After years of planning and discussion, Donda Academy, Kayne West’s private Christian school (emphasis on private) in Simi Valley, is welcoming fewer than 100 lucky students from across the United States. And, like at any normal school, parents will have to sign non-disclosure agreements before their young may attend.
West, who built a billion-dollar empire by being a “genius”—his word—at everything from music production to fashion, and then dove into gospel with his Sunday Service events, is now setting his sights on molding the minds of “the next generation of leaders.”
As Rolling Stone reports, the academy, which still awaits accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), will take in students from pre-k to 12th grade. The young learners will wear uniforms consisting entirely of pieces from West’s designs for Yeezy and Gap while attending classes, including choir and parkour. However, with West and the Gap falling out, the school may be looking for some alternative student ensembles soon.
Malik Yusef, a long-time collaborator of West’s who helped to shape the school, told RS, “Kayne’s whole ideology is about freedom, and freerunning is a great way for the kids to exercise and exert themselves and use their energy without feeling competitive…We don’t necessarily want to force kids to be as competitive; we want them to experience their own self-efficacy and then gauge from there who they are.”
Though tuition comes in at $15K annually, about half of the students attending have been awarded financial assistance or scholarships, primarily funded by West’s personal network. However, aside from tuition and a few minor details, little is known about what type of education students at Donda receive.
According to the school’s website, “Each day, Donda students learn fundamentals, grow in their faith, and experience two enrichment classes.” Students follow a daily schedule of “full school worship, core classes of language arts, math, and science, lunch & recess, and enrichment courses, including world language, visual art, film, choir, and parkour.”
The school activities are so secretive, in fact, that sources close to students say parents are required to sign a confidentiality agreement. Tanner Andrews, a childhood-education consultant for Donda, confirmed as much, telling RS that parents were asked to sign an “informal agreement.”
West’s school, which is set to have its first visit from the WASC in November, will need to prove that its chief administration officer and teachers are qualified for their positions before it can send graduates to any college—aside from the planned Donda University.
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