Scientific Inquiry at Gateway Middle School
|a student model of the earth's layers|
Teachers at Gateway Middle School aren't standing at the front of their classrooms, telling students what to think, read, or do. Instead, they're leading innovative curricula that pushes students to think deeply about their academic subjects. In so doing, their students learn valuable critical thinking, reading, and writing skills which will transcend any individual coursework and prepare them for the rigors of high school work.
In Therese Arsenault and Andrea Lee's science courses, for example, students rely on scientific inquiry rather than rote memorization to learn. Students might, for example, pore over rock samples to make conclusions about the surrounding terrain. "They learned that basalt comes from a volcano, so they can then deduce that a convergent boundary is nearby, because that's where a volcano is usually found," explains Therese. "We're trying to teach the kids that science is non-linear and that there's a bouncing back between questions, testing out your ideas, getting feedback, and considering outcomes."
This overarching principle of encouraging curiosity, inquiry and discovery forms the basis for the entire science curriculum at Gateway. "We began the year looking at 'What is observation?' From there, we developed a set of valuable questions, as well as a set of guidelines for organizing our work, and analyzing our subsequent data."
Recently, the students completed a set of earth models and will soon construct a building that can withstand an earthquake as part of a larger unit on plate tectonics. "They'll have to take in to account everything they've learned about strengths of earthquakes and creating something that's properly structured," says Therese. The students hope to share their work in May as part of a school-wide exhibition for friends and family at which they will test their buildings.
"When you take this approach, it takes a long time,"
says Andrea. "Through all of this, we're teaching kids how to read and write in a content area; how to represent and analyze data; how to work together; and how to get and give feedback." The value, though, is evident from the exceptional student work already on display at Gateway, some samples of which are included here.
Annual Web of Religious Tolerance Exhibition:
Images From The Event
Gateway High School's ninth grade students spent four weeks becoming experts in various world religions and spiritual philosophies; as part of their project, they also conducted and recorded interviews with practitioners and scholars, and created original websites to share their findings. The goal of the project is not only to foster critical thinking skills in our students but also to teach them the value of promoting religious and cultural tolerance.
On Thursday, March 21st, the students invited friends and family to come to Gateway High School for a potluck dinner and a showcase of their amazing work. Throughout the course of the evening, students gave numerous presentations to the community, demonstrating their in depth understanding of their chosen religion.
Culture Of Ethics At Gateway Middle School:
Chad and Aaron Get a Makeover!
In an act of pure devotion to Gateway Middle School, Principal, Aaron Watson, and Assistant Principal, Chad Slife, offered up their own heads to their students last month - as makeover material!
"It's right there in our mission statement," says Chad. "Gateway Middle School students are not only expected to be responsible, engaged, fearless learners, but also valuable contributors to their communities, however they are able." Each year, students are asked to fulfill this core part of the school's mission by contributing to a community-based charity of their choosing.
The student council at Gateway decided to serve The Bay Area AIDS Emergency Fund as part of its annual fundraising program, Every Penny Counts. A representative from the program came to Gateway to share his experiences of living with HIV and help the students understand the value of their fundraising efforts to those in need.
Throughout December, January, and February, the students competed with each other to see which class contributed the greatest volume of contributions, rather than actual dollar amount; this helped the groups stay true to the goal of having full class participation rather than relying on outsized donations from individual students.
By the end of the competition, the students had raised $350 for the AIDS Emergency Fund and the winning class -- Mr. Bell's first period -- got to choose three hairstyles for both Mr. Watson and Mr. Slife as their prize. "My choices were to either 'Do a Dennis Rodman', the reverse mohawk, or to shave stripes in my head and then color those stripes," Chad shared. "So I went with the Dennis Rodman. Aaron had crazy ones! Like shaving a lightning bolt into his head."
Gateway Middle School would like to thank local Descend salon owners and Gateway parents for beautifying their principals in the name of community service.
Gateway High School Introduces
At Gateway, we believe that inspiring our students often means getting them out of the classroom and in to the real world. To that end, ten Gateway High School seniors have been placed as interns at a wide variety of businesses as part of a new internship program founded by Humanities teacher, Greg Grossman. The program seeks to give Gateway students valuable career skills while serving the greater business community in San Francisco.
"It's the coolest thing to be able to do something that relates to my future career! The work I'm doing now is exactly what I see myself doing one day."
- Imani, Gateway Intern -
Before starting their internships, the students attended an internship boot camp where they learned appropriate behavior (such as taking notes, and greeting people professionally) and dress in the workplace. Together, they have been reflecting on their experiences weekly and earning high praise from their new managers.
"We really enjoy working with Edgar. Not only is he always on time but he's also cute as a button! I'll be writing a letter of recommendation for him for his last day here."
- Lila B. Design -
Gateway students currently intern at:
ActiveCare Physical Therapy
Lila B. Design
Big Swingin' Cycles
Cow Hollow Pre School
Skyline Construction (Accounting Department)
Jennifer Tully Architecture Firm/Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Interested in having a Gateway student intern for you?
