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.


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.


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