Our Philosophy

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  • Our Mission

    Creating a Better Future for Us All
An Athenian education equips our students we for lives of intellectual growth and participation in creating a better future for us all. Cultivating an understanding of self, society, and the natural world, Athenian compels graduates to apply their skills and understanding of the world to advance their own learning and make meaningful contributions to the fields and communities they are drawn to. We know we are doing things right when Athenian alumni come back to campus from colleges across the world with stories of personal discovery, academic success, and giving back to their communities.

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  • The Mission

    The Athenian School prepares students for the rigorous expectations of college and for a life of purpose and personal fulfillment.

    We offer a challenging academic program with a difference: intellectual inquiry is active, learning is interactive, the disciplines are interrelated, and analysis and creativity thrive simultaneously. The acquisition of knowledge becomes authentic and joyous.

    We cultivate the personal qualities of each student to become an integrated human being with integrity, strong moral character, aesthetic sensitivity, and physical well being. The Athenian community requires students to face life directly through open communication, while developing their inner strength to exceed their perceived potential and emerge compassionate, responsible adults.

    We instill an appreciation of the reciprocal relationship between the individual and cultures, society and the natural world. We value the power and beauty of multiculturalism within our diverse community. We embrace the principles of democratic governance, stewardship of the environment, respect for human dignity, and service as a way of life.

    By providing an atmosphere of intellectual, artistic, and physical challenge within the warmth of a nurturing community, we develop in our students the confidence and skills required to meet the complexities of their future.

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  • Approach to Education

    Learning by Doing
    Athenian students learn by doing, inside and outside the traditional four classroom walls. With the caring guidance of our passionate faculty, students actively engage with each other to build skills and develop new ways of thinking.

    We believe in the potential of young people and their capacity to understand, connect, and create. Many of Athenian’s programs are interdisciplinary by nature and encourage students to learn by experience, apply what they know, and take action.

    Panathenaea, a culminating Seventh Grade Focus Day tradition for the Ancient Greece unit, weaves English, social studies, P.E., and art as student groups represent Greek city-states. They dedicate handmade altars to their patron gods or goddesses, compete in Athenian’s own version of Olympic games, prepare and eat Greek food, mull over Plato’s ethical dilemma of the Ring of Gyges, and perform Aeschylus’ tragedy The Oresteia for friends and family. All in a day’s work!

    Everyone in our community is on a first-name basis because we want students to know their teachers see them as people in addition to students. This informality sometimes surprises people, but over fifty years, we have seen how our students feel valued, are comfortable advocating for themselves with adults, and respect individuals for their humanity rather than simply for their title or role. Our students regularly say that the relationships they have with their teachers helped them learn about the world and who they are in it.
Through active learning in a caring environment, Athenian students get to know themselves, find their voice, understand their communities, and learn how they can make a difference.

Dyke Brown, Founder of Athenian

But we have something else, and it may be more important. We have the strength and vitality of our commitment to an ideal, to a belief which all of us at Athenian share: that human beings and their possibilities come first; that the potentialities of our young people are superb; and that our overriding task as teachers is to help each one become everything he or she can be – in mind, in body, in spirit, in creative expression, in personal relations, in the wider community – in short, in their entire life.

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  • Upholding the Six Pillars

    A Round Square School
    Round Square is an international consortium of like-minded schools that connect and collaborate to develop global competence, character, and confidence in students. Athenian is a founding member and upholds the six pillars of Round Square: internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership, and service. The pillars are visible in every aspect of Athenian, starting with lessons about composting during 6th grade orientation and ending with speeches delivered by class-chosen speakers at graduation.

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  • Outcomes

    Owls for Life
An Athenian education doesn’t end at high school graduation. Athenian alumni become leaders, building community in college while discovering their academic passions. They strengthen the organizations they join and inspire their peers and communities to embrace intellectual curiosity and giving back. And Athenians strengthen society because they know how to leverage their individual skills for a shared vision of a better world rooted in the pillars. When we are all able to work together for the common good, we can better address the challenges that affect us all and Athenians do their part to make a difference.

When Athenian students graduate, they are:

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  • Joyful Learners

  • Flexible Thinkers

  • Creative Problem-Solvers

  • Inclusive Collaborators

  • Community Builders

  • Self-Aware Leaders

  • Positive Agents for Change

Learn how our alumni are making unique and meaningful contributions to the world.