Founded over 50 years ago, Gateway was one of the first schools of its kind and, today, is very proud of its history as a pioneer and leader in the field of special education.
In 1964, a prominent advocate for a child’s right to an education, Martha Bernard, introduced an educator at Columbia University Teachers College to a mother who could not find a school that would accept her son. Building on principles elucidated from her study and her widely acclaimed demonstration classes at Teachers College, Elizabeth Freidus joined forces with Claire Flom to establish The Gateway School of New York. Their mission and vision were to teach bright children who had trouble learning how to learn, to educate their families and the professional community about the nature of learning disabilities, and to develop and disseminate effective instructional approaches and programs for students with special needs.
Over the years, Gateway has remained deliberately small, yet expanded and relocated in response to parents’ demand for its reliably effective approach to equipping students for successful transitions to mainstream schooling. The highlights in Gateway’s history are:
- In 1965, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church becomes Gateway’s original benefactor, agreeing to a minimal rent for generous space in which the school thrived for 36 years.
- In the mid-1970s, Gateway is designated by the New York State Commissioner of Education as an “approved non-public school.”
- In 1998, Gateway adds the Transition Program and extends its program through 6th Grade.
- Gateway relocates in 2001 to its first schoolhouse, an American Institute of Architects award-winning building at 236 Second Avenue, which it subsequently names The Evelyn McKenzie Building to commemorate a beloved teacher.
- In 2003, Gateway is the second independent special education school in New York City to be accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools.
- In 2008, Gateway opens a Middle School to serve students through 8th grade and moves to its current home at 211 West 61st Street.
- The Center for Educational Enrichment opens in 2009, introducing programming for Middle and High School students aimed at enhancing the motivation to learn by honing students’ executive function skills and ability to collaborate as they pursue an interest or passion.
- Partnering with the Keshavlal V. Bodani Education Foundation in India, Gateway collaborates on the founding of Gateway Mumbai in 2010.
- In 2010, Gateway is the first independent school to receive the National Center for Learning Disabilities’ Founder’s Award for exceptional service to children and families.
- In June 2014, the Board of Trustees resolves to expand enrollment to 180 boys and girls.
- In June, Gateway opts out of its contract with the New York City Department of Education and is no longer an ‘approved non-public school.’
- February 2019, Gateway undertakes the renovation of its facility to create an Arts Center and to accommodate its growing enrollment.
Coupled with the implementation of a new, comprehensive independent school curriculum designed to meet the learning needs of its entire student body, Gateway looks forward to developing its future generation of students into skilled, strategic learners ready to realize their potential in school and in life.