Januaru 11, 2021

Dear Gateway Families,

I hope that this email finds your family healthy and well. I am acutely aware of how much digital information we are receiving on a daily basis; from the news cycle to social media, to emails both personal and professional, so I am keeping this message intentionally short. 

I want you to be able to clue into the things that matter (like spending time with your family – whom you probably see too much of these days), do something for yourself, or get to that work email you should have gotten to last week.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. If you are managing to plan for more than one day into the future, and/or if you’re able to give yourself some time away from screens, you are ahead of the game. 

I’m really just want to thank you for your ongoing support of Gateway, your partnership with your teachers and the administration, and for your continuous efforts to stay informed, model how to be a citizen of the United States, and keep our community healthy.

Please see important announcements below and be sure to read Zaq’s January 8th email about our decision-making process for bringing students and staff back onto campus next week. 

Warmly,
Hannah

January 4, 2021

I hope this email finds you well after your pandemic winter break. The winter holiday season, for those of us who are privileged to be housed, have a little extra to give, and or have some time off from work, is typically filled to the brim with the rush to “get it all done” (shopping, holiday card writing, baking, cleaning… to name a few of mine). We get all out of routine, sleep times and habits are askew, we eat too much sugar and not enough vegetables; a recipe for so much joy and of course, also, the meltdowns. I urge you to give yourself (and if you have the energy, your family) a little grace this week as we all adjust and reenter “the real world” again. 

I want to take a moment to reflect on this year and open the conversation about the next five months of your child’s educational life. To say that this year has been and will continue to be “unusual” would be an understatement. Your children are not only enduring a global pandemic, but they are doing it while their main activities should be to play, move, and learn through social interaction. This is why we prioritized getting our youngest children onto campus first, and with the highest frequency.  

As we move into Gateway’s second semester, we will publish progress reports and begin to talk about what the second half of the school year looks like. Our program’s priorities continue to emphasize mental health, community, and connection alongside essential academics during this unprecedented situation, as you’ve heard me and Zaq say before. The reason I say it again is to reassure you that your children will be more than fine. Our teachers have been engaged in conversations since last March about how to best support your children as a whole child during this pandemic. Our curriculum and content have adapted to focus on breadth over depth in the content and skills taught in reading, writing, and math. By covering the full range of grade-level content in these key disciplines, our teachers are preparing the students with a foundation for increased repetition and depth next year. In the disciplines of science and social studies, by comparison, teachers have intentionally gone deeper into fewer units of study. 

If you’ve been at Gateway for years with an older child, you may notice some prior areas of study have not been covered and that certain traditions or units are not present. Hopefully, you also notice that your children are engaging in other activities, at an appropriate pace, and are excited about their learning. The nature of a virtual campus, physical distancing, and health protocols require teachers to slow down and to focus on the highest priorities within the curriculum.

Your child’s narrative progress report sections will focus on describing the arc of your child’s growth, not on the scores and percentages of homework and tests and projects and participation. Teachers will continue to focus on strengths and areas of growth and struggle. Please reach out to your teachers with questions you may have, and know that your kids are in excellent hands. This really does take partnership, and we appreciate all you do to support your child’s education.

I hope you all have a lovely week. As always, with appreciation.
Hannah

December 14, 2020

Changing gears, I want to talk briefly about the work we are doing to prepare the winter progress reports, and the pacing of our curriculum this year. The media has been publishing articles fearing “covid slide” since last April, but they really miss out on so much in their analysis. The fact is, we don’t measure student growth based on “months of learning” or “seat time”; we also don’t conceive of children as “empty vessels” waiting to be filled up with inert facts. We know education is much more complex, and our teachers are having conversations about the depth and breadth of our curriculum in the second half of this year, and how we’ll ensure that we maintain consistency and alignment between the grades and position our children for ongoing academic success. 

Our mission calls upon us to support genuine scholarship, and that means vigorous academics tied to developmental expectations; in the context of this global pandemic, and all the stress and challenge that has come with it, I’m so proud of the education our team is providing, and the way in which we continue to ensure that our students have a questioning spirit and a deep love of learning, while attending to the essential knowledge and skills in key areas. So please, don’t worry about the pacing of content, or that your child is “falling behind” — and, if you have questions about your child’s growth, talk to their teacher. Our partnership with families continues to be a cornerstone of our approach and success.

Ok so finally, this week the winter weather has made its presence known. As we return to campus next week please remember to send your children to school bundled up for the cold weather. We will continue to teach outdoors as much as possible and push fresh air through the classrooms when we are inside, even in the cold. Make sure your children have layers, warm coats, socks, and closed-toed shoes. Hats, gloves, and scarves are always nice additions and for our youngest students, please be sure we have a change of clothes on site.

December 7, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

I know today was a little bit of a different day for you with an entirely asynchronous schedule (although you may be getting somewhat used to an asynchronous day at home with your children). For us as educators, this In-Service day was spent collaborating, training new teachers, discussing curriculum, reflecting on what we’ve done and where we are going, and strengthening our already incredible program. I am inspired by how hard and diligently our teachers work to provide the best classroom environments (virtual or on-campus) and overall education for your children.

In the midst of a pandemic, we are prioritizing connection over grades, relationship-building over content, and flexibility over comfort. We are also prioritizing critical conversations centered around how we talk about the winter holidays in our classrooms, asking ourselves whose voices are heard and whose are silenced in the books we’re reading, and tackling the conversation of our global pandemic at a developmentally appropriate level. Our curriculum is ever dynamic, and that takes thought, care, and many hours of planning and collaboration. These are valuable conversations to have, and ones that require time and space with one another. We are all grateful to have that gift of time today.

On Friday, Zaq sent out a survey to you all, asking you to indicate whether you will be having your child participate in the On-Campus or the Opt-In Distance Learning program next week. Thank you to those who have already filled it out! For those who haven’t, please take a moment to do so as this will help our teachers plan for next week. Having this information as soon as possible allows us to create the most thoughtful and effective plan for your child and their peers. Click here to fill out the survey if you haven’t yet.

In the News:
Graduates of 2020
We had a lovely Graduation Ceremony on Saturday for the graduating class of 2020. We were able to host a distanced graduation, where graduates and their families participated from their cars! Students came on stage one at a time to share their memories of Gateway, and their speeches. It was a lovely culmination for these graduates after an atypical 8th grade springtime

November 30, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

It’s hard to believe it’s Monday again! I hope you all had a restful Thanksgiving break, and the transition to Virtual Campus today was as smooth as possible. 

