Bi-weekly Middle School Updates newsletter

Middle School Update 2/20/20

It’s a new semester, and students are busy working on projects, engaging in their electives, and enjoying their friendships as Gateway. Read below to learn more about Winter Electives, County Science Fair Participants, and other happenings in the middle school.

Representing Gateway at County Science Fair

Congratulations to Sanneke, Sophia, Marlon, Lou, Lucia, Eland, Emily, Brianna, Thea, and Grace who will be representing Gateway at the County Science Fair on March 14th. We are so proud of their dedication and commitment and wish them luck at the next step. Below is a list of the project topics.

Sanneke Blakslee and Sophia Summa – How to make Solar Power more Efficient

Marlon Lipman- Investigation of Methods to Prevent Soil Erosion

Lucia Nakashima – The Effect of Salt Water on Plants

Lou Ellis – How Does an Incentive (Prize) affect Kids Likelihood to Cheat? 

Eland Macleod – Engineering a Functional Hoovercraft

Emily Thayer- The Effect of Various Soil Types on Liquefaction

Grace Jones –  Does Money Make us Green? An investigation into the Effect of Median Household Income on the Solar Installation Outputs and Natural Gas Usage

Brianna Raney – Are you Safe from the Wave? What is the Safest Location to be During a Tsunami in Santa Cruz?

Thea Luini – Drop is Like It’s Hot – An Investigation of Fire Tolerance of Native California Trees

Shark Attack! Volleyball

The volleyball season is just getting underway with the first games this week! Check the Gateway Calendar for game time and locations. This week the girls are played Good Shepherd 2/19 at Circle Church and Holy Cross 2/21 at Gateway Gym. Go Sharks!

Winter Electives

Choice is a very important thing to consider for middle school students. Allowing them to make safe choices develops an adolescent’s confidence and an adolescent’s need to feel competent. Students choose electives based on their interests three times a year. Check out the elective descriptions below. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose just one!

Ceramics with Emily

Visual artists engage in the artistic process in a variety of ways. This course explores both sides of the spectrum, allowing students the opportunity to work with clay (one of the most physical and responsive materials in the artists’ toolbox) as well as photography (less of a materials-based art form).

Coding / Programing with Krissie

Jump back into the Discovery Center with this programming elective. MS students can pick up where they left off, find their own rhythm and follow their curiosity. The class is ready to meet each student where they are, whether you consider yourself a beginner or pro. Students can choose to work on their own independent projects.

Rock Band / Voice Performance Infusion with Lynn

Learn the art of performing a variety of different styles of music using instruments or singing. Group will work on solo and ensemble music towards a collaborative performance.

Futsal and Outdoor Soccer with Alli

Did you know that soccer aka “Association Football” is the most popular sport in the world with more than 4 billion fans worldwide? This elective will teach the game, strategies, and practice both indoor and outdoor soccer skills and teamwork. This is an inclusive elective, so no experience is required, just enthusiasm and a willingness to play hard and have fun!

Exploratory French with Patty

Voila! An exploratory course of French language and culture! We will explore the diverse cultural aspects of the French speaking world and discover how well linked beginning French language is to the Spanish language students may already know. History, geography, holidays, flags, current events, food, fashion, and many more cultural elements will be explored. 

Student Council with Kim

When do events like Spirit Days and MS Dances get planned? This elective is offered on Fridays for student council members to meet, organize and plan school wide events.

Spring Conferences March 13th and 18th

During the spring conferences, students meet with their advisor and family to present a portfolio of work from each of the classes. It is a time for students to reflect on their strengths, areas of growth, and take pride in the work they are doing here at Gateway. Conference signups will be happening soon, so be on the lookout for an email from your student’s advisor.

Middle School Dance March 20th

Student Council is planning a spring themed dance before spring break. At our last Townhall, they asked that students respond to a poll about the location of the dance. (Democratic process in action!)Once they tally the results, we will announce the location and more details.


Academics

Google Classroom

To see a list of your student’s homework assignments, you may log on to each teacher’s Google Classroom on any device using your student’s email account credentials. If you need assistance with the Google Classroom, please email me at allison.birkhead@gatewaysc.org.

Blackbaud

To check your student’s progress in each class, you can go to the school online grade book, Blackbaud. Please use your login and password that you received from the Gateway to access Blackbaud. If you need assistance, please email me at allison.birkhead@gatewaysc.org or Jeremy at jeremy.king@gatewaysc.org.

Who to Contact

Absences – sickness – please contact the student’s advisor.

