The Gateway Gazette
Spring 2015, vol. 2, issue 3
Annual Report to the Community April, 2015
Dear Parents and Community Members,
It is with great pride that I again share with you our annual Report to the Community for the 2014-15 school year. The 2014-2015 school year has provided exceptional learning experiences for our teachers, support staff and students. Our teachers and staff were able to embark on a curriculum journey that has already reaped huge benefits in terms of student achievement for “Our Gateway”. Our Gators kicked off the school year with the announcement that we would again receive the prestigious “Palmetto Gold Award” for academic excellence! This marked our third consecutive year to receive this honor, and the award signifies the highest award given for academic excellence in our state. In addition to our award, Gateway Elementary School received a federal ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Accountability Act) rating of “B” and an absolute rating on our state report card of “Excellent”. Clearly, our students are meeting the challenges of increasingly difficult academic standards with great success, in large part due to the enormous support that we are showered with from our Travelers Rest community, teachers and support staff.
Beginning in August of 2014 our teachers and staff began intensive training in the Lucy Calkins Units of Study delivery method in the area of writing. This school-wide training allowed us to put ownership for the real world application of writing quite literally into the student’s hands! Within weeks we began to see the quality of their writing improve as it now conveyed purpose, a greater degree of content development, and was reflective of each writer and his or her unique experiences and opinions. As we continued our training throughout the school year I personally began to receive writing samples from grade levels that included persuasive pieces focused on the need for new, safer playground equipment, the creation of a school flag and the need for “music that was more fun” in our cafeteria. I am pleased to say that all of the requests were granted! In addition to continued growth in the area of academics, our Travelers Rest community has grown as well and with this growth came additional community support for our Gators! We have been thrilled to be able to increase the volume and quality of food items that we provide for our needy students each weekend as they would be forced to go without meals otherwise. Our partnership with the Cliffs Communities provided this gift to our Gators. Our friends at George Coleman Ford and Shortfield’s restaurant have graciously provided a free oil change and a free dinner for two each month for our “Staff Member of the Month” program at Gateway. So far, teachers, custodians and office staff have been selected to receive this very special honor. I would also like to share the news of our efforts with the Furman University college athletes and our Travelers Rest YMCA. The athletic department at Furman University has graciously agreed to film their student athletes explaining how they use the “7 Habits of Happy Kids” on and off of the playing field. These messages are shown on our morning news program, and have proven to be both exciting and motivating for our students. We look forward to adding more video clips to our news program in the future. This fall I was invited to serve on the board of our Travelers Rest YMCA. This position is such a privilege, as it gives me an avenue to share our good news on a regular basis with a number of community leaders as well as to bring information to our parents regarding available scholarships for summer care that may prevent the possibility of “latch-key kids”.
As you know, this year also brought with it a few uncertainties, as our state decided upon a new testing tool and revamped our learning standards. As a result of this new assessment choice, our goals listed below do not contain the usual data, as our students will be taking the ACT Aspire assessment for the very first time after our annual report is published. We look forward to sharing the results of this assessment with our school community this fall when our scores are published.
It often feels as though our school year has just begun, however spring is definitely in the air and it is at this time that we begin to look forward to the coming school year, and plan alongside our major stakeholders for another year of excellence for our Gators. The formal title of our combined efforts is our “School Renewal Plan”. This plan is now included on our school web site. Please take a few minutes to look over our plan and the goals and professional development opportunities that will give purpose and continued growth to our new school year. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss any or all of the contents with you in further detail.
The school renewal plan includes elements required by the Early Childhood Development and Academic Assistance Act of 1993 (Act 135) and the Education Accountability Act of 1998 (EAA). We revise, monitor progress and adjust our goals within the plan annually in collaboration with our school faculty and staff, and our SIC (School Improvement Council).
Lastly, I feel that it is only fitting to close with our values and beliefs. Our values and beliefs are the core of who we are, what we do, and how we think and feel. Values and beliefs reflect what is important to us; they describe what we think about educating our children, while continuing the focus of remembering that the hearts and minds of our children are of equal importance. Each year, our staff revisits our core beliefs examining how our instruction, curriculum, and assessment will increase student achievement. We think that it is important to include our values and beliefs in our annual report as they set the tone for all that we do, and remind us of our purpose as educators.
