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

January 5, 2018

Using Rekenreks to Enhance Math Learning in Kindergarten

by Natalie Gootkin, Kindergarten Associate Teacher


This year we are introducing a new math tool to be used in our kindergarten and 1st grade curriculum—rekenreks. Rekenreks are used for students to understand numbers in a multi-sensory way.  

January 3, 2018

Gongfu and Self-Cultivation

by Spencer Baron, Upper Division Chinese Teacher


At the end of the school day, I change from my work clothes into stretchy pants and a t-shirt, and make the transformation from Chinese teacher back to the fire-and-brimstone martial arts instructor I once was. Students come into my class with varied motivation; some come to become physically fit, some to learn to defend themselves and some to connect themselves to an unbroken line of an old tradition 

December 21, 2017

The Value of Routine in Child Development

by Roberto Baldeschi-Balleani, Pre-kindergarten Head Teacher


During a child’s development it is essential to build and maintain routines. Having consistent routines and knowing what to expect creates a predictable and safe environment for children. One of the first goals for children when starting pre-school is to internalize the daily routine.  

December 20, 2017

Avenues Is Deepening its Footprint in Math Competitions

by Cem Inaltong, Global Academic Dean, Mathematics


This year, our middle grades students set a new record in our young history. Seventy-four students from grades 6 through 8 participated in one of the most prestigious math contests in the world, American Mathematics Competition 8.  

December 18, 2017

Expedition: Black Rock Forest

by Rachel Kreibich, 5th Grade Head Teacher


This fall, 5th graders from Avenues traveled about two hours out of the city to Black Rock Forest for an educational and recreational day trip. The Black Rock Forest Consortium is a “living laboratory for field-based research and education, encompassing native terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that are increasingly rare in the region.” 

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