General Academic Questions – the student’s advisor

Specific Academic Questions– the student’s teacher

General Question about Policies or Events – Alli

School Issue – Hannah or Alli


Middle School Update 11/15

Wow, a lot has happened in the last month from field trips to power outages, Spirit Days and mural painting as well as Goodwill Donations, and the first Middle School Dance. The students are busy!

Dance of the Decades!

On Friday, November 8th, students had their first dance with the theme “Decades”. Student council did a great job planning and organizing the dance with Kim’s help. They created and produced professional style posters showing pop culture that represented several decades. The commons was also decorated with lights and thanks for Julia’s dad, Donald, we had a rocking DJ. In addition to dancing, students challenged each other to the classic game of Twister, and of course spilled outside for a little two square. It was a lot of fun! Thank you student council, Kim, Donald, and all the chaperones who make it a great night!

8th Grade Goodwill Fundraiser = SUCCESS!

Thank you to the 8th grade families and students who organized and planned the Goodwill Fundraiser last weekend, and thank you to all who donated. It was a huge success! As a community, we were able to fill three trucks and then some. A special appreciate goes out to Chris, for her tireless hours organizing and working at the donation trucks as well as all the other parents and students who participated. Cool action!

8th Grade High School Informational Visits

In the last month we had visits from six local (or fairly local) independent high schools: Santa Catalina, Kirby, Stevenson, Mount Madonna, York, and Monte Vista. Many of our students took ownership of preparing for their high school decision and came to these lunch meetings with great questions to learn about the various programs.

Mark your calendars, Santa Cruz High is scheduled to present to 8th graders on March 12th.

6th / 7th Field Trip to Natural Bridges with LiMPETS and Save Our Shores

On October 25th, 6th and 7th graders worked as citizen scientists with LiMPETS and Save Our Shores. LiMPETS (Longterm Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) is an organization that has been working with students to help students understand the beach / ocean ecosystem. Save Our Shores is an organization that provides education and beach clean up materials to our community.

During the field trip, middle schoolers first worked with LiMPETS to collect Pacific Mole Crabs. Because they have a wide range, and are abundant, LiMPETS uses the Pacific Mole Crab to indicate beach health. LiMPETS has large data sets from many years of sampling and our students have now contributed to those data sets for two years in a row! Students used proper protocol to catch, measure, and determine the gender of the mole crabs then released them back to the sand.

With Save Our Shores, students spread out along the beach and picked up trash. They categorized the trash and determined that a high percentage was either plastic or cigarette butts. They also noticed that their was a lot of trash near the picnic area at Natural Bridges. In all the picked up 6.5 pounds of trash that was mostly tiny pieces of debris.

MS Students Paint the Mural

What an amazing gift the mural is to our school and a wonderful way to connect and have fun with our community. Below are a few pictures of when the middle school students contributed to the mural during their elective time. Thank you all who help paint it – especially Emily and Dave.

Looking Ahead

November

11/18-11/22 Make Up ERBS

11/26 Grandfirend’s Day

11/27 – 11/29 Thanksgiving Break

December

12/9 Theatre Elective Play – The Outsiders (1:00-3:00 for students)

Evening play for families time to be determined.

12/23-1/3 Winter Break

January

1/6 First Day back from Winter Break

1/16 Parent Education: Grades 5-8 Sex Ed and Parenting

1/17 No School – Inservice

1/20 No School – MLK Day

1/27–>1/30 Superstar Health Education for grades 5th -8th


Academics

Google Classroom

To see a list of your student’s homework assignments, you may log on to each teacher’s Google Classroom on any device using your student’s email account credentials. If you need assistance with the Google Classroom, please email me at allison.birkhead@gatewaysc.org.

Blackbaud

To check your student’s progress in each class, you can go to the school online grade book, Blackbaud. Please use your login and password that you received from the Gateway to access Blackbaud. If you need assistance, please email me at allison.birkhead@gatewaysc.org or Jeremy at jeremy.king@gatewaysc.org.

Who to Contact

Absences – sickness – please contact the student’s advisor.

General Academic Questions – the student’s advisor

Specific Academic Questions– the student’s teacher

General Question about Policies or Events – Alli

School Issue – Hannah or Alli

Middle School Update 10/7

Students at Gateway have been engaged in academic and elective classes, sports teams, and opportunities for climate activism. Please read about the most recent happenings in the middle school.

Islamic Networks Group (ING) Panel Visit 10/4

As part of Cultural Studies, all middle school students attended a discussion in which ING facilitated a panel of individuals representing five faiths: Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism. The panelists shared their basic beliefs and practices, and then explored extremism in religion and how people can counteract behaviors that are not in line with their religious values.

