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Academics ATI Virtual School

At ATI Virtual School, our Montessori-inspired online education combines the best of a vibrant, liberal arts education with creativity, independence, and personalization. Programs include full-time campus and virtual options, as well as part-time and summer courses.

The ATI Curriculum

The ATI curriculum is rooted in thought and industry

Montessori emphasized that teens should do real work: not just in school, but fully in the world. At ATI, we remove the artificial barrier between the vocational and the avocational; what's required for class and what's chosen for life. Our students integrate their passions with their studies, unlocking their potential to:

  • Do real work in the world
  • Serve as a productive member of a community
  • Realize the natural desire for independence
ATI Austin Curricular Tree

The ATI Curricular Tree

A student’s experience at ATI grows like the roots of a tree: the first quarter is spent exploring the foundations of knowledge. These roots grow into a strong trunk of core subject courses, including math,science, literature, and history. Each course opens up branches for deeper exploration, and as students gain mastery over core curriculum they start branching off into individualized learning and real-world opportunities.

The Roots: Foundation Courses

The Roots: Foundations Quarter

When students start at ATI, in middle or high school, they embark on a foundations quarter. This 8-week period immerses them in the school’s community, and helps ensure that every student can thrive in a self-directed environment. Each course during this 8-week period has the same objectives:

Create a culture of work

Students join ATI from varied backgrounds, and may or may not be prepared for a self-directed learning approach. The foundations courses are a period to determine how much structure an individual student might need to begin their journey at ATI.

Create motivation and engagement with material

Students often come to ATI with a very specific view of “school.” They may find some or all areas of curriculum boring, or inaccessible to them (the student who declares: “I can’t do math!”). The foundation courses are designed to showcase the “why” of each discipline. Why does history matter? Why is math exciting? And to do this in a way that is very different from prior experiences in a classroom.

Set students on a path towards independent inquiry

In order to guide students within a curricular tree with so many options, we need a comprehensive assessment of each student’s current knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

This includes content knowledge as well as social and emotional skills. Rather than a one-day standardized test, we spend the entire first quarter getting to know each student holistically, to ensure that they enter the program with full visibility.


Middle School Sample Coursework

ATI Middle School Coursework

Sample Virtual Middle School Schedule - Eastern Time

Sample Virtual Middle School Schedule - Eastern Time

Sample Virtual Middle School Schedule - Pacific Time

Sample Virtual Middle School Schedule - Pacific Time

High School Coursework

High School Coursework

The Branches: Optional Courses

As students advance, they have an ever-increasing set of optional courses to explore areas of personal interest. These courses can be offered in their own community, or through the resources of the global network: learning drawing and filmmaking from professional artists working in LA; exploring the history of human progress with philosophers of science in San Francisco; studying human anatomy with a surgeon in Texas. Wherever a student is physically located, the network brings experts to them. Students are empowered to find their own passions and work with their coach to chart their individual curricular path. Some examples of branch courses include:

Opportunities to Explore

Students' choices helps to build an intentional curriculum through elective courses, entrepreneurial opportunities, and internships.
Elective Courses at ATI

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 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 School Teaching Staff

In Montessori education, a guide is a teacher, but not a teacher in the way that's presented in a traditional school model. A Montessori teacher, or Guide, is a facilitator who journeys alongside students in the process of learning and self-construction and guides them toward their innate human potential.

Our Team

MS Math Guide (East)

Summer Evans

MS Math Guide (East)

Summer Evans is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins University. She holds a B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Political Science, and an M.S. in Secondary Education. Summer joins ATI Virtual School with a wealth of teaching experience. She began her career with Teach for America, and has spent the past decade teaching algebra, geometry, and calculus to adolescents in Baltimore and New York City. Beginning in 2016, Summer piloted initiatives using Chromebooks to support math education. This experience has allowed her to adapt to online environment seamlessly. Most importantly, Summer's ability to instantaneously connect with all students is the foundation of her educational approach. By fostering deep relationships, Summer motivates and supports all learners.

MS Science Guide (East)

Jeremy Beach

MS Science Guide (East)

Jeremy is a fifth generation teacher who can trace his family's teaching history back to a one-room schoolhouse in rural Kansas in the late 1800s. He earned his Bachelors of Science Education in physics in 2009 from Emporia State University and went on to get a second Bachelors of Science in Geology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2013. He completed his Masters of Science in Educational Leadership in May 2015 along with an additional 18 hours towards an Educational Specialist in Educational Administration from Fort Hays State University. Jeremy brings 9 years of experience teaching secondary science and a great enthusiasm for the Montessori educational philosophy. In his free time he is a keyboard player for three bands that pay tribute to three great Rock n' Roll bands: The Cars, REO Speedwagon and Bon Jovi. Jeremy is married with his first child expected to be born in summer 2021.

