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Academics at ATI Fort Mason

ATI Fort Mason offers a Montessori-inspired education that combines creative, independent, and personalized learning. Part-time, summer, and full-time programs are available.

The ATI Curriculum

The ATI Fort Mason curriculum is rooted in thought and industry

As part of the Montessori philosophy, teens are encouraged to work hard not only in school, but also in the real world. In ATI, we strive to remove the artificial barriers between vocational and avocational courses; what's needed for class and what's chosen for life. It is our goal to encourage students to integrate their passions with their studies to allow them to:

  • Do real work to make a difference in the world
  • Participate productively in the community
  • Don't be afraid to embrace your natural independence
ATI Fort Mason Curricular Tree

The ATI Curricular Tree

The first quarter at ATI is spent exploring the foundations of knowledge, like the roots of a tree. The roots of these courses lead to a strong trunk of core subjects, such as math, science, literature, and history. As students master core curriculum, they begin branching off into individualized learning and real-world opportunities as they gain mastery.

The Roots: Foundations Quarter

As students begin middle school at ATI, they go through a foundations quarter. During this 8-week period, students immerse themselves in the school's community and learn how to thrive in a self-directed environment. The objectives of each course during this eight-week period are the same:
ATI creates a culture of work

Create a culture of work

We welcome students from all walks of life, and some are prepared for a self-directed learning approach, while others are not. Students take the foundation courses to determine how much structure they require to start their ATI journey.

Create motivation and engagement with material

The majority of students who come to ATI do not have a clear idea of what they want from school. In some cases, students find some or all aspects of the curriculum boring or inaccessible (for example, "I can't do math!"). The purpose of a foundation course is to explain the "why" behind each discipline. Why is history important? What is it about math that makes it so exciting? It is important to do this differently than what has been done in the past in the classroom.

Set students on a path towards independent inquiry

Considering so many options in a curricular tree, it is necessary to assess each student's knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

Social and emotional skills are included as well as content knowledge. To ensure that each student enters the program with full visibility, we spend the entire first quarter getting to know them holistically.

Middle School Coursework

Middle School Coursework

The Branches: Optional Courses

Students have the opportunity to explore areas of personal interest as they advance through the program. Courses such as these can be offered in their own communities, or in collaboration with the global network: drawing and filmmaking from LA-based artists; human progress and philosophy explored with Fort Mason philosophers; and anatomy studied in Texas with a surgeon. Experts are brought to students regardless of where they are physically located. As they chart their own curricular path with their coach, students are empowered to find their own passions. Here are some examples of branch courses:

Opportunities to Explore

Electives, entrepreneurial opportunities, and internships help build an intentional curriculum.
Elective Courses

Elective Courses

Students have an ever-expanding and changing catalogue of optional courses to deepen their passions or discover something new! Each quarter brings new options, either on campus or taught virtually by world experts. Examples include Drawing as Creative Practice and Digital Art, taught by professional working artists in LA. Greek Mythology, taught by a college professor in Antiquities; Creative Writing taught by an award-winning young adult novelist, and more.
Entrepreneurship Opportunities at ATI


Micro-economy is a key value of Montessori programs. Many of our middle school programs create campus-wide businesses, and students work in bookshops, coffee shops, or small campus farms. As they progress towards high school, many students begin launching their own entrepreneurship. Some student businesses have included photography studios, web design companies, crafting co-ops, and more: all connected with mentors who help craft business plans and support long-term and real-world success.
Internships at ATI


In middle school, students begin to identify areas of particular interest in the world. Students are encouraged to participate in existing internship programs, ranging from Montessori education to marketing or music production, or to identify an area of interest and work with their coach to identify and earn a new internship opportunity. Prior intern opportunities have included botanical gardens, doctors’ offices, congressmen, and more.
ATI Virtual Middle School and High School

Virtual School Option

Serving both middle and high school students, our virtual school delivers a powerful education for independence through our:

  • Montessori-based curriculum
  • Coaching program designed by experts
  • Individualized approach to learning
  • Flexible and student-led work supported by guides and coaches
  • Our virtual students receive quarterly packages of materials, from science lab kits to journals that support them in their learning.
Learn more about ATI virtual middle and high school

ATI Fort Mason Teaching Staff

Unlike a traditional school model, Montessori education uses guides instead of teachers. During the Montessori process, teachers or guides are there to guide students toward their innate potential while guiding them through the process of learning and self-construction.