Save our Shores Visit 6th and 7th grade 10/3

6th and 7th grade students with will working with Save Our Shores and the LiMPETS citizen science program this fall to learn more about the sandy beach ecosystem and what they can do to keep our beaches healthy. After a few initial lessons with these organizations to learn background information, students will go on a field trip to Natural Bridges Beach to sample the Pacific Mole Crab and collect important data that will be part of a large ongoing data set.

Bring Your Parents to PE

The 7th and 8th grade classes had their parents participate in PE last Friday 10/4. 6th Grade families, it’s your turn on 10/16 at 1:00-1:57! Please join us for a special class of fitness and fun in physical education. Participate with your child’s P.E. class and experience how they are learning to lead physically active and healthy lives.

What to Wear: Appropriate clothing for exercise and don’t forget your sneakers!

When to Come: Please arrive a couple of minutes before your child’s scheduled class time indicated above.

Where to Go: We’ll meet on the blacktop near the P.E. classroom. Please be sure to check in at the receptionist desk first for a name tag.

What if it rains? Some classes may have to be rescheduled. Check your email before coming.

Student Activists – Climate Strike 9/27

I had the pleasure to see students in action planning, and preparing for the Climate Strike that took place September 27th. Students attended lunch meetings to learn more about climate change and what they can do about it. They research various issues and presented to each other. Students also worked together to make signs for the strike.

On strike day, students gathered and walked about 2.5 mules to the downtown meeting place. Along the way, cars honked in support of our students, and gave the students a sense of pride. Once we were downtown and among a large crowd of students from various schools and community members, several of our Gateway students were interviewed, and a few appeared on the news that night!

Fall Conferences 10/11 &10/14

Students are currently preparing for their student led conferences on October 11th and 14th. They have been reviewing material in class, and self reflecting to develop their goals for the school year. We ask students to notice and celebrate their strengths as well as identify their own areas of growth that they want to improve. Students then use this information to write goals and the actions they will take to achieve those goals. The Middle School teachers look forward to seeing you at conferences.

Advisory – Social Contract

Students have been exploring aspects of their own identity and wrote their own goals and declarations for the school year. Students then acknowledged that to achieve their goals they need a supportive community in which all students adhere to a social contract. All advisories are in the process of collectively developing the social contract of ideal behaviors for the middle school to establish and maintain a productive and positive working environment.

High School Admission Visits for 8th Graders

Even though the school year just started, it is the time for 8th graders to begin to think about the type of program they are looking for in a high school. We know that choosing the right high school can be challenging, so we invite admissions personnel from various local high schools to present to our 8th Graders. During these lunch- time presentations, students can ask questions to learn about the programs that make each school unique. During October, we have scheduled Santa Catalina 10/ 9, Kirby 10/17, and Stevenson 10/18. We look forward to adding a few more schools to the list.

Gateway Sports

Girls Basketball is in full swing. They have been practicing three days a week and working hard. The girls just won a game at our very own new gym last week! There are a few more games this season, so please come out and see the girls play. Check the Gateway Calendar for the game days and times.

Looking Ahead

October

10/7-10/10 Miles to Go 7th / 8th grade * alternative schedule

10/7-10/10 DISCO Week – Digital Citizenship

10/8 School Day Tour

10/9 Bring Your Parents to PE (6th 1:00-1:57)

10/11 Fall Conferences – No School

10/14 Fall Conferences – No School ; Indigenous Peoples Day

10/31 Halloween

November

11/3 Day Light Savings Time Ends

11/4-11/8 WrAP Testing

11/11 Veteran’s Day – No School

11/12-11/15 ERB Testing

11/18-11/22 Make Up ERBS

11/26 Grandfirend’s Day

11/27 – 11/29 Thanksgiving Break

December

12/23-1/3 Winter Break


Academics

Google Classroom

To see a list of your student’s homework assignments, you may log on to each teacher’s Google Classroom on any device using your student’s email account credentials. If you need assistance with the Google Classroom, please email me at allison.birkhead@gatewaysc.org.

Blackbaud

To check your student’s progress in each class, you can go to the school online grade book, Blackbaud. Please use your login and password that you received from the Gateway to access Blackbaud. If you need assistance, please email me at allison.birkhead@gatewaysc.org or Jeremy at jeremy.king@gatewaysc.org.

Who to Contact

Absences – sickness – please contact the student’s advisor.

General Academic Questions – the student’s advisor

Specific Academic Questions– the student’s teacher

General Question about Policies or Events – Alli

School Issue – Hannah or Alli









Middle School Update 9/4

Welcome back to school! Middle School teachers have been so excited to start the new year at the NEW campus with our students. Middle School Updates will be published approximately twice a month, and will highlight academics, electives, field trips, and sports as well as logistical information that is important to our middle school. This issue will include, electives, our first middle school field trip, and a running calendar of events.

