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A new mold for a modern school

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

When we set out to build a school focused on growing the next generation of tech and media entrepreneurs, we realized very quickly that the traditional school system cannot serve as the mold for Ventures Academy.

The traditional school system was designed in the early 1800s to provide a regular supply of basically literate factory workers to the rapidly expanding industrial revolution. The system was dominated by a set of concepts brought directly from the factory and into the classroom: quick, efficient, identical, replaceable.

Students were treated as raw material to be graded and then consumed by the industrial complex. The workforce was produced en masse, striving for identical results with individuality strongly discouraged. That mold has survived 200 years and it may still be suitable for a country that is based on mass manual labor force.

That mold is not suitable for the USA in the 21st century.

We are living in an innovation-based economy. Success and riches are dependent on finding the next great idea and successfully bringing it to market. New perspectives, individual excellence, and creative thinking are the winning ingredients in this economy. All of these aspects are actively discouraged by the traditional school system.

We clearly had to look elsewhere for a modern model and we didn’t have to look far to find it. The high-tech industry exemplifies all that is successful in the 21st century. It values and promotes all the things that the traditional school system doesn’t: creative thinking, individuality, excellence, and innovation.

So we modeled the school after the tech industry from top to bottom.

This meant that we had to restructure the most fundamental aspects of the learning process to follow the high-tech model. Instead of putting all of our students through identical mass-production lines, we do what every tech company does: identify and foster the gifts of each of their people and provide an individualized path for success for each of them. Instead of force-feeding the students an identical curriculum at a uniform pace, we follow the greatest enterprises in the world and teach our students how to research and educate themselves. Instead of a single teacher presenting to a class of 30, we adopted the personal mentorship model prevalent in the tech industry, where students get individualized guidance and support as they follow their own learning paths.

Tech companies don’t care about grades – they only care that their employees become masters of their domains. So, we adopted the mastery learning system where students are encouraged to improve until they fully master the material.

And every tech company knows that an ounce of real-world experience outweighs a ton of theory. Similarly, we have designed our school to provide our students with real experience of tech and media companies by building and operating their own startups in real-life. And instead of being tutored by just book-smart teachers, we are bringing in world-class tech, media and business leaders to mentor and share their life experiences with our students.

Welcome to Ventures Academy: A new kind of school for the 21st century!

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