- We believe that all students should be valued and treated with respect and dignity.
- We believe a safe environment is essential to the learning process.
- We believe all children should be challenged to view life from different perspectives.
- We believe self-respect, discipline, and social skills should be reinforced at school.
- We believe family engagement in the learning process is an essential component for student success.
- We believe differentiated curriculum and instruction should accommodate individual learning styles to meet the needs of all students.
- We believe educational experiences should enable students to communicate ideas, solve problems, think critically and creatively and consistently reflect on their own thinking.
- We believe a community partnership is essential for school success.
- We believe a PLC (Professional Learning Community) empowers all stakeholders to make informed decisions and provides experiences through data driven planning to ensure the success of each student.
- We believe each member of our school community can be a successful life-long learner.
Susan Stubley, Principal
Heather Bolt, SIC Chair
Click HERE to download the 2015 Gateway Elementary School Portfolio.
First Grade Scientists
Second Grade Living Museum
Stephanie Sandlin’s second grade students put on a Live Museum, on March 13 at Gateway Elementary. Students shared their important biography research reports. The audience was able to experience the life of these famous people through the program. Students wore costumes and with the press of their button, they came alive and shared their reports. The audience heard about famous people that have impacted society.
Second Grade Spring Writing
Hi! My name is Anna Grace. It is almost Easter. The Easter Bunny should come tonight. “Good Morning Sun!”, I said. I looked out my window to see if the Easter Bunny came. When I looked outside, my face lit up in shock. “What?” “No Easter eggs!” So I called my friends Aeryal and McKenzy. “Hello” said Aeryal. “What’s up?” “Did you get any Easter eggs?” “No” they both said. “Help me,” I said with a faint voice. “What was that?” asked McKenzy. The noise sounded like it was coming from the basement. “Come on Bradley!” I screamed. “You trapped the Easter Bunny in the basement. “ “Un-hu” he said. We got him out and hid the eggs. It was a weird Easter, but I enjoyed it. --Anna Grace
Today is Easter morning. The Easter bunny just left my house. I went to look for Easter candy. I woke mom and Dad up at 7:30 a.m. I ate Easter candy for breakfast. Then I found the Easter bunny in the woods. I asked him what was he doing and where was he going. He said he was hiding eggs for kids to find. Since he needed help hiding eggs, I helped him. We finished at 1:00 p.m. Then I went home and ate more Easter candy. --Noah
On a sunny day a few weeks before Easter, Mrs. Bun- Bun the Easter Bunny was on her porch painting Easter eggs. Easter was only 4 weeks away and she had to make everyone in the village an egg. She was trying to hurry because she had a lot to do before Easter. Meanwhile, Mrs. Chicken was laying eggs. In 4 weeks on Easter day, her chicks would hatch. Mrs. Chicken was searching for food. To everyone in the village, Easter was far away. Mrs. Bun-Bun was baking a cake in the oven and trying to fill the Easter eggs all at the same time. When the cake was finished, Mrs. Bun-Bun put the cake on the counter and went to buy lots of chocolate bunnies and lots of candy. When she got home, she filled more eggs. She was going to hide them in the village for the big Easter egg hunt. With Easter only 1 week a way, she had to plant flowers all around the village. One day away, Mrs. Chicken’s eggs hatched and she spent lots of time with them. That night Mrs. Bun-Bun was busy filling Easter baskets. She was relieved when the baskets were filled. She hid the eggs. Then next year she will do it again. --Georgia
It’s spring time! Warm weather has arrived and the days are longer. It’s a perfect time for a good book since children may have trouble going to sleep while it’s still light outside! Make sure they keep a stack of books by their bed so they can read themselves to sleep! As you enjoy the change of seasons, find some books about spring topics like baby animals, gardening, flowers, the weather, outdoor adventures and sports. Take your child to the library, search “Spring,” and you’ll even find 50 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors This Spring! There are even some children’s books that inspire spring cleaning! Check out Clifford’s Spring Clean Up and Poppleton in Spring!
Let’s all spring into reading with good books!
Sheila Moss, Literacy Specialist