The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2014, April 12-13

Venture Academy

Paired with Black to the fuschia

Venture Academy is a new public charter school located near the University of MN campus in Minneapolis. We are currently serving 115 6th and 7th graders, and will eventually become a 6-12 school. The Venture model student is a Trailblazer and we want all of our Trailblazers to have an equal opportunity at success despite their socioeconomic status or cultural background. At Venture Academy, we practice a blended learning model which allows students to use a combination of digital content, online tools and the traditional classroom instruction. The blended learning models and data-driven instruction are what allows us to provide individualized learning paths for each student. Educators and students seek improvement by tracking learning progress and adapting programs and methods with the support of digital learning plans, data dashboards and real-time feedback. At Venture, students are taught that by taking charge of their learning and being responsible for their own improvement, their entrepreneurial leadership and innovative skills will lead them to success.

What new functionality we are looking for

We would like to form a safe, educational web page that gives a sense of community. We anticipate many different users, but we want to make it primarily easy for our students and families to navigate. Ideally we would have specific areas of use for current students and parents, prospective families (students and parents), donors, and for educational members seeking jobs or volunteer opportunities.

Because we are a growing school, we would like a way to keep all of our parents involved. One way of doing this would be by having our current parent area of the website contain up-to-date information. Some of this information would include a school calendar, attendance, school handbook, lunch menu, teachers’ email addresses, links to make meal payments, download school newsletters, view report cards and progress reports. A good application for our website would be digital versions of the books they are currently reading. This way they’re accessible to parents who would like to follow along and be able to answer questions at home.

We feel that it would be beneficial for our current students to practice their innovative and leadership skills through our website as well. Currently, our Trailblazers have an online store ( where they sell products they’ve made in makerspace and art. Our updated website would provide a direct connection to the online store and make it easily manageable by students. Additionally, it would be used as a great learning tool where students can access their digital content, and progress reports. Students should be able to utilize this information as incentive to keep doing well in school, along with being able to catch up on homework and keep up with reading. We also want to make our website fun and attractive to students. We would like to incorporate a Venture Academy social networking site for all of our trailblazers, families and staff to access for questions regarding school and other appropriate fun and educational themes.

Because our school is so new, we want to make our website attractive to prospective parents, students and donors. We would like to improve our online marketing pages to inform our visitors what Venture is really about. We’d like to incorporate FAQs, a search bar, Venture photo albums, videos, staff bios etc. and continue providing online enrollment forms for future students. We want it to overall be aesthetic to the eye with information that would spark curiosity from future sponsors. This would be a good way to receive more funding which results in better educational resources for learning.

Another tool that would enhance our functionality is to make Venture's community more united through this web page. It would be useful to build an online community for educators seeking work and volunteer opportunities. We could implement a careers link for job postings and descriptions, and application/cover letter submission functions.

How the new functionality will help

One of Venture’s main focuses is on molding students to take practice being innovative leaders and entrepreneurs. If our students had access to a safe, educational web environment through our home page, we could put our already present coding, web and graphic design to use in a manner where students and families would be able to see the result of their work. We want everyone to see that Venture practices what we promote and take part in making their students educational experience, the best.

If our new website could help draw attention to our school, grant funding, student enrollment, student retention, community/family involvement, and educational outcomes would all improve. In the long run, this would lead to more entrepreneurial learners and leaders making a difference in the world, thereby fulfilling our mission.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

9 Messages from Supporters

2014-03-10 18:04:29 UTC
Dana Nelson

Venture Academy is all about supporting young people as entrepreneurs. A new website would support trailblazers (students)and coaches (teachers) to be able to do more entrepreneurial projects and further leverage technology as a valuable learning tool. I have seen the 24 Hour challenge process first-hand and I think the trailblazers and staff would be amazing partners! A new website would also connect parents and families to the school. As a new school, the parent's association is also new and would benefit from having a parent's portal that would help us interact in the three main languages; Spanish, English and Karen. Given the focus of Venture Academy, a new website would support the entire infrastructure and school community. Thank you for your consideration of this request!

2014-03-13 20:39:23 UTC
Margarita C

For me, it would be very important to have the website be more accessible to news, events, and progress reports. It would be very important for the school to have a webpage that I could be in communication with teachers. For students, it would be very important for them to have greater access at school or outside school/home so that the parents, teachers, students could be working together.
Venture academy is a great school that helps students in need get more help. Personally it has helped my student a lot. They give him more attention, and I think that the school deserves a new website to keep us aware and up to date.

2014-03-14 15:12:13 UTC
Kenyon (student)

I think the trailblazers need a new website because our learning skills can improve in new learning ways.The students in venture is waiting to have an new website so students can demonstrate excellent learning.

2014-03-14 15:21:24 UTC
Clarence [student]

I think venture Academy students need more online learning time because at venture the students are waiting to improve on their learning skills after using digital programs. The student can improve their learning skills by connecting to the internet safely

2014-03-14 16:13:19 UTC
Mary Turnbaugh

I think an upgraded website for the kids would be good. I would like to see their activities throughout the day, special events going on at school, pictures, goals for the students. From teachers, I'd like to get up to date report cards. Venture is a very good school, the teachers are great and my kids love it there.

2014-03-16 17:24:37 UTC
Katie Rodgers

I work at this school! It's unique in its connectivity between its staff and students and staff and parents. The very personal and deep relationships between our staff and students is why I work at Venture. Our biggest challenge right now is communicating with parents in the easiest way possible. We have strong links with many parents, but we need a consistent and sure-fire way to update parents on news and, here in Minnesota, cold and snow days! If our website was the most up to date source for information about Venture, our parents and community could easily see the amazing work we are doing and become involved in Venture's mission and values.

2014-03-17 02:17:43 UTC
Venture Academy students

Follow the link above to see why some of our Trailblazers think we need a new website!

2014-03-17 05:31:27 UTC
Margaret Holland (Coach)

Having a new website would allow coaches (teachers), Trailblazers (students), and parents to communicate in a more immediate manner. What we have now doesn't allow access to what is really going on within the Venture Community. As a coach, I would love to update in real time what is going on in my classroom so that when students, parents, and staff navigate the website they get the most accurate information. I think with a more informative and user friendly website Venture Academy can strengthen communication with our families. Our goal is to support the achievement of our Trailblazers. A new website would help us scaffold supports for Trailblazers and families that will allow them to access and utilize what is happening at school and transfer it to what can happen at home.

2014-03-17 15:00:07 UTC
Mikayla Welborn

Venture Academy has great potential to expand its influence within the Twin Cities community, and a new website can help us broaden our reach! As a new public charter school, the school aim to continually reach new families and students; a site that's easy to navigate and accessible in many languages will help get the word out! Partnerships with parents, community organizations, volunteers, and supporters can grow and strengthen through interactive portals and communication tools. And a site that's easy to maintain and update means that Venture staff can constantly contribute and keep partners up to speed on all that's exciting and new in the Venture Academy world. Please help Venture Academy achieve its mission of igniting the passion of ALL young people to become entrepreneurial learners and leaders who will change the world!

Our Mission

Venture’s mission is to ignite the passion of all young people to become entrepreneurial learners and leaders who will change the world. Venture seeks to enable young people to achieve unprecedented learning growth, demonstrate character and leadership and learn to imagine opportunities, take initiative and create solutions.