As we continue to practice more flexibility than ever before, in such a dynamic time, I want to again encourage you to be kind to yourself and others. When you can, remind yourself and others of the fact that we are all doing our best in this very moment, and practice forgiveness for or offer grace to those who may not be able to bring their best selves right now. Our students are fierce observers. I think of them as our teachers; always pushing us to bring our most authentic, forgiving, generous, and honest selves. 

Thinking of you all on this beautiful Santa Cruz fall day.

Love, Hannah

November 23, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

As I anticipate this coming period of time when we will be in Virtual Campus mode, I reflect on all that we’ve gone through as a community during these last nine months. As a school and as a globe, we’ve had quite a ride. 

Our pivot to Virtual Campus feels somewhat more manageable now. We have a lot in place and are so thankful for your continued partnership in making it all happen. It takes true teamwork to pull all of these moving pieces together. 

Please be on the lookout for communications from your teachers today and tomorrow about materials, technology, schedule changes, or other important news. And if you don’t remember anything, remember this: Check your child’s Google Calendar! It will be up to date and ready for Virtual Campus classes. Also, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Jeremy if you have technical difficulties or questions.

Many of you know that tomorrow would have been our traditional Grandfriend’s Day celebration. There is a general sense of sadness because we are unable to host this special day this year. Greeting our grandfriends and sharing our school lives with them is one of our most beloved traditions of the year. However, I had the privilege of reading/looking at a few of the letters/drawings that your children wrote to their special grandfriend, and every one of them brought happy tears to my eyes. They captured the beauty of what they are doing in school and in their lives, shared multiple emotions, and sent genuine love to those to whom they wrote. 

I hope you are all surrounded by love during this holiday season, and you get to share fellowship with at least one loved one, and that you can slow down, find a moment to be grateful for one small thing, and be in the present.

Wishing you all a few days off from the hustle and bustle of school life. We look forward to seeing those smiles once again via Zoom next Monday!

With love, Hannah

November 16, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

The winter months have finally crept up on us, scarf and boot season has arrived, and the holiday season is in full swing. The energy is different, yet similar. There is a mixture of excitement, grief, and possibly, some denial about the shifts we are making this fall. This season is definitely different than ever before. But, as my wise friends remind me: the only constant is change. I am in awe of your children’s ability to reflect on this challenging time, the way that they find the positives, see the learning opportunities, and how present they are with their feelings. Even when they are disappointed, they can often find a silver lining. 

When we embarked on this school year, our number one priority was, and remains, the health and safety of the adults and children in our community. Thank you for your continued diligence and care in keeping our community healthy. As we watch the climbing numbers in our county it is easy to worry. It’s good to remember that humans are resilient. We are flexible and adaptable, beyond what we often think capable, and can still rely on one another and support each other even if it is at a distance. The highlights to my day are when I see the kids on the yard making up new playground games, when I see all of you at drop off and pick up, and watch our teachers doing their very best under incredible circumstances. I never thought I would be looking forward to a Zoom Thanksgiving dinner with my inlaws from Washington, or my dessert and games Zoom with my folks. But I am, because it’s connection. When this is all over, and our world is forever changed, I hope to be able to look back and remember the good. I am thankful every day for our blessings.

Sincerely, Hannah

November 2, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

What a great week last week with fourth and fifth graders joining us on campus. We kept our tradition of celebrating Halloween with costumes and, this year, a socially distanced parade! I hope all of you were able to have some semblance of normal for the well-loved holiday. 

Today, my Monday message is filled with reminders, and nuts and bolts. I know most of us are going one day at a time lately, so read below to catch up on anything you might have missed, or find answers to some frequent questions that have been coming up. It’s taken quite a partnership to make this a well-run machine, so I thank you for your participation. Our transition to On-Campus learning has been going so well!

Please read below, and let me know if you have any questions about any of it or anything else you’d like to know.

I hope you’re having a lovely start to your week.

Sincerely, Hannah

Shark Squads!
We are excited to introduce you to Gateway’s new After School Care program, Shark Squads!!! Shark Squads will run in three-week sessions throughout the school year from your child’s dismissal time until 4:00pm, Monday-Friday.

Shark Squads are designed to support your child in creativity, play, and art exploration for a fun extension of their school day. Social time, connections, and community building are such important and fun aspects of After School Care that we want to continue to offer programming that will safely allow our students to do just that! 

Share Squads will be following the Distance Cohort Model, as we will be blending grade groups together. Space is limited and a minimum in each cohort is required for the session to run.

Shark Squads Session 1
November 2-24 from your child’s dismissal until 4:00pm – $225
To reserve your spot visit our registration site, Shark Squads.

Grandfriends Day
Traditionally, Grandfriends Day would have been held on Tuesday, November 24. In light of the pandemic, Grandfriends Day will look very different this year as we will not have Grandfriends on campus or participating in Virtual Campus classrooms.

Look for more details in future issues of the Gateway Family News (GFN) and from your teachers in the coming weeks.

October 26, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

This week will mark the week when most students in K-5 are back for on campus learning. It has been a feat of giant proportions, and truly a team effort, and we thank you for your partnership, your understanding, and your appreciation of the hard work everyone is putting in to provide the highest quality education for your children. Whether in Virtual Campus mode, On-Campus mode, or in our Opt-in Distance Learning program, your children are champs and are showing such resiliency. I am inspired daily by our teacher’s dedication to your children, and by our community for all the helping hands, contributions of time and money, and the overwhelming sense and feeling of “we’re in this together”. Thank you.

In bringing staff and students onto campus, we’ve identified ways to keep everyone maximally safe. We’ve instituted procedures, new protocols, and everyone is working diligently to follow them closely. Even so, we will encounter illness! We’re coming up on cold and flu season and we are bound to have aliments (that aren’t COVID). 

In order to provide some clarity on our expectations around returning to school after an illness, we have created a handy flow chart for everyone (staff and families) to reference and follow should anyone experience a COVID symptom. Here is the link to view our Return to School & Work Criteria. Please read this closely, and contact Jeremy King (jeremy.king@gatewaysc.org) or Hannah Wikse (hannah.wikse@gatewaysc.org) with any questions regarding the Health and Safety Protocols or the Return to School and Work Criteria.

Please continue to inform your teachers about any illnesses your child has or necessary absences. Specific details are not required and you are welcome to share as much or as little as you like. Note that our whole community (staff and students) will be following these criteria and that we hold this information with discretion and confidentiality. 

Thank you for your conscientiousness around keeping everyone as healthy as possible during this time.

In gratitude,

Hannah

Announcements:

  • After School program to launch in November, be on the lookout for messaging
  • In light of the pandemic, Grandfriends Day will look very different this year as we will not have Grandfriends on campus or participating in Virtual Campus classrooms. Look for more details in the Gateway Family News (GFN) and from your teachers in the coming weeks.

