Our Vision

In 1907, in San Lorenzo, Italy, Dr. Maria Montessori had a radical idea. What if we “follow the child” and let their interests, curiosity and engagement with their environment drive their learning? What if we create an approach to education that systematizes the inputs that a student needs to follow her curiosity, independently work with her mind and her hands, and realize her inner potential?

Today ATI St. Louis is proud to build on this educational tradition by bringing to life a Montessori-inspired middle and high school for engaged adolescents, serving students in grades 7-12.

Our vision is rooted in a deep belief that students — in the context of a supportive, challenging and enriching community — are capable of extraordinary learning and extraordinary work. We aspire to be a community where students thrive intellectually, emotionally, and relationally and leave ATI prepared and capable of creating lives of purpose, value, and joy.

Our vision for adapting Montessori principles to the adolescent context isn’t fanciful. It requires coordinating and aligning principles and practice. It requires thoughtful and deliberate attention to balancing structure and flexibility. It requires maintaining expectations of excellence with adaptability for how to achieve it. It requires a commitment to learning ideas, skills and practices that are foundational to navigating our world while also providing students with the space and support to pursue excellence in their unique interests and passions.

Our vision is bold and aspirational; it is our life's work. We feel lucky to do this deeply meaningful work each day alongside our students. We hope you might be as inspired as we are to pursue this vision and to join us in re-imagining what a high school can be.

Our Values

Our ATI values align our staff, students and families to a set of ideas and practices that inform and enliven how we collaborate, communicate and support each other. We aspire to bring these values to life each day in our work together.

  • “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” –Socrates

    We approach learning as the ongoing pursuit of wisdom. We explore, interrogate and debate the big ideas that have shaped our world and connect those ideas to our own lives and context. We pursue wisdom not as an academic exercise, but to improve our judgment and actions in the world. 

  • “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” –Marcus Aurelius

    We know the word “virtue” may seem old fashioned. Yet the cultivation of our ethics, our integrity, and our habits shapes the quality of our lives. We are committed to exploring the connection between our deeply held values and our behaviors so that our inner character shows up in the world.

  • “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.” –Steve Jobs

    Work is central to our lives. It lets us direct our energies purposefully, enabling us to structure our time and action to reshape our world. Through cultivating our capacity for work, we develop an appreciation of genuine effort and a careful attention to quality.

  • “The only true freedom for an individual is to have the opportunity to act independently... There is no such thing as an individual until a person can act by himself.” –Maria Montessori

    We believe in independence and free choice. We seek to develop the courage of our convictions and the capacity for each of us to act with purpose, to overcome barriers and to pursue our individual aspirations.

  • “The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.” –Dean Ornish

    We recognize the tremendous personal value of the communities to which we belong. And so we assume responsibility for the health and vitality of those communities, share in the joy of belonging and have pride for what we create together.

The ATI Network

The ATI program was founded as a program designed to apply Montessori developmental and pedagogical principles to today's adolescents. Our programming is designed to connect students with the history of human thought and achievement, and to do so in a way that is personal and empowering. ATI blendsthe rigor of human arts and sciences with a creative, entrepeneurial spirit.

And today's teenagers are networked. Our national network of small schools—in Austin, San Francisco, New York, St. Louis, southern Florida, and with more coming—is connected online and extends beyond our schools. The ATI network provides a structure and space for powerful learning to be brought to our students wherever they go.

If you are interested in bringing ATI to your city, please contact Scott Taylor, Executive Director of ATI Schools.

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