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Venture Academy Wins National Attention, Gates Funding


Opening in Minneapolis in August 2013, Venture Academy will be Minnesota's first school designed to cultivate innovators and entrepreneurial leaders

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A national competition funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation next week will name Venture Academy, Minnesota’s first 6-12 school with a personalized, blended digital learning program, as one of the nation’s 20 Breakthrough School Models for College Readiness. Venture Academy will use the support to open Minnesota’s—and possibly the nation’s—first school designed to cultivate innovators and entrepreneurial leaders in Minneapolis in August 2013.

Minnesota’s only awardee, Venture Academy is one of 20 winners of the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) Wave IIIa competition, which includes a $150,000 planning grant and eligibility for up to $300,000 more in matching funds. NGLC supports school models designed to improve college readiness through personalized learning and the use of technology, and help others adopt effective models. Led by EDUCAUSE, NGLC is funded by the Gates and Hewlett foundations and sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.

Authorized by Innovative Quality Schools, Venture Academy will also be Minnesota’s first middle-high STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and design, math)-focused program, and will serve a cross-section of Minneapolis children seeking personalized, engaging and accelerated learning pathways to college, career and life.

“Venture is designed to motivate young people to make dramatic learning progress by letting them take charge of their own learning,” says Jon Bacal, Venture Academy’s chief entrepreneurship officer. “By blending student-directed, personalized digital learning and adaptive teaching, Venture cultivates the skills everyone needs to thrive in the 21st century. Only 40 percent of all Minneapolis high school students and 20 percent of Latino and black students are college-ready; our city needs a 21st century school.”

In addition to Inspiring Innovators and Leaders, the other two elements of Venture Academy’s design include:

  • Try-Measure-Learn-Iterate, encouraging educators and students to try new approaches, take risks, track progress in real-time, adapt and improve constantly and share lessons learned
  • Growing Great People, igniting student—and educator—passions to fuel the relentless learning, leadership and character practice required to become great learners, educators, leaders and people

The families of more than 130 entering sixth-graders have completed intent to enroll forms to date for the future Minneapolis public charter school. For more information about Venture Academy’s approach to learning or to complete an intent to enroll form, visit

About Venture Academy

Venture Academy’s mission is to inspire passionate, purposeful innovators and entrepreneurial leaders able to imagine opportunities, take initiative and create solutions. Venture Academy aims to dramatically accelerate learning to prepare all young people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, for college learning and purposeful life pathways by the age of 16.

For Venture Academy
Laura Griffith, 651-286-6775
Risdall Public Relations
Venture Academy
Jon Bacal, 612-356-8626

Source: Venture Academy