Gatewood Elementary of Seattle Public Schools is a sad place. Students were encouraged to attend classes, over any community activities yet my student's teacher said, "We don't want to have all those who missed have to make up this lesson so we're not going to do anything today." It would have been better to keep our student at home where he can work on academics better than at Gatewood with a man who is not a dedicated nor skilled educator. As with may schools, it is the homeroom teacher that makes all the difference. Our son was in tears when he learned who would be his teacher and the new principal would not offer another placement for him. He is not excited about attending classes because the teacher doesn't challenge or engage with the students. So far 2 of his 6 teachers so far have been professional and skilled, the other 2/3 demonstrate lack of investment in student learning and do not improve their trade. A genuine disappointment. There was even a case when a teacher was not kind to a PTA volunteer - this demonstrates a lack of team-work and mutual appreciating and value. It is a sad place to be.
My daughter graduated from Gatewood in 2012. She is now in an awesome private middle school - near the top of her class. We were very very impressed with Gatewood. It has excellent leadership, staff and a strong parent community that supports it. I would agree with critiques in other reviews that the 2-year bands are a good idea that doesn't seem to work out. It never seemed to work out that she had the same teachers 2 years in a row I am a big fan of the staff - and amazed at all they accomplish but the District overcrowded them several years ago. Consequently, the staff seems to have little space for supporting higher-achieving kids. But for a public school, it's great. The emphasis on writing is strong. Math is good. The social environment excellent. I was impressed at the integration of special needs services. They had music and DID have a food PE teacher. I withheld one star for the limitations for achievers. I think it is a district-level issue. But, as I indicated above, our daughter got a scholarship to a private Middle School so it is hard to say her Gatewood education was lacking. Go Gators!
This school has had its ups and downs for years. We had two children there five years ago, and perhaps things have improved, but we were frustrated with lack of challenge for high-performing kids, as well as with lack of staff in areas like art and PE (the school has a great gym that has gone unused without a PE teacher). We were also taken aback to discover that our kids were being used to mentor underperformers from nearby public housing but weren't being coached to their own potential. Which may be why when we moved to another city, our "top performing" kids had some catching up to do. Gatewood does a decent job with a very mixed community, but if the school doesn't do more for its advanced students it will continue to lose them.
My son is in kindergarten at Gatewood. We were originally disappointed that we didn't get into a different school. But we couldn't be happier with Gatewood. The school is a hidden gem with a unique approach that promotes individual attention and challenges each child at their level (rather than an arbitrary one-size-fits-all level). Grades are banded together and team taught. So, K and 1st grade classes are teamed together with two teachers. This allows all kids to know more than one adult in the building well and for them to know each child. It also allows kids to go into different reading and math groups depending on their level. The community is a welcoming, down-to-earth group committed to quality education for all. Our PTA raises money to keep classes sizes smaller and develops after school additional enrichment such as Spanish, sign language, science bloopers, piano, etc.
Gatewood is a very progressive school, using real-life projects to teach kids basic skills and relevant knowledge. It has a very creative approach that engages kids at all levels. It mixes kids from different grades together. Both the faculty and the student body reflects the diverse neighborhood.
This school is great about not letting a child fall behind, or 'hide in the back of the class'. When we moved here at the end of the school year two years ago, I didn't know how much my son was not learning, because he was 'hiding in the back of the class'. He ended up repeating that grade, but I saw a huge improvement over the previous year. If parents are involved in the childs education, teachers will go the extra mile and then some. I was amazed how much just stating my concerns to the teachers during a conference made a difference. Now, because all the teachers in the school know how we expect all of our children to perform grade wise, the teachers are there to keep our three kids at that level. The whole staff is quick to respond to questions either by phone or email.
I have two sons, one whom has been through Gatewood K-5, and another who just entered first grade. Neither have had a great learning experience. The two year grouping rarely works. Neither of my boys ever had a teacher two years in a row and the homework is a joke. The staff seems more interested in the parent reading program than anything else. I would have just been happy with some proven, traditional teaching methods. I am switching my youngest son out as soon as I can'.