UPDATED: 11:00 a.m. ET, Sept. 16
Donda Academy isn’t just any school, It’s Yeezy’s school, and anything Kanye West touches the world instantly wants to know more about it. Even though the private Christian school is in its infancy, West already has visions of campuses across the country. But like a lot of Kanye’s projects, as amazing as most of them are, we only know what Kanye wants us to know, and apparently, his school is no different. Media publications local and national have all been trying to dig up information on the celebrity-founded academy since its inception, but little information beyond what’s on the school’s website has been shared.
The daily schedule, which was posted on the school’s website, is certainly different from most public school days. According to the site, “Each day, Donda students learn fundamentals, grow in their faith, and experience two enrichment classes.”
‘The Donda In A Day’ includes, “full school worship; core classes of language arts, math, and science; lunch as well as recess. The curriculum also includes ‘enrichment courses” such as World Language, Visual Art, Film, Choir, and Parkour.
Although the curriculum seems interesting on paper, it just doesn’t give much detail.
The website also says they have a 10-1 student-teacher ratio with no more than 12 students per class. They accept students from prekindergarten through 12th grade, although the California Department of Education’s website states the academy only goes up to eighth grade.
Donda’s staff is also shrouded in a bit of mystery. On the website, it lists Brianne Campbell as the principal and executive director, Allison Tidwell as assistant principal, and Shayla Scott as athletic director, but that’s it. No mention of teachers or administrations outside of those three. Donda could have an amazing staff of highly qualified teachers, but we have no way of knowing because everything is being kept so tight lip.
According to Rolling Stone, families are even required to sign nondisclosure agreements, though a consultant to the school told the publication only parents signed and called them “informal agreements.”
Producer and longtime collaborator of West, Malik Yusef told Rolling Stone he helped shape Donda Academy and that West has had this vision for a very long time.
“I want to be emphatic that there’s never been a time that Kanye West did not want to do this,” Yusef told Rolling Stone. “I think people don’t understand the gravity of that. This man always wanted to create a school in his mama’s name … Look at what we’re doing with the choir and the fashion in school — I don’t think there’s a venture capitalist or anybody that’s had a vision this clear on what education can look like for you.”
Ye hopes to disrupt the world of education by “finding the intersection between faith and the innovation of the future.” It comes as no surprise given his recent deep dive into the world of religion with his ethereal choir and church-stirring Sunday Service sessions.
The new prep school is located in Simi Valley, California, just 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles, according to Yahoo News.
The Grammy-award-winning producer has his eyes set on building the ultimate high school basketball team to challenge the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers of Los Angeles‘ big-time preparatory day school Sierra Canyon. A heavy-hitting list of basketball stars and celebrities have attended the co-educational private school including Scottie Pippen Jr., Kendell Jenner, Willow Smith, and Brandon Boston Jr.
West, who reportedly is in charge of the recruitment process, has already secured NBA hopeful Jalen Hooks for the team. The towering 6 foot 7 tall junior from Indiana already had offers piling in from Kansas, Michigan State, and Purdue, however, Hooks told the Indianapolis Star that he didn’t bat an eye when the Chicago Native contacted him personally to join the academy.
“It’s just one of those things you can’t pass up,” Hooks explained. “It was more of a family decision, too. All of us just felt like it was a chance to reach my full potential and grow and get ready for the college level.”
Hooks is joined by North Carolina-based five-star junior, Robert Dillingham and Jahki Howard, who is a 2024 top 5 prospect out of Georgia. The team has also locked in a spot for Zion Cruz of New Jersey.
According to two big-time candidates, West contacted them via DM on Instagram hoping to cultivate their talents at Donda Academy. “It’s crazy that he reached out,” one player told Yahoo Sports. “But he’s building a good team with players that I want to play with and it’s out in LA in a good market so it’s something me and my family have to think about,” they added.
Back in November 2021, the all-star team kicked off their first season going toe to toe against Minnesota Prep. While Donda Academy lost 86-92 against the Saint Paul team, they showed great potential in their first game. Cruz scored a whopping 15 points while Dillingham swooped in 18. West was all smiles as he sat and watched the team go to work courtside.
There might be evidence to suggest that Kanye’s new educational institution will be offering a more diverse academic program soon, but without true transparency, it’s hard to tell.
The school’s core mission is to equip kids “with an education that will last in the ever-changing world,” and so far, Ye is living up to the school’s motto, but hopefully the education students are receiving will be valuable in furthering their education.
As of now, Donda Academy is not yet accredited, but according to Rolling Stone, they have recently applied for accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and hope to be accredited by spring 2023.
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