“My daughter right there getting home-schooled, and I was thinking ’bout starting up my own school, a Montessori.” On the single “Blessings,” released in 2015, Kanye West said that when she saw her daughter being home-schooled , considering starting his own school, a Montessori-style academy.
The “Montessori” here refers to the famous Italian educator Maria Montessori, whose Montessori education method set off a revolution in early childhood education in the twentieth century. In her chain of schools “Casa Dei Bambini Children’s Home”, the independence of preschool children is respected, which helps to develop inner potential and cultivate healthy personality.
And this is also reminiscent of another female educator, Kanye’s mother, Donda West. As a professor at Chicago State University, Donda is known for her unique approach to homeschooling. If you have seen Donda’s memoir “Raising Kanye” or Kanye’s documentary “jeen-yuhs”, it should not be difficult to understand where Kanye’s confidence comes from.
Whether it is out of remembrance for his mother or to expand DONDA’s commercial territory, the artist who keeps his word is fulfilling his promise seven years ago. This isn’t Kanye’s first foray into education, though. He founded a charitable foundation with his mother in 2003 (which ceased operations in 2011) to reduce dropout and illiteracy rates. Then in 2013, he founded the free music creation program “Donda’s House”, which aims to help at-risk Chicago youth, providing music lessons such as arrangement for students aged 15 to 24.
As of June 10, the first batch of applications for admission to Donda Academy has officially ended. Since the announcement of its establishment last year, I believe that most people’s impression of this school is still the Donda Doves, a high-profile basketball school team. So, what is the school that Kanye West built? This time, HYPEBEAST will unveil the mystery of Donda Academy for you.
01/ School philosophy and curriculum arrangement
The core part of a school is naturally the “curriculum schedule”. What classes do the students of Donda Academy take every day? As mentioned above in “Montessori”, Donda Academy has set itself the mission “to develop the next generation of leaders, thinkers and innovators, providing students with a world-class education that includes a rigorous core curriculum with an emphasis on sustainable Sex, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.”
Donda Academy provides basic education from preschool to grade 12. In addition to basic courses such as literature, mathematics and science, students have 2 enrichment courses every day. The optional subjects are world languages, visual arts, film, choir, Even parkour. As a devout Christian, Kanye West also gives this school a strong religious orientation. Each day begins with the school’s collective worship. Students will receive core basic courses in the morning and enrichment courses after lunch break.
This schedule is designed to allow students to acquire basic academic knowledge, but also to have the ability to think in a framework, and to grow healthily in an atmosphere of faith and community. At the same time, the school will also adjust the teaching mode according to students’ interests and personalities, which is known as “teaching according to aptitude”, bringing innovative and personalized education to students.
02/ Teacher-student ratio and teacher information
In addition, the school adopts small class teaching, the number of students in the class does not exceed 12, and the teacher-student ratio is 10:1. There are currently only three school staff members who have been disclosed, namely principal Brianne Campbell, deputy principal Ms Tidwell and sports director Shayla Scott. At the same time, Shayla Scott also serves as the chief operating officer of DONDA SPORTS. Before joining DONDA, she served as a starter for 4 years at the University of Pittsburgh and as an assistant coach at LaSalle University. Earlier in an interview with the basketball team, she said that after the first phone call with Kanye, she felt “his enthusiasm for this school.”
03/ Basketball Team and Choir
The school has also established 2 campus activity groups – basketball team and choir. The choir is religiously evangelical and is currently recruiting for freshmen in grades 2-12 for the 2022-2023 school year. The basketball team named “Donda Doves” has already formed an army. It has been on the cover of “SLAM” magazine with Kanye, and has achieved outstanding performance in recent games.
After all, the team includes top players from all over the country, such as top point guard Robert Dillingham from North Carolina, five-star forward Jahki Howard from Georgia, and five-star guard JJ Taylor from Kanye’s “hometown” Chicago. , he was ranked No. 5 in the nation by ESPN and 247Sports, and was Illinois’ first top-10 player since 2014.
These top players who have already achieved good results have transferred to Donda Academy at the juncture of entering the college league, and they are inevitably subject to speculation from the outside world. However, several of the players have been candid in previous interviews that the reason for joining Donda Academy is partly due to Kanye’s aura and a vision that goes beyond basketball and academics.
For example, Braeden Moore, who finally joined the team, a local teenager born in California, whose grandfather’s residence is only about 20 minutes’ drive from the school gym. Interested in business, he believes that joining Donda Academy has put him one step ahead of his peers. In addition, I believe that the sports equipment tailored by the YEEZY design team will also be one of the attractions of Donda Doves.
04/ Facilities and Accommodation
Hardware facilities are another important indicator of the school. Donda Academy is located at 1625 Tierra Rejada Road, Simi Valley, Ventura County, California. This approximately 3.7-acre property originally belonged to the Stoneridge Preparatory School that operated from the 1960s, which also means that the campus has ready-made classrooms, labs Room, office, basketball court and other facilities.
According to previous interviews, the basketball players currently live in the school apartment, and the gym, which is open almost all the time, is just a short walk from the apartment building. The meals are prepared by Kanye’s personal chef, but this treatment should not be for all teachers and students. In the future, Kanye will most likely invite the design team to remodel the campus. After all, the DONDA team has already been involved in architectural design. Whether the school will have the “monastery-like corridor” mentioned in the lyrics of “Blessings” is worth looking forward to.
05/ Fees and Application
Last but not least is the cost issue that parents are most concerned about. Although it has claimed that tuition is free, the latest admissions page shows that the school is still based on tuition, but the school also encourages applicants not to worry too much about costs, and eligible students can receive financial aid and scholarships. At present, Donda Academy has opened applications for the 2024-2025 school year. If you are willing to enroll, you may go to the official website to apply.
Before Donda Academy, there were already precedents for star entertainers to set foot in education. For example, the SLAM School of Sports Leadership and Management, founded by American rapper Pitbull in 2013, is a charter public school located in Miami, with sports as the core, and most of the students enrolled are economically disadvantaged. Kanye visited SLAM in 2018 to “learn lessons” from this successful educational predecessor.
From the launch of Stem Player, a player trying to change the music industry, the appointment of Jason Lee, founder of news site Hollywood Unlocked, as head of media, Donda Academy is about to welcome its first freshman, to the recent signing of NBA player Jaylen Brown by DONDA SPORTS. The DONDA empire is accelerating its expansion.
Looking back at the grand blueprint outlined by Kanye ten years ago, it integrates more than 22 fields such as fashion, architecture, education, medical care, finance, and energy. Such a staggering span. At that time, it was ridiculed by everyone, but now, starting from YEEZY’s successful entry into the fashion industry, Kanye’s DONDA vision has finally been gradually realized.