Events this week:

Friday, October 30

  • K-5 Students: Welcome to come to campus in costume! Reference last week’s Monday Message, the GFN, and teacher communication for expectations.
  • 6-8 Students: Virtual celebrations; See Alli Birkhead’s MS Update for details.
  • Community Zoom with Zaq, 12:00pm-1:00pm  Join Zoom Meeting
    • Gateway parents and guardians are welcome to join us for a Community Zoom with the Head of School, Dr. Zaq Roberts.

October 19, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

Halloween is right around the corner! Though our celebrations will look different this year, we will still have the opportunity for our students to dress up and celebrate with one another. K-5 students who are on campus can wear their costume to school and those in the distance learning program. The Student Council has designed some virtual festivities for Middle School students. 

Dressing up and celebrating Halloween provides opportunities for fun and community building. Our theatrical selves get to play a character, and a bit of magic enters the air. However, costumes can also be problematic and even hurtful. I am asking you to join me in helping to ensure that students are thoughtful about the costumes that they choose this year. Being proactive can help all of us make sure that Halloween is a time when all students feel safe and honored, and that we live up to our Gateway value of promoting a just society.

It is important to:

  • Talk with your child about why it is important that their costume does not portray a stereotyped image of a culture or group of people. 
  • Help your child choose a costume that is not offensive to any racial, ethnic, or religious group, people with disabilities or illnesses, or any group of people. 
  • Reinforce the importance of not darkening skin or using makeup to change a child’s skin color to match a person whom they are dressing up to be. Students are often unaware of the historical perspective and the harm they could cause, and need our help in understanding why this can be hurtful and problematic.  

Some examples of costumes that can be problematic include: 

  • Native American/Indigenous Peoples costumes involving headdresses or feathers
  • Dressing as a homeless person
  • Dressing as a person with any physical or mental disability, or 
  • Dressing in any costume that portrays a narrow or negative stereotype about a specific ethnicity, religion, or race.  

If you are looking for further resources to deepen the conversation, a great place to start is the #IAmNotACostume Campaign which can be found at: http://www.lspirg.org/costumes.

I look forward to celebrating with all of the students and staff on Halloween and appreciate your help in making sure that it is a fun day for everyone. If you have any questions at all regarding the day, please feel free to reach out. This coming Wednesday’s GFN will have more details about the day’s festivities, and be on the lookout for a message from your child’s teacher regarding the day.

Sincerely, Hannah

October 12, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

Another exciting week here on campus and in virtual campus mode! With fall conferences I always feel that the school year feels like it’s really going. Thank you for partnering with our teachers so closely on your child(ren)’s educational journey.

As you’ve heard, we will soon have our Kindergarten through third grade students on campus for in person learning! Our second graders join us on Wednesday; families, please be on the lookout for an email from Nichole and Gabrielle tomorrow with first day details.

Over the course of the last few weeks, teachers and staff have observed that students are behaving very much like they do in the first week(s) of school. They tire more easily, they are working hard on navigating all the social interactions, and they are learning how to be in a group once again. This is where our continued emphasis on the classroom charter, conversations about how we want to feel at school, and more targeted lessons about social/emotional literacy are essential. 

Cell Phone Reminder/Tech distractions at home

One pattern our teachers have noticed in the Virtual Campus program is that managing student distractions over a screen is very challenging. For those of you with children who have access to cell phones, video games, chatting apps, and/or can become easily distracted, please help us by having a conversation with your child about the importance of being present for class. Teaching them how to limit distractions, helping them to find a zone for productive learning and even setting limits and boundaries on their cell phone use during the day is important (remember our on campus policy is “off and away” during school hours). Sometimes child(ren) need additional supervision during class time. Feel free to be in touch with your child’s teacher or middle school advisor if you’d like guidance. I am also here to support you.

Attendances

Please remember to email your teacher or advisor with excused absences prior to class. You can also call the front desk at 831-345-0341 and leave a message with Nancy. It is vital that teachers know when there is an excused absence. Please also encourage your child (if they are old enough) to reach out to their teacher to see if they need to do any make up work. 

Tardies

Being on time for class helps children succeed in many ways — they are better prepared, they feel less stressed, they catch the class from the beginning, and they support the teachers in doing their jobs. So please help your child to come to class on time — whether in person on campus, or in our virtual campus mode. 

For those of you who are not quite ready to transition to on campus learning, thank you for being in such close communication with us. As you know, our Opt In Distance Learning program is an ongoing design process. We want to provide a blend of academic instruction and social emotional connection while also fostering the ongoing relationships with teachers and peers. We are conscious of the developmental readiness of students at varying grade levels, and working closely with teachers to design the best program we can offer.

Happy Monday, all! Till next time.
Hannah

September 28, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

As I write to you today, and navigate my own emotions of this year, I am acutely aware of the importance of teaching and coaching social emotional literacy. Emotions change throughout the day, hour, minute. We can hold multiple emotions simultaneously, and recognizing and understanding our feelings (thank you, RULER) are two important steps in the process towards emotional literacy, and understanding ourselves and those around us. During this time, remember to be kind to yourself and others, and hug your loved ones.

We are absolutely thrilled to have Kindergartners and first graders on campus. The school is alive with joy and energy again, and we feel so grateful to be able to have such a strong team of teachers and staff to make this possible. The students have visited the sunflower house in life lab, they’ve built marble mazes taller than themselves, done art projects, studied each others names, met and made new friends, played with familiar ones and keep rocking it at all the new procedures around mask wearing, hand washing, distanced eating, and cohort separation. Thank you K-1 families for being on time to school, helping our health screenings to run smoothly, and communicating with us about your questions as we navigate these new waters together.

This week we are preparing for third grade to join us here on campus on October 6th, and second grade on October 14th. The phasing in allows us to work out kinks in our paths of travel, be iterative about schedule, thoughtfully design the schedule to allow for thorough hand washing and safe bathroom use. It also allows us time to properly train faculty, supervise, and re-teach, and do this as safely as possible.

Please let me know if you have any questions about anything. Please always know that my “door” is open.

All the best,
Hannah

September 21, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

What an incredible turn out we had last week at Back to School Night! Thank you to all of you who were able to attend. You showed incredible support for our teachers, asked great questions, and truly brought the Gateway spirit. We are thrilled to include each and every family as a part of our community and are thankful for your trust, support, and enthusiasm as we navigate new waters on an almost daily basis.

