VENTURES ACADEMY: MISSION AND WORLDVIEW
The Ventures Academy mission is to enable gifted young people to realize their full potential through the power of technology, media, and business by giving them the skills, experiences, and opportunities to innovate and build products and businesses.
We believe that gifted people are naturally creative, each in their own unique way. We further believe that the role of the school is to be a place that allows each student to discover their unique talents, interests, and passions and help them develop themselves into innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs.
Accordingly, Ventures is designed to allow each student to shine, innovate, harness their unique talents, learn important life skills, and gain the experience to build products, businesses, and value in the real world—all in their own unique way.
At its foundation, the Ventures Academy school system is founded on individual empowerment, innovation, and diversity of thought.
Everyone is different. Each of us is born with different gifts into different circumstances. Thus, we believe that our school must empower every one of our students to maximize their own individual potential.
Ventures’ entire educational framework is designed from the ground up to remove all inhibitions that can suppress the individual, instead creating a nurturing environment that allows each student to pursue their own passions, do their best work, learn through experiences, and enjoy every day.
Since every student is a unique person, we believe that trying to measure them against each other is futile and counterproductive. Instead, we treat each of our students as though they are the only student in our school. We focus on giving them the skills and experiences that best fit their unique talents and interests that will make them successful in life.
We believe that innovation is critical to society’s wellbeing. Over the last two centuries, innovation in science, technology, and business has enabled humanity to rise from abject poverty, double its life expectancy, live fuller and happier lives, protect the environment, and transition to national wealth creation from a process driven by violence and war into a process powered by peaceful commerce.
The United States is an amazing innovation powerhouse. Although its traditional education system is often a subject of ridicule, our country has been able to innovate itself into a prosperous global power. Its innovation engine is powered by a culture of freedom, meritocracy, and entrepreneurship.
Innovation is driven by gifted individuals who have creative new ideas and the ability to execute on them. These talented individuals flourish in a culture that encourages them to follow their own passions, harness their own unique talents, make their own decisions, and follow their own paths.
To innovate means to do things differently than they have been done before. We believe an innovator should always challenge the status quo and look for new ways to think about the real needs of people and markets, as well as how to fulfill those needs. An innovative mind must always question consensus, authority, and common perceptions. It will always investigate if there are alternative ways to look at any problem and if new data can be used to invalidate old concepts and raise new ideas and solutions.
We instill in our students the courage to challenge the status quo. We want them to dare to go against the grain and take risks. We expect them to learn to question everything and take nothing for granted. We ask them to do research, collect data, validate assumptions, evaluate alternative approaches, and test their hypotheses. We do this repeatedly to enable our students to build a habit of looking at the world with a questioning fresh look every day.
We believe in the power of the scientific method as the best way to drive innovation and optimized outcomes. We will teach our students to look objectively at any given problem and regularly use research and data to test their assumptions.
The noble laurate Richard Feynman famously said that “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”. We will teach our students to look and analyze raw data themselves and validate their own hypotheses instead of accepting experts’ authority. By learning to research and think for themselves, new ideas will naturally emerge.
DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT
We believe that the most important kind of diversity is the diversity of thought. Different avenues of thought will lead to many creative ideas and solutions and will foster innovation. We encourage our students to avoid seeking consensus and enforcing dogma and instead appreciate and respect diverse attitudes and world views.
We believe that students should be exposed to a wide range of ideas and world views. Understanding opposing views broadens one’s horizons and deepens one’s understanding of the world. By becoming aware that many reasonable people hold opposing views to their own, students will learn to appreciate the complexity of society and the diversity of their own customers.
Instead of shielding our students from opposing or conflicting views, we encourage them to argue the merits of their position and the flaws of an alternative perspective, and vice versa. Learning to handle adversity through civil discourse builds strong character. The ability to articulate a position and convince others is one of the most important life skills that we can help our students acquire.
We expect each of our students to treat their peers with respect and dignity regardless of their worldviews or opinions. We encourage the vigorous exchange of ideas between our students; at the same time, we insist that it is always done in a civilized manner. Through civil discourse, our students learn and practice tolerance and respect for those who are different than themselves.
Our faculty serve as moderators and facilitators of a civil exchange of ideas, never asserting themselves as authority figures to avoid inhibiting students’ diversity of thought. As such, Ventures is strictly an a-political institution. The school and its staff do not express any political position or specific stance on policy, politics and social discourse. Any discussion of such matters in school will solely occur to foster in-depth analysis, understanding, and civilized debate among students.
We believe that a school’s role is to provide students with knowledge, skills, and experiences, understanding that it is the parents’ role to guide their children through establishing their own moral, political, and religious compass.