How We Teach

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There is no one-size-fits-all teaching method or curriculum that works flawlessly for 2e students, but after years of research and experience, we’ve found a couple of common themes in a successful approach to 2e education.

Student Centered Learning

Learning is an active process that requires buy-in from everyone in the room. Our teachers build curriculum around student strengths and interests to make the learning personal and relevant for students. We encourage our students to use their voice and advocate for their own needs. Flexible lesson planning allows teachers to respond to student needs.

Small Class Sizes

Our largest class size at Arete has eight students. Keeping the numbers low allows more contact time for students and teachers to build more meaningful connections among one another.

Flexible Grouping

We have four learning groups at Arete and the age distribution changes from year to year. It’s typical for a group to span one to three grade levels. 2e students’ asynchronous development often means that a students’ chronological grade may not match with their academic needs. We do our best to “average” each student’s academic needs with their chronological age.

Learning Standards

As a 501(c)3 private, non-profit organization, Arete Academy is responsible for setting its own learning standards and academic targets. We use a continuous learning cycle to update our curriculum and we certainly look to Minnesota State Standards and Common Core Standards for structure.

Limited Homework

Between perfectionism, executive functioning struggles, anxiety, and frequent enrichment, many 2e students struggle to complete their homework. In general, Arete Academy does not assign much, if any, homework until students reach high school, when research suggests there is more potential for learning gains from homework. We work with families on an individual basis to determine what level of homework is appropriate for them.


2e students are notoriously challenging to assess. With high potential, occasional underperformance, and specific learning preferences, it can be hard to determine just what 2e students actually know or are capable of.

Social and Emotional Needs

Social and emotional needs must be met for authentic learning to occur. Many 2e students struggle to balance their social and emotional needs, so Arete Academy staff devotes a lot of time to understand how students feel and looks for opportunities to coach students in challenging situations.