Education beyond our walls

Key Center School is committed to helping our students to become active participants in the community to the maximum extent possible. Our Community Outreach Program is a critical component of that commitment. Since Key Center School is not a typical "neighborhood" school, our students and parents often do not live in the surrounding community. Our Outreach program serves as a two way street - bringing the community in to Key Center as well as taking our students out into our local community.

We bring the community to Key Center School in a variety of ways. For example, we invite experts from local garden centers and other local businesses to come to Key Center and offer extension activities and enhance what is being taught in the classrooms. We often enjoy having musicians from around the area, who share their talents with us and engage students with their music. 

Another program that has been in place for several years is the “Lee to Key Connection” which occurs bi-monthly. Lee High School students spend time in classrooms, assisting with clubs and interacting with our students in the 18-22 program. During this time, Lee High School students encourage development of social skills, provide classroom interaction and establish friendships with our students. Lee High School students also play an integral role in helping our students in choosing a prom theme and assist in making prom decorations.

Key Center School students also have opportunities to interact with the high school students at near by cosmetology departments and regularly visit on a monthly basis to have their hair and nails done. The cosmetology students, in turn visit our school in May to help our students prepare for the Key Center Prom at the Waterford. 

Key Center continues to participate in the Key to Key Peer Helper Program. Students from Key Middle school assist in Key Center classrooms on a daily basis. Observing and participating in classroom instruction allows students from Key Middle School to gain valuable insight and understanding of the challenges Key Center School students face on a daily basis and increases their acceptance of people with disabilities. Key Center School students therefore benefit through their interactions with their peers from the middle school by increasing their opportunities for developing appropriate social skills and behaviors.

Students from Key Center participate in instruction in the community on a scheduled basis. The goal of Community Based Instruction (CBI) is to provide instructional experiences that prepare students at Key Center to be as independent as possible. Some of the sites we visit include: Fire/Police Station, Post Office, Library, bank, parks, nursery/greenhouse, bowling alley, grocery stores, bookstores, pet stores, craft stores and dollar stores. These visits allow students to work on specific goals, including: Health/Safety Skills, Library Skills, Recreation Skills, Shopping Skills, and/or Money Management Skills; all of which contribute to developing independence for our students!