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11:14 am PDT June 4, 2020

The McKinna Learning Center, an independent progressive school right here in Malibu, kept to its motto of meeting the needs of all kinds of learners when they made the switch to virtual learning in March.  Dr. Kellye McKinna, owner and school director, states, “Our goal was to maintain our unique program without compromising our academic excellence nor our progressive project-based curriculum.”  Being a small school, McKinna Learning Center was able to modify their schedule in order to reduce their class size to allow for maximum student-teacher interaction.  “This gave us the opportunity to continue to teach new material, assess students’ understanding and support students as they worked on their projects,” states Dr. McKinna.   According to Dr. McKinna, “I feel that in many ways, this unprecedented experience has provided us with the opportunity to hone our teaching craft.  I am so proud of my team who has been able to support our students’ academic growth, as well as facilitate the development of students’ higher-level cognitive skills through insightful projects.”  

This summer, McKinna Learning Center’s summer school program will consist of small groups of 2-3 students in virtual classes led by their outstanding teaching team.  The goal of the summer program is to strengthen students’ academic skills in a fun, collaborative and meaningful manner.  “Many students’ in neighboring schools have been negatively impacted by the loss of actual academic instruction.  Our summer program is designed to strengthen skills lost and develop new skills, so as to prepare students for reentry into school this fall,” says Dr. McKinna.  According to Dr. McKinna the classes are designed to work with students of all grade levels from elementary to middle and high school and will focus primarily on reading--both development and/or summer reading; mathematics (all levels); and writing.  

When asked about plans for the fall, Dr. McKinna shares that they are planning to offer a dual program—a full day live program for most of our students, as well as a virtual school day for those families for whom the health risks of sending their child to school are too great.  

“We are excited for our fall program!”  In addition to their core curriculum, each year they offer a variety of enrichment courses.  This past year, McKinna incorporated a Farm Lab into their weekly schedule providing students with firsthand experiences with sustainable farming, nutrition and cooking.  Interestingly, the Farm Lab classes continued through quarantine with students creating personal Victory Gardens.  This coming fall, in order to create more experiential opportunities, as well as spend time outdoors, in addition to the Farm Lab, they are developing an adaptive outdoor PE program and an Arts in Nature program.  Dr. McKinna states, “It is so rewarding to see our students grow in both skills and confidence which fosters curiosity and creativity.  And programs like our Farm Lab give students an opportunity to combine their academic skills with their passions.”   

Dr. McKinna states, “We take our mission seriously. We are a unique educational center offering a unique curriculum to meet the needs of unique students, and this spring’s experience added another level to our unique educational format.  We are up for the challenge and look forward to helping build strong and confident students who are ready for the future.”   

For information about McKinna Learning Center’s Summer Programs, contact Dr. McKinna at 310-589-8144 or