An email viewed by The Times from the principal of Donda Academy, Jason Angell, read: “THERE IS NO SCHOOL TOMORROW” (October 27).
Mr Angell also wrote: “At the discretion of our Founder, Donda Academy will close for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year effective immediately.”
Donda Academy, named after West’s late mother, charges $15,000 (around £13,000) a year. It has attracted controversy after it emerged that non-disclosure agreements are required to attend.
The tuition-based school aims to “prepare students to become the next generation of leaders,” according to its website.
Its exact location in Simi Valley is a well-kept secret, while students wear uniforms made by the luxury fashion design house Balenciaga.
West, who in September claimed he had never read a book because “reading is like eating Brussels sprouts,” opened the school in November 2021.
Last month on Good Morning America, West said the school (which is run by administrators, some of whom have limited education experience) could turn kids into “geniuses” but acknowledged even his own children don’t attend.
The school offers a Christian-based education – pupils are taught in daily, full-school worship sessions – alongside a “rigorous core curriculum”.
Classes of language, arts, maths, and science are also taught, according to Donda’s website.
In the afternoon, after meals that Slam Magazine reports are occasionally served by West’s own private chef, pupils can undertake “enrichment” courses. These include film, choir, and parkour, an activity involving quickly jumping over and off objects.
As an unaccredited institution, the academy has not fulfilled the requirements set by the state to ensure it meets educational standards and staff competencies.
This makes the school ineligible for public funding, and many colleges and universities do not recognise diplomas awarded to students from unaccredited schools.
An investigation by Rolling Stone found that the apparent head of the school Brianne Campbell, who also leads the school’s choir programme, has never held a formal position as an educator.
According to her CV, Ms Campbell’s closest brush with a teaching position appears to be running her own piano, guitar, and singing tutoring business headquartered from her apartment.
There is no publicly available list of the 16 teachers that Rolling Stone reported currently work full time at the academy. Their qualifications are unknown.
The lack of transparency about the inner workings of the school raises questions about what’s actually happening behind the scenes.
The Times reported that, in the email to parents, Mr Angell said the school planned to “begin afresh in September of 2023”.
The email said: “Our leadership team will be working diligently to assist all families during this transition, ensuring that every scholar has what they need to succeed in their next community in a prompt and gracious manner.”
It concluded: “We are confident that our scholars will continue to advance as the creative innovators, courageous influencers and academic leaders of the next generation.”
The email is signed, “in Love and Grace, The Donda Academy Team”.
The academy’s closure comes after numerous brands dropped West over a series of antisemitic comments.
Brands including Adidas and Balenciaga have severed ties with the star. There are also growing calls to boycott his music on platforms including Netflix and Spotify.
On Wednesday, West was escorted off the premises of footwear brand Skechers’ headquarters after turning up unannounced.