As you all know, we are welcoming our Kindergartners and First Graders back on to campus this Wednesday! Becky, Laurel, and Jonnie have been preparing their classrooms and outdoor spaces and thinking critically and creatively in partnership about how to make the experience for students as “normal” as possible. We have designed a couple of days of asynchronous learning for K-1 students this week so that teachers can prepare the best on campus learning environment and experience as possible. As we continue ready classrooms and outdoor areas, you can anticipate a few asynchronous learning days prior to each grade’s transition onto campus.

We have little sticker “feet” that are placed on the ground to remind students of distancing, touchless sinks, cozy classrooms set up for easy disinfecting, and many more measures to ensure a smooth transition to on campus learning. We are again, grateful to you for your patience as we phase in the on campus learning as intentionally as possible given the dynamic situation. Our community’s health is our number one priority.

Announcements/Reminders:

  • View our recently published 2020 Health and Safety Protocols
  • To view our letter from Gateway’s Health Advisory Council click here
  • Community Zoom with Zaq – Friday, September 25 at noon – Topics will include updates about our Virtual Campus program, guidance from the state and county about operating conditions during COVID-19, and aspects of the phased launch of Gateway’s On Campus Instruction, including our Health & Safety Guidelines and Opt-In Distance Program. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions via chat during the presentation and during a Q & A session at the end of the call. Join  Zoom Meeting.
  • Gateway School Day Tours – Tuesday, October 6 and 7, 9:30am-3:00pm

Spread the word to friends and family that might be interested in learning more about a Gateway education for their children. Have them email Cindy Jones, (cindy.jones@Gatewaysc.org) to schedule an individual, socially distanced, private tour.

  • Save the date: Fall Goal Setting Conferences: Friday, October 9th and 12th. There will be NO SCHOOL on these days. Please be on the lookout for an email for sign-ups with your teacher or advisor in the coming week or two. These meetings will be held virtually between teacher and parent/guardian(s) in grades K-3, and include the student in grades 4-8.

Hope you all have a lovely week.
Hannah

September 14, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

If you can believe it, we are in our third week of school! There is a lot of excitement as the students and teachers get to know one another, and everyone is eager to dive deeper into their learning. We look forward to seeing you all at Back to School Night this week! Please see below for details, and be on the lookout for an email from your K-5 Teacher or Middle School Advisor the afternoon of your special evening. We will be providing you with relevant school, grade, and classroom information electronically. We will also provide links to access the Zoom “classrooms” multiple times throughout the week to ensure you are able to join in with ease.

Last Friday we were pleased to announce a phased launch of on-campus instruction. We will be starting with Kindergarten and First Grade next week, and slowly begin rolling out other grades as we carefully monitor the health of our Gateway community and Santa Cruz County.

Please be sure to look for updates and announcements over the next several weeks about a limited afterschool program, our campus Health and Safety Protocols, and more information about our Opt-In Distance Learning program for families who choose not to have their child return to campus with their grade. 

Wishing you a great week! Please read below for important information.

Back to School Night
Wednesday, September 16 – K-5 Back to School Night
Agenda attached below as a PDF**
**Please note, Third Grade Back to School Night will be held Thursday, September 24th at 7pm. Families are still encouraged and welcome to attend Zaq’s welcome, as well as the “meets and greets” with Specialist Teachers.

Thursday, September 17 – Middle School Back to School Night
Please be sure to check the Gateway Family News (GFN), and your student’s advisor’s email on Thursday to find the meeting link.

Distance Learning Resources
Parenting Workshops Hosted by Triple P for the 2020-2021 School Year
Learning Activities from Wide Open Schools
Virtual Museum Tours for Kids

See you at Back to School Night!
Sincerely, Hannah

September 8, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

What a phenomenal first week we had last week. Our Welcome Assembly and First Friday were really well attended, and it was great seeing all of you who popped in! I want to give a special shout out to our teachers and staff who have been working very hard to get this school year up and running. The partnership between families and teachers has always been important, but in this model, it’s even more vital to the success of our children. We are all juggling a variety of home life experiences, and our collective team spirit, and our patience with one another and ourselves matters right now. 

We know that being a parent and caregiver right now presents new challenges and demands, especially supporting children in the Virtual Campus. I thank you for your heavy involvement, and we see you working hard to do your jobs, raise your family, AND make sure your child shows up to class on time. If your child is struggling, please be sure and reach out to your teacher and if you still need assistance, I am also available to help. 

Remember that new routines take time to establish. Everyone is getting used to a new schedule, a new teacher, a new set of expectations, while also building relationships, learning new things, and making sense of this world in which we live. With that said, let’s have a great week!

Important Reminders

  1. Back to School Nights (Virtual)- Links will come out next week
    1. Kindergarten-5th grades: Wednesday, September 16, 6:30-8:00pm
      • 6:30-6:35pm: Head of School Welcome 
      • 6:35-6:55pm: Specialist Conversations (more details soon)
      • 7:00-8:00pm: Classroom Presentations 
    2. Middle School: Thursday, September 17, 6:30-8:00pm
  2. Please return the School Directory form, Emergency card, and the Gateway Family Association’s volunteer card to Nancy Esklison, Front Desk Receptionist, via nancy.eskilson@gatewaysc.org. If you need these items again, please follow this link: Forms
  3. Contact information:
    1. Main Office Hours: Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm
    2. Share photos of your Virtual Campus at home with Marketing and Communications Manager Petra Bryan at petra.bryan@gatewaysc.org or with your teacher
    3. Tech Questions: Jeremy King at jeremy.king@gatewaysc.org
    4. SMART Billing Questions: Yvonne Reynolds at yvonne.reynolds@gatewaysc.org
    5. Curriculum Questions: Contact your child’s teacher
    6. Please read:

Timely message about social media:

We’ve learned that there is a video on TikTok of a man’s suicide. At this time, TikTok is working very hard to take down all of the spliced videos of this incidence that users have spread. TikTok is advising those using the platform to stick to their followers list for the next few days or stay away from the app altogether. If you want to read the Business Insider article about it, please click here.

We’ve made teachers aware that this conversation may come into classroom space, and we are here to support you and your child(ren) through these hard conversations if needed. You know your children best, and have your established values around media consumption. You might consider:

  • How does chatting in online games fall within the realm of social media?
  • Where in the house do children get to use social media?
  • Which social media do they get to be on?
  • How often do you as parents look at their use history?
  • Who (friends, strangers, etc) do they get to interact with?
  • What should they do if they see or hear something inappropriate?

Common Sense Media has a great tab called “Parents Need to Know”. It has guides, topics, and sections broken down by age level. If you haven’t already checked it out, I highly recommend it. Now, especially, when we are all a bit more “connected” than usual, we need to support our youth in navigating the internet appropriately. This is a good opportunity to have a conversation and evaluate your family’s values around the use of social media.

