While building upon the solid foundation of the Lower School, Gateway’s Middle School continues to engage and ignite a sense of community. Students are guided toward independence as they develop their own distinct voices, taking ownership of who they are as individual thinkers while celebrating the diversity of voices within the Gateway community.
We attend to the developmental needs specific to each student by addressing and supporting the need for good organization, routine study skills, responsibility for one’s work and mature social behavior. Every student has a weekly conference with a faculty advisor, to discuss topics as diverse as course work, study habits and relevant social issues.
Through the culture and community of the school and through direct instruction, teachers continue to nurture the development of character and foster confidence, creativity, flexibility and curiosity in each student. Relationships among freedom, responsibility, community and environment are explored through activities that engage students as stewards in service to the school, the region and the world.
Gateway uses a multi-prong approach to social emotional learning that includes:
Mindfulness – Practicing awareness of thoughts, emotions, sensations and surrounding environment helps children improve attention, self-control, emotional resilience, and memory.
Emotional Intelligence – Use of the RULER approach helps our students to master the skills of emotional intelligence and paves the way for greater well-being, better relationships and overall effectiveness.
Buddy Program – Cross age relationships are nurtured and sense of community is expanded through our Buddy Program that pairs each student with an upper school student for the school year. Buddy classes gather monthly to work on projects with one another.
Service Learning – As part of our commitment to develop in our students character and a commitment to personal, social and environmental responsibility, our middle school students all participate in service to the greater Santa Cruz community. While community service is emphasized throughout the grades, it is a requirement for graduation from the Middle School. Our 6th grade students lead the school’s Second Harvest Food Drive and perform regular beach clean ups of our local adopted beach – It’s Beach as well as Lighthouse Field State Park.
7th graders perform a minimum of 20 hours of on-campus community service, and eighth graders are required to perform at least 25 service hours (both on and off campus) in service to the greater Santa Cruz community. The program offers opportunities for connection and outreach, and helps adolescents understand our community’s needs and how they can make a difference.
Advisory Program – All middle school students are assigned an advisory group comprised of a small group of 6-8 students and a faculty adviser. Advisory groups meet 3 times a week to discuss student concerns, social-emotional issues relevant to young teens and to check on academic progress on an individual basis. The advisory period provides a time each week to “leave our books at the door” and relax. It is also designed to create a safe place where each student can express feelings and experiences about life and feel known and recognized as an individual.