After rapper Kanye West posted a picture of students at Donda Academy eating in what looked to be a warehouse, the school became a big topic of conversation. But even though so many people are talking about it, the academy is still shrouded in mystery.

What is Donda Academy?

Donda Academy is a private Christian school that legendary rap artist Kanye West founded. Located in Simi Valley, California, the school services children from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.

Donda Academy may be a hot topic on social media, but the school is wholly focused on its students. According to its mission statement, the academy “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.”

Who is Donda?

Kanye West named the school after his late mother Donda West. Mama West was a professor and chair member of the Department of English, Communications, Media and Theater at Chicago State University.

She played a pivotal role in Ye’s life and stood by his side early in his career. She passed away from coronary artery disease and other post-operative factors while undergoing cosmetic surgery.

Ye often speaks very highly of his mother and even named his 10th studio album after her. Fortunately, her life and legacy live on in him, and now by helping children of all backgrounds achieve greatness through education.

What To Know About Donda Academy

Donda West meant the entire world to her son, Kanye. So it’s no wonder that he named his school after her to honor her legacy. And fortunately, with a big name like Kanye West, it’s receiving plenty of attention. But even though the school is a popular subject on social media, fans are still asking for more. Here’s what you should know about Kanye West’s Donda Academy:

1. It Costs a Pretty Penny to Attend

Because Donda Academy is a private, Christian school, tuition is pretty steep. Add in the fact that the school is founded by a rap legend, and you can see why the institution charges a whopping $15,000 in yearly tuition.

But the academy argues that the price is right, especially for what students are getting. For example, Donda students have access to the Kanye West, himself. Plus, joining its Donda Doves basketball team are top high school athletes like Jalen Hooks and Robert Dillingham.


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Plus, some of Kanye’s celebrity friends have already signed their children up to attend. For example, R&B singer Keyshia Cole shared a picture of her son in his uniform on his first day at the school.

2. There's a Gospel Choir

In 2019, Kanye West introduced Sunday Service, a church service featuring a gospel choir headed by the rapper and choir director Jason White. Sunday Service was an instant success, with fans from all over the world clamoring to attend. 

Fans praised the choir, who sang gospel iterations of some of Ye’s popular songs. They later released an album entitled Jesus Is Born and even performed at Coachella for Easter.

And with a musical genius for a founder, it’s no wonder Donda Academy wants to bring that same energy to its students. Children from second to 12th grade can audition to be part of the Donda Academy Gospel Choir, where they’ll attend weekly rehearsals and even perform for audiences.

3. Its Curriculum Honors Donda West

Donda West was a pillar in her son’s life, so it’s fitting that the “Jesus Walks” rapper decided to pay homage to her at Donda Academy.

As a professor, Donda West had a lot of knowledge and experience to share with her students. And even though she’s since passed, Ye is determined to educate students at the academy in the same way she would.

The official website includes teachings, called Donda Rules, that both educate and empower Donda students. For example, Donda Rule #51 states that “Students must be confident in forming ideas. If not, their writing will suffer.”

This, and other rules like it, not only teach children how to become their best selves but also carries Mama Donda’s legacy for generations to come.

4. Students Receive the Attention They Need

A big problem that many teachers face today is a shortage of staffing. And when there aren’t enough teachers to tend to students, the children are the ones who suffer most.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average classroom size in California is 19 students for every one teacher.

Fortunately, Donda Academy helps combat this problem by focusing on the students and teachers. With a 10 to 1 student-teacher ratio and less than 12 students per class, no child gets overlooked. This also benefits teachers, who are often overworked in classrooms of 20 or more.