Whittle School & Studios reimagines modern education through instruction and architecture


Whittle School & Studios will be located on 4400 Connecticut Ave. Photo courtesy of Renzo Piano/Whittle School & Studios.

Whittle School & Studios will not stick to the status quo of modern education. Instead, the school will reimagine it. Education entrepreneur Chris Whittle, the chairman and CEO of the school, wants students to become global citizens through education.

Whittle School & Studios is headquartered in New York. It will open its first campuses in Washington, D.C. and Shenzhen, China in fall 2019. The D.C. campus will be located on 4000 Connecticut Ave NW.

The school is implementing a 10-year plan to build several campuses in big cities across the world. Some cities include London, Beijing, Paris, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Hong Kong. At full capacity, each campus will serve 2,500 students from ages 3 to 18. There will be 160 students per grade, with weekly and full-time boarders in the high school. 

The school’s goal is to have campuses across the world connected by a single faculty and a common curriculum. It wants its students to be well-versed in academia, proficient in speaking multiple languages, and gain firsthand experiences with multiple cultures.

Julie Chase, the school’s spokesperson, said one of the reasons why Whittle chose D.C. was because of its competitive market.

“Bethesda, [Maryland], the city right up here, is one of the top places across the country for the commitment to education and really good higher education. It’s a very competitive market here with people who look to have good education,” she said.

Washington International Drive. Photo courtesy of Renzo Piano/Whittle School & Studios.

“This property that you’re looking at is right in the middle of where all the embassies are, so that sort of speaks to the globalism right at our fingertips — which makes Washington so unique.”

World-renowned architect Renzo Piano designed this campus. The school chose Piano because of his focus on architectural simplicity. He designed the D.C. campus to allow natural lights to illuminate the entire edifice. 

Washington Courtyard. Photo courtesy of Renzo Piano/Whittle School & Studios.

Furthermore, the school is really adamant about morphing students into global citizens. And it already has the education structure in place to reach that goal. Richard Pratt, a member of Whittle’s global education design team, says its structure is “personalized.”

“The object is that the education is designed to fit the student rather than the student having to be shaped to fit the education process,” he said. We’re all familiar with and probably frustrated by the conveyor belt-style of schooling that most of us probably experienced.”

Whittle will build its educational scale to allow an operation that has the resources and capacity to adapt the educational experience to every student. Pratt says students from every campus will have a chance to tap into networks of expertise and specialization, allowing them to develop and foster personal passions and enthusiasms.

Washington Lobby. Photo courtesy of Renzo Piano/Whittle School & Studios.

“The idea is to be able to cater to every student,” he said. The schools will reimagine education and ignite change within an existing education system. But in order to do this, it will hire top-notch teachers.

There is a fairly extensive faculty recruitment operation for teaching candidates. There will be rounds of interviews for these positions.

“Eventually you’ll have to push aside the CVs and resumes to one side, and just know that you’re dealing with someone who gets it. And you know that through dialogue. It’s meaningful, deep, and extensive dialogue with the candidates that you have in front of you. You have to trust your judgement.”

Emily Reynolds, the director of admissions for the D.C. campus, says the admissions process for students is “collaborative by nature.” The school’s philosophy is that everything about a student is relevant.

The first part of the admissions process involves getting to know the family. And the second part is a conversation with the student and parent(s).

“The conversation is the most collaborative and most valuable part of the admissions process,” Reynolds said. ‘It allows us to sit down together to talk about your child’s dreams, goals, interests, and how we’re going to work together to unleash their super power.”

Parents can submit applications during the early admissions cycle right now. Applying during this cycle guarantees automatic consideration into the school’s Founding Whittle Scholars program. This is a highly-selective and prestigious program for students in the middle and upper divisions. This program will cover 50 to 100 percent of tuition costs.

Reynolds also mentioned the school will launch a new financial aid process that “will widen access to a variety of talented applicants, and help make the dreams of this exceptional experience a reality.”

For more information about Whittle School & Studios’ application process, visit the school’s website