“Avenues: The World School” Unveils New Global System of PRE-K-12 Education With Flagship Campus in New York
15-GRADE INSTITUTION WILL BE THE FIRST OF A WORLDWIDE SYSTEM OF
SCHOOLS TO OPEN IN EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA
CHELSEA CAMPUS TO WELCOME FIRST STUDENTS IN FALL 2012
January 28th, 2011 – New York, NY — In an unprecedented effort to establish a global network of schools serving students in pre-school, elementary and secondary grades, “Avenues: The World School” announced today its flagship campus in New York City. The 15-grade institution will be the first of a worldwide system of 20 or more independent schools to open over the next decade in major cities around the globe, such as Shanghai, London, Mumbai, São Paulo, Johannesburg, Abu Dhabi and Sydney. Connected by a common vision and shared curriculum, Avenues’ worldwide network of campuses will deliver an exceptional education to prepare students for global life.
Avenues’ first campus will be located in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood in a 10-story, 215,000-square-foot landmark building on the High Line. The school will open 12 of its planned 15 grades in the 2012-2013 school year, including all grades between nursery and 9th grade. The 10th, 11th and 12th grades will be added over the following three years. Avenues’ first graduating class will be in spring 2016.
Collectively, Avenues (www.avenues.org) will comprise a highly-integrated learning community connected through state-of-the-art resources—including superior technology—and a stellar academic leadership team, including longtime heads of Exeter, Dalton and Hotchkiss.
“Avenues will aggregate the academic expertise and best practices from the finest preparatory schools and universities in the country into a worldwide system of schools,” said Benno Schmidt, chairman of Avenues. “As the first truly global network of pre-K-12 schools, Avenues is uniquely equipped to prepare students to excel in the highly competitive and networked 21st century world.”
Schmidt is among the world’s leading innovators in primary, secondary and tertiary education. A former president of Yale University, dean of Columbia Law School and co-founder of Edison Schools (now EdisonLearning), he currently chairs the board of trustees of the City University of New York.
Avenues’ 10-person academic leadership team is headed by Tyler Tingley and Robert “Skip” Mattoon, who are serving as co-heads of school. For the past 12 years, Tingley headed Phillips Exeter Academy, while Mattoon led the Hotchkiss School for 11 years. Other academic team leaders include Gardner Dunnan, Avenues’ academic dean, who headed the Dalton School for 23 years; Nancy Schulman, head of the Early Learning Center, who has served as director of the 92nd Street Y Nursery School for the past 20 years; Elizabeth Hixson, head of the Lower School, who has served as middle school director at Dalton since 2003; Tom Bonnell, head of the Middle School, who comes to Avenues after a five-year tenure as head of the Savannah Country Day School in Georgia; and Sarah Bayne, director of educational design, who spent the last decade as head of the Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, CA.
“As the world evolves, so must our educational systems,” said Avenues’ CEO Chris Whittle, an education and media entrepreneur who, with Benno Schmidt, founded Edison Schools in 1992 and whose Whittle Communications was one of America’s top 100 media companies in the 1980s. Edison has been instrumental in establishing the charter school movement and now serves 450,000 students on three continents.
“We live in a much smaller, more connected world, one that demands education to be less parochial in its view and more urgent in preparing students who can lead in this new global society,” he said. “Students who graduate with a global perspective and cultural fluency, who have experienced studying and collaborating around the world as a reality and not a dream, will have an extraordinary advantage. Avenues will be able to deliver on that.”
“Avenues will offer a global, technologically-sophisticated version of the liberal education that is a hallmark of the best private schools and universities around the world,” said Schmidt. “Liberal education refers not to a political outlook, but rather to an education that liberates the mind from ignorance, bias, conventional wisdom, herd-mentality and immediate circumstance. It is an education that promotes critical thinking, graceful clarity of expression and intellectual autonomy. It embodies the best and most beautiful manifestations of human intellect and creativity over the ages, from math and science to the humanities and the arts.”
Avenues leadership has designed an academic program with a number of distinct objectives:
Core academic skills: Graduates will be expected to have exceptional academic skills. Reading, the portal to virtually all learning, will be the most important subject. Writing well will also be
emphasized, as will strong numeracy.
Global preparedness: All students will graduate with fluency in at least one language other than their own. Every student will complete the “World Course,” a non-western-centric combination of history, geography and world issues. Starting in Middle School, each student will be encouraged to participate in overseas learning experiences, with particular emphasis on China, India, Latin America, Africa and Europe.
- An area of depth and excellence: Starting in Upper School, students will gain expertise in a self-chosen field of learning, whether art, music, sports or history.
- Values: Avenues will actively teach core values and character traits.
- Life skills: Students will be exposed to a panoply of careers and will be fluent in important technological applications.
- Fitness: In addition to plentiful sporting opportunities, all students will be expected to develop a personal regimen of exercise by the time they graduate.
- Entry into great higher education: Avenues will help place every student in an important college, university or other higher-education institution.
Since great students are taught and nurtured by great teachers, faculty development will be a key operating principle of Avenues. Because Avenues will be a global system, teachers from every campus will have on-going opportunities to come together and develop their skills. There will also be a career advancement structure, so teachers can become lead teachers, division heads or even heads of school. Avenues also expects to lead the way in faculty compensation.
To ensure that its commitment to academic excellence never stagnates, Avenues will fund ongoing research and development. In addition to constant upgrades in technology and other areas, it is anticipated that every five to seven years there will be a comprehensive review of the school design.
Alan Greenberg, Avenues’ president, echoed these sentiments. Noting that a significant investment is being made to actualize Avenues’ vision, he said, “Avenues’ system will offer students and teachers educational and resource advantages that cannot be replicated by an individual stand-alone school. Rarely have so much time, energy and resources been invested in research and development.” Greenberg, who has an international business background in interactive and traditional media in the education, healthcare and global travel sectors, founded Greenberg News Networks, which was subsequently purchased by WebMD.
“We don’t want to create just another good school,” Schmidt said. “We want to create an exceptional school, an exceptional system of schools, one that will become one of the world’s
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