Mastery Program

γένοι᾽ οἷος ἐσσὶ μαθών – Pindar, Pythian 2.72
“Learn and become who you are.”

Mission

As a cornerstone of the Avenues experience, the Mastery program is fueled by one mission: To inspire a world of happier, more meaningful lives through the beautiful engagement of one’s passions. We recognize the power of individuals to motivate others through demonstrations of expert skill and unbridled creativity; we champion the ways in which the honest deployment of our energies can give meaning and purpose to our own lives; and, most importantly, we empower our students with the understanding that when they actively engage these passions, they acquire the ability to shape the world in some positive way.

With this mission in mind, we provide students both time and space during the school day to strive toward the achievement of exceptional skill in a desired domain. Imagine a young historian researching a minor figure from the American Revolution and adding to the academic literature of this period; a team of young scientists working with college professors to harness the power of radio waves in order to charge electronic devices; or a songwriter working with mentors to write and produce her first album. The possibilities are endless in Mastery, and our students’ work is limited only by their imaginations.

The Program

All ninth graders are introduced to the thinking and research that form the foundation of Mastery. Students acquire the tools and language that will equip them both for success as Mastery students and for the academic challenges of their Avenues coursework. Because we believe every student should have an opportunity to discover his or her passion, we work tirelessly with freshmen to help them understand their interests and aptitudes.

Students in grades 10 and 11 may continue their Mastery work, diving deeper in a given area. Students who have already identified a particular interest are invited to imagine themselves as contributing members of this self-selected domain. We ask our students to make a commitment, not to a profession but to a purposeful inquiry in the present that inches them closer to that dream of their future.

Seniors in Mastery examine the philosophy and psychology of creativity as they work toward the completion of a large-scale senior project that will be presented in a public exhibition to the Avenues community and require an oral defense. Robust, experiential learning like this requires both maturity and dedication. We urge our students to push themselves because we have a limitless belief in their capabilities. Mastery is an extraordinary experience that elicits extraordinary work from our students.

Beyond the Classroom, Beyond Avenues

As students continue through the Mastery program, we urge them to seek out formal mentorship opportunities and to take advantage of field experiences in the areas in which they are working. We have built maximum flexibility into the Mastery program so every student can clear a pathway to his or her personal goals.

Finally, as leading colleges and university begin to look for key differentiators in their prospective freshmen, the Mastery program becomes a way students can distinguish themselves from their peers around the world. Graduates from our program exhibit a deep understanding of themselves and of their essential natures, both as learners and as human beings. They have proven their maturity, dedication and focus through the knowledge they have acquired and through the quality of the work they have produced. Is there a better way to show colleges and the world who you really are than through the active engagement of your passions?

Come, help us inspire the world.

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Recent Articles from OPEN, our news and discussion blog

December 8, 2017

Yayoi Kusama’s Festival of Life

by Robert Davis, Co-head Pre-K Teacher


Yayoi Kusama Festival of Life show was such a special experience for our pre-K students as they wandered through her “infinity rooms.” The first room in the show is an immersive experience for everyone who visits, and our 4 and 5-year-olds really seemed to connect with it.  

December 5, 2017

Maker of Patterns: Part One

by Cem Inaltong, Global Academic Dean, Mathematics


Last week, having almost completed all high school math curriculum, a group of 12th graders set foot to find beauty outside the classroom. This time, they looked for patterns not in a sequence of math problems, but ones hidden in the works of artists. As a prelude to their yearlong math-art project, students visited galleries in Chelsea. One of the stops was home to works by artist Ruth Asawa. 

December 1, 2017

Fab Five Creative Computation Class

by Yumi Nakanishi, Middle Grades Technology Integrator


In 5th grade, students take a weekly one-hour class called Fab Five. The Fab Five classes consist of Drama, Journalism, Public Speaking, Creative Computing and Wellness. In the Creative Computation class, students learned to build a computer from scratch.   

November 29, 2017

Little Bodies, Big Feelings: Real Life Emojis

by Alexandra Gerba, Associate Pre-K Teacher


We asked the kids to share what they know about emotions, and then generated a list of all the feelings we know. One child made a quick connection and said, “Hey! Emojis, emotions. They’re like the same thing!” We used this observation to help us draw facial expressions for our own class emojis and then thought about how and why we feel the ways we do.  

November 28, 2017

Studying City Life in Spanish 8

by Olga Valeria, Middle Grades Spanish Teacher


In Spanish class with Profesora Valeria, 8th-grade students are working on the topic “City Life.” Through language study, they make connections with other content areas; compare the language and culture studied with their own; and participate in home and global communities.  

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