Cheyenne Roundtree, Rolling Stone

Kanye West’s latest ambitious venture may be his most surprising – and most mysterious.

Over the past decade, West has cemented himself not only as a musical force but also as a cultural and creative visionary, with the launch of his Yeezy line, major collaborations with Adidas and Gap, and tech projects like the Stem Player.

Now, he’s moving into education with Donda Academy, his own private school named after his late mother, Professor Donda West. Headquartered in Simi Valley, California, the tuition-based Christian prep school’s mission, according to its website, is to “prepare students to become the next generation of leaders” through “an ethic of integrity and care.” (West previously teased the idea of a school back in October 2020 under the name Yeezy Christian Academy.)

West returned to Instagram earlier this month to share photos of students decked out in school uniforms consisting entirely of his Yeezy and Gap designs. He also complained about his four children not attending the school, seemingly suggesting to his estranged wife Kim Kardashian that the kids should split their time between Donda and their current school.

But despite its celebrity founder, curiosity about the school, flashy visits from celebrities, and West’s plans to open up campuses across the country alongside a Donda University, the school has shared little information about its academics beyond what’s on its sparse website — an anomaly when compared to the area’s top private schools that detail their staff, classes, and other programs. The academy’s website merely notes that students’ daily schedule includes “full school worship; core classes of language arts, math, and science; lunch and recess; enrichment courses including World Language, Visual Art, Film, Choir, and Parkour.”

Two sources tell Rolling Stone that families are required to sign nondisclosure agreements; a consultant to the school claims only parents sign, and described it as an “informal agreement.”

What’s more, the school is not yet accredited and was still looking to hire instructors shortly before the school year began. Exactly who attends and works at the school has been tricky to pin down. Donda’s listed administrators and sporting program’s leadership did not respond to Rolling Stone’s multiple inquiries about the school. A representative for West also did not respond to requests for comment. Many of those associated with the school balked at interview requests, as did parents whose children attend the school. Even attempts by Simi Valley’s local newspaper noted in a June article that it could not reach anyone.

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