Unique Educational Model
An Oasis for Passionate Learners
Imagine a school where smart kids can challenge themselves 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 curiosity. Imagine a school experience defined not by social media drama and stale textbook academics, but by collaboration, exploration, and risk-taking.
Rediscovering the Wonder of “Why”
An Areté classroom is like no other. Abuzz with exciting ideas, thoughtful questions, and brainy humor, an Areté lesson harnesses the best of research-based pedagogy and educational artistry. A capacity for deep, probing inquiry– the heart of our innovative methodology – creates graduates eager to embrace the difficult, often nuanced challenges of the 21st century.
Our query-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.
High Expectations with A High Level of Support
Learning consists of two parts – the “what” and the “how.” While some of the “what” will stick with students, this crucial stage should place strong emphasis on shaping how students learn, how they perceive themselves as soon-to-be lifetime scholars, and — most crucially — how they use resources to tackle challenging problems. For these reasons, we believe school can’t be truly challenging without a high level of academic and personal support.
We want our students to “get stuck” — not because it will build character or grit, or separate the elite from the masses — but because that’s how learning occurs. The turn-of-the-century psychologist Lev Vygotsky stressed the importance of the “zone of proximal development,” by which he simply meant the content and skills that were just outside of the student’s current capabilities, requiring “stretching” and therefore growth to attain. At Areté, we support and facilitate this growth by offering multiple supports for our developing scholars, including: a full-time psychological counselor and academic support specialist; a policy of starting homework assignments in class, to allow for maximum teacher guidance; programs explicitly designed to boost executive functioning; peer-to-peer tutoring; and up to seven hours a week of “homework” time built into each student’s daytime school schedule.
An Areté student, while enjoying unparalleled autonomy, is also never alone, because true learning rarely occurs in a social vacuum. Collaboration and mentoring, together with risk taking – the hallmarks of an Areté education – help students overcome the challenges of genuine intellectual engagement, leading to deep, lasting, understanding.
Beyond Grades: Evaluating for Mastery
At Areté, we don’t simply teach to the test or quiz; we teach toward lasting understanding. Rather than assessing in a way that allows students to memorize the night before and forget everything the next week, we use authentic assessments to find out just how comprehensively students grasp the material.
Through deep dive evaluations instead of your average, forgettable “tests,” students demonstrate what they’ve learned in brainy, creative, and oft-entertaining ways.
The possibilities are as endless as the unique ideas that teachers devise to encourage students to engage with the material in a deeper, more memorable way. When students develop an emotional connection to their learning — an easy task when learning is infused with creativity and personal initiative — they remember, fully process, and apply what they have learned.
For an authentic assessment, our students might:
Study Like Water for Chocolate and apply their understanding of the novel’s genre and structure by creating recipes and using them as framing devices for personal narratives that include elements of magical realism.
Set up a casino where the house always wins to demonstrate odds and probability learned in math or dream up an original business and use their mathematical knowledge to plan for its startup funding and continuing operations.
Engage with Kafka’s Metamorphosis by accompanying an analytical essay-writing assignment with an art project that uses found materials to create an artistically-rendered insect in which each “bug part” is labeled to reflect its allegorical equivalent in the story (i.e.,a spineless insect translates to a human who fails to take decisive action in his own life).
Build and teach their own, unique language, applying the structural and grammatical rules of English and other world languages they’ve studied.
Through midterm and final narrative evaluations and round-table parent-student-teacher conferences, teachers detail the successes and challenges of students’ efforts and assign proficiency evaluations and grades that are based upon real learning. With this deep, individualized feedback, students are able to understand and embrace their learning processes, intellectual passions, and avenues for authentic growth.