note.

Students who are chronically tardy will face consequences, appropriate to their Division, such as non-admittance to class, detention and loss of privileges.

When school is missed due to an excused absence, teachers will assist students in organizing make-up work for study and will conduct an evaluation of the completed work for credit. Detailed instruction of a tutorial nature to facilitate make-up can only be extended on a tutorial-fee basis. For unexcused absences, teachers are not obliged to offer support in the completion of student work.

PROCEDURES FOR ABSENCES AND LATE ARRIVALS

When a student is absent or will arrive late, it is the parent’s responsibility to inform the appropriate Division office no later than 8:30 a.m. A parent may leave a message in the School’s main voicemail box as soon as he/she is aware that the student will not be present for homeroom. Students arriving late must check in with their Division’s administrative assistant.

LEAVING CAMPUS DURING SCHOOL HOURS

Students are required to remain on campus during the school day with few exceptions. For a student to leave campus for a doctor, dentist or other essential appointment, a parent must communicate in advance to the appropriate Division office. Lower, Middle and Upper School students must sign out in the appropriate Division office.

Lockers

Students in grades five through twelve have lockers. Students may opt to have locks for their lockers.

Accreditation

Key School has school-wide accreditation from the Association of Independent Maryland Schools. Approved by the State of Maryland, it is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, and the Association of Independent Maryland Schools.

MEMBERSHIP

Key School is an active member of the Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS), the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust (BEST), the Educational Records Bureau (ERB), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the National Business Officers Association (NBOA), the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP), the Association for Experiential Education (AEE), the Independent School Experiential Education Network (ISEEN), the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), the Independent Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM), and Independent School Data Exchange (INDEX).