Introducing The Gateway Gazette!


Dear Reader,

My name is, Konish Bhattacharya, and I’m the editor-in-chief of The Gateway School newspaper, The Gateway Gazette. I am so happy that you are reading this newspaper and would like to welcome you to this publication. The link to each publication can be found on the Gateway School website, via email and posters around the school. Our plan is to publish a new edition every other Tuesday. I would like to start by telling you about the goals of our newspaper.

The first goal of our paper is to create a fun site that everyone can enjoy. Our newspaper articles will include many engaging features including: polls, reports and current events. Our second goal is to keep people informed and to get people interested in events in and out of our school. Lastly we hope for the Gateway School newspaper to be an all-inclusive safe space where all ideas and opinions are welcome.


K-8 Interactive Open House

January 20, 10am – 1pm. RSVP HERE. Join us for an Interactive Open House to experience how Gateway faculty use innovative teaching informed by research to inspire love of learning. Explore Gateway by engaging in a series of faculty-led interactive stations of various grades and subjects including music, Life Lab and technology. Meet students, parents and our Head of School.  Children encouraged! Food and drink on hand.  Learn about our application process and our financial assistance program.

Sex and Health Education with Jennifer Devine

Parent Ed Event: Sex and Health Education
Tuesday, January 16th

K-4th Grade: 6pm – 7:15pm
This fun and interactive workshop will help parents build comfort and gain skills for talking to children about bodies and sexuality. Sex Education begins at home and the messages parents give are the ones children remember the most. Come learn the facts and build your skills as your child’s most important sex educator.

5th-8th Grade: 7:30pm – 9pm
Preview the upcoming health education program being offered to our students! Gain skills to make it easier to talk to your child about puberty, teen years, sexual health and growing up. Get support for teaching children their own values around sexual health, get tips on how to answer questions that kids ask, and become an “askable” parent.

Guest Speaker Jennifer Devine is a sex educator, curriculum developer, teacher trainer, relationship coach and sexual health consultant. She has been a Certified Sexuality Educator by Planned Parenthood since 1998 and has been teaching sex and health education for over 25 years. She was formerly the Director of Golden Gate Community Health’s Education Department, and teaches the Family Life curriculum in grades 5-8 at Gateway School.

Childcare available: $5 per child

February School Day Tours

Tuesday, February 6th, 9am-11am. RSVP HERE.

We hope you will join us for our February School Day Tours to experience first hand our dynamic classrooms in action. Tour our K-8th grade and specialist classes in action. Come and learn how our teachers use innovative teaching informed by research to inspire a love of learning. Meet parent ambassadors, students and Head of School.



Hannah shares from the People of Color Conference


This past week, I attended the NAIS (National Association of Independent School’s) People of Color Conference in Anaheim, California. The theme this year was: Voice of Equity and Justice Now and in Every Generation: Lead, Learn, Rededicate, and Deliver. It was time for us as a school to have a presence at this conference, and I come away from it with more questions than I went in with, concrete resources (books, articles, student activities), connections all over the Bay, and a sense of purpose for the work ahead.

First off, I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the important work that our school has been doing (Gender Spectrum trainings, library assessment (buying new books, getting rid of old), engaging in conversations staff wide, and prioritizing the work that our Social Justice Committee is doing. I am inspired to forge on, feeling somewhat daunted by the fact that this work is never “done” and will be hard every step of the way. After attending I am thankful that we have such a progressive community that is eager and willing to do this work.

The conference began with American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory Kimberle Crenshaw (You can see one of her TED Talk’s here). She spoke about the history that we are obligated to re-remember, the importance of looking at intersectionality and urges us to ask why erasures such as the deaths of black women continued to be silenced in the mainstream media. Author, journalist and educator, Ta-Nehisi Cotes, emphasized that it’s beautiful to be ignorant. He stressed the importance of accepting the hard work that it takes to shift culture, and being sensitive to the young black students we have in our classrooms. Anita Sanchez author and coach shared stories from her work all over the world, and specifically with her experience with Native American elders. She spoke about forgiveness, unity, healing and hope.

Our world is quite tumultuous right now. The overall feeling at the conference was that there is a sense of urgency to be having these “hard conversations” about race, class, gender, sexuality, gender, culture, language etc…with our students, with one another, and as a community.

