Our Founding

Jenny, John, and Risa Early Days at Keystone

Long-time educators, John Duhon, Risa Wilkins McKinney, and Jenny Dunning recognized the early warning signs of an educational system moving away from foundational and developmental learning and towards the governmental mandate of “teaching to the test.” Short-term memorization was replacing the long-term application of knowledge and problem-solving skills. In the current mainstream environment, children have more homework, less free time, and more stress, yet our schools are turning out a workforce of diminishing qualifications.

In December 2004, these three educators established Keystone Adventure School and Farm to meet a need previously unmet in our community by providing an environment that facilitates the diverse ways in which each child learns. The school opened its doors to students in September 2005. Children come to Keystone from private, public and home schools, bringing with them many learning styles. At Keystone, “The Magic is in the Mix” refers to our careful combinations of these learning styles within the classrooms and multi-aged projects. In this way, we are able to provide safe learning environments for all of our children. We admit “one child at a time,” in order to ensure the balance of learning differences.

This results in a “win-win” situation in which each type of learner acquires innovative thinking and problem-solving skills. Academics are truly developmental, ensuring the secure infrastructure that allows children the opportunity to take important risks in learning. In order to create an environment in which children feel secure enough to take those risks and find the problems that need to be solved, unstructured, yet supported time is a necessity. Life application of everyday problems, daily chores with the animals, and school maintenance create opportunities for self-respect and accountability.