Urban Outfitters founder and CEO Dick Hayne, also board chair of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, has given a $5 million seed gift to support a bold initiative that positions SCH as one of the most forward-thinking institutions in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Dr. Priscilla Sands, SCH president of SCH Academy, unveiled the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) at a recent multimedia launch for parents.

Hayne, one of the country’s leading entrepreneurs, has a long history with the school.

“SCH Academy has been on the cutting edge of innovative programs for several years, and the CEL will allow students to follow their passions, think like entrepreneurs, and have their already rigorous program enhanced in more creative ways,” said the parent of two alumni and past board chair of Springside School (which merged with neighboring Chestnut Hill Academy last year).

Through the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, SCH students will complement traditional “core” classes in English, science, math, language, and history with seminar topics that have been identified and endorsed as imperatives for the “future ready” student.

During the next two years, seminars in engineering, new media, entrepreneurship, public speaking, philosophy, statistics, and international partnerships will be integrated into each student’s course of study, followed by elective opportunities in junior and senior years. Students will be able to learn from some of the top entrepreneurs in the country, including, Hayne and other well-known business leaders.

Project- and passion-based learning as well as Stanford University’s Design Thinking, will be infused throughout the curriculum in all divisions and all subject areas. Already boasting a core teacher population trained in the tenets of design thinking — to serve as agents of change through innovation, creativity, and collaboration — SCH  will, in fact, have the unique distinction of an entire faculty trained in design thinking by a Stanford team at the end of this academic year.

“The development of such an exciting new educational direction would not have been possible without the merger of our two schools, which provided an opportunity for faculty and school leadership to work together and take a fresh look at our school-wide curriculum,”  said SCH head of school, Frank Steel.

“This curriculum is not only fresh and smart, but the program we can offer through the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership is unlike any other college prep curriculum offered at the secondary level,” said Dr. Sands.

The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership is part of a transformative strategic vision that includes a master campus plan and capital campaign in support of the school’s enhanced programmatic and educational direction. The scope of the master plan addresses both long- and short-term objectives, including immediate attention to playing fields, pathways, sidewalks, landscaping, and signage.

The resounding affirmations the school has received by professors, provosts, and department chairs at several colleges and universities, including University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, New York University, and Lehigh University, are summarized best by Dr. John R. Kimberly, professor of Entrepreneurial Management at Wharton.

“SCH Academy is embarking on a very exciting, truly path-breaking initiative that will help redefine the scope, content, and delivery of secondary education for years to come,” said Dr. Kimberly.

“The faculty and administrators who have worked together to design the new approach should be congratulated for their willingness to break from tradition in service of creating a new, technologically enabled model that puts the school on the leading edge of educational innovation.”

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