Yellowhab in Norfolk

Pharrell’s YELLOWHAB micro-school expands its reach in Eastern Virginia.

You know him as a musician, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. But for a lucky group of Hampton Roads students, Pharrell Williams is just the cool guy who founded their school. In 2021, the Virginia Beach native launched YELLOWHAB, a Norfolk-based private micro-school aimed at eradicating generational poverty by reimagining the future of education.

In its first year, YELLOWHAB was open exclusively to third through fifth graders who met a strict set of qualifications regarding residency and income status. “Now in our second year, we are serving grades 3-6 with plans to matriculate with our explorers through high school,” says YELLOWHAB’s director of engagement Stephanie Walters. “It has been an exciting school year with our explorers beginning with a focus on literacy, reviewing knowledge from the last school year, and strengthening their current skill set.” 

With the mission to “even the odds through education,” YELLOWHAB focuses on STEM learning, with an immersive, hands-on, and project-based approach to teaching. The team of educators is tasked with tailoring the educational experience to each student’s strengths and interests. Students are grouped by skill level rather than age. 

In keeping with its core mission, the school is currently free for all students. “As of right now, YELLOWHAB will remain tuition-free,” Walters says. “Furthermore, as we expand to additional geographical locations, we will determine tuition—if any—based on population, demographic, and the target audience we’ll serve in the selected area.” TeamYellow.org


This article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue.

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