Bell Hooks, a known writer, social activist and feminist is quoted as saying, “most children are amazing critical thinkers before we silence them.”. I feel so privileged to be able to work in an educational environment that encourages critical thinking, and am reminded of how easily we can (unintentionally or not) silence children, peers, colleagues, even strangers, and how important it is to listen and to be open to change and learning.

If you are interested in hearing more, or engaging in dialogue, please reach out- I’d love to share more, or just listen.


Digital Citizenship


Krissie Olson, Gateway School’s Technology Integration Specialist, has begun implementing Digital Citizenship lessons into all of our K-8 classes this year. Digital Citizenship addresses the challenges parents and their children face in the digital age. In collaboration with each classroom teacher, Krissie’s aim is to teach awareness and healthy internet use patterns at a young age, when children are more willing to be monitored and are more open to the conversation about technology use. The lessons in Digital Citizenship are being combined with the Ruler Program and are modeling compassion and community. Asking students to be mindful of how they want to be, How they want to feel, And how they make others feel online.

Digital Citizenship is providing a sophisticated awareness about manipulation, perception versus reality, overuse and models healthy patterns of use. Krissie commends Gateway for doing a great job of actively supporting what the school values, by not only implementing this program but also by bringing Cyber Education Consultant, Lori Getz, to Gateway working in our classrooms with our students as well as speaking to parents.

Lori Getz explained how internet use subjects our children to new risks that they are not prepared to handle. In her talk she covered rules of personal safety, healthy attention versus unhealthy attention, self-esteem, ergonomics, and being mindful of others. She asks questions that introduce the children to situations that could arise online, giving them an awareness of what their response and emotions might be.

Lori Getz’s two most important rules of online safety: Do not give people information they should not have and do not hide anything from parents. She stressed that this is an ongoing conversation and not something parents should address only one time. Her example given was, “would you only remind your child one time to say please and thank you?” With 3 billion people accessing the internet daily, our children have to be educated about media use and frequently reminded of the rules. While the Digital Citizenship initiative is providing students and faculty with tools and guidelines for safe and healthy use here at school, Lori Getz sent parents home educated on the subject as well.

Click to watch Parenting in the Digital Age with Lori Getz

Do we want faster Horses?

Two weeks ago we welcomed 178 special guests for our annual Grandfriends Day event. Truly, it is one of my favorite school days of the year — the beaming smiles of children and adults outshone even the glorious sunshine that day!

In my welcome to our community’s elders, I made note of the fact that many of the jobs today’s students will someday hold have not yet been invented. This is why education today must be substantially different from what they (and most likely their children) experienced in their K-8 years: our goal must be to teach children how to think. While some memorization of facts and knowledge is important (for both neurological efficiency and the development of expertise), soft skills such as curiosity, creativity, problem solving, resilience and love of learning are essential for our children to experience future academic, economic, and emotional success.

Walking through the classrooms during the day, I was struck by how joyfully our grandfriends entered into the world of our educational program. From practicing mindfulness with Ilana in the First Grade classrooms, to sipping tea with Middle School students, our grandfriends seemed to truly embrace our vision for a healthy and effective educational program, with our balanced attention to academic vigor and personal growth.

Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motors, is famously reported to have said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This quote is often used when people are discussing the nature of innovation, imagination and the capacity for change, and in fact I shared it with our Grandfriends as I talked about our hopes that our students become “creators, not just consumers”, by embracing their own empathy, creativity and agency.

Though there’s some historical doubt that he ever actually said those words, one insightful critique of Ford is that he initially adapted the assembly line to car manufacturing, but he was later unable to adapt car manufacturing to the changing needs and wants of society — which in turn resulted in his company losing its dominant market position. Food for thought, as we consider how to both teach children to be flexible and adaptive, and also to have the courage of their convictions and to act on their beliefs.

I rejoice at knowing that our staff, students and families are so often like our Grandfriend visitors were last month; ready and willing to become fully present with each other, and enter into the world of the school with open eyes and warm hearts!

