What You Need to Know about Kanye West’s Donda Academy


SLAM Magazine

Kanye on the cover of SLAM Magazine with the Donda Doves.

Connor Gilbert, Journalist

Famous rapper and designer, Ye, AKA Kanye West, has recently brought to light the creation of Donda Academy, a Christian private school located in southern California. The official mission states that the school “prepares students to become the next generation of leaders, thinkers and innovators by providing them with a world-class education that includes a rigorous core curriculum, and an emphasis on sustainability, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving”. Ye also said that the academy gives “kids practical tools that they need in a world post the iPhone being created.” 

With the academy only being in its third year of operation with 82 students enrolled, details are quite sparse. However, what we do know pulls a lot of attention. The inclusion of parkour and choir as enrichment classes is one of those things. Choir has already been a facet of Ye’s expansion into new markets with a Sunday Service Church, featuring its own Gospel Choir. Some have hypothesized that the Choir program is an extension of his Sunday Service, more specifically a pipeline into the program.  

Although Donda Academy is considered a taboo school, the school appears to have a standard class and limited extracurriculars. The school day begins with school worship, followed by core classes of math, language arts and science. After that, the school offers lunch and recess, ending with enrichment classes including World Language, Visual Art, Film, Choir and Parkour. 

The school also has a basketball team, which is known as the Donda Doves, which went 11-9 in a 20-game season last year. The team has had multiple interactions with former and current NBA players, including Celtics guard Jaylen Brown and veteran Dorell Wright, who will serve as head coach for the Doves during the 2022-23 season. The team is not short of talent, either, as three of the seniors enlisted on the team rank among the top 50 recruits ranked by ESPN, including Robert Dillingham, scheduled to play at the University of Kentucky next year. 

While the school seems to be a normal private school, there is an air of controversy surrounding the school. One of the first major controversies was an alleged photo of children in Donda Academy at lunch in an area appearing to be a warehouse, which has yet to have been addressed. Ye has been in an ongoing debate with his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, as they share custody over their kids, North, Saint, Chicago, and Psalm West attending the academy. 

With all controversy set aside, there are still two large issues with the school that are currently keeping the most potential students at bay, the first being the large price tag. While the school is tuition-based, with all applications welcome, yearly tuition runs at a rate of $15,000 per year. The second, and possibly larger issue is that the school remains unaccredited. This means that degrees and grade levels earned and passed from the school do not have any real use or weight: They cannot be used to join a university, and to transfer out of the school, you must take a placement exam before being put into the school. While the school has applied for accreditation, the school has yet to achieve the title. At this time, until the school gains more legitimacy, it would appear to be the best decision to wait for when more information is released to think about attending Ye’s new school.