Welcome to ATI Museum Mile

 Dear Prospective Family: 

Welcome to the new Academy of Thought and Industry (ATI) Middle School program at Museum Mile!  We are so thrilled to now offer a continuous learner-centered experience from Guidepost Children’s House (ages three through six), through our Guidepost Lower and Upper Elementary programs (ages six through twelve), all the way through our new Adolescent ATI program (ages twelve through fifteen). 

The ATI experience is unique and compelling.  Our program’s Montessori foundation features both a deep understanding of adolescent development and a commitment to guide and nurture our students on their individual journeys to create lives of virtue, value and purpose.  To achieve these goals, we understand that it would never work to set up institutional schooling and place students within that somewhat-rigid framework.  Instead, we continually co-develop the school experience with our students as they grow and change as individuals and as a community.  True ownership comes by way of including students in the design process of space, time and arrangement of learning contingencies. 

Dr. Montessori’s gift to adolescent education is the visionary framework of autonomy paired with accountability.  Students emerging from their middle and high school education today must navigate an ever-changing world through their ability to be self-driven, to approach problems with innovation and perseverance and to be citizens of our global society who understand how their personal choices and actions affect others.  The ATI program is a guided space to hone these competencies within the school experience. 

Deep learning consists of both ‘learning’ and ‘doing’—thought and industry.  At ATI, we combine rigorous core learning arrangements, clustered around humanities, analytics and Socratics in which our students build the foundational working knowledge needed to engage in ever-complex, multi-disciplinary real-world projects.  In addition, students experience activities under the heading “life design,” including our coaching program, which ensures personalized fulfillment of their own short and long-term goals.  A rich practical life component and iterative creatives round out the exposure students require during these years to develop life-skills and to be exposed to potential interests they might want to explore further. 

We know that the adolescent years can be a wonderful but challenging time for you as parents and that choosing the right program is not always an easy decision.  Yet one thing is certain. By joining ATI, we are sharing your child’s middle years together, by constantly communicating and striving to make sure that his or her school experience supports and realizes the young emerging person he or she is truly meant to be! 

I look forward to meeting you, 

Rivkah Schack

Co-Head of School, Museum Mile and ATI Program Coordinator

Our Vision

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 Museum Mile 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 Values

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.

  • “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” –Socrates

    We approach learning as the ongoing pursuit of wisdom. We explore, interrogate and debate the big ideas that have shaped our world and connect those ideas to our own lives and context. We pursue wisdom not as an academic exercise, but to improve our judgment and actions in the world. 

  • “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” –Marcus Aurelius

    We know the word “virtue” may seem old fashioned. Yet the cultivation of our ethics, our integrity, and our habits shapes the quality of our lives. We are committed to exploring the connection between our deeply held values and our behaviors so that our inner character shows up in the world.

  • “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.” –Steve Jobs

    Work is central to our lives. It lets us direct our energies purposefully, enabling us to structure our time and action to reshape our world. Through cultivating our capacity for work, we develop an appreciation of genuine effort and a careful attention to quality.

  • “The only true freedom for an individual is to have the opportunity to act independently... There is no such thing as an individual until a person can act by himself.” –Maria Montessori

    We believe in independence and free choice. We seek to develop the courage of our convictions and the capacity for each of us to act with purpose, to overcome barriers and to pursue our individual aspirations.

  • “The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.” –Dean Ornish

    We recognize the tremendous personal value of the communities to which we belong. And so we assume responsibility for the health and vitality of those communities, share in the joy of belonging and have pride for what we create together.

The ATI Network

ATI Museum Mile is a part of a network of ATI schools, with campuses in Austin, San Francisco, New York and St. Louis. Collectively, we are creating the future of middle and high schools in collaboration with Higher Ground Education, the leading global organization committed to modernizing and mainstreaming the Montessori movement.

The ATI program was founded by Michael Strong, one of the most experienced designers of innovative school programs in the U.S. His past projects include Montessori secondary school program design at The Judson Montessori School (San Antonio), The Emerson School (Palo Alto), and Hacienda School (Pleasanton). Michael has authored two books including The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice.

If you are interested in bringing ATI to your city, please contact Scott Taylor, Executive Director of ATI Schools.

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