Have a wonderful week,

Dr. Zachary Roberts

Head of School

Middle School Play Focuses on Identity and Inclusivity


Exploring gender identity is part of the work of young adolescents, but unfortunately most middle schools don’t usually take this on. Not so at Gateway School where middle school students will be performing Melissa, So Far, the stage adaptation of the novel George by author and new playwright, Alex Gino.  Middle School students will perform the play on December 1st at the Broadway Playhouse in Santa Cruz for their friends and families.  This is only the second time that this story will be performed on stage.  The author only recently wrote the screenplay and will attend the performance as well as meet with the middle school actors and families afterwards to see the book brought to life on stage.

Melissa, So Far is the story of a transgender 4th-grade girl who feels out of sync with the body she was born with, gets teased at school, and worries her mother won’t accept her if she learns her big secret. Alex Gino’s simply and tenderly written screenplay helps kids — and parents — understand what it feels like to struggle with gender identity.  Audience members should quickly understand that George is really a girl and cheer her growing ability to live as herself. The play also explores how Melissa deals with bullying and finds support from her best friend and family.  “As new as it was to play a transgender kid in the play, it was interesting to see how someone who is transgender might feel and what that experience is like.” says eighth grader Olivia Burkhalter, who is playing the lead role of George in the play.

Gateway School decided to include the book, George as one of the books for the All School Read this year.  Last year the whole staff, and some parents underwent training from Gender Spectrum, an organization in Oakland CA whose mission is to help create gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens, as part of the school’s focus on social justice practices both inside and outside of the school community.  “Raising awareness of educators and parents about gender identity is helping us to build a more inclusive, accepting environment for all of our students where they feel safe to be themselves.” says Sherri Helvie, Assistant Head of School.  

Performing at the Broadway Playhouse Friday December 1 at 1:00pm and 7:00pm. There will also be a scene performed at our First Friday Assembly this Friday December 1 at 8:45am.

The performance is free but there is very limited seating. To confirm your seat please contact


PE teacher Kirsten embodies Arete

Our adored Kirsten Mehl was invited to speak to an audience of K-12 teachers with the California Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAPHERD) last weekend.

Kirsten’s presentation focused on her integration of social and emotional learning into her Physical Education curriculum, nurturing the whole child. Kirsten describes her personal inspiration with the term, Arete; the pursuit of excellence in oneself through the mind, the body and the spirit.

While Kirsten’s process seems intuitive to her, it is a novel approach to what has been and still is considered Physical Education to so many. If you have ever experienced one of Kirsten’s classes it is apparent that the program is deeper than what you might have expected. For example, the students (and Kirsten) will play an athletic game, pause to share inspirations or ask “what would integrity or sportsmanship look like in this game?” Then they resume playing integrating their new ideas into the game. By realizing how they want to perform, and accepting mistakes as an opportunity for growth, students are actively stretching themselves. During her presentation she employed her methods by having her audience stand up, stretch themselves and participate in her lecture, bringing to life what she teaches.

Kirsten reaches people and her teaching method resonates with everyone around her. We are very proud of her for sharing her personal approach with all of us, with CAPHERD, and for being invited to speak at the Elementary Physical Education Workshop (EPEW) national conference next summer.

Alumna Kristin Fauske (’08) wins Global Design Challenge

Kristin Fauske, Architecture Major, and her two team members from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, won first place in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, with their project CO2 extrACTION.

CO2 extrACTION is a multi-functional panel system that works to capture and isolate airborne carbon dioxide in dense urban areas.

Kristin and her team researched 40 biological examples capturing carbon dioxide and identified overarching patterns among the researched biological strategies which inspired them to design a panel system that can be applied on multiple scales to buildings and other existing infrastructure along freeways and main streets. Their design creates a way to facilitate the extraction of airborne carbon dioxide by drawing it through reed-like entrances and exits. Each inlet uses the venturi effect to increase air speed coming into the system. The air then passes through a carbon scrubber, which contains polymer strips coated with anionic exchange resin. The resin reacts with atmospheric carbon dioxide, converting it to bicarbonate. The carbon dioxide is stored on the strips until they are rinsed with water or moist air, which occurs naturally around dawn when atmospheric water condensation accumulates on multiple components of the structure. The carbon dioxide is then released and drawn into the chamber below, where it is stored and transported via a tube to another location for further use.

They have been invited to continue working on their project in the Biomimicry Institute’s Accelerator Program. Kristin also received a department award from California Polytechnic State University for this project.

Congratulations Kristin, on all of your accomplishments!

Watch the video of their project (scroll down to Student Category Winners, First Place: extrACTION)