Welcome from the Head of School

Welcome to the Keys School! We’re delighted you’ve found us! Our two-campus K through 8 program was founded in 1973 by Betsy Danon and Inge Zumwalt, two Palo Alto public school teachers, who envisioned an independent school that not only upholds high academic standards for students but also nurtures the “whole child.” Keys School is thriving in that vision and mission! 

Because Keys School holds the developmental needs of students at its core, our faculty recognizes that emotions matter. Here at Keys, we have a strong curricular program that celebrates the life of the mind. Yet in our increasingly complicated and ever-changing world, being a discerning reader, an articulate writer, and an able mathematician isn’t enough. It’s only part of the equation. Today students must be taught to recognize, understand, and label their emotional experience while developing essential strategies to regulate it. We’re not born understanding our emotions and those of others. These are skills that must be taught, and those who have these skills have a distinguishable advantage over those who don’t. Students who have these strategies experience improved decision-making, relationship quality, well-being, mental health, and both academic and workplace success – common traits of our graduates!

Since its inception, Keys has been a pioneer in social emotional learning, and our commitment to developing emotional intelligence skills is what separates Keys from other schools. Students won’t find these strategies in a once-a-week class. At Keys they’ll find these strategies, in addition to a vibrant curriculum, deliberately embedded in each subject they encounter, laying the foundation for students to soar academically.

When you visit Keys, and I hope you will, you’ll find impassioned educators working to ensure that every student is seen, known, and valued in a supportive and dynamic learning environment. You’ll find engaged, kind students who are critical thinkers, able-problem solvers, and nimble learners and leaders. You’ll find the preservation of the magic of childhood through an educational program that promotes wonder, inspiration, inquiry, and exploration. You’ll find that academic challenge and joy are synonymous.

Aristotle wrote, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” We live that mission at Keys. By visiting our website, I hope you’ve discovered the warmth of our community as well as the commitment to intellectual engagement and self-discovery our students, faculty, parent body, and alumni hold dear.

Visit and experience Keys firsthand! We look forward to welcoming you!

Warm regards,


"I have found an immediate sense of celebration at Keys! Every interaction, whether with student, faculty, parent, or board member is marked by kindness, authenticity, warmth, and an impassioned curiosity to learn." Heather Rogers, Head of School