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Academics at ATI Toronto

ATI Toronto 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 Toronto curriculum is rooted in thought and industry

Montessori philosophy emphasizes that teens should work hard: not only in school, but also in the real world. Our goal at ATI is to remove the artificial barriers between vocational and avocational courses; what's needed for class and what's chosen for life. Students are encouraged to integrate their passions with their studies, which unlocks their potential to:

  • Make a difference in the world by doing real work
  • Contribute to the community as a productive member
  • Embrace their natural desire for independence
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!"). Our courses seek to explain the "why" of each discipline. What is the importance of history? What makes math so exciting?

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

Sample Middle School Schedule

Sample ATI Toronto Middle School Schedule

Network 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 Toronto 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.

Opportunities to Explore

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

Network Courses

Students have an ever-expanding and changing catalogue of network 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 high 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 Toronto Teaching Staff

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

Our Team

Administrator

Laura McCarthy

Administrator

Laura is a 2004 graduate of Ryerson University who went on to a successful career in the apparel industry as a buyer. Since shifting focus to raising her 3 boys (aged 11, 8 and 4), she has immersed herself in parenting and education theory. Committing to finding the best education possible, she began a lengthy search for a middle- and high-school that would be true to Montessori principles. After disappointment with various alternatives, both progressive and classical, she found ATI. The key elements that sold her on ATI’s approach are in its very name — “Thought and Industry.” Thought, in the sense that ATI focuses on nurturing each student’s intellectual independence — and thereby build confidence in their ability to make sense of whatever they may encounter in life. And industry, in the sense of an education where students can “play the whole game at a junior level,” in other words, do meaningful, satisfying work while still in school. Laura is now determined to help establish ATI Toronto and develop it into a thriving community. In her free time, Laura is obsessed with all things related to interior design. She is also learning to play the guitar, with the aim of becoming a cottage campfire virtuoso.

Middle School Lead Guide

Hugh Merson

Middle School Lead Guide

Hugh is a passionate and thoughtful educator with deep Montessori roots. He has taught for 14 years at levels ranging from the early years through to adulthood and believes that, at every age, education should be about discovery – that the meeting of effort and curiosity are what propel both academic understanding and personal growth. Hugh’s approach is bolstered by training in facilitation methods, process design and the neuroscience of stress and development. Hugh grew up in the East end of Toronto where he attended a Casa Montessori program from the age of three to six. He reconnected with the Montessori method in early adulthood and has been working as an educator and teacher trainer ever since. When not in the classroom, Hugh enjoys all things basketball, growing bonsai trees in his backyard and adventures - near, far, and imagined - with his wife and daughter.

Math and Humanities Guide

Karen Goos

Math and Humanities Guide

Karen is a native New Yorker who earned her B.A. in Philosophy from Union College. Later she went on to get teaching degrees in special education and mathematics leadership from NYU and Bank Street College of Education. Karen worked teaching Math and Science in New York City and Toronto for 8 years and another 5 years in a part time capacity. Now that her three children are getting older, she is delighted to be back in the classroom. In her spare time Karen enjoys books, travel with her family and her dog, Sunny.

Coaching at ATI Toronto

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 Toronto, 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 Toronto 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 Toronto 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 high school in Toronto

What parents are saying about academics

ATI Student

We have seen an enormous improvement in our 13-year-old daughter’s self-confidence, independence and maturity since she started at ATI. She is also more articulate and focused.

Betty K.

ATI 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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