Please contact Greg Grossman
to find out more about how you can get involved.
Griffin of the Month!
Gateway Middle School Teacher,
Click on the image above to watch Emma Elizalde discuss her experiences as a student at Gateway High School.
This month, we're featuring Emma Elizalde, Gateway High School alumna and current learning resource specialist at Gateway Middle School.
Emma was recently accepted in to Harvard University where she will be pursuing a Master's degree in Mind, Brain, and Education next year. Before starting at Gateway High School, Emma, a dyslexic student, had struggled in middle school where she felt like she was "always running after the curriculum". "So much of the curriculum in middle school focuses on reading, which was hard for me because I hadn't fully mastered that skill in elementary school and I didn't have in-class support anymore from my teachers. I learned quickly that I was different from other students and that really changed my perception of myself in the classroom."
After graduating from Mount Holyoke, Emma returned to Gateway as a learning specialist, working to help students get the in-class support that she had lacked. "I can't say enough good things about Emma," says Jude Wolf, the Director of Gateway's Learning Center. "Statistics show that the odds often can be stacked against students with learning challenges and Emma, given her own experiences and successes, has done an immense amount to help our students here, from organizing weekly social groups to knowing how to ask the right questions. She really epitomizes all that is Gateway."
While at Harvard, Emma plans to focus on "Universal Design", a discipline which combines neuroscience and educational pedagogy to create curriculum and infrastructures that support all kinds of learners. "I worked with a non-profit called DREDF - the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund - last year," Emma explained, "And it really drove me to consider how the Disabilities Act should influence, for example, not just how buildings are designed but also how education is delivered."
We wish her well and are thrilled to see a Gateway graduate continue to advocate on behalf of all students' needs!
Want to share your own alumni story or learn how you can re-connect with Gateway? Please contact Maren Jinnett for more details.
Gateway in the News
Faculty "Wish List"
One of the easiest ways to support our schools is to donate physical resources and/or skills. The following "Wish List" is a sampling of some of the things our teachers and students currently need.
To contribute, please contact the individual listed below or The Development Office at 415.749.3600 x16 or Tina McGovern
- Tissues, pencils, pencil erasers for ongoing replenishment of the Gateway Middle School Learning Center supplies. Also, fun pretty pencils to give away as prizes to students; a set of 16 calculators and solid rulers (not clear). Donations to buy sets of leveled books for literature circles. Please contact Melissa Higgins.
- Noise reduction headphones to help students with focus and attention: 3M Bullseye 9 ($11.70 each). They can be found on Amazon.com. Also, cushion seats (Isokinetics, Inc. Brand Exercise Disc/Balance Cushion, 14" diameter) and Therabands of various lengths, heavy resistance. Please contact Jude Wolf.
- Donations of books or funds to help build up the young adult library at Gateway High School for the Humanities 11 independent reading program. Please contact Jeff Sprague.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
|Therese Arsenault||David Jackson||Pota Perimenis|
|Beth Berliner||Amy Joseph||Jackie Quella|
|Allison Bhusri||Hut Landon||Sue Schultes|
|*Cathy Dean||Susan Masto||Suzanne Schutte|
|Mark Felton||*Lisille Matheson||Laura Spivy|
|Amanda Goldman||Joyce McMinn||Phil Susser|
|Erika Goncalves||*Gale Mondry||*Peter Thorp|
|Greg Grossman||Erin Niehaus||Greg Toler|
|Scott Gutterman||Sharon Olken||Jennifer Tulley|
|Deundra Hundon||Will Parish||Katherine Welch|
*denotes Emeritus Trustee
3/25-29 No School: Spring Break
4/4 GHS: Genocide Awareness
4/10-12 GMS: Student-Led Conferences
4/22 GMS: No School
4/26 GHS: Mid-Quarter 4
5/3-5 GHS: Student Retreat
5/27 No School: Memorial Day
5/28-31 Finals Week
6/1 GHS: Graduation
Welch Family Generously Offers Matching Donation
Thank you to the Welch Family for their generous matching grant to support our families and double their dollars during the month of March
Gateway High School
Men's Basketball Team
Finishes A Fantastic Season
The Gateway Boys Basketball had a tremendous season this year,
winning the regular season league title for second straight year.
The Gators won went undefeated in the league's regular season and received an at-large bid for the Division 4 Northern California Sectional Tournament for the first time in 10 years. Gateway finished its season 16-4 (undefeated at home in the Gateway Swamp for the second year in a row). Four Gateway players earned all-league selections: Raymond Porter (Senior, 1st Team and League MVP), Kenechi Anigbogu (Senior, 1st Team), Axavier Byrd (Freshman, 1st Team) and Evan Derheim (Senior, 2nd Team).
Gateway Middle School Goes To
Gateway Middle School's halls are lined with posters, many of which are filled with reasons why our students already want to go to college. A recent trip to San Francisco State gave them yet another reason.
to view a slideshow of the day's events.
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