Archive for 2018
On September 5, Lower School families came together to celebrate being back to school with the annual picnic at West End Towers Playground. It was wonderful seeing families enjoying each other’s company and starting off the year with energy and excitement! We look forward to continuing to build our Gateway community this year. Thank you to those who participated and a special thanks to our PA organizers and hosts: Helen Brown, Heidi Bonilla, Jennifer Serrano, and Monika Wyszomirska.
On June 15, the Class of 2018 joined friends, family, faculty, and classmates at the 8th Grade Graduation Ceremony, held at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Following a Gateway tradition, each graduate delivered a speech about the transformative impact of a Gateway education on themselves
as learners and as young men and women.
It has been a joy to witness these students’ evolution over the years into skilled, strategic learners and confident self-advocates, and we are proud to share the list of high schools to which they were accepted: Bay Ridge Prep, Beacon, Berkeley Carroll, Birch, Brooklyn Friends, Browning, Churchill, Dwight, Eagle Hill, Forman, Grier, Mary McDowell, McCallie, Oldfields, Poly Prep, Purnell, Winston Prep, and York Prep. Congratulations, graduates!
On June 13, more than two dozen Lower School students celebrated their impending “moving up” to the Middle School next year. Each student composed a paragraph about their memories and future goals, and they read their speeches aloud in front of an audience of families and friends. Favorite memories included field trips to the natural history museum and Statue of Liberty, arts festivals, and interactions with teachers and classmates. We look forward to welcoming these students into the 5th grade next year as their Middle School journey begins!
On May 14, Middle School students engaged in a Q&A session with four alumni: Parker, who attends Morehouse College; Alex, who is currently at Brooklyn Friends High School and will attend Vassar College next year; Calvin, who attends Yale University; and Blaine, who is currently at the Professional Performing Arts High School and will attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts next year.
The alumni touched upon many topics during the Grandstand, including self-advocacy, reframing how one thinks about LD vs. mainstream schools, and what to expect during the transition to high school and then college. Calvin advised students to “take advantage of the help and great teachers you have at Gateway,” and Parker summarized what happens in high school: “It doesn’t get easier, but you get better.”
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Featuring a cast and crew of 17 talented students, the Middle School production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat had its first showing on April 18 and will repeat on April 19. The students have worked very hard since September to master their lines, songs, and choreography, and it was a joy to see the results. The parents, siblings, friends, and relatives in attendance were thoroughly entertained and very proud of our young thespians. The musical is a large undertaking and a marvelous Gateway tradition that continues its strong track record.
Tickets are now available for the 2018 Gateway Gala! Our signature fundraising and community event of the year will take place on Thursday, April 26 at the Mandarin Oriental, New York. The program will include a silent and live auction, live band, video (you won’t want to miss!), and a photo booth. Food and drink will be plentiful and will feature a wide variety of delicious foods, signature drinks, and desserts. Festive attire is suggested. There will be something for everyone! If you would like to:
A speech and language pathologist by training, Heather Ironside has been Gateway’s Director of Language and Literacy since 2016. She is responsible for the professional development program, the Reading and Writing curriculum, language therapy, and student assessments. We spoke to Heather about executive function, which is one of the main targets of remediation at Gateway.
Q: In a nutshell, what is executive function?
A: Executive function is an umbrella term for the processes of decision-making and planning. It is divided into thinking skills for planning, organizing, sustaining attention, and finishing a task; and regulation of our behavior and emotions. It is the “boss of your brain.”
Q: How does Gateway remediate impairments in executive function?
A: We address it in many ways. For example, the Aim and Agenda, stated at the beginning of every lesson, teaches students how to organize and structure themselves. It helps them stay on task and think about what they’re learning. In Lower School, if students are doing a task, the steps are laid out for them explicitly, and they’re taught to go through each step. We scaffold the strategies they use. In addition, the Zones of Regulation program teaches them to manage their reactions and emotions. In Middle School, we have additional systems in place. Their trapper keepers are organized in a precise way. Their homework has checklists for monitoring quality. And they’re taught to use study skills and study guides.
Q: When does executive function NOT come into play?
A: When something is practiced, routine, and automatic—for example, if you have the same commute every day and nothing changes, you might reach home and find yourself asking, “How did I get here?”
Q: How is executive function related to language?
A: They are extremely related. Your planning and decision-making are mediated through language—think of it as talking to yourself. Conversely, talking, reading, and writing are never automatic; they require executive function skills.
On Feb. 9, families of the four oldest classes in the Lower School (classes 605, 609, 611, and 615) enjoyed an Arts Festival featuring student performances. Two classes presented video art pieces that combined aspects of music, dance, and movement into a cinematographic performance. The morning also included a rendition of the “Three Piggy Opera,” a lights-out choreography piece highlighting colorful glow-in-the-dark wands, a “Zen Garden” movement presentation, and numerous displays of visual art including giraffe sculptures and savanna murals, map collages, compass paintings, dioramas, puppets, and more. Click here to see a Facebook gallery.
The five younger classes in the Lower School will have their turn on May 4, and the Middle School Arts Festival is slated for June 7.
On Feb. 1, students enjoyed an evening of dancing, games, food, and fun at the first Middle School Winter Formal, spearheaded by the Student Advisory Council and sponsored by the Parents Association. Thanks to the parent volunteers, faculty, and staff for helping to run a terrific event.
Three students from each Middle School grade are nominated to serve on the Student Advisory Council, which works with the entire school to represent the student body on topics that matter to them. Responsibilities include participating in monthly student-led meetings, acting as a resource for peers, organizing school-wide events, and advising program leadership.
An annual Gateway tradition, the PA All School Bowling Party took place on Sunday, Jan. 28 and was once again a big success. Approximately 140 people (parents, students, siblings, and caregivers) gathered at Frames Bowling Lounge in mid-town Manhattan for a fun morning of bowling and bonding. Thanks very much to the Parents Association for organizing the event.