An Historic Alliance

Marvelwood and Kildonan Announce Partnership

The Marvelwood School’s Learning Support program has long served students with language-based learning differences.  In recent years, the school has seen an increasing number of students with diagnoses of dyslexia and other language-based learning challenges.  This fall, Marvelwood is taking the opportunity to strengthen their programming and support for these students by way of an advantageous partnership with the Kildonan organization and former Kildonan School.

Marvelwood took initial steps in this direction last year, joining with Kildonan to host their well-known Camp Dunnabeck and Kildonan Teacher Training Institute (KTTI).  While Dunnabeck was unable to run in-person at Marvelwood this past summer due to COVID, KTTI did conduct in-person training on the Skiff Mountain campus in July.  Longtime Kildonan employees Kathleen Stewart, KTTI’s Director, and Karl Oppenheimer, Director of Camp Dunnabeck, have worked closely with Marvelwood’s administration and Board of Trustees to bring Kildonan to Marvelwood School.  Administrative offices for both programs are part of Marvelwood’s newly-renovated Admission & Advancement Center; Stewart, Oppenheimer, and other senior Kildonan staff will continue to be involved with both programs in their new location.  

Stephen Forneris ‘86, a Marvelwood graduate who also attended Kildonan and currently sits on both schools’ Boards of Trustees, was instrumental in helping to introduce the organizations to each other in the earliest stages of forging their partnership.  “Kildonan’s mission closely aligns with Marvelwood’s,” says Forneris.  “Both schools are dedicated to empowering all students to reach their full potential by increasing their confidence and resilience and sparking academic motivation and curiosity.  They are dedicated to really knowing their students and challenging them to invest in their education and discover new passions.  This is a natural partnership in every sense.  Marvelwood is eager to give Kildonan students the home they deserve.”

Kildonan School, which closed its Amenia, NY campus in 2019, made its reputation through programming specifically designed for students with dyslexia.  Employing the Orton-Gillingham (OG) approach -- a structured, multi-sensory approach to teaching reading and writing -- the school conducted daily individual OG tutoring and offered small, college-preparatory classes.  Marvelwood’s newly-refurbished Clark Learning Center is the home of the school’s Learning Support program, a daily individual or small-group tutoring program which enrolls approximately one-third of Marvelwood’s students.  Beginning this fall, the partnership between the two organizations will expand as KTTI-trained tutors join the Clark Center.  Three Marvelwood tutors have already completed associate-level OG training with KTTI.  

“Over the years, Marvelwood has always been a good choice as a next step from Kildonan,” Oppenheimer observes.  Last year, Marvelwood became the new home to three former Kildonan students, two of whom completed their senior year on Skiff Mountain.  Two additional students who attended Camp Dunnabeck are also currently enrolled.  The school continues to receive inquiries from other Kildonan families.

“Kildonan has been seeking a partner since we closed our campus.  Marvelwood has a proven history of helping the kinds of students who have enrolled at Kildonan over the years find academic success and confidence.  Our families have been looking for a place to land, and I’m confident that Marvelwood is that place,” says Stewart.

More information is on the website.  Please contact the Admission Office with any questions.