In 1907, in San Lorenzo, Italy, Dr. Maria Montessori had a radical idea. What if we “follow the child” and let their interests, curiosity and engagement with their environment drive their learning? What if we create an approach to education that systematizes the inputs that a student needs to follow her curiosity, independently work with her mind and her hands, and realize her inner potential?
Today ATI Lake Norman is proud to build on this educational tradition by bringing to life a Montessori-inspired middle school for engaged adolescents, serving students in grades 6-8.
Our vision is rooted in a deep belief that students — in the context of a supportive, challenging and enriching community — are capable of extraordinary learning and extraordinary work. We aspire to be a community where students thrive intellectually, emotionally, and relationally and leave ATI prepared and capable of creating lives of purpose, value, and joy.
Our vision for adapting Montessori principles to the adolescent context isn’t fanciful. It requires coordinating and aligning principles and practice. It requires thoughtful and deliberate attention to balancing structure and flexibility. It requires maintaining expectations of excellence with adaptability for how to achieve it. It requires a commitment to learning ideas, skills and practices that are foundational to navigating our world while also providing students with the space and support to pursue excellence in their unique interests and passions.
Our vision is bold and aspirational; it is our life's work. We feel lucky to do this deeply meaningful work each day alongside our students. We hope you might be as inspired as we are to pursue this vision and to join us in re-imagining what a middle school can be.
Our ATI values align our staff, students and families to a set of ideas and practices that inform and enliven how we collaborate, communicate and support each other. We aspire to bring these values to life each day in our work together.
The ATI Network
The ATI program was founded as a program designed to apply Montessori developmental and pedagogical principles to today's adolescents. Our programming is designed to connect students with the history of human thought and achievement, and to do so in a way that is personal and empowering. ATI blendsthe rigor of human arts and sciences with a creative, entrepeneurial spirit.
And today's teenagers are networked. Our national network of small schools—in Austin, San Francisco, New York, St. Louis, southern Florida, and with more coming—is connected online and extends beyond our schools. The ATI network provides a structure and space for powerful learning to be brought to our students wherever they go.
If you are interested in bringing ATI to your city, please contact Scott Taylor, Executive Director of ATI Schools.