Academy of Thought and Industry at Aldie | Academy of Thought and Industry
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Academy of Thought and Industry at Aldie

We are a Montessori-inspired middle school located inside the same building as our sister school, Guidepost Montessori Aldie. We deliver a powerful education for independence, to develop curious, self-motivated youth who thrive in school and in life. Contact us to learn more or book a tour: (703) 542-5522

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A modern Montessori-inspired Middle School

Welcome to the Academy of Thought and Industry (ATI), a modern Montessori-inspired Middle School located at 24328 Marrwood Dr, in Aldie, Virginia!

Serving grades 6, 7, and 8 in small, personalized classes, our curriculum uses the foundations of Montessori to deliver a rich academic experience. Our learning community is intentionally small, so that we are able to deeply know each student, help them thrive emotionally and socially, and support their individual path to excellence.

We combine a rigorous, intellectually demanding liberal arts education with cultivation of student independence, agency and responsibility. Deep learning consists of both ‘learning’ and ‘doing’—thought and industry. We help each student become a great thinker and a great doer in a way that follows their interests and passions. Each student is supported by their own coach, which ensures personalized fulfilment of their own short and long-term goals.

Our community partnerships with local and international organizations to help expose students to potential interests that they may want to develop further.

Whether you are a student, parent, or interested community member, we want to connect with you. We invite you to reach out and get involved in our revolutionary school.

Contact admissions to learn more or to book a tour - we can't wait to meet you!

Meet the faculty

Head of School

Melissa Kemendo

Head of School

Ms. Melissa Kemendo is Internationally Certified in Montessori Pedagogy at the Children’s House level. She earned her BA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a concentration in Early Care and Education Administration and her M.Ed. in Education Policy and Leadership from American University. Melissa began her own journey of lifelong learning and discovery when she accepted her first role in Montessori education in 2003, as a classroom aide. She went on to work as a Children’s House Guide for ten years. In 2012, Melissa founded a Montessori parent cooperative-turned-micro school in Maryland. Through the development of this project, she discovered her own passion for supporting families and teachers. She relocated to Virginia to join Guidepost Montessori in January 2017, first as Director of Admissions, now serving as the Head of School. Melissa’s own three children are Montessori-educated and she is grateful for the opportunity to bring this approach to more families.

Assistant Head of School

Stacy Monasterio

Assistant Head of School

Mrs. Monasterio was born and raised in Northern Virginia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Strayer University and an associate in Education from Northern Virginia Community College. Mrs. Monasterio has been working with children of various ages since 2005. With her passion for serving families and love for children it led her to become a teacher in the School Age Child Care (SACC) program within Fairfax County. With serving 16 years there, as a Teacher, Head Teacher and then running her own Center, Mrs. Monasterio wanted to explore another school setting. She first got introduced to Montessori schooling by her nephew and seeing the growth of his learning by hands-on, creative choices and collaborative play, Mrs. Monasterio wanted that for her daughters as well. In her free time, Mrs. Monasterio loves the outdoors, scrapbooking, country music and enjoying quality time with family.

Middle School Lead Guide

Emma Godwin

Middle School Lead Guide

After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware, Emma Godwin found herself engrossed in educational studies and research. She joined the Teach for America Delaware Team and enrolled in the Relay Graduate School of Education's Masters of Teaching program. Emma completed her two-year program and gained many skills. Through TFA DE and Relay GSE, she gained real-world experiences as well as certifications. After her two-year commitment, she began teaching at First State Montessori Academy, Delaware's first public Montessori school. While there, she earned her Montessori certification through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies and honed her skills in following a philosophy of student independence and individualism. Throughout her professional career, she has engaged in curriculum building, leadership roles, management positions, mental health awareness campaigns, and practical life curricula. Emma has transplanted to DC with her three dogs (Penny, Ruby & Atka), a plethora of plants, and her husband, Taylor. They both enjoy hiking, reading, a strong cup of coffee on a snowy morning, and engaging in advocacy work. Through her own professional career, she has found it is easy to build scaffolded individualized supports for students within a given curriculum. She hopes to bring a sense of community, individualism, and positivity to Guidepost Montessori here in Virginia.

A look at our campus

Our Middle School program offers rolling-admissions to meet the needs of your family and is now enrolling for grades 6-8. The ATI Middle School program operates out of the same building as our early years school, Guidepost Montessori at Aldie.

You may notice we do not have individual classroom desks for each student! Instead, our classroom is designed as an open environment that allows for freedom of movement and exploration without the constraints of a traditional school setting.

Students are encouraged to get up, move around, lay down, relax, focus, and most importanlty, feel at ease in our middle school.

A look at our campus

Reimagining Middle School Education

Middle School is a critical period of development. Students are constantly growing in higher-order thinking skills, peer relationships, personal responsibility, and more. They're searching for their place in the world and beginning to form the values that will shape their lives.

Recent studies have shown that enthusiasm for school drops dramatically between fifth and twelfth grade, with nearly 75% of students reporting negative feelings towards school.Now more than ever, students are tired, stressed, and bored.

They need an educational option that is appropriate for their developmental stage, and tailored to their individual needs.We believe there's a better way.

An Education for Independence

At ATI, students are given both freedom and support to help them excel beyond their own expectations. Our students don't just study for tests—they become life-long learners. Each step our students take is designed to help them explore their unique passions, inspire their creativity, and develop greater independence.

We don’t offer just one path for academic excellence. We strive to create a total school experience that will unlock each student’s unique potential—to prepare them for the world, and to help them access that world today!

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I love working on my projects and setting goals with my coach. I thought I would struggle with my work load, but there's always someone to talk to when I'm feeling overwhelmed.
Anne W.
Student, ATI Aldie

An open and accepting community

Our students and guides work together to co-create the school community. We build routines, plan trips, create clubs, write our school constitutions, and decorate our space together. And beyond each school, our students actively engage in their local community, the global ATI network, and the world.

Start your journey with us

Learn
Learn about ATI by attending one or more of our upcoming events and virtual info sessions
Attend
Consider a attending Shadow Day on campus to experience a day in the life of ATI
Apply
Submit your student application to ATI, which includes financial aid if necessary.
Start
Work with admissions to prepare for your first day of school! We can't wait to have you join our community.

Where to find us

ATI Aldie is located at 24328 Marrwood Dr, Aldie, VA 20105, in the same building as our early years school, Guidepost Montessori. We'd love for you to come visit!

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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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