MS Humanities Guide (East)

Hannah Woznuck

MS Humanities Guide (East)

Hannah has nearly ten years of experience as an educator. She graduated from the University of North Texas and has taught all levels of elementary school. In her spare time she spends time with her Rhodesian ridgeback, Chief, and takes care of her many house plants. Hannah is passionate about reading and social emotional learning.

MSHumanities Guide (West)

Jennifer Albrecht-Ayala

MSHumanities Guide (West)

Jennifer earned a bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a minor in Education Studies from UCLA in 2010. She returned to UCLA to earn a Master of Education degree through the Teacher Education Program in 2012. Jennifer's journey as an educator first became clear when she worked to support middle-school students in an after school program at her local Boys and Girls Club in 2007. That experience inspired her to further her work uplifting youth in the Greater Los Angeles area, which ultimately led her to becoming a teacher. Jennifer is a life-long learner who finds opportunities to grow as an educator so that she can contribute to transforming lives, elevating education, and creating a more just society. She can typically be found in nature observing local wildlife, at home cuddling with her dogs, or in the kitchen trying out new recipes when not working.

MS Science Guide (West) and Learning Specialist (MS & HS)

Barbara Knight

MS Science Guide (West) and Learning Specialist (MS & HS)

Barbara earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Pre-medical Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is also working towards her master's degree in Instructional Design and Technology. Barbara is passionate about education and making an impact in student lives that go beyond the classroom. She started her teaching career 12 years ago while applying to medical school, and decided to dedicate her life to education. Barbara is a lifelong learner and has dabbled in many hobbies such as writing, painting, rollerblading, hiking, and even toured with a Spanish rock band in her early 20s. In her free time she enjoys being outside with her two children, going on nature walks with her husband, traveling the world, and learning all about her pet guinea pigs.

MS Math Guide (West)

Jumoke Babalola

MS Math Guide (West)

Jumoke earned a bachelor's degree in Education from Texas A&M University. She also holds a master's degree in Education from Texas A&M-Commerce and is currently working on her dissertation on Educational Technology. Jumoke started her teaching career 17 years ago in a traditional public school in Mesquite, Texas but fell in love with ATI's philosophy and child-centered approach. In her free time, Jumoke enjoys watching Netflix, going to the beach, and spending time with her three children.

HS Literature & Liberal Arts Guide

Ann Orsinger

HS Literature & Liberal Arts Guide

Ann is passionate about reading great books, leading great discussions, and clarifying thoughts through writing; she also loves math, science, art, and sports. Ann’s educational inspiration comes from her undergraduate work at St. John’s College, in Santa Fe. After St. John’s, she attended the Logic and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of California, Irvine, receiving her master’s degree in Philosophy. She then received her 2nd master’s degree and her PhD from the Government Department at the University of Texas, Austin, writing her dissertation on developing democratic civic virtues through aesthetic education and design.

HS World & U.S.History Guide

Andrea LejaMeyer

HS World & U.S.History Guide

Andrea’s professional life has been varied and non-traditional. She discovered her love for teaching and connecting with students during an independent study course her senior year of high school, prompting her to attend the University of Idaho to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. On track to complete this, life interrupted a bit just before she was to graduate. She became a mother of four and chose to use her education to homeschool for 12 years before transitioning to a position as an 8th grade teacher at a private school. After 8 years, she began subbing at the local public high school and discovered a love of these students which prompted her to return her attention to finally completing her Bachelor's degree in Education. She added two high school endorsements of History and English, and began full-time at the High School, which expanded to include a Personal Choices course in addition to History and English. In every variation, her motivation and pleasure is a result of building relationships and connection with students of all ages, beginning with her family which now includes two new spouses and two grandsons. In her spare time she loves walking her two dogs, visiting her family members across the country, creating personalized gifts, camping and kayaking, and coffee with her husband.

HS Algebra I & II Guide16

Mary Donovan

HS Algebra I & II Guide16

Mary has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Masters degree in secondary mathematics education from the University of Pittsburgh. She has taught mathematics up through AP Calculus for more than ten years.When she’s not in the classroom, she finds joy in running marathons, cooking, and teaching horseback riding lessons. She has been an avid equestrian since she was 4 and currently owns four horses of her own. She loves to teach and finds great joy in helping students discover their passion for mathematics and horses!

ATI College Counselor

Sharon Cravanas

ATI College Counselor

Sharon has been guiding students through the college admissions process for 40 years. Her experiences include serving as Director of College Counseling at Head Royce School; Associate Director of Admissions at Mills College; Consultant for the College Board; Instructor for the UC Berkeley Extension College and Career Certificate Program and other counseling roles. She has read applications for Cal Berkeley and UC Davis, and served on national committee for the National Association of College Admissions Counselors.With all that said, she really considers herself to be a matchmaker. Sharon thinks that there is no bigger thrill than to match a student with the right college.A native of the Bay Area, she is the very proud mom of 2 grown daughters. Her new passion (thanks to the pandemic) is cajun cooking.

