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Our Curriculum

Key School assists students with learning differences through small classes and individually tailored instruction, utilizing their strengths in order to reach their academic and social potential. Key School is fully accredited by COGNIA and has a proven track record of increasing the academic achievement of students with learning differences.

ALT

Key School uses a multi-sensory, structured approach to reading that uses auditory, visual, and kinesthetic modalities based on the Orton-Gillingham method. This approach allows us to remediate difficulties in written language to include reading, writing and spelling.

ALT PLUS

ALT Plus classes are designed for students who have a specific need for further practice and application of literacy skills beyond general classroom intervention or beyond Academic Language Therapy. Instruction is tailored to meet specific needs to include: fluency, accuracy, prosody, comprehension, vocabulary development and written composition.

Up to 90% of English words with more than one syllable are Greek or Latin based. Studying these roots does more than enhance and enrich vocabulary; it gives students the power to unlock meanings and histories and grasp the logic of our English language. As students advance through grade levels, curriculum becomes more complex and after grade 5, it is estimated that students encounter up to 10,000 unknown words in their reading.

Roots are taught through a variety of modes and with a cross-curricular focus to make the learning relevant and trenchant for students. Implementing repetitive and consistent instruction allows our students to link pronunciation, spelling, and meaning when encountering new words in any coursework or reading.

Through reading, we can experience times and places that are otherwise unavailable to us. The study of literature that has withstood the test of time, promotes a deeper understanding of the past and applications to the present and the future. Key School Classics Curriculum provides students with the opportunity to study, in depth, the nuances that rich literature has to offer. Each Classics course begins with a look at the historical background of the time period. Students delve into the classical literature through read-aloud sessions, annotations of their books, and discussions. Classics also incorporates writing, vocabulary study, higher-order thinking skills, comprehension, and text connections to help students gain an appreciation for great literature.

In order to meet the specific needs of our students, English/Language Arts is addressed through a variety of courses. Students receive direct instruction at their individual level to maximize not only reading and comprehension, but also written and verbal expression. The goals of the ELA curriculum at Key School are to enhance students’ general knowledge, to provide experience with various genres and writing styles, and to promote a love for reading.  By offering different classes to meet the requirements for ELA, Key School is able to tailor instruction to best meet the specific needs of each student, whether through remediation or acceleration. While each segment of English Language Arts is offered as an individual subject, integration of subject matter is school wide.

Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading and a skill that is taught across all content areas. Direct instruction in comprehension strategies begins with our youngest students and builds upon those foundational skills as students advance through Key School. Comprehension instruction is focused on helping students develop close reading strategies to allow them deep comprehension.

Students continue to develop their skills as writers throughout their academic career at Key School. Our curriculum is research-based and aligned to instructional best practices for writing. It incorporates the development of critical, high-order thinking and builds in complexity as students navigate the writing process. Encompassing both content and conventions, the composition curriculum provides students with strategies and tools that they can use in all areas. Students are also taught to self-monitor their writing and to set goals that push them to improve as writers.

Key School offers a speech class for seniors. This course’s purpose is to equip seniors with an opportunity to explore their personalities and goals. Seniors present their ideas through speeches with a variety of audiences and for a variety of purposes. In culmination of their writing and speaking, seniors prepare a senior speech for presentation at graduation. This course helps students develop confidence and competence in public speaking and communicating important information in both formal and informal settings.

Small class instruction and enrichment courses allow students to progress as they master mathematical concepts, allowing for acceleration and remediation of skills and concepts for each student. Key School students build their competence and confidence in mathematical thinking in computations and algebraic relationships, numerical representations, data analysis, and geometry and measurement.

Upper School  (Grades 9-12) students continue their math work in courses including Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Consumer Math, Advanced Quantitative Reasoning, and Pre-Calculus. The goal for Key School graduates is to meet Texas requirements by completing a minimum of 3 high school credits in math.

Resources such as textbooks, online resources, video access, and hand-on labs allow students to fully engage with scientific thinking and learning. Key School Science curriculum reinforces modes of inquiry, rules of evidence, ways of formulating questions, and the diverse way scientists study the world.

Key School’s hands-on science program allows students with language difficulties to enjoy the flexibility and success needed to make science meaningful. Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Aquatic Science, Integrated Physics & Chemistry, Astronomy, Forensic Science, and Physics are offered at appropriate learning levels.

Social Studies is taught at Key School with an interdisciplinary approach incorporating literature, comprehension, current events, humanities, fine arts, theme writing, and study skills. Key School’s Social Studies curriculum is designed to build students’ comprehension and study skills while engaging in the study of history and geography. Vital comprehension skills, such as identifying key ideas and adding the most important supporting facts, helps students understand how to use this information to formulate and support critical thoughts about important events and their impact on current world issues.

Key School Students continue their work in courses including World Cultures, Texas History, Early U.S. History, Economics, Government, Modern U.S. History, World Geography, and World History.

The foreign language options offered at Key School include American Sign Language and Spanish. As in all our classes, the curriculum is individualized to address the learning style and pace of each student. Teachers continually monitor each students’ progress, adjusting the lesson presentation to his or her level. This personalized instruction method ensures immediate feedback and consistent teacher/pupil interaction.

To help encourage acquisition of the target language, our foreign language program is taught with maximum positive reinforcement in a nonthreatening environment. Games are used to encourage fun, creative use of the target language. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills are emphasized equally and monitored throughout the curriculum.

Key School’s foreign language teachers have experience teaching students with language differences and auditory processing difficulties. Instruction includes best practices, such as tactile learning, integration of the Greek and Latin Roots curriculum and culturally authentic materials.

Key School integrates 1 to 1 technology per student in grades K-12. Each student is issued a Chromebook to use in the classroom and at home. Technology is integrated in all content areas with supportive technology methods with provide every students with indispensable resources for learning and high-caliber achievement.

In addition to technology implemented in classroom instruction, Key School offers courses in Keyboarding, Instruction to Technology, Advanced Technology Applications, Digital Art, Digital Production, Photography, and Yearbook.

Key School offers Fine Arts classes to enrich the student experience and promote self-esteem and cultural exposure. Classes such as choir, art, and theater encourage creative expression through design and performance.

The Physical Education program at Key School introduces a new model to the traditional programs of the past. The program teaches students to increase their physical competence and to improve on health-related fitness, and enjoyment of physical activity with the objective of being physically active for a lifetime.

Skills progress at a developmentally appropriate pace, beginning with gross motor/locomotor skills in the youngest grades and progressing to more refined locomotor and specific flexibility and manipulative motor skills. Skills are taught, practiced and reinforced through games, cooperative group lessons, and other fun, structured activities. Some of the activities that students participate in are yoga, volleyball, soccer, kickball, and Ultimate Frisbee.

Beyond simple physical education, our physical fitness program teaches students health concepts for a healthy lifestyle. From recognizing healthy nutritional choices to choosing appropriate exercise that develops cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and body composition to maintaining positive attitude and appropriate social skills, the PE program at Key School is designed to enrich student physical, emotional, and mental health.

Summer Program

The Key School Summer Program is designed for students entering grades K-12 who struggle in school or those who need the benefit of an academic boost for the upcoming school year. Since its beginning in 1966, Key has taught reading, phonics, and math to thousands of students, enabling them to dramatically improve academic performance. 

Our integrated curricula, which fulfill the requirements for academic credit, are modified and enriched to accommodate each student’s unique learning styles.