An Urban Montessori Experience

Co- Creating an Open Learning Model

What does high school look like when it is inspired by Montessori principles?

Beacon Academy is a new independent high school in the Chicago area that explores what secondary education looks like when it is rooted in Montessori principles and reaches out to the world. This progressive school offers students an empowering learning environment, providing the skills and experiential connections necessary to contribute to a complex and diverse world with compassion and confidence.


Design Strategy
Graphic Design
Workshop Facilitation
Code Research

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The Third Teacher+ team designed a process to uncover Beacon's emerging community and illustrate values as they formed. From visioning and programming to the school opening process– we considered the space, curriculum, team, development, recruitment, and organizational functioning of this new school. The collaborative relationship between the founding board and design team allowed for dynamic co-creation. This process led to a signature program, iconic design, and a growth plan for the future.

Process Components

  • Focus groups with middle school students, alumni, educators, and families about existing high school culture

  • Design-thinking workshops with students and community members

  • Survey of Chicago-area families with students in Montessori schools

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This project was created in collaboration with Trung Le, Sarah Malin, Melanie Kahl, Teri Wright, Michael Cummings, and Raquel Morales.