Key Center

A Complete Special Education Center

Key Center School is a Public Day School which serves students with intellectual disabilities/severe and autism from Fairfax County. With a student population of about 55, we are a small school by Fairfax County standards and we are unique in that our students range in age from five to twenty two.  In compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act along with IDEA, Key Center School provides an appropriate educational program for students within the least restrictive environment to meet their individual needs.

Each classroom has a teacher and two paraprofessionals. A Principal and Assistant Principal manage Key Center’s educational program which is also supported by a full time registered nurse, a social worker, a psychologist, a part-time public health nurse (provided by Fairfax County), a vocational coordinator, behavior resource specialists, and a school based technology specialist. Numerous itinerant related service professionals also support Key Center in the following areas: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Vision, Hearing, Speech/Language, and Assistive Technology.

We maintain three concurrent programs:

Center-based program – This program provides classroom and community-based education for students ages 5 to 22 who have multiple disabilities and severe intellectual disabilities. Often in the case of multiple and severe disabilities, especially when a student has serious medical condition(s), Key Center is the least restrictive educational environment appropriate for the student. Students are grouped by proximal age and ability and receive instruction in both the classroom and “specials” based upon the Commonwealth of Virginia's Essentialized  Standards of Learning (VESOLs). On a typical day, students may participate in:

  • Community Based Instruction (CBI) trips
  • Vocational Activities - for students middle-school age and higher
  • Activities of Daily Living - for students of elementary age
  • Adapted PE
  • Adapted Aquatics
  • A School-based job
  • A Community Work experience

Additionally, the student's individual programs may be augmented with related services of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and vision/hearing services, as deemed appropriate by the IEP team. All services are delivered in the settings where they are most likely to occur to promote successful generalization of learned skills.

Behavior Transition Program – Key Center School provides a program for students with intellectual disabilities, severe disabilities and autism who have exhibited severe, challenging behaviors and have not responded to interventions at their base school. Behaviors such as aggression, self-injury, noncompliance, property destruction, and elopement can limit a student's access to learning opportunities and result in decreased progress or even regression in the their current educational program. When this occurs, an IEP team may determine that the Behavior Transition Program is the least restrictive educational setting to address the student's needs.

17 - 22 Program – Students graduate from Key Center at the age of 22 and Key Center strives to prepare all of our students for life after graduation. Many of our students will go on to become clients at community-based sheltered employment workshops; while others will participate in community-based recreation and leisure programs. After the age of 17, students are no longer required to participate in the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP), so effort is concentrated in developing good work and self-advocacy skills.