WASC Accredited

Grades 6-12

A leader in 21st-century high school education since 2008, Areté Preparatory Academy

opens its doors to

an all new middle school

Imagine a middle school where smart kids can achieve and love learning at the same time. Imagine a place where thinking differently is a true gift and not a burden. Imagine classrooms where warmth, support and rigor go hand in hand. Imagine a school culture where kids from different worlds thrive together, united by their passion for learning. Imagine a middle school experience defined not by social media drama and stale textbook academics, but by community, collaboration, exploration, and risk-taking.

Imagine a Middle SchoolYour Child Will Actually Love

Our Mission

At Areté our students develop their authentic self through a healthy combination of intellect and socio-emotional awareness. They learn that wisdom means …  Learn More…

The Areté Classroom

An Areté classroom is like no other. Abuzz with exciting ideas, thoughtful inquiry, and brainy humor, an Areté lesson harnesses the best of research-based pedagogy and educational artistry. Learn More…

Middle School, Areté-Style

Areté’s middle school is a seminar-style laboratory for learning where students not only encounter, but actually engage with and create important ideas in a wide range of academic and artistic fields. Learn More…

… peeling back layers and layers of questions to reveal even more questions and becoming self-motivated, self-initiating learners and creators as well as intellectual and artistic collaborators.

Our Areté students discover a powerful individual voice, a compassionate approach to others, a strong ability to reason, and a drive to contribute originally and meaningfully to the world.

Over the last eleven years, Areté has claimed its place as a critical thinking and hands-on learning powerhouse, an elite, off-the-beaten-path alternative for L.A. families ready and able to think beyond the status quo. Our inquiry-driven curriculum and commitment to broad questions and big ideas put us at the forefront of a long-overdue movement in education, one that prepares our students to be innovators, creators and game changers.

Our middle schoolers work closely with faculty mentors to co-create curriculum and assignments based on shared curiosities and passions. By doing this, students achieve the most lasting reward for their deep, diligent, relevant work: an immeasurable commitment to, and fascination with learning itself.

Exploration and More Exploration!

Fall at the Areté Middle School is all about delving into provocative subjects and ideas, based on the intellectual and artistic passions of our best-in-class teaching staff.

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These opportunities open the doors for student exploration of major concepts and modes of inquiry in Literature and Languages, History and Social Science, Science and Mathematics, Arts, and Philosophy. Each three-week exploratory experience involves a project-based learning component – hands-on learning built around a challenging topic of inquiry – and the opportunity for students to independently and creatively pursue sub-topics of interest while building the problem-solving, critical thinking and intellectual resilience skills that form the foundation for an effective Areté career.

Examples of passion-driven Explorations include:

Create Your Own Language. Led by our two resident linguists, students explore a range of living and ancient languages and apply their acquired understanding to design, codify, and teach a language of their own making.

Games People Play – Society and History as a Battle Of Big Ideas. Students gain exposure to big ideas, connections, and representative events in history, viewed through the lenses of religion, anthropology, psychology, and sociology. The project culminates in the creation and sharing of games encapsulating the major ideas and themes explored.

Olympic Boulevard Lives. Armed with cameras and a framework for crafting and shaping visual stories, students photograph the life and times of our neighbors on Olympic Boulevard. This project ends with students inviting our neighbors to a public gallery opening on campus.

Playing Frankenstein (Adaptation and Evolution). Students will be confronted with the challenge of designing from scratch a lifeform adapted to living within a certain biome (tundra, rain forest, etc.) and then evolving that lifeform over four iterations based on planetary climate and environmental change. Students will build models of their lifeform and analyze the changes their life form made to adapt to change.

Deep Dives

Deep Dives offer learners the opportunity to dig into a subject in a comprehensive way and set them on a path to develop their intellectual and personal identities.

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Driven by their work in the first semester Exploration experience-Deep Dives offer learners the opportunity to dig into a subject in a comprehensive way and set them on a path to develop their intellectual and personal identities. Challenged to design courses based on their own current academic interests, our faculty craft deep dives as portals into fascinating fields not usually explored at the middle school level. For example, our Head of School will bring his abiding fascination for trolley-car ethics puzzles to our middle school cadre. Other Deep Dives might include: an introduction to cuneiform, taught by one of the world’s 20 experts in this ancient writing system; a DNA forensics course taught by a Stanford-educated molecular biologist; an exploration of pop-culture cinema in relation to the hero’s journey in mythology, guided by our film studies expert; or an exploration of the ethics of a sentient roboticized workforce led by one of our resident philosophers.


combine the best of Project-Based Learning and Experiential Education – students delve into a collective learning adventure based on a question that both fascinates and excites them.

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To successfully complete their quest, students harness skills of inquiry, collaboration, exploration and experience. Crafted by the students with the aid of faculty mentors, a quest culminates in a meaningful, student-driven solution presented to the school community and outside experts. Quests equip our students to grapple with authentic issues and real-world problems, parsing through information to craft thoughtful analysis and useful recommendations – the most crucial element in the twenty-first century toolbox. As with all Areté coursework, Quests are designed  to reinforce the skills, knowledge, and self-awareness needed to create passionate, autonomous, lifelong learners.

Five Foreign Language Options

Spanish, French, Mandarin, Japanese and Latin, with yearly language immersion trips to bring language learning to life.

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Students will:

  • Study the rules of language- sentence diagramming, parts of speech, grammar, punctuation in English;
  • Delve into the rules and basic vocabulary of Romance languages, ending with an introduction to Japanese.
  • Build their own language either individually or in collaboration with others including codifying the language, inventing rules, and writing a short document in the language.
  • Teach an introductory lesson to the language.

State-of-the-Art STEM Labs

Areté boasts an award-winning Interscholastic Robotics Team, with the space and advanced tools to forge custom-made parts and mechanisms.

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In addition, Areté’s Idea Lab offers an inspirational paradise of tools and reclaimed parts, designed to bring out the playful inventor in every student.

Areté’s STEM Lab seeks to reinvigorate math and science instruction, combining the best parts of university learning, collaborative problem solving, personal acceleration, and an integrated curriculum with important skills and knowledge to help motivated students to truly flourish. The STEM Lab  includes:

  • Asynchronous milestone learning
  • Problem-solving roundtables
  • Opportunities to work with and be supported by high caliber educators and professionals
  • Robotics program and competitions
  • Engineering challenges
  • Computer Science and Coding courses

An Artistic Identity:

Not everyone considers themselves an artist, but everyone can develop an artistic sensibility.

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What do we mean by this? When one has cultivated an artist’s perception, the artist’s eye, the student can better navigate all modes of knowing. As John Berger, the 20th century’s most gifted interpreter of arts, said: “the relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” Areté students learn these skills by first exploring in the areas of Visual Arts, Design, Theater, Film, Music, Dance and Creative Writing, and then by going deep in them. In doing this, Areté students not only advance, for their own sake, their artistic skills, but they develop their artist’s eye. By nurturing a more nuanced way of seeing, a student’s ability to create a robot, write an essay, deliver a persuasive speech or discern interdisciplinary connections exponentially grows.

The Philosopher’s Toolkit:

Students take part in Areté’s signature “Philosophy Bootcamp”

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Students will be studying Epistemology, Logic, Metaphysics, Ethics, Political Philosophy and Aesthetics and ultimately choosing 3-4 ideas and philosophers with whom their views most closely align. As a culminating project, students develop and present their own philosophical ideas to the Areté community as part of a Festival of Great Ideas.