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What is ATI?


Virtual School


Examined Life Series

Theory of Enchantment

This is a new kind of antiracism: a theory of how we can relate to one another that's rooted in history and humanism. Explore race and identity from a place of compassion in this powerful online Socratic discussion course for high school students. Unlike traditional programs, this is an approach that emphasizes individuality. We use art, history, philosophy, and pop culture to unlock our appreciation of individual human beings.
6 weeks
Online Virtual

For students who want to change the world. We want to help you do it.

Through exploring themes from The Lion King to MLK’s famous “I have a dream” speech, we’ll help you change the world one interaction at a time. Explore the intersection of racism and identity by enrolling in Theory of Enchantment and, in just 6 weeks, realize the potential of a more compassionate, cooperative world.

Designed for high school students who want to be enchanted by the beautiful world of people around them, in all its riotous complexity. This is a place for honest, open, and deep conversations about race, humanity, and who we are as individuals.

The course is based on the Theory of Enchantment, developed by Chloe Valdary, a former Bartley fellow, writer, and entrepreneur. Her work has been covered in Psychology Today Magazine and her writings have appeared in the New York Times and the Wall St Journal.

Enroll now

Learn more about the theory of enchantment

From this course I have learned to be patient with others, you never know what someone else is going through and I should respect that… This course has taught me not to see people as puppets of politics and see people for their complexity as humans.
I also wanted to thank you for this course; it’s given me a new perspective on my life and I really enjoyed our conversations, as well as the course material.

About the course

Over 6 weeks, high school students will examine themes of human existence through pop culture – engaging with texts ranging from hip hop to philosophy. You will listen to Kendrick Lamar, watch the Lion King, discuss the famous “I have a dream” speech, learn about the Stoics, and more. Together with a group of peers in a small group format online, students will discuss texts, song lyrics, movies, TED talks, and share their own experiences live. Engage in the Socratic Method with guided discussions, simulating a college classroom experience in a risk-free environment.

This is a 6-week live online course running September 28th - November 2nd. Attend online from anywhere

  • Two sessions per week, 90-minute sessions (Tues, Thurs @ 4pm PST/ 7pm EST)
  • Receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course, which can be applied to high school credit
  • Small group format with limited seats available
  • Price $349 USD

This course has been adapted for high school students and will be taught by trained guides from the Academy of Thought & Industry.

Through a variety of engaging materials—from the Lion King to Kendrick Lamar, from James Baldwin to Brené Brown, from Nike ads to Steinbeck—students grapple with three guiding moral principles.

The course material allows high school students to explore these themes of human nature in a way that is relatable and motivating, and to develop a lifelong habit of curiosity, exploration and wonder. Whether it’s the dramatized sentiment of a Disney film, or the elevated consciousness of a Maya Angelou poem, students will find the fuel they need to drive their own growth as human beings.


People are human beings, not social or political abstractions.


Criticism should be used to uplift and empower, not to tear down or destroy.


Everything one does should be rooted in love and compassion.

Meet your instructor

Dr. Laura Mazer is a Harvard and Stanford-trained surgeon-turned-educator. She has traveled around the world as an expert on medical education, and is the recipient of multiple local and national teaching awards.

While working in hospitals across the country, treating refugee populations in Atlanta and celebrities in Los Angeles, she learned first hand the value of the Theory of Enchantment’s first principle: people are individuals, not political abstractions. Now she is very excited to join you in exploring these ideas through pop culture in this special summer session.

Experience school on your terms

Join a school community designed to support your education with coaching, small classes, and a commitment to our core values. Engage in deep study and personal exploration as a student at ATI.

Learn more about our:

Visit Higher Ground Education to learn more about our mission to make learner-centered education the mainstream.

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