A Whittle School Education

A Whittle School Education
We aim to create an extraordinary school—the first truly modern, global institution serving children from ages 3 to 18.
Student Illustration by Violeta Lopiz

In fall 2019, our first two campuses will open in in Shenzhen, China, and Washington, DC. Within a decade, we expect to have a system of 30-plus schools in the world’s leading cities. Designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, these campuses will be inspiring environments where students can pursue their passions and achieve their highest potential.

Flexible workspaces, theaters, on-campus accelerators, private music rooms, advanced sports facilities, and robotics and coding labs will ensure that education extends beyond classroom walls. Each campus will include residential dormitories for local and regional boarding students, as well as for those studying abroad from other Whittle campuses. Each Whittle campus will serve approximately 2,000–2,500 students ages three to 18, with about 150 students per grade.

Graphic describing the distinctive components of our education

Curriculum & Pedagogy

Outdated educational models focus almost entirely on one element of the school experience: coursework and course content. We believe that education should take into account everything students experience during each moment of their time at school.

Every interaction is a lesson: how your child is greeted at the beginning of the day, how the purpose of a course is explained to her, or whether a schedule rushes her mindlessly from one class to another. Curriculum is more than just course content.

For too long, the core pedagogical methodology has remained largely unchanged, at the expense of genuine innovation and responsiveness to new discoveries in learning theory, emotional and moral development, technology, and pedagogy. Drawing on decades of collective expertise from both hemispheres, our education design team has spent thousands of hours researching best practices and programs at top educational institutions around the globe, from early learning centers to charter school networks to innovative high schools and universities, including Stanford, Harvard, and Tsinghua. The result is an educational model that is truly global, fully adaptable for each student’s needs and strengths, and at a level of rigor that will prepare them for the most selective colleges in the world.

Core Academic Skills and Knowledge

Our core academic curriculum— science, technology, engineering, math, humanities, global and local history, creative arts and design— will integrate best practices from schools around the world, with careful consideration for what is required by the education codes and college entrance exams in each of the countries in which we will operate. Career preparation— something most schools give minimal attention to—will be addressed and integrated into the curriculum as well.

Global Study

Experiencing different cultures changes and deepens students’ views of the world for their entire lives. Our students will be strongly encouraged to take advantage of our world-wide network and spend part of their school experience abroad, including at least one program in each of China and the U.S. by the time they graduate. Options will range from one- or two-month summer programs to full years abroad at other Whittle campuses.

Immersive Language Learning

Immersive programs at our campuses combined with global rotation will ensure that all students graduate with a level of written and spoken proficiency in a second language that will allow them to work and study in another culture. Outside of English-speaking countries, English will be the required second language for all students. In English-speaking countries, Chinese and Spanish will be the most frequently offered second-language choices. Additional languages will be offered depending on location.


The “one-size-fits-all” model of the Industrial Era is insufficient for the Innovation Age. Whittle School & Studios will provide a personalized education that empowers students as partners in their learning. A crucial early step is knowing every child well. Caring, connected advisers will guide students through all stages of their academic and extracurricular lives. One-on-one advisory will be prioritized and integrated into our school schedules.

Interdisciplinary and Project-Based Learning

Interdisciplinary academic experiences connect mastery to inquiry- and problem-based project work, making learning “sticky,” or more permanent. Throughout their education, students will explore significant questions and problems that cut across disciplines, culminating in presentations to the rest of the Whittle community.

Experiential Learning

Going out into the world and learning directly from physical, social and geographical reality enhances understanding by tying learning to personal experience. At Whittle, these pursuits will be built into the schedule and organized with the same rigor as any lesson plan by the directors of each campus’s Centers of Excellence and City Core programs.

College Advisory

Our college placement program will use a combination of global and local resources, something a single-site school simply cannot do. Members of our leadership team have taught at, attended, or led at most of the top 20 universities in the world, giving us unparalleled insight into what these institutions desire from their students and the processes they conduct to recruit them.