Gateway School recognizes it is built upon land taken from the people who lived where the school now stands. We acknowledge the many tribes that gathered here, the Rumsien, the Amah Mutsun, and those of the Awaswas language group, to name a few. The Indigenous people lived with respect upon this land for thousands of years, and many still live here today.

Our Philosophy About Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

At Gateway School, we recognize that an education rich in the practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is essential for students to thrive in a multicultural world. We believe that this work is a necessity and that it is not optional. As we move towards Cultural Proficiency, a model for shifting the culture of a school through individual transformation and organizational change, our goal is to promote the viewpoint that cultural difference is an asset.

We are committed to promoting inclusion, embracing diversity, and engaging in social justice work. We recognize that these efforts are complex and ongoing. We are committed to the guiding principles of actively questioning our own biases, promoting educational experiences and conversations that deepen our understanding of social justice, and honoring our authentic selves and those of others in safety and respect.

Any student who emerges into our culturally diverse society speaking only one language and with a mono-cultural perspective on the world can legitimately be considered educationally ill-prepared. —  Sonia Nieto

Each year, as our Seventh Grade students explore acts of resistance in American society, they learn about Freedom Quilts – quilts of the Underground Railroad. In this spirit, one of our Seventh Grade classes made a “quilt” from fabric and card stock.

DEI Curriculum Integration

We aspire to create and maintain a school-wide system that centers diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of our lives, from the academic curriculum and social/emotional program to our operational policies. To achieve transformative learning about identity, diversity, and justice, our faculty weave these concepts into their curriculum throughout the year. We do this by integrating the Teaching Tolerance Anti-Bias Framework and Social Justice Standards throughout our K-8 curriculum.

We must act upon the power we have to make positive change if we are to move towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society, and that work begins within our classrooms. Our goals for students are multi-faceted:

  1. Students will learn to challenge, confront, and disrupt misconceptions, untruths, and stereotypes that lead to inequality and discrimination based on cultural differences.
  2. Students will be given and utilize the resources necessary to learn to their full potential.
  3. Students will learn in an environment that promotes critical thinking and agency for social change.
The Pacifica Institute visited the Gateway Middle Schoolers. They discussed how to promote cross-cultural awareness and how to encourage dialogue between various cultural, spiritual, ethical and belief traditions to find a common ground.

This work in action

Here are just a few examples of how our program weaves issues of social justice throughout the curriculum. We are highly sensitive to the need to avoid stand-alone projects that don’t give children time and support to grapple with these topics.

Essential Questions
Each month, we provide the Gateway community with an Essential Question that can help guide discussions in the classroom and at home. Examples include “How do I know if I am part of a group”, “Who gets to decide who has the power in a family, classroom, community, etc?” and “How can I create a safe, welcoming environment for all?”
3rd Grade Place-based Learning
Each fall, our Third Grade curriculum revolves around an interdisciplinary place-based unit called River Day for several months. Students study the lives of the native Ohlone who were already living here when the Spanish arrived, the water chemistry of the San Lorenzo River, and the nature-inspired art of Andy Goldsworthy. On the day of their presentation of learning to families, we begin with the land acknowledgment noted at the top of this page, to acknowledge those whose stolen territory we reside on, and to honor the Indigenous people who have been living and working on this land from time immemorial.
Middle School Freedom Quilts
Each year, as our Seventh Grade students explore acts of resistance in American society, they learn about Freedom Quilts – quilts of the Underground Railroad. In this spirit, one of our Seventh Grade classes made a “quilt” from fabric and card stock. The guiding principle was to honor those who had to risk their lives for freedom and to reflect upon how we resist injustice in our lives today.
Honoring our International Community
Gateway families come from more than 40 countries, and we see this as a strength to integrate into our program. In our Spanish language curriculum, the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries from around the world are examined, with important traditions such as Dia De Los Muertos forming key experiences in our curriculum. In our Life Lab program, we investigate the relationship between foods and cultures, and how patterns of human migration have affected what and how we eat, culminating in the One World One Earth salad celebration each spring.

You really can change the world if you care enough. — Maya Angelou

Top L to R: The Essential Questions of the Month posters, scene from the 3rd-grade River Day play, One World One Earth Day music celebration, One World One Earth Day salad with ingredients grown in Gateway’s Life Lab.

Faculty Training and Support

We are committed to providing ongoing training and support for our faculty and staff to move towards anti-bias and anti-racist stances as educators.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator
We have invested resources in a DEI Coordinator position, held by a skilled and experienced faculty member who has time and resources, to support teachers in the re/development of curriculum and investigation of instructional practices. The DEI Coordinator also leads our DEI Committee, a group of faculty who help chart a strategic and tactical path forward in the upcoming years.
Anti-Bias Framework
All staff were trained by Kim Burkhalter of Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Each participant learned to incorporate the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards to create and sustain classroom and school environments that honor diversity, equity, and justice; to speak up—and teach students to speak up—against bias and injustice, and to build a collaborative and respectful learning community with a diverse group of learners and educators. We recognize that this work is never “done” and that we will continually reflect on our understanding of race and racism in our curriculum, pedagogy, and policies.
Gender Identity
Our staff was trained by Joel Baum of Gender Spectrum to understand the Dimensions of Gender. During this work we learned the full complexity of gender identity, and why the dominant binary model is flawed; how to reduce our unconsciously gendered language to promote inclusive environments; and how to implement gender support plans that create shared understanding about the ways in which a student’s authentic gender can be accounted for and supported at school. This work transformed the language in our classrooms, hallways, and playground, with families and caregivers, and helped us identify and prioritize ways to ensure our campus and field trips are gender-inclusive and safe for all participants regardless of their gender.
Personal Identity Development
As a staff, we read White Fragility by Robin Diangelo and had monthly staff discussions about the ideas raised in her book during 2019-20. This work helped us explicitly discuss race and racism in education, reflect on our personal experiences with whiteness and racism, and begin to understand white privilege, white supremacy, and white solidarity. Other shared readings include Mom, Why Don’t You Have Any Black Friends?, Anti-Racist Parenting While White, Publishing Upstream, and Identity in Education and the Responsibility of Power. Our white faculty have access to a number of action plans for tackling their whiteness, such as the Six Week Race In America Curriculum for Non-Black People, NAAMHC Talking About Race website, Scaffolded Anti-Racism Resources, Anti-Racist Workbook, and The Racial Healing Handbook.

Culture is a problem-solving resource we need to draw on, not a problem to be solved. – Terry Cross