I have never seen a school as great as this one is. Looking forward for more of my grandchildren to go here...
Amazing, caring, knowledgeable teachers who meet individualized student needs with patience, heart, and skill. Students garden, have recess daily, PE twice each week, on-campus library time, cross-class teaching and learning, & after school clubs. Most importantly to my children is the outdoor educational experiences, their favorite! Mr. Jim, the Environmental Education Director, makes this learning fun, engaging, and uniquely enlightening. My children love everything about LG -- the teachers, the principal, the curriculum, and the other children (most of whom they know even outside of their particular class and grade). Overall, Learning Gate cultivates a loving, generous, warm community where children learn far more than just what is in any book; they learn about environmental sustainability, about communal responsibility, about tolerance and compassion; they learn about themselves and each other, and about the importance of contributing to the world around them. Not a traditional approach or experience in any way. If you are open to progressive, unique approaches to education and learning, you will absolutely love Learning Gate (and if you're not, you probably won't).
I have a new Kindergartner this year and another child who has been here several years. This year the eldest child has Science, Art, PE, Library and Garden in addition to their regular studies. They also are focusing on spelling for each student, picking out words they misspell during writing plus common misspelled words and during Library, they are learning to pick out books that are appropriate to their reading level and to challenge themselves. These are all things we work on at home and my eldest has thrived in this environment and the youngest has been chomping at the bit all summer to get started. They staff and administration have always been great in reaching out and fostering a great learning environment for the kids. I love this school and due to our praises, we've had 2 other families move their kids from schools here and another 4/5 are trying to get in.
This is our 4th year at LG and we have 2 children there currently. Our wonderful curriculum specialist became the principal last school year and has made many noticeable improvements not only to the physical campus but to the welcoming attitude and general organization/running of the school. Ms. Mason is a breath of fresh air! Her warmth and constant presence/visability at the school has made a world of difference. My kids continue to learn and grow not just academically, but emotionally, socially, and morally as well. If all our schools embodied the social responsibility both directly and indirectly taught at LG, our country would be a far better place. A previous post indicated that LG "does not babysit parents" and this is true--as it should be! LG has proved a wonderful partner with whom to raise our children!
Regarding Gates Middle School, the PBL (project based learning) experience has been a very stressing experience for both my child and myself. We loved LG and Gates until the PBL. It is sad to be leaving. My children and I have made many longtime friends. We would continue to Gates had it not been for PBL.
One disgruntled parent does not define the school s success, in my opinion. As far as Project Based Learning, it is a learning curve for students and parents alike. It seems like the this style of learning did not work for his/her child, but doesn t mean it doesn t work at all, I know many happy parents.
We are still enamoured with Learning Gate seven years later. It might not be a fit for everyone and to those I wish a fond farewell!
In response to the negative posting, I notice you mention you are a former parent therefore how can you comment on what is happening this year at GATES. The research is very strong supporting PBL and I have seen with my own eyes the positive and substantial growth in the students. Our students continue to excel as verified in our "A" school rating. There were nay sayers when LG started 10 years ago with an environmental curriculum and look how relevant it is today. The same will hold true for GATES and PBL.
As a former LG/GATES parent, I must say that Learning Gate is not what it appears to be. They are mostly concerned with "Green" accolades and donations from parents. They require an inappropriately high number of parenting/volunteer hours that stresses parents out. The middle school, GATES, is mismanaged, has no specials like PE or art, has no clubs or sports. The project based learning (PBL) is not working. Students are confused or stressed and spend that block of time on web surfing and fooling around instead of working. There is no way for the teachers to supervise the PBL time effectively. The teachers were told by the founder (who is extremely rude and insensitive) that they can not communicate assignments to parents-it's the kids' job to know what to do. The founder of the school likes to take bits of poor research she reads and implement it into her school policies and curriculum. You're better off at a public school or private. Don't believe the hype. Many parents are leaving this year.
