Welcome to ATI St. Louis


We are so glad you’re interested in learning more about ATI St. Louis!  We are the only Montessori middle school and high school in the St. Louis area that is also an International Baccalaureate candidate school. We're proud of the rigorous, well-rounded education that cultivates global awareness and development of the whole student.

You may have heard of us by our previous name: MAP St. Louis. We recently joined the Academy of Thought and Industry (ATI) network so that we can offer even more resources and opportunities for our students. The possibility of studying film production through a New York-based company or joining an online Creative Writing class with students from Austin, Texas, provides students with the opportunity to collaborate with people well outside their immediate community. We believe this is critical for building global community awareness.

Our students take ownership of all aspects of the program. We have Student Managers who oversee campus cleanliness, marketing, admissions, technology… if there is a need we help our students to fill it! This builds both agency and sense of community. We work with our students as guides and coaches to help them navigate their coming-of-age.

We invite you to explore our website to learn more about our people, program and values. We are honored to be a part of this learning community and I would love to meet you to share more. 

Warm regards,

Melissa Anderson & Melissa Urspruch

Co-Heads of School, ATI St. Louis

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

ATI St. Louis is a part of a network of ATI schools, with campuses in Austin, San Francisco, New York and St. Louis. Collectively, we are creating the future of middle and high schools in collaboration with Higher Ground Education, the leading global organization committed to modernizing and mainstreaming the Montessori movement.

The ATI program was founded by Michael Strong, one of the most experienced designers of innovative school programs in the U.S. His past projects include Montessori secondary school program design at The Judson Montessori School (San Antonio), The Emerson School (Palo Alto), and Hacienda School (Pleasanton). Michael has authored two books including The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice.

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

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