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

February 22, 2018

Middle Grades Lunar New Year Celebration

by Ting Wang, Middle Grades Chinese Teacher


In class, middle grades students not only learned about the “do’s and dont’s” of Lunar New Year, they also learned about how Chinese people follow a day-by-day guide to do New Year’s preparation seven days before the Lunar New Year’s eve.  

February 15, 2018

The GO Project-Avenues Partnership

by Jennette Mullaney


Since 2012, Avenues has partnered with the GO Project, an educational intervention program that serves under-resourced children in New York City.  

February 13, 2018

Learning About the Filmmaking Process

by Rachel Kreibich, 5th Grade Head Teacher


Nick Shumaker, the father of one of our 5th graders, recently visited the Palms’ classroom to talk about the process of creating the animated film White Fang.  

February 7, 2018

Tactfully Approaching Strangers in a Second Language

by Spencer Baron, Upper Division Chinese Teacher


In Chinese 3-4, we are actively focused on our skills at making conversation. As we move across topics essential to daily life in Chinese, the one common thread is the opening. That very small but important dance of interaction between two or more people is where so many decisions are made about how to move forward and will dictate how friendly each side will decide to be 

February 6, 2018

A Picture Book Teaches Compassion

by Liz Salegumba, Pre-K Head Teacher


This fall’s earthquakes in Mexico and devastating storms in Puerto Rico deeply affected members of our teaching team. One of our teachers saw an opportunity for children to learn compassion with the use of Alvaro F. Villa’s Flood, a moving and wordless eBook.  

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