Our Team

Head of School

Emily Doman

Head of School

Emily is an Arts and Art History educator who anchors her teaching through the visual. She received her Bachelors in Art History and Arts Education from the University of Illinois and her Masters in Visual and Critical Studies from the California College of Arts. In her Masters she studied the efficacy of ethnically specific arts exhibitions and how their presentation often signifies contemporary conflicts in museum practices. In her professional career she has worked at the Art Institute of Chicago in Museum Education, at notable San Francisco non-profit Root Division as the Education Director and at various schools both in San Francisco and New York City. She believes art is a means for understanding culture and a tool for creating community and comprehending the self and others. In her free time Emily enjoys being a mom and creating a life with her two young children and partner. She has a passion for nature, loves gardening, plants, flowers, and flower arranging. She is excited to bring her experience and passions into to Fort Mason this year and activate an appreciation for perception and visual thinking.

Middle School Science Guide

Nick Wagner

Middle School Science Guide

Nick Wagner is an Alum of K-8 Montessori education and has received a Bachelor’s of Applied Sciences in Environmental and Outdoor Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth. During his studies, he worked with schools, community centers, and private entities providing opportunities for students to explore the natural world and further their knowledge of the sciences and themselves. As a Program Director for an Environmental Learning Center, a Wilderness Therapy Instructor, and an Environmental Science Educator, Nick has guided students of all levels to better understand life sciences, earth and space sciences, ecosystems, engineering, climate and Social-Emotional Learning through adventure education, therapeutic education, and hands-on science curriculum. By learning and inspiring students, he has found his love for teaching through inquiry-based experiential and kinesthetic methods that engage all learners and inspire lifelong learning. Nick is excited to foster the skills, knowledge and experiences that the Montessori model has brought him for his students and future generations.

Middle School Math Guide

Tom Kramer

Middle School Math Guide

Tom Kramer bases his teaching philosophy on Jo Boaler’s Mindset Mathematics and endeavors to make math more visual, open, and creative. Before starting his teaching career in 2013, Tom had a 20+ year career as a marketing entrepreneur, started his own VC funded company, and received an MBA from Stanford. Tom loves teaching middle school math because young minds eagerly enjoy solving problems and thrill in the sense of mathematical accomplishment. By structuring interesting group problems designed to foster discussion, students turn their inquisitive nature into mathematics solving skills. Tom is a global traveler and a Warriors super-fan. His family lives in Palo Alto where his daughter (9th grade) and son (7th grade) attend school.

Coaching at ATI Chantilly

Middle school students experience intense physical and emotional growth during adolescence. For many students, setting goals, exploring values, and managing schedules are new experiences-and these tasks are challenging at any age! Even though growing independence and freedom are desirable and necessary, they require support and planning.

At ATI Chantilly, students are paired with coaches, who serve as supportive guides and mentors. In school, the coach's role is to make himself obsolete as the student develops social, emotional, and cognitive skills to become her own coach. The coach is not a tutor or guidance counselor; he or she is a powerful and unique partner who helps students achieve their full potential.

Learn more about Coaching

Planning for College and Career Development

The ultimate goal of ATI Chantilly is to create students who thrive: living happy, fulfilling, and productive lives. Each student is guided through the process of identifying their values, setting specific goals, and learning how to achieve them. Throughout this process, they gain a sense of accomplishment and prepare themselves for a variety of careers.

Student Outcomes

Student Outcomes

Our middle school students are often interested in pursuing higher education, and our college-bound seniors have a 100% placement rate. Along with their coach and guides, students work with a full-time, licensed college counselor.

Here is where you will find some of our recent ATI graduates:

ATI Fort Mason Academics FAQs

  • High-achieving students who are looking for an intellectually-challenging school
  • College-bound students looking to get into competitive institutions
  • Ambitious teens looking for a small, private school and a more personalized learning environment
  • Homeschooled or virtual school students looking for more opportunities to socialize and excel
  • Students who are looking for a supportive and accepting community
  • Advanced students looking for a Montessori-inspired middle school
  • Gifted and Talented students looking for an alternative to public middle school in Fort Mason

What parents are saying about academics

ATI Student

ATI is a positive, necessary, well-crafted and refreshing alternative to traditional "big box" school teaching methodology. We found it an ideal fit for our child who benefitted from their empathetic and open minded approaching to education which fosters a self-motivated mindset. I can happily and enthusiastically endorse their program for the positive impact it has had on our son.

Brook M.

ATI Fort Mason Parent

The Academy of Thought and Industry Austin has received accreditation by Cognia™ and WASC

The Academy of Thought and Industry has received accreditation by Cognia™ and WASC, the Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Earning accreditation from the Cognia Global Accreditation Commission means that the system and all of its domestic and international schools are accredited, and that ATI is recognized across the nation as meeting the Cognia Standards of Quality. ACS WASC accredits elementary and secondary schools; non-degree granting adult schools; and supplementary education programs.

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.

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