Our Curriculum

October 22, 2013


Our curriculum is designed by a small brain trust of educators from top institutions, such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Northwestern, Brown, and University of Pennsylvania. Think Academy fosters a collaborative environment for integrative learning and set high learning standards for all of our students. Through the application of the Illinois Math and Science Academy’s (IMSA’s) holistic learning standards model, we help our students develop the tools of thought to think and act with others. We apply an inquiry based learning method for our students, engaging them to extend and integrate complex thought(s). Our values centered approach teaches students to view learning as a life long journey, not a destination.


Think Academy provides a powerful learning experience for our students, one that illustrates the interrelatedness, interconnectedness, and interdependence of the village. We facilitate interactive workshops, organize field trips, host guest speakers, and a variety of other integrative learning activities. Through an extensive six-month academic program, we teach our students the importance of service leadership, financial literacy, and social entrepreneurship.


Module 1


The best leader amongst us is the one that leads in service to others. We inspire our youth to build confidence in their abilities, convictions in their beliefs, sincerity in their actions, and to give compassionately without expecting anything in return. We teach the next generation of Service leaders to think, act, and work collectively as a village.


Inquiry Question:


(Character Development and Ethical Leadership) As a rising leader, do I have the necessary knowledge to develop my character and practice ethical leadership in order to build my community in a responsible manner? As a community builder, will I be able to effectively address the structural disparities within my community and make a positive social impact?


Thinking Sessions:


  • Character Development
  • Spirituality and Ethical Leadership
  • Accountability and Self Responsibility
  • Cross Sector Analysis
  • Structural Disparities
  • Community Building
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Social Activism
Thinking Values:


Service. The best leader amongst us is the one that leads in service to others.
Conviction. A person’s courage and perseverance to stay firm to their beliefs, values, and aspirations.
Sincerity. Actions are determined by intentions; and, in service to others, one must remain sincere.
Humility. Humility is the key to success and arrogance is the path to failure.
Compassion. In service to others, a person should always give compassionately without expecting anything in return.
Confidence. Believe in yourself, your abilities, and your future.
Spirituality. A sense of awe, reverence, and inner peace inspired by a connection to all of creation, and/or that which is greater than oneself.
Forgiveness. There is no future without forgiveness and reconciliation. They are the most powerful forces of humanity.


Module 2

An individual’s capacity to improve their quality of life and standard of living depends upon their knowledge to make money and skills to manage it. Collectively, we alleviate an impoverished state of mind by empowering our students with the requisite knowledge and skill set to get their financial life on a track towards success.


Inquiry Question:


(Business Education and Skills set) Do I have the educational background to understand and apply these basic financial concepts in the real world? Do I have an empirical understanding in order to not only accumulate, but also, successfully manage wealth?


Thinking Sessions:


  • Capitalism 101: Basic Financial Concepts
  • Budgeting
  • Goal Setting
  • Money Management
  • Credit Worthiness
  • Investments & Wealth Accumulation
  • Job Readiness Training
  • Career Planning
Thinking Values:


Budget – Planning and measuring all income and expenses is the foundation of any financial plan.
Discipline – Making smart decisions based upon what you need and not what you want. Believing that “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.”
Self Sufficiency – Financial dependence on another individual or institution grants them physical, emotional, and spiritual power. Self-sufficiency puts that power back into your hands. 
Responsibility – Everyone is forced to make tough decisions. Leaders are accountable for their choices and the consequences of their actions.
Stewardship – Protecting and preserving that which has been earned or granted for yourself and/or your community.
Moderation – Understand and experience the human moments of excitement and impulse; choose to always make good decisions during such moments.  
Charity – Pride in one’s hard work and accomplishments should not overshadow one’s duty to say “thank you” and give back.
Wealth – The sum of assets minus liabilities. Creating and managing wealth fundamentally changes the dynamics of communities.  


Module 3


Social Entrepreneurs are ambitious, mission-oriented agents of change that identify problems, avail resources, and seize opportunities to transform the communities in which they live and markets in which they operate. We inspire our students to think of innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to our city’s most pressing social problems.


Inquiry Question:


(Starting Businesses and Social Networking) Have these courses enabled me to build my capacity in order to start, manage, and sustain an independent business that addresses the social problems of my community? Am I prepared to start my business today?


Thinking Sessions:


  • Project Management
  • Social Innovation
  • Risks (Opportunities & Threats)
  • Supply and Demand 
  • Costs and Benefits
  • Communications & Social Media
  • Networking
  • Technology
Thinking Values:


Courage – An ability to conquer your fear(s), overcome any obstacles in your path, and take risks in a world of uncertainty.
Ambition – An inner motivation to put forth effort in achieving one’s goals and aspirations; and the determination to put in the hard work to make dreams become reality.
Innovation – A revolutionary state of mind is required to think outside of the box. As agents of change, social entrepreneurs solve some of society’s most pressing problems through creative imaginations and innovative solutions.
Resourcefulness – Availing resources, seizing opportunities, identifying skills, and connecting talents. 
Vision – Ordinary individuals who understand the bigger picture and aren’t always grounded in reality.   
Urgency – Overcoming complacency and acting with the fierce urgency of now.
Impact –  Making a positive difference in the lives of others. Leaving this earth in a better condition than we inherited it.
Hustle – When dealt a tough hand of cards, one must play their odds wisely. Those individuals with an “all hustle, no luck” hard work ethic and “by any means necessary” approach will certainly overcome any obstacles on their path to success.

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