About Key School

Key School has served Tarrant County since 1966 as one of the pioneer schools in the state for children with learning differences. The school’s beginnings with Dr. John Richardson and Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital established a reputation of excellence and innovation in the community while connecting with many local schools. As a result, many students with learning differences have been referred to the Key Summer Program. Now Key School provides services to many of the special needs and pediatric medical communities in Dallas/Fort Worth through effectively addressing learning difficulties.

The supporting educational environment at Key School caters to the unique identity of each student and focuses on them as an individual rather than just their learning differences.

Key School equips students with all resources and tools they will need to succeed academically, emotionally, and socially. Educators, therapists, and administrators for all ages and grade levels work to build self-esteem and teach skills to live a life of success. The highly qualified staff of Key School have completed advanced training and received certifications to provide the highest level of support. With a small student to teacher ratio , every student can receive the individualized attention, support, and mentorship that is one of the school’s greatest strengths.

Coming soon, the Early Childhood Program will offer classes for 3-4 year old children, which will focus on kindergarten readiness and lay the foundation for future academic success. The vision for these early childhood classes will prepare young children for their academic career, promote healthy social and primary learning skills, and early reading intervention with an Academic Language Therapist. Key School will be able to provide its comprehensive early education curriculum and an improved likelihood of academic success to students in Forth Worth and surrounding areas.

The Key To Our History


The Texas Scottish Rite Hospital’s Pediatric Neurology Division initiated a cutting edge language therapy program designed to teach dyslexic students how to read. The program, utilizing the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading and spelling, focused on one-to-one student/teacher interaction. Among the program’s first graduates was Mary Ann Key, who was encouraged to attend by pediatrician John Richardson, M.D.


Mrs. Key and fellow teacher, Mildred Gardner opened Key School’s doors for the first time.


As word spread of this new, specialized way of teaching, demand for the school exceeded what was offered in the Summer Program. To meet this need, a Nine Month Program was added.


The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools evaluated the standards and programs of Key School and awarded accreditation which continues today.


At first, the school was held in many temporary locations, including churches and even Mrs. Key’s own house, but in 1996 Key School moved into its current location.


The First Key School graduating class celebrated their graduation. Since that time, over 170 students have graduated from Key School. Our graduation ceremonies are unique in that each student gives a speech and recognizes family and faculty who helped them to get to this point.


A new charitable and educational 501C(3) organization, The New Key School, was formed to acquire and transition Key School into a non-profit status. Key School began offering tuition assistance to low-income students.


Key School began their annual dinner and auction in order to raise funds for financial aid and other needed programs.


A Development Department with a part-time development staff member to raise money for financial aid and other program support was added to the growing needs of the school.


Kerri Benson became the Director of Key School following the retirement of Founder, Mary Ann Key. Under Kerri’s leadership, Key School continues to thrive and is looking to the future.


Key School began planning the current Strategic Plan in order to move Key School forward and develop a new Vision for its growth.


Key School celebrated their 50th Anniversary Gala with a unique Academic Decathlon event.


Kerri Benson, Executive Director, opened the Key Center for Learning Differences launching two new innovative programs to address the needs of children with learning differences in Tarrant County. Leslie Vasquez became the Director of Key School.

Pillars of Key School

Greek and Latin Roots

Gives students the power to unlock meanings and histories and grasp the logic of our English language.
0 %
of English words with more than one syllable are Latin based

Classic Literature

This study of literature that has withstood the test of time and promotes a deeper understanding of why we are who we are today.

Word of the Week

The WOW pillar ensures that Key students are exposed to, and work with, words that are rich in meaning and that enhance their vocabularies, and in turn, comprehension.

Student Organizer System

The Key Student Organizer serves to help students, beginning with our
youngest scholars, better plan and manage their time and learning. With teacher guidance, the Student Organizer helps students improve these fundamental skills.

Low Student to Teacher Ratio

When these ratios are low, teachers have more time to spend with each student checking progress and providing more instruction. Key School is proud of our low ratios and the caliber of teachers engaging students in learning.

Character Development Keys

The four Keys of Character Development are:
#1 – Social Emotional Learning –
Featuring Character Strong curriculum
#2 – Executive Function and Study Skills
#3 – Leadership Academy
#4 – Digital Citizenship and Life Literacy

Make A Difference.

Donate today, and change the life of a student.

The Key Center for Learning Differences encourages you to make a gift on North Texas Giving Day to help us reach our goal of $40,000 to support our programs. Ends September 23.