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.