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Academics at ATI Museum Mile

ATI Museum Mile 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 Museum Mile curriculum is rooted in thought and industry

The Montessori philosophy emphasizes that teens should work hard both at school and in their daily lives. In ATI, we strive to remove artificial barriers between vocational and avocational courses; what's needed for class and what's chosen for life. We encourage students to integrate their passions with their studies, which enables them to:

  • Make a difference in the world by doing real work
  • Contribute to the community as a productive member
  • Embrace your natural desire for independence
ATI Museum Mile 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

The foundations quarter occurs in the beginning of middle school at ATI. This 8-week program allows students to explore the school's community and develop self-direction skills. 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

There are many students who come to ATI with no specific idea of what they want out of school. Some students may find some or all areas of the curriculum boring, or they may find them inaccessible (the student who says: "I can't do math!"). A foundation course explains the "why" of each discipline. What is the importance of history? What makes math so exciting? To do this in a very different way from what has been done in a classroom in the past.

Set students on a path towards independent inquiry

In a curricular tree with so many options, each student's knowledge, skills, and attitudes must be assessed.

Social and emotional skills are included as well as content knowledge. During the first quarter, we get to know every student holistically so they can enter the program with full visibility.

Middle School Coursework

Middle School Coursework

The Branches: Optional Courses

As students advance through the program, they can explore areas of personal interest. A nearby artist could offer a drawing course or a filmmaking course, a philosopher could teach human progress and philosophy, and a surgeon could teach anatomy in Texas through a global network. Students have access to experts regardless of their location. Coaches empower students to discover their own passions as they chart their own curricular path. 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

Entrepreneurship

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

Internships

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 Museum Mile 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

Assistant Head of School

Sarah Bushell

Assistant Head of School

Sarah is a native Georgian who earned her B.S. in Special Education from Georgia College & State University. She began her teaching career in Tennessee in a special needs preschool classroom. She has experience working with children who have Autism, Developmental Delays, Down Syndrome, speech and language delays, and more. After moving to New York City, Sarah discovered Guidepost Montessori and began her journey to a MACTE Montessori Nido/Toddler Certification. She is passionate about children's development and independence. Sarah lives in Brooklyn with her husband and loves trying new restaurants, spending time in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and travelling.

Middle School STEM Guide

Matt Ross

Middle School STEM Guide

Matt is a lifelong hockey player who now enjoys hiking and cooking with his wife, and he travels every chance he gets. His degree is in Industrial Math with a minor in Physics and worked for five years as a software developer between NYC and Quebec. Matt was inspired by one of his own professors to get into education, and he hopes to continue passing that inspiration on to his students. His goal is to spark curiosity and excitement in STEM!

ATI Humanities Guide

Malkah Schack

ATI Humanities Guide

Malkah is our teaching and curriculum development college intern. She is a passionate historian and has been teaching various courses at the middle school and high school level for four years. She enjoys many hobbies including reading, writing, historical sewing, collecting vintage clothing, and hiking. She can’t wait to meet everyone and set off on adventures in world history exploration!

Coaching at ATI Museum Mile

During adolescence, middle school students experience intense physical and emotional growth. Managing schedules, setting goals, and exploring values are all new experiences for many students-and these tasks are challenging at any age! While independence and freedom are desirable and necessary, they require support and planning.


As part of ATI Museum Mile, students are paired with coaches who provide guidance and mentoring. 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. Coaches aren't tutors or guidance counselors; instead, they are powerful and unique partners who help students succeed.

Learn more about Coaching

Planning for College and Career Development

The ultimate goal of ATI Museum Mile 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 Museum Mile 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 Museum Mile

What parents are saying about academics

ATI Student

I am so grateful for this school and the opportunity it provides my son to pursue his passions and learn in a supportive community. I’m confident it will help to further his love of learning. The director and guides genuinely care about all the students and have an extremely high level of commitment to their continued success. The kids who attend here are such amazing, kind and intelligent people.

Sally T.

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

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