Thank you for being our partners in your child’s education. Especially in this “virtual campus”. Our doors are always “open”.

Happy Tuesday, all.
Hannah

August 31, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

As we anticipate the first day of the 2020-2021 school year (again) there are so many feelings. The first day of school is always met with a mixture of emotions, and this year in particular has brought quite a ride for us all. 

I am relieved that many of our families and staff are able to return to the comfort of their own homes and that those who are displaced, have the support systems that people dream of. Once again I am humbled by the way this community bands together during times of struggle, and struck by the incredible journey we have in front of us to process, rebuild, and be present with one another. All of us are so excited to see your faces, be with your children again, and to resume what is normal to all of us. A school day.

I want to officially welcome you to the night before the first day of school. May everyone have a good night’s sleep, a great breakfast (if that’s your thing), and a wonderful first day of school!!

See you all in the morning for our Welcome Assembly!

Sincerely, Hannah

August 24, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

What a wonderful relief that sprinkle of rain was! I am so grateful that no more lightning has come our way, and that the efforts by everyone fighting the fires has been slowly making progress towards containment. It is remarkable to see the helpers, the humanity, and the resources that we can pull together in the name of helping others with what we have to offer. Our community has really showed up. 

We have been in close contact with all families in mandatory evacuation zones, and are thankful to those of you who have reached out, helped out others, and who continue to ask “how can we help” and work tirelessly to feed the displaced, volunteer in shelters, and help coordinate housing. After the fire event is over, there will be more to do, and our administration is already beginning to talk about how to support our community; staff, students, and families through the grief, loss, and rebuilding processes.

We have also been in very close contact with all of our staff and want to let you know that everyone is safe. Just like you, our staff is either in their own homes, homes of loved ones, or housed in spaces given, rented, and offered. They are in town, or as far away as Truckee, Fresno, and LA. We can be grateful for phones and internet access that helps us to stay connected, and for our collective commitment to community. 

We know that many in our Gateway community will get confirmation that they have lost some or all of their home and possessions over the next few weeks. We also know that we will want to help these families as they get back on their feet. To this end, Gateway has started a Fire Relief Fund to provide for our Gateway community. More details to come later this week.

Remember that we have delayed the start of school until at least this Monday, August 31. We will continue to watch the weather, fire containment, and monitor our community, and will provide an update to you by Friday about our plans for next week. In the meantime, we are hosting “Optional Student Activities” both synchronous and asynchronous starting tomorrow. Please check this document for this week’s upcoming schedule. You can access the Zoom meetings via the document (any Zoom account will work), or you can go to our Gateway Calendar. If you click the “agenda” view in the top right corner of the calendar, it is easier to see a clear picture of all the classes we are offering. Your child(ren) can attend as few or as many as makes sense for your family right now. 

A few reminders for this week:

  • Community Meeting for parents and guardians only: Today at noon (PST) 
  • We will continue to monitor our email and phones. Please call the front office or email me or Jen Graham at jen.graham@gatewaysc.org if there is any way we can support you. We will do our best to direct you to appropriate support.
  • Optional Student Activities for the week of August 24th- check your grade level band!

Thank you to CAL FIRE, the SCFD, and SCPD for protecting our communities, and thank you to all of you for supporting one another and our larger SC community. 

With love, Hannah

August 21, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

I’m reaching out to you today instead of Sunday, because we’ve made a decision about next week, and would like to give everyone the most planning time possible, and predictability in such an unpredictable time.

As you have all so intimately been experiencing, our Gateway community and the larger Santa Cruz area has been and will continue to be affected by the recent fires and evacuation orders. Just under 50% of our staff are currently under mandatory evacuation orders, and the rest have either evacuated voluntarily, or are packed and on standby. While we don’t know the percentages of families in these situations we imagine that it is similar. Due to these circumstances, and in response to what our community needs, we wont start academic instruction until August 31st at the earliest.

Our focus for this coming week(s), will be to continue to connect our community. We will be holding a schoolwide parent/guardian zoom meeting at noon on Monday, August 24th (can access through the Gateway Calendar) to let you know what we know, and to answer any questions you may have. While we won’t begin formal academic instruction this coming week, a few of our faculty members (who are safe and settled), and I are creating a series of live, but virtual community events, that are completely optional for those of you who are wanting connection and some routine for you and/or your children. Read alouds, teacher lead games, art instruction/projects, music and singing, movement and other synchronous community fun will be provided. Details are forming, so look for them in my Monday Message on August 24th. You can anticipate that optional sessions will begin Tuesday morning, and that there will be a gathering of “offline” activity options for families as well.

We will also be updating the main Gateway School website with information as it evolves, and we will post a daily update on our Facebook page. You can also anticipate a Wednesday GFN, and a Friday update next week. Please also don’t hesitate to email or call at any time. 

Lastly, several of you have started talking about setting up a “Go Fund Me” or other such site to help Gateway families and staff. Once everyone is able to assess their losses, and we are able to identify the areas of need, we will communicate out about the best ways to help our community. Jen Graham is working with families to organize this, so if you’d like to participate, please contact her at: jen.graham@gatewaysc.org. In the meantime, continue to hold one another, keep in touch, let us know if you are in immediate need. If you’ve needed to relocate, we appreciate you keeping in touch, as a way of holding our community during this trying time.

Keeping you all in our hearts,
Hannah

August 20, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

As I write this, you are all in my heart and on my mind. This email today is primarily to confirm that we will not have classes for the remainder of this week. The campus will be closed for everyone (staff and families) out of an abundance of caution. You will still be able to reach someone by leaving a message (831-423-0341) which will be answered by a member of our Senior Administrative team or by sending an email.

We are monitoring the local conditions closely and will continue to do so for the next several days. You can expect an email update from me by noon on Sunday about the status of school next week. 

In this time, we are reminded of the priorities in life, and continue to be grateful for all of you, your support, and your ability to jump into action to help one another through this event. We have heard from many of you, both staff and families, that have been displaced and, for some, that family homes and properties have been lost. We are holding you in our hearts.

If you need local assistance, please follow this link to resources listed on the Santa Cruz Community Foundation’s site: resources here.

Sending love and gratitude to our first responders who are on the front lines.  

Please take care of yourselves.
More soon, Hannah

August 17, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

We have finally arrived at the very first week of school! The butterflies are still there for me, even though I am no longer a classroom teacher, and I cannot wait to see all your faces on Wednesday morning. I am looking forward to popping into classrooms the first few weeks of school to say hello to all of your children.