I graduated this year and am glad to be leaving. I've been going to Learning Gate for nine years, since kindergarten, and my experiences have been a generally mixed bag of good and bad. The principal is very closed-minded and has been rude to me more than once. If you don't agree with her policies or way to running the school, she'll gladly tell you that you can take your child and leave. She won't even attempt to try and make your experience more enjoyable. Also, changes in the school are spontaneous and unannounced. I did not know until open house last year that we were getting rid of three hours of "project based learning," where we sit in one spot for three hours crouched over computers and/or projects we're working on. Also, over athree- or four-year span, every teacher I had left us for some reason or another, only to be replaced by a substitute, who in turn left us again a couple weeks later. I was in second grade when this started, mind you. Imagine how impressionable and sad I was. And do you know what the principal said to all the furious parents who were ready to take their children out of LG (including my mother)? She said, "It's a good life experience for them."
i just graduated and this year and i was so heart broken that i was leaving. I loved the teachers there and the PBL .(Project Based Learning) i love the staff they help you with everything. Ive been there since daycare , which is before preK. i loved it and still do. I'm now going to the high school and i cant wait . I have gotten a's and b's throughout the school year. I love how its avout the student and the parents . The teachers speak to you one on one to you if you need the help in class and the supply all the materials you need
your odds of getting in a pretty good. You may not find out untl just before school starts. My kids did not find out they got in a week before school started. I kept calling throughout the summer and asking where they were currently on the waiting list. Then bam, they got in. The secretary told me initially that if I don't mind them starting in the middle of the school year, they have an excellent chance of getting in. Many parent pull there applications out when the school year has started and their kid had not gotten in yet. My oldest daughter finished 8th grade there last year and I had a daughter in 5th grade. Now they are both in regular public and I see a huge difference between Learning Gate and public. LG is much better.
As a member of the Board of St Petersburg Audubon Society and coordinator of beach-nesting bird volunteers, I had the privilege of helping with the bird component of a field trip to Ft Desoto Park June 7th, led by Jim McGinty. I was so impressed with the enthusiasm and depth of knowledge & caring of students, parents & teachers regarding the area of the park that is protected for nesting & resting birds. I felt that there was a great appreciation for the importance of protecting habitat while living in harmony with the environment. It gives us great hope for the future. Thank you for doing such a great job & we look forward to seeing your students succeed in the future!
Learning Gate, like any school, is not for everyone. However, for my family it is the PERFECT place. I have two children that attend LG, a 1st grader and a 3rd grader. Both have had wonderful experiences and continue to learn and grow with outstanding teachers! Where else can you get get environmental education, teachers who are there because they want to be there, and a sense of community found nowhere else. My children love working in the organic garden as well as the class garden beds. We are looking forward to the growth that next school year will bring, more people should get to experience the LG way!
we are on the waiting list 3rd place for 4th grade 5th place for 2nd grade does anyone know our odds to getting in this year 2011-2012
My older daughters attended Learning Gate, and both have proven to be very high-acheiving high school students with one so far admitted to a very rigorous and selective college as well. I am very happy that my kids were able to attend this wonderful school. It does seem like they are relaxed about academics but I consider this a plus, it let the kids develop more naturally and did not in any way impair their later success in more "academic" high school programs. They keep the kids engaged and happy to be learning and those skills are much more important than just learning specific facts through drill.
The person who commented below clearly is not informed. There are very few new teachers each year and probably a dozen who have been with the school since it began. I have two children who went to Learning Gate their entire early years and neither NEVER made anything but an A their entire academic career. They graduated 4th and 10th in their high school classes, had 1590 and 1540 SAT scores and certified IQ tests rated both children solidly in the 140s. I would consider them gifted students , Both were accepted into the honors programs at the colleges of their choice. Regarding the principal, how much contact does anyone have with a school principal at any level? How does a school get an A school rating EVERY year, receive more local, state & national awards than I can remember and not have good leadership? They won't baby sit parents though.
This school has many excellent attributes. However, the principal and leadership is practically missing! The school is good for an average child. If you have a child that is advanced or has special needs of any type, I would seek another school. Also, they have few after school programs of value. I would expect more outdoor and physical activity.
After sixth grade, the outdoor activities and physical education they rave about becomes non existent. The principal has zero personality and high teacher turnover that one can attribute to the principals lack of leadership. Course work very elementary. If you have a child that can excel this is not the school for them. Took my child out and is much more challenged in a typical public school.
I graduated from Learning Gate in 2006 after being there since 4th grade (back when Mr.C was Coach Sean and we were at the campus on North Boulevard). Bringing me to Learning Gate was probably the best decision my parents have ever made. I graduate from high school in June and I don't think I would be where I am now had I not gone to Learning Gate. In my opinion it is the best school in Tampa.
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