We regard the traditional school system as obsolete. It is a “one-size-fits-all” system that has not materially changed for centuries. Dozens of students are sitting in the same classroom, learning the same lesson at an identical pace, tasked with the same homework, and tested with the same questions at the same time. Students’ individual interests, passions, gifts, and personalities play no role in the traditional school. Instead, students are treated as identical robots originating from an assembly line who must get the same identical programming.
We believe that a modern and effective school system must be built to foster individual talents and interests and maximize each student’s potential, teach students to innovate and create through real-life experiences, and encourage diversity of thought.
We further believe that individuals do their best work when they can pursue their own passions and have the freedom to leverage their gifts to their full potential in a nurturing environment. Conversely, an environment of stress, anxiety, boredom, and adversity inhibits students’ ability to realize their full potential. As such, we believe that schools must transition from a place of adversarial relationships between students and faculty into a safe, anxiety-free environment where each student can flourish.
Lastly, we believe that schools must allow students to build the skills that will make them truly successful in the modern world of tech, media, and business.
With these views in mind, we believe that the modern learning system should be based on the pillars of mastery, mentorship, and experience.
Life is a continuous journey of learning. When it comes to knowledge acquisition, Ventures’ role is to provide students with the basic knowledge building blocks of math, writing, science, history, and social studies. In addition to those basic building blocks, our students also learn the tech, business, and media skills that will make them successful in the modern world.
We believe that these building blocks should serve as the starting point for students’ learning journey through life. We aim for our students to not only master the material but also learn how to continue to educate themselves and acquire new knowledge on their own.
We view our primary role as ensuring that each of our students has fully mastered these knowledge and skill building blocks. We believe in excellence and work with each student towards achieving A-grade level mastery. We do so by allowing each student the necessary time to acquire and demonstrate mastery of each subject. We understand that some students may achieve mastery faster, while others may do so at a slower pace. We never penalize students for taking a longer time to achieve mastery, as such penalties will only encourage students to cut corners.
We spare no time and effort ensuring that each of our students reaches full mastery of every subject.
In the tech and business world, most professionals find experienced mentors to help them develop and make decisions.
Ventures fully adopts this model, making mentors the primary support pillar for students in our school. Mentors’ sole responsibility is to help and guide each student.
Unlike traditional schools, there are no adversarial relationships between students and mentors. Mentors cannot punish students for not completing tasks or lower their grades for failure to meet expectations. Instead, the mentor’s job is to help the student to fully master the material and learn from the best on how to design products and run businesses.
By eliminating the typically adversarial relationships between students and faculty, we create a nurturing environment where students can do their best work feeling safe and free from stress and anxiety.
Students enjoy daily personal mentorship meetings with their mentors where they can discuss academic subjects and track their progress towards mastery. Unlike traditional schools where each teacher engages with up to 200 students, Ventures’ mentors—who are all certified teachers as well—work with 20 students or less. This means that mentors get to know each one of their students, their talents and interests, and can pave a learning path that is individually optimized for each young person under their care.
Beyond traditional academic subjects, our students enjoy frequent professional business, tech, and media mentorship from tech and media leaders. These leaders help students work through the technology, business models, and leadership challenges they face. Working with individual students and small groups, these leaders provide our students with unprecedented access to a wealth of knowledge and experience. Moreover, the close engagement between these leaders and our students enables them to build a professional network that can open doors and provide a future that typical high school students do not have.
In the world of tech, media, and business, the value of experience is immense. Almost all knowledge and expertise are acquired through real-life practice, and new ideas are constantly tested and validated through live fire-testing with actual customers and markets.
The impact and residuals of real-life experiences are vastly greater than those of any theory learned in class. Moreover, experienced professionals are always highly valued. Thus, Ventures Academy focuses on experiential learning and building expertise through the accumulation of real-world experiences. The field of education is already widely recognizing the value of Project-Based Learning (PBL), but at Ventures we are taking this approach to the next level.
Ventures’ students will spend the majority of their time imagining and designing products, marketing them, serving customers, collecting money, and running real-life businesses. Throughout this process, they acquire high-demand technical skills such as programming, data science, and product management as well as business skills in areas including marketing, sales, finance, law, and management.