Key School at Carolina Day

Key School (2–8)

Unlocking Potential With a Unique Educational Solution

Experience a high-quality, innovative education for bright children with language-based learning differences. 

Key School was established in 1997 to provide a high-quality, innovative education for bright children with language-based learning differences, like dyslexia. As a division of Carolina Day School, Key operates as a “school within a school.” We serve the needs of students from our other divisions as well as students from other independent and public schools throughout western North Carolina and beyond.

Two Key School students create a water filter



I've Got The Key

Key School Tour

"At Carolina Day, the focus is on learning for a lifetime. Students are always being challenged to take their tools, strategies, and skills to increasingly higher levels and to apply them in new and unique ways to create deeper learning connections.” Dr. Diane Milner, Key School Principal 

Transformation through Research-based Learning Approach

We use the multisensory Orton-Gillingham approach, which is based on more than 60 years of research and practice. 

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Developing New Pathways for Learning: Raising Achievement to Match Potential

Our unique curriculum is highly individualized and cognitive. Our lessons are anchored in multisensory language instruction that stimulates and builds auditory, visual, and tactile/kinesthetic pathways to learning. We teach the structure of language and the tools that improve reading, writing, spelling, and math. By creating an educational environment that removes major obstacles to learning, Key School’s intensive program helps close the gap between students’ achievement and potential, enabling most students to transition after two to three years.

Key School students and teacher in a classroom

Our Secret to Success: Exceptionally Trained Teachers and Small Class Sizes

In core areas such as reading, writing, and spelling, Key students benefit from a low student teacher ratio of 3:1 in the youngest grades and 4:1 in the upper grades. Every teacher at Key School fosters and exemplifies continuous improvement and lifelong learning. Each language teacher has completed a rigorous supervised clinical teaching experience to ensure a high level of competency with multisensory structured language instructional principles. Math teachers are likewise trained in the multisensory math principles and approach.

Key School provides its own internationally accredited teacher training program to all faculty under the supervision of a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE). Key uses the curriculum standards of AOGPE and is accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Every teacher at Key School is Orton-Gillingham trained; two-thirds of the faculty have achieved national certification in multisensory language teaching and are credentialed at the Certified Academic Language Practitioner level or the Certified Academic Language Therapist level.

Our Promises

  • Your child’s teachers will work hard to know and understand your child well, on an academic and emotional level.

  • We will maintain a diagnostic/prescriptive approach in all of our instruction, tailoring our lessons to meet the needs of your child.

  • We will provide continuous communication about your child’s progress.

  • We will be receptive to your questions and concerns.

  • We will offer your child a safe, nurturing, respectful learning environment that provides him/her with opportunities to experience success daily and to explore his/her gifts.