Higher Ground Schools

  • Website
  • Platform Design

As Higher Ground Schools has evolved and expanded, they wanted their websites to demonstrate this growth. They came to Planetary to help make this happen.

We set out to create a holistic design and development framework for all of their websites, as well as potential future brand sites. While each school or resource has its own branding, it needed to feel as though they were also pieces of a whole, and they all needed to be able to be updated in the same way.

The Prepared Montessorian launched in December of 2020, with the sibling sites, Academy of Thought & Industry and Guidepost Montessori both following in the second quarter of 2021. The sites have received extensive positive feedback, and our team continues to launch and build new websites for the Higher Ground team.


Websites designed and deployed


Page requests served annually


Of parents and students engaged


We began with one of their smaller brand sites, The Prepared Montessorian, to prove out the design and development model.

Once we had a clearly articulated information architecture and high-level user experience, we dug into the nitty gritty of each key page and moment. From there, we defined a clear design framework that fulfilled the specified needs of The Prepared Montessorian and could be adapted for each of Higher Ground’s different brands.

In parallel, we outlined a new tech stack that would provide extensibility, allow for third-party software integrations, and was easily reproducible for each website, from front-to-back.

The Prepared Montessorian

The Prepared Montessorian is a training and professional development program that helps bring the Montessori method to new teachers, and offers training deplomas and continued learning options.


Our team approached design from the ground up, with a focus on being scalable in the long-term, using a rich, editorial content-first approach.

With the serious nature of the content, our team decided to bring forward the individuals behind the scenes, putting them at the forefront of each site to emphasize authority and trust. As many of the pages were intended to lead various demographics to contacting the Higher Ground teams, this also helped create a personal connection with the user.

Guidepost Montessori

Guidepost Montessori is a network of over 80 schools around the globe designed for teaching children ages 0 to 14 through the Montessori method.

Design Components

We designed a componentized framework that could be reused and styled for each website within the Higher Ground network.

Following the completion of the user experience design, our team moved to visual design, integrating the updated branding of each website through the use of color, typography, and stylistic elements.

Academy of Thought and Industry

The Academy of Thought and Industry is a middle and high school network dedicated to Montessori teaching for independent, self-motivated adolescents.


In parallel with the design of the website, our team rethought the websites’ architecture.

We selected Next.js and Sanity CMS, a pair of technologies that have been battle-proven and will scale well as the sites (and network of sites) continues to grow.

Sanity provides a highly customizable user-friendly editor, allowing less technical Higher Ground employees to easily update, modify, or create new pages on each website without the help of a developer.

After selecting this architecture, we:

  • Developed a kit of components that could be easily cloned and branded for each website within their network, making it possible to spin up new websites quickly.
  • Set each site up to be statically-generated, allowing them to be distributed on global CDNs reducing load times.
  • Created a series of backend APIs to integrate with their third-party services.


Montessorium is Higher Ground's think tank, dedicated to exploring, understanding, and explaining the philosophy of Higher Ground Education.