Announcing the Academy of Thought and Industry, a New High School in San Francisco

Higher Ground is thrilled to officially announce a new venture: its first high school, the Academy of Thought and Industry. ATI will open in San Francisco in September of 2018, and is accepting student applications for its inaugural class.

Higher Ground's mission is to bring Montessori education to the world—providing a quality Montessori education to as many students as possible, from birth to adulthood. With ATI, Higher Ground takes a significant step towards this goal, extending its early childhood and elementary offerings for the first time all the way through high school.

The school's program has been designed from the ground up by Michael Strong, one of the most experienced educators specializing in alternative, high-performance high schools. ATI’s mission is to guide students to independently cultivate their own academic, professional, and personal success. The school uses adaptations of the same core principles of Montessori that have proven so successful in the early years: a highly structured, content-rich environment in which students become increasingly independent. ATI provides its students with a rich curriculum targeted at intellectual and personal development; this serves as the foundational backdrop for a mentor-apprentice program, in which each student plans and engages in real-world projects and internships, outside of school, in the Bay Area.

ATI is located in a large, newly-renovated Victorian in Pacific Heights, directly across from Alta Plaza Park. It's easily accessible by public transit and within walking distance of many delicious and healthy restaurants and markets. The facility captures the warmth and openness of a start-up space, with collaborative worktables, private focus rooms, and a 360º view of the San Francisco Bay.

ATI's Executive Director, Michael Strong, has joined with Higher Ground after over thirty years of experience designing innovative high schools. His approach to education intentionally leverages student motivation and autonomy, with directed guidance and accountability, all aimed at providing advantages for college, career preparation, and, most fundamentally, a life well lived.

Michael's previous innovative programs include those of The Winston Academy in San Diego (where middle school students have successfully passed AP exams for college credit), The Emerson School in Palo Alto, The Judson Montessori School in San Antonio, and most recently KoSchool in Austin, Texas, a microschool that blends a Socratic humanities core, excellence in SAT and AP courses, and project-based learning. [HG]

  • ATI will open in San Francisco in September of 2018, and is accepting student applications for its inaugural class. Parents and students can sign up for ATI news and event information here.