The Kildonan School is a coeducational, college-preparatory, boarding and day school for students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences in grades 2-12. We are located on a picturesque 105 acre campus 2 hours north of New York City and 3 hours from Boston.
The mission of The Kildonan School is to empower students with dyslexia to reach their academic potential and to equip them for future success. Our threefold mission remains consistent. We strive to remediate skills in reading, writing, and spelling, to provide intellectually stimulating subject matter courses in mathematics, literature, science, and social studies, and to foster confidence.
The academic program is unique in that it revolves around intensive, daily one-to-one Orton-Gillingham tutoring for each student. The language training instructor is responsible for devising a sequential learning program in language skills in accordance with Dr. Samuel T. Orton’s principles and with his belief that “...such disorders should respond to specific training if we become sufficiently keen in our diagnosis, and if we prove ourselves clever enough to devise the proper training methods to meet the needs of each... particular case.” Orton-Gillingham tutoring is multi-sensory, direct, and effective. The tutorial setting makes it possible to tailor the teaching to the unique brain of each individual. The instructor is also responsible for inculcating orderly study habits; students are held accountable for daily independent reading and writing assigned to reinforce the skills taught during the tutorial. Students learn to work through periods of frustration and even temporary failure. Ultimately, the goal is for students to become independent learners.
Subject matter courses in mathematics, history, literature, and science are designed to meet the learning style of students with dyslexia. Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic presentations supplement textbooks. Class size is small; courses stimulate thinking and provide opportunities for creativity. The approach to mathematics is closely aligned with language training both in its logical, sequential approach and its daily assignments. Reading and writing demands are reduced or removed entirely from other content courses while the student is building reading and writing skills. Classes are structured to ensure that success is possible even for the student with minimal skills.
Enhanced confidence is achieved through activities, such as the arts, athletics, and community life. Involvement in extracurricular activities that capitalize on the innate strengths of the dyslexic often leads to lifelong interests. Leadership and service opportunities provide additional means for personal and social growth. Students become confident, experience greater success, and gain the courage to invest increasing effort in their personal and academic achievement.
Central to the success of the program is a faculty committed to the philosophy of the school and willing to implement its goals and ideals. Faculty members respect students as individuals and encourage them to put forth their best efforts. While most students are expected to graduate from high school and enter college, the more severely dyslexic achieve functional mastery of the language.