This pandemic has been such a whirlwind for all of us, in so many similar and different ways. I want to thank you all for your incredible support, graciousness, and encouragement as we navigate these times together. We are thrilled to be welcoming many new families into our community, and warmly welcome you all to the 2020-2021 school year!

We strongly believe in hands-on learning, community building, and interpersonal relationships as essential elements of our program, and our faculty and administration have worked extremely hard to think about all the ways we can maintain these pillars of our education while in Virtual Campus mode. Now, more than ever, we are going to rely on your partnership. 

In order to better support you as families in this partnership, we created a “Family Guide” to Virtual Campus. Please read the attached PDF to read more about our program. 

IMPORTANT:

  1. If you are using a home computer, please be sure to LOG IN AS YOUR STUDENT in order to access all Zoom meetings (including First Fridays and all-school events).
  2. If you haven’t already, download Zoom (only if you’re using a home device). 
  3. All student devices (provided in the materials boxes) are loaded with appropriate and necessary applications and are already logged in as your child. 
  4. The student laptop password is “student”; iPads do not have a passcode. 
  5. Before Wednesday morning, you will receive an individualized email that gives you your child’s email address and password.
  6. Please return the School Directory form, Emergency card, and the Gateway Family Association’s volunteer card to Nancy Esklison, Front Desk Receptionist, via nancy.eskilson@gatewaysc.org. If you need these items again, please follow this link: Forms
  7. IF in the event that we (Santa Cruz County) experiences a power outage due to heat, or fires in the area, school will be closed.
    1. If the outage is not county wide, but affects your area, call our office to let us know that your child will not be attending class.
  8. Contact information:
    1. Main Office Hours: Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm
    2. Share photos of your Virtual Campus at home with Marketing and Communications Manager Petra Bryan at petra.bryan@gatewaysc.org or with your teacher
    3. Tech Questions: Jeremy King at jeremy.king@gatewaysc.org
    4. SMART Billing Questions: Yvonne Reynolds at yvonne.reynolds@gatewaysc.org
    5. Curriculum Questions: Contact your child’s teacher
    6. Please read: Virtual Campus Program Introduction
    7. The Family Guide to Gateway’s Virtual Campus

This Week’s Schedule

Monday and Tuesday, August 17 and 18 – Physically distanced driveway visits by teachers and materials drop off.

Wednesday, August 19 – First Day of School!
8:45-9:00am Welcome Assembly

  • Check the school’s Calendar on our website for the Zoom link
  • Make sure you are using a device that you are signed into with a Gateway email account
  • Once you are, you can also click here for the link to the Zoom Meeting.
  • It’s Love That Makes This Our Home — link to audio (for practice)
  • Lyrics 

9:00am: First synchronous class! Be sure to check your child’s Google Calendar for their schedule, and the links to their first class!

Thursday, August 20- Friday, August 21st
K-2nd grade: 8:45am-1:45pm*
3rd-5th grade: 8:45am- 2:30pm*
6th-8th grade: 9:00am- 3:00pm*

*remember to check your child’s teacher’s detailed schedule, and your child’s Gateway Google calendar to see their schedule and find your Zoom links.

Looking forward to “seeing” all of you on Wednesday morning!

Sincerely, Hannah

August 3, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

This past spring, we had a crash course in what it’s like to learn at home, over a screen without being around each other in our classrooms. We are so proud of everyone, and how we made the best out of a brand new experience that was full of ups and downs. We wish we were able to see your faces and give you hugs, handshakes, or high fives at the start of the school year and cannot wait to see returning students and families and welcome new families and students to our Gateway community through our Virtual Campus program (our revamped Distance Learning). Attached you will be able to read about our Virtual Campus program at a high level.

Over the course of the next three weeks, you will also receive via email:

  • The Welcome Back to School mailing
  • A Family’s Guide to Gateway’s Virtual Campus
  • Specific information about your child(ren)’s grade level, including but not limited to teacher assignment and class lists, materials lists, and weekly schedule.
  • Introduction(s) from your teacher(s)

We are excited to have you along with us on this journey that is the 2020-2021 school year.

Hope you are all doing well,
Hannah

June 1, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

The nationwide events of late remind us even more of how important our mission is to inspire children to lead lives of purpose and compassion through scholarship and citizenship. While core academics are prioritized, so are the skills that it takes to be a conscientious and courageous member of society. Gateway’s core goal is for students to discover their individual and collective potential to make positive change in the world. Both our mission and our goal drive much of what we do at school, and I like to think that our students build a foundation on which to grapple with intense times like these, and learn how to ask themselves and others, “what is our role in all of this?”.

Nationally renowned African American author, professor, activist, and feminist, bell hooks, said, “What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe.” It sounds so simple, yet it’s profound. At Gateway, we are committed to teaching towards social justice. We try our very best to “do”, and push our words into actions. 

In eighth grade advisory this morning, students shared their thoughts and feelings about what they’ve been hearing on the news and their experiences. Their questions and comments were profound, insightful, and raw. Many of them understand, at the young age of 13, that larger systems need to change, decades and centuries of oppression must be acknowledged, and that they are tasked with this as a generation. It gave me the hope I needed after a sad weekend.

My heart is with you as you engage in these hard conversations with your family, friends, and perhaps your children. Below are some resources for you and your children. These conversations are difficult and uncomfortable, but without them, nothing will change. 

Anti-Racism Resources for White People
Anti Racism for Kids; Books for Littles
Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race

Although we are rapidly coming to a close of the 2019-2020 school year, I can not be silent about this. And that said, we are down to our last three days of school, remarkably, so please read below for important details.

With love,
Hannah

May 26, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

While I am certain many of you did not “enjoy” this long weekend the same way in which you maybe have in past years, I truly hope you were all able to have some down time, family time, or just YOU time (if that’s even possible these days). Maybe a slight break from your own work. Maybe you even did something fun, or were able to take a moment to honor the members of our armed services who have lost their lives.

The end of the school year is a highly emotional time even in a “normal” year. The highs and the lows. This year, added on top are all of the “feels” that this pandemic brings, the uncertain future, and the juggling act we are all doing. For some of our community members these are their final days at Gateway, and we can’t be in-person to celebrate, hug, or talk with our friends. It is a bittersweet time.

Remember to meet your child(ren) wherever they’re at, and be kind to yourself. Try to be present with them, listen, and remind them that all of their feelings are valid. This is the important work we do, as teachers and as the adults in our community; we prioritize our children’s overall well being and try to hold space for their emotions. Please reach out to your teachers if you feel like your child needs a bit of extra support these last days. The partnership between school and home continues right up through the end of the school year.

As a school, we are doing our best to continue to give you reminders and updates as we go through these last few days. There is a lot going on! Below is a list of important reminders, and key information leading up to the end of our year. Please be sure to read the GFN tomorrow and Zaq’s weekly message on Friday too!

