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.


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


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


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


12/23-1/3 Winter Break


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