Frequently Asked Questions
In the fall before the anticipated year of entry. You may fill out an application online beginning in mid-September. As soon as you have submitted your application, you may schedule your student visit and parent interview online via your admission portal. We recommend doing this early, as student visit days and parent interview times fill up quickly. The latest you may submit applications is January 15, 2016. Supporting materials for all applicants are due on January 22, 2016.
The following factors are considered when accepting children to Keys School:
- A strong match between Keys philosophy and the goals of the family
- Meeting the needs of the child
- Academic achievement and potential
- Developmental readiness
- Curiosity and motivation
- Social skills and emotional maturity
- Evidence of kindness and tolerance
Keys School does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, sex, nationality or ethnic origin and we admit students from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Keys graduates have been accepted at the best Bay Area secondary schools and are recognized as being well prepared for the academic rigors and social challenges of high school and beyond. Students leave Keys as well-rounded, thoughtful young adults who love to learn and who continue to thrive in high school. They're active learners, and they are strong self-advocates. They understand their responsibilities as members of a larger community. Students leave Keys with a strong sense of who they are. For a list of recent high school and college acceptances, see Academic Success.
We strongly recommend that Kindergarten applicants turn 5 by September 1 of the year they enter Kindergarten. Our Kindergarten classes are comprised of children who range from 5 years old to those who are already 6 years old when entering Kindergarten. We strongly recommend that first grade applicants turn 6 by September 1 and that second grade applicants turn 7 by September 1.
Children need to be able to cope with the routines of our full day Kindergarten program, including but not limited to: listening to and following directions, waiting one's turn, and handling transitions between activities, classes, and teachers. We believe that children are ready to start Kindergarten at Keys when they can cope with the many aspects of the Kindergarten environment and learn at the same time. We look at all aspects of a child's development when assessing Kindergarten readiness, including social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development.
We welcome up to 36 new students into Kindergarten each year. Openings in other grades only occur when a student leaves Keys School. We welcome applicants for all grades, because while we can't predict openings, we do see attrition each year.
Yes, Keys School does maintain a wait pool. Qualified applicants for whom we do not have space are offered a place in the wait pool. The Admission Office will refer to the wait pool of applicants to fill openings that may occur between April and the start of school. The wait pool is not ranked. Whenever a place becomes available, the Admission Committee makes a choice from the pool based on the needs of the applicant and the school.
Keys School recognizes that for many families, having all children enrolled at the same school is a priority. We value community and love that our campus becomes a home for many. However, we recognize that no school's approach to learning is a perfect match for every child. Preference is given to Keys siblings if it is an appropriate match between the school and the child.
While many families do live in Palo Alto and neighboring cities, we also have families coming from as far north as South San Francisco and as far south as San Jose, as well as students who travel to Keys from the East Bay.
Keys School does have a bus program to transport students to and from CalTrain before and after school.
For grades K–4, the day starts at 8:30 a.m. Students can be dropped off on the Middlefield Campus at 7:30 a.m. and join our Before School Program. Grades K–4 are dismissed at 3:10 p.m. We offer After School options until 6:00 p.m.
For grades 5–8, the day starts at 8:40 a.m. Middle school students can arrive at the El Camino Campus at 7:30 a.m. Grades 5–8 are dismissed at 3:20 p.m. We offer After School options until 6:00 p.m.
Keys School believes that a diverse student body is a vital part of educating the whole child. We actively seek and enroll children from a range of socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. When children learn among peers who bring experiences shaped by differences in race, ethnicity, family configuration, class or religion, they come to respect each other across these differences and to value the possibilities inherent in multiple perspectives.
At Keys, families come together to create a cohesive supportive community with a common goal—to create the best possible learning environment for their children. Throughout the year, we organize social activities such as Family Math Night, Book Fair, Family Ice Skating Night, welcome coffees, and school picnics, which bring our families together. We welcome parent participation in ways that best suit your family, whether it entails volunteering in the classroom, sharing of a special skill, serving on a committee, or other contributions of time and expertise.
Yes. Financial assistance is available to applicants through a confidential, needs-based process. Applying for aid will in no way affect our admission decisions.Keys School - Lower Campus · 2890 Middlefield Road · Palo Alto, CA · 94306
Keys School - Middle Campus · 3981 El Camino Real · Palo Alto, CA · 94306