Key School at Carolina Day

Key School: Bright Students with Dyslexia (Grades 2–8)

Unlocking Potential With a Unique Educational Solution

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

Is your child bright and curious, yet somehow still struggling in school? This is far more common than you would think. In fact, one in five individuals has a language-based learning difference commonly referred to as dyslexia. Many bright children who have dyslexia struggle to keep up in traditional settings. This can result in low self-esteem, falling grades, and increasing frustration during a child’s critical formative years.

If your child is not meeting his or her potential due to struggles with reading, spelling, writing, and sometimes math, Key School’s unique program can offer hope. 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.

Dyslexic students need teachers who understand.

Watch this video to learn how teachers at the Key School truly understand the unique brain profile of dyslexic children.

“Our child found hope and grew in confidence at the Key School. As parents, it has meant the world to see her grow in her abilities and say for the first time ever, ‘I love school.’” ALISON, PARENT

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.

Math class in the key school
Language comprehensive in the key school
STEM talents class in the key school
KS student focusing in the classroom
KS student building structure in STEM talents class
Teacher hugging student at KS EOY ceremony


The Key School language program holds two of the most highly regarded accreditations in the field of dyslexia.