Sending love,
Hannah

May 18, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

I want to give a big shout out to all of you parents and guardians. We know that these last two months have been hard and that you are holding a lot of uncertainty for what the future will bring; for our school, your child’s education, and for the state of the world. I also want to give a big shout out to our teachers and our students for taking on Distance Learning in a global pandemic. We are all tired. Our patience is waning. We go through moments of acceptance, have seconds or minutes (and if we’re lucky hours) of joy, and then grief sets in, or fear, or anxiety about a number of things that are out of our control. 

I say all of this just to acknowledge it. As humans, we are very hard on ourselves. We are a community of high achievers, “doers”, and whether we like it or not, our culture doesn’t often lend itself to a slower paced life. I’m still not used to social distancing, and find the prospect of having children play in a chalk drawn square by themselves extremely disheartening. But I remind myself, this is temporary. This is our present, and as hard as that is, we can only be in the present. That is what brings me hope. I choose to be hopeful about the Fall. I choose to be hopeful that we will learn about ourselves, see the good in the world, watch “Some Good News”, and enjoy the little joyful things in our days when we can.

I’ll reiterate what Zaq said in his Friday message. We want your children, and all of you back on campus. Teachers want to start the school year in person, even if social distancing, masks, and sanitizing is the norm. Gateway will start on-campus learning in the fall if the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency says we can. We are currently working under external forces. The health and safety of our community is our top priority. With this in mind, we have developed the following scenarios for our 2020-2021 school year. Click here to read about our 2020-21 school year plan.

For the remainder of the school year, our main priority, however, is celebrating the great year we have had! Please read the reminders for the last three weeks of school below carefully, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with your child’s teacher or a member of the administrative team with any questions regarding the end of the year, summer, or fall. 

With appreciation,
Hannah

May 11, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

We are down to three and a half weeks of school, and the students and teachers are working on closing out the school year. We are slowly shifting towards end of the year assessment and celebration. We are also continuing to put the community at the heart of what we do, with a focus on the social emotional needs of our students, and are working hard to incorporate some of our end of the year events in this virtual world.  

These next three weeks will be filled with author’s parties, VIPs, the sharing of projects and spending time reminiscing. It will all culminate with one of our most beloved traditions at Gateway. Our Step-Up Ceremony . 

This year’s Step-Up Ceremony will be a virtual assembly on last day of school Thursday, June 4. We will continue with our traditions such as the Grade Highlights speeches and Promotions to the next grade. David Cameron will be working with students to record the singing our three (3) traditional songs “What a Wonderful World”, “Forever Young”, “We Are Your Children.”

We have created a shared Google drive that includes instructions, a music track, and lyrics. David has put together a brief video message labeled “Step Up Song Directions Video“. Please watch this video and then refer to  the document named “Written Directions” so that you can be sure to understand what is expected of you.

Click here to access the shared drive of music, directions, and lyrics from David! This is also the place where you will be able to add your audio files. You will need a google account to sign in with, or you can use your child’s Gateway email address.

If you have questions about recording, singing, or uploading your audio, please email David directly at david.cameron@gatewaysc.org

Excited to hear all of your beautiful voices, and celebrate a great year together!

All the best,
Hannah

May 4, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

Spring sure is in full swing! It was so good to see many of you at First Friday and I hope you were able to enjoy some of the beautiful (summery) Santa Cruz weather this weekend.

What a bittersweet time it is. We have been in “go mode” for the past seven weeks, and it is almost unbelievable that we are now in the final stretch of the school year. We teachers have a saying; “The 90 days of May”. We now all know what that feels like, as these past two months have felt at times like an eternity. 

May is typically filled to the brim with school traditions like class projects and plays, and student events, and with each, our energy grows. This spring has looked different, and teachers and staff are working diligently to keep some of our beloved May traditions alive and create new ways to celebrate and honor one another as we close our school year.

I am looking forward to our Art Tour, our Spring Concert, and our Talent Show. While these events will not be live, we will still be able to recognize and showcase the hard work of our students and enjoy the presence of our community while doing so. I’m happy to announce that David Cameron will be guiding our students through song rehearsals and recordings for Step-Up Day. Please be on the lookout for communication from David this week!

Lastly, I want to thank you again for your continued support of our program, and for your partnership, feedback, and accolades as we’ve evolved our distance learning program. We are  proud of what we were able to accomplish, knowing that we still have some tweaking, and knowing that we have learned so much! Another survey will come out soon to gather your latest thoughts, but in the meantime, please remember that our specialists want to hear from you too! As parents, you might not readily reach out to our specialist teachers, but you and your children are encouraged to reach out to them if you have questions for or want to set up a 1:1 with them. They’d love to hear from you as they continue to want to offer the best program for you and your children.

Hope you all had a non-eventful, lovely Monday, Hannah

April 27, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

With only twenty-eight school days left in the 2019-2020 academic year, we are all asking ourselves, “What does the last month of school look like this year”? 

Gateway has many well-loved traditions and we are experiencing the collective loss of our class plays and field trips, and yearning for one more advisory on campus, or just one more swing on that twin flyer. The end of the school year is a sacred time for teachers and students. A glorious time when the relationships that they’ve worked hard to cultivate all year allow them to do exciting and courageous tasks together as a team, come together as a class in a variety of ways, and celebrate their successes of the year. 

What I want to urge us to do is recognize that just because we are where we are today, we are resilient and still have our amazing community. Even if we can’t be in person together, we can still honor all that we have, and the ways we continue to grow stronger. 

Six years ago, when our now fifth graders were in Kindergarten, I was asked to speak on a First Friday. It was my second year teaching Kindergarten at Gateway, and I was terrified to talk in front of the whole community. My class had been working with me on our presentation for a few weeks, and the big day had finally come. They knew I was nervous, as I had openly shared this with them. At 8:15 that morning, one of my students walked up to me with a creation (plastic jewels, a couple of rocks, and a sequin or two all hot glued together) and handed it to me. She said, “It’s for courage”. That special creation stayed in my pocket for the whole day, and though the glue did not hold, I still have all the pieces and cherish the memory.

I share this story with you today because to me, it speaks to the small yet remarkable moments that happen within our community. It takes courage to do new things, and if we are real and honest with even our youngest children, they will rise to the occasion. It was such a joy to share this story with the now fifth grader last week. Even though she didn’t remember it, I am grateful that we still have a connection years later (with her and other students): all of us individuals who contribute to this larger community.

