About Us

Areté (Greek: ἀρετή) –
The highest form of virtue in ancient Greek society, areté captures several interconnected, highly desirable traits:  the effort to achieve one’s full, unique potential; the use of one’s full abilities to effect change; and the genuine understanding of the power and purpose of ideas.  For us, it represents the ideal goals of a meaningful education:  self knowledge combined with the capacity to think boldly and originally – the tools to confront outdated perspectives and realize unimagined possibilities.

From the Head Of School

Areté began as an imagined destination: A place where smart kids can achieve and love learning at the same time; where thinking differently is a true gift and not a burden; where warmth, support and rigor go hand in hand; where kids from different worlds exist together, not at separate lunch tables but united by their passion for learning. Thanks to twelve years of creative growth and the extraordinary contributions of our founding community, today Areté is not only a real destination but one that is abuzz with exciting ideas, thoughtful inquiry, and brainy humor.

Over the years, Areté has developed into a critical-thinking and hands-on-learning leader. Our inquiry-driven curriculum and commitment to broad questions and big ideas were recognized by the WASC Visiting Committee in 2014 and continue to put us at the forefront of a long-overdue movement in education, one that prepares our students to be innovators and creators of ideas, with potential far beyond that of the “Excellent Sheep” in William Deresiewicz’s educational critique.

Jim Hahn
Head of School

Areté graduates are confident, happy young adults, eager for new experiences and challenges. Their extraordinary college admissions record epitomizes our vision — 95% of our seniors are admitted to their first-choice schools.  Most important, our alumni are not “crispies” who have lost their passion for learning in a hoop-jumping, pressure-cooking race to nowhere. Instead, Areté students start college with authentic enthusiasm and confidence, eager to embrace new and exciting challenges.

While we are proud of our high-performing graduates, we are even prouder that every learner at Areté is pushed to think at levels far beyond what most middle and high schoolers — and many college students — typically experience.

Today, well into our second decade, what makes me proudest is the artistry of the Areté seminar – a place where intellectual training wheels come off, where provocative thoughts and opinions explode into being, where kids can be designers and not just consumers of ideas and knowledge.

Equally impressive is the tight-knit, caring community our students have cultivated and passed on to new generations.   Free of cliques and exclusion, encouraging of diversity, and open to fresh perspectives, Areté is a social oasis for smart, sensitive kids who would rather talk politics than talk smack.

With this tradition in mind, we are excited to discover what new students will bring to the Areté seminar table.  We hope our website provides you with a window into what an inquiry-driven, student-focused education can and should be.    Please accept our invitation for you and your child to experience our unique learning environment during an admissions open house, or on a personalized tour.   We look forward to meeting you!

All the best,

Jim Hahn

Head of School