World Language Guide (MS & HS)

Michele Widd

World Language Guide (MS & HS)

Michele spent most of her youth living and studying in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and France before returning to the U.S. to attend university. She earned a Bachelor's degree and master's degree in Chemistry from Stevens Institute of Technology and holds a Lower Elementary (6-9) Montessori certificate from the North American Montessori Center. Michele began her teaching career in 2005 when she joined Montessori Community School in Durham, North Carolina. As a guide in their newly established Adolescent Community, she helped to launch and develop that program and went on to teach Spanish, French, and Science there for the next 11 years. Most recently Michele founded GoalSpark Coaching, a life coaching practice serving youth, teens, and young adults.In her free time she enjoys playing guitar, singing, attending theatre performances, SCUBA diving, and spending time with her son.

World Languages Guide (MS & HS)

Sol Morgan

World Languages Guide (MS & HS)

Claudia Sol was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. She completed her bachelor's degree in psychology at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León and did her fellowship as a psychologist at the UANL Clinic in Mexico. Sol also studied contemporary dance at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in Monterrey: ESMDM.Sol moved to Milwaukee, WI in 2012 after being hired as a dance teacher and performer. There, she discovered great enthusiasm for teaching her native language. She taught Spanish in the school system and as a private tutor, working with children, teenagers, and adults. Since moving to the United States, Sol has worked for different schools and tutoring programs such as Futura Language Professionals, Tierra Educational Center, Spanish Blackbelt, Casita de Arte, My Learning Springboard and AltSchool. She joined ATI as a world languages guide and curriculum developer in 2019. As a professional dancer, she has been part of many companies and productions for the last 20 years. Sol won first place at the World Salsa Summit in January 2020.

Coaching at ATI

Adolescence is a period of intense physical and emotional growth for middle and high school students. Students have the ability to set their own goals, sometimes for the first time, and to explore their own values, and control their own schedules—and these tasks are challenging at any age! While the increasing independence and freedom is both desirable and necessary, it requires support and planning.

Every student at ATI is paired with a coach, a supportive guide who serves as thought partner and mentor. The coach’s role, over the course of the school years, is to make herself obsolete: as the student gains the social, emotional, and cognitive skills to enable her to serve as her own coach going forward. This is not a tutor or a guidance counselor; the coach is a powerful and unique partner to help each student unlock his or her full potential.

Learn more about Coaching

Planning for College and Career Development

ATI Virtual School’s ultimate goal is to create students who thrive: living happy, fulfilled, and productive lives. We work with each student to identify their own values, set specific goals, and learn how to achieve them. This process gives them a sense of accomplishment, and prepares them for a variety of paths in life.


Student Outcomes

Many of our high school students choose to pursue higher education, and to date we have a 100% placement rate for college-bound seniors. In addition to 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 Virtual School 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 and high school
  • Gifted and Talented students looking for an alternative to public high school
  • Student athletes and performers who travel and don't want to get behind in school
  • Students who need a more flexible school schedule

What parents are saying about academics

If you're looking for a radically different approach to education that meets your child where they are, ATI could be for you. I'm a staunch supporter of public schools and I never envisioned putting my child at a small, private high school - until he needed something different. ATI has the luxury of caring about the whole child - not just test scores and achievements. The ATI environment respects and nurtures students' intellectual curiosity and different worldviews are encouraged instead of dismissed. When I get my child's progress reports (with narratives written by multiple faculty members), I feel like they KNOW him well - both his strengths and his growth opportunities. In addition to academics, he's learning real-world life skills from opportunities to lead projects and teams. This school is small and new(ish) and way different than what we were used to, and it was a leap of faith to move our son here. But I'm so grateful we did.

Cara F., ATI Parent

ATI Austin middle school and high school students

Our 16 year old son attends ATI and we love it. But more importantly HE loves it! So much so that on the weekends he looks forward to going back on Monday. We had tried several other schools, both public/magnet and private, but always felt that something was lacking. If the academics were good the administration was rigid. If the teachers were great the kids were not open or supportive of anyone different. If the kids were great the classes were too easy. So after many years of trying we could not be more delighted to have found ATI where it all "fits"! Our son is academically challenged, socially accepted and most importantly seen as a unique and whole person who is not going to fit into any one box. Furthermore he is being extremely well prepared for college as he is being taught to think critically, back up his arguments with research, formulate questions to further his knowledge and communicate strongly in his writing. He is learning HOW to learn which is a lifelong skill that is worth more than any other in my opinion. And best of all he is loving learning. We wholeheartedly recommend ATI.

Krista J., 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.

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