Field Trip to Natural Bridges Beach

On Friday, August 30th, the Middle School Students walked to our closest state park beach, Natural Bridges, to celebrate the start of the school year, and end the first week appreciating our new location together. Upon arrival, Maryd, surprised the students with popsicles, and then students ventured down to the beach for games, sandcastle building, and tide pooling. It was a beautiful day and a great way to end the first few days of school! Check out the pictures below.

First Day of Electives 9/4!

Middle school students participate in electives every Wednesday and Friday afternoon on a trimester schedule. Each student will take 3 elective classes during the school year and will choose between general, arts, or physical electives. Fall trimester electives are listed below. (It’s difficult to choose just one!)

Sketchbook Play and Development: Have you ever kept a sketchbook? Having trouble coming up with original ideas to fill its’ pages? Just want some time to explore new materials and concepts in a visual and creative way? This class is for anyone who likes to be challenged to think outside the box and try new things. Open-ended sketchbook prompts will guide subject matter and materials use as students progress through their sketchbooks and create a personalized resource to inspire further artistic exploration!

Contemplative Practices: This course is specifically for students who enjoy Mindfulness and would like to explore and experience additional practices of awareness, connection and communion. Practices are grouped as follows:  stillness, movement, generative, creative, activist and relational. All are taught in secular contexts. Sample classes that explore these groups might include activities of art, yoga, visualization, music, volunteering, relaxation and journaling. Students will develop their personal “Tree of Contemplative Practices” by the end of the term.

Discs and Hoops: In Disc and Hoops you’ll be playing two of the world’s great team sports: Ultimate and Basketball, picking up all kinds of lingo while you: Enjoy friendly competitionPractice an array of throws and shotsDevelop a sense of spacing on the field & courtPractice healthy athletic routines (warm ups, cool downs, mobility exercises)Disc and Hoops is for everyone! No previous athletic experience required.

Music Performing Arts Elective: Are you interested in playing music and singing on stage? This elective will explore and practice performing on stage through singing with instrument accompaniment. Students will have the option to choose music genres that interest them.

Study Hall: The study hall elective is a quiet classroom environment where students have the opportunity to complete homework and other assignments from their core classes. Although the class is supervised by a Gateway faculty member, students must be able to work independently and quietly in order to maintain a focused study environment for all. 

Theatre : Join instructors from WEST Studio Theatre for all the magic of theater. Produce and present a play from start to finish. Final full-dress productions will be performed for entire school and parents in day and evening shows.  Previous productions include Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Students will need to attend an additional 15 hours of rehearsal at WEST Theater.

September

9/6 First Friday – Zaq Welcome

9/8 GFA Fall Picnic

9/10 K-5 Back to School Night 6:30-8:00

9/12 MS Back to School Night 6:30-8:00

9/16 Inservice – All School Teaching Tolerance

9/26 Tentative Picture Day ; Staff Treats

9/27 Tentative Picture Day

October

10/2 Half Day/ Noon Dismissal Accreditation Work

10/4 Bring Your Parents to PE (8th 10:50-11:50, 7th 1:00-1:57)

10/7-10/10 Miles to Go 7th / 8th grade * alternative schedule

10/8 School Day Tour

10/9 Bring Your Parents to PE (6th 1:00-1:57)

10/11 Fall Conferences – No School

10/14 Fall Conferences – No School ; Indigenous Peoples Day

10/31 Halloween

November

11/3 Day Light Savings Time Ends

11/4-11/8 WrAP Testing

11/11 Veteran’s Day – No School

11/12-11/15 ERB Testing

11/18-11/22 Make Up ERBS

11/26 Grandfirend’s Day

11/27 – 11/29 Thanksgiving Break

December

12/23-1/3 Winter Break


Academics

Google Classroom

To see a list of your student’s homework assignments, you may log on to each teacher’s Google Classroom on any device using your student’s email account credentials. If you need assistance with the Google Classroom, please email me at allison.birkhead@gatewaysc.org.

Blackbaud

To check your student’s progress in each class, you can go to the school online grade book, Blackbaud. Please use your login and password that you received from the Gateway to access Blackbaud. If you need assistance, please email me at allison.birkhead@gatewaysc.org or Jeremy at jeremy.king@gatewaysc.org.

Who to Contact

Absences – sickness – please contact the student’s advisor.

General Academic Questions – the student’s advisor

Specific Academic Questions– the student’s teacher

General Question about Policies or Events – Alli

School Issue – Hannah or Alli