This coming Friday (mark your calendars!) we will have yet another opportunity to gather as a community for our second virtual First Friday. We will be celebrating Spring! Please send me pictures of you and/or your families celebrating springtime! Whether it’s backyard barbecuing, gardening, going for bike rides, cooking yummy food, or upcycling materials to create awesome inventions – send it our way! 

Looking forward to “seeing” you all again soon.
Love,
Hannah

April 20, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

Another week in, and I’ll say that personally, I still find myself fighting the “new normal”, and rather, reminding myself that this is not normal, and that we are making the best of a challenging situation. I commend you all for your continued engagement and dedication to your children’s education and community.

The transition from being on campus, to distance learning, we hope, is getting slightly easier each day. We are all adjusting to new systems, routines, and schedules. Remember to keep checking in with your classroom teacher or advisor if the work is too much, too little, or if you have any questions about distance learning. The most important aspect of our schedules boils down to flexibility, wellness, and sustainability for all. 

Lastly, I want to announce that the school has received a very generous donation of headsets for each student and teacher from Soohyun Ham and Jack Reynolds (Kate ’23)! Jack works for Nacon USA, and we so appreciate his and his company’s generosity, and are excited to see how this helps us in our distance learning program. This donation, coupled with feedback from your survey responses and informal conversations, has lead us to organize another pick up of supplies. You’ll receive these headsets as well as few other items from specialists and your teachers.

Information about the pick up:
When: Thursday, April 23rd and Friday, April 24th
When: 9am-3pm
Where: Gateway School
Please contact Chris Wong or call the front office if this pickup window does not work for you and your family. 

Sincerely,
Hannah

April 13, 2020

Dear Families,

I hope you had an opportunity to enjoy some family time last week while we took a break from schoolwork. Now that we are settling into the reality that Distance Learning will continue through to the end of the school year, conversations Zaq and I have been having with our teachers have taken on a greater purpose. We have the opportunity to settle in, be generative and innovative, creative, and courageous as we further develop and strengthen Gateway’s program for your children. 

As I drove to campus today for my day on site, I realized with sadness that my morning curb duty will not resume until the fall. This small (but significant) moment of grief is a part of what we are all experiencing right now. And, while I am also sad that our beloved end of the school year traditions will look different than ever before, I am also extremely grateful that our community remains healthy, continues to connect, is learning resilience and flexibility, and collectively rallying around meaningful reasons to make sacrifices for the greater good.

Thank you again for your ongoing feedback and suggestions. Your experience is so important to us, and we need your continued partnership. As I mentioned in my video last week, we are, and will be in the coming weeks, thoughtfully incorporating changes into the distance learning experiences of students, with the intention of continued support. 

In order to maintain my “open door” during this time I’ve created daily “office hours”. If you ever have any questions about any of the moving parts of our new schedules, are having a difficult time, or want to just share a joy, PLEASE come “see” me in my office. I will be online and available via this Google meet between 1:00 and 2:00 pm daily. Feel free to also always reach out to set up a time outside of these hours.

I am also hosting small group conversations with families to talk about the varying challenges and successes you are having with your children. These groups will be separated by developmental stage, and held at the following times:

  • Monday: 10:00-11:00 am K-2 families
  • Wednesday: 11:00 am-12:00 pm for 3-5 families
  • Friday 11:00am-12:00 pm for 6-8 families

I will cap each group session at six (6) families. If you’d like to participate in a conversation please click here to sign up. 

That’s it for this week’s Monday Message!
Until next week,
Hannah

March 30, 2020

Dear Gateway Families,

Well, it has been two weeks since the city of Santa Cruz issued the shelter in place, and I miss you all so much. I know that the teachers are so enjoying seeing your child’s face in their online learning classes, and it’s on my list to pop into some classes this week! 

This experience has been, and continues to be, unique to say the least. Some of you I am sure are getting into the groove, while others have still yet to find their rhythm. This is to be expected. 

It is okay to be sad, frustrated, anxious, or worried. It is okay if your daily routine is anything but routine. We can acknowledge that our loved ones drive us crazy at times. We can let the dishes pile up in the sink. We are all human and we don’t have to act like everything is okay. 

At the end of the day, we ultimately want to be there for our children, to help our most vulnerable community members, and not to pretend that this is normal life. 

As you heard from Zaq on Friday, our plan as of now is to continue distance learning through May 1st. All of you are at the forefront of our minds, and we will continue to support you.

Our teachers have been working hard to create a distance learning program that prioritizes connection, relationship, and continuity of our academic program. YOU have been working hard to keep up with all of our communications, and we are thankful. I want to also reiterate the importance of only doing what you can do, and backing away from assignments that feel overwhelming. Likely we are providing too much for some, and not enough for others.

We are striving for our distance learning program to be the best experience possible for you and our students and we’d like your feedback. Please fill it out your appropriate survey(s) by Thursday, April 2nd so that we can use your thoughts to inform our next stages of distance learning:

Link to K-2 Family Survey
Link to 3-5 Family Survey
Link to 6-8 Family Survey

If you have students in multiple divisions, please fill out all applicable surveys. This targeted feedback will help the teachers in the appropriate grade levels.

Lastly, don’t forget to join our FIRST virtual First Friday this week! Click here to join, or you can find it on Gateway School’s calendar. Please only use one computer to join the Meet.

Happy Monday,
Hannah

March 23, 2020

Dear Gateway families,

Distance Learning Day 3!

Thank you for your patience and kindness as we embark on the new adventure of Distance Learning together. I am so impressed by how hard you, your children, and the faculty have been working to make this upcoming week run as smoothly as possible. Please remember that this will get easier over time as we all adjust to distance learning, social distancing, and being together at home!

I realize that a lot of information has gone home in the last week, and what we know about the human brain is we all need to read, hear, live things multiple times before fully understanding them. So, take it slow, reach out to your child’s teacher if you have questions, and do what makes sense for your child and your schedule. 

As you may have heard, we’ve had to make tough decisions about canceling field trips including Coloma (4th), Marin (5th), Yosemite (6th/7th), and Washington, D.C.(8th). We know that the grades affected will be disappointed, and hope that the students understand that this situation is beyond anyone’s control and is for the overall health and safety or our larger community.

You can expect a message from a member of Gateway School’s Administration on Mondays and Fridays in addition to the emails you and your children receive from our teachers. 

Lastly, local counselor, Elley Coran is offering a session on Wednesday evening from 7-8pm via Google Meet for families and caregivers. Elley will be ready to help you think about your experience as a parent during this unusual time and support you in developing new tools and techniques for managing yourself and your children.

If at any time you have any questions, please reach out. 
Sincerely,
Hannah Wikse,
Assistant Head of School

March 16, 2020

Click here for pdf of the letters to families about Distance Learning..