Gateway High School, San Francisco, CA – December 15, 2022

by George J Elbaum

Gateway High School is a small (519 students) charter school which focuses on small class size, high academic standards, and a close student-to-faculty relationship, as well as a strong partnership with its students’ families and community.   The results are impressive:

  • More than 75% are students of color
  • More than 40% are the first in their family to attend college
  • More than 25% have a diagnosed learning disability
  • 75% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch
  • Yet more than 96% have gone to college, double the California average!

This success is reflected in Gateway being one of seven schools featured on the U.S. Department of Education’s Doing What Works website, being named a Newsweek 2020 Best Public High Schools (only 6% of all public schools in the U.S. are so named), being designated as a California Distinguished School and a 21st Century School of Distinction and among the 10 most diverse public high schools in California.

What accounts for this amazing success?  The major factor is undoubtedly Gateway’s special support programs for students aimed at its mission “to send 100% of our students to college.”  Specifically:

-Each student is paired with a faculty advisor who guides him/her through the school experience and serves as a consistent contact for families.

-Gateway’s Learning Center provides support for all students, especially those with learning differences, in the forms of tutorial support, learning strategy instruction, intensive reading instruction, assistive technology, and more.

-90% of students utilize Gateway’s after-school tutoring program which offers tutoring in one-on-one and small-group settings to students.

-Students who are significantly below grade level in reading participate in Gateway’s intensive reading program. On average, students who complete this program increase their reading by up to four grade levels.

My audience of 125 students in 10th grade Humanities (in 2 classrooms) were well prepared for my talk, having spent the last six weeks studying the Holocaust, beginning with the end of WWI through the major events of the 1933-1945 period, the phases of the Holocaust, how the major Nazi ideologies connected with these events, and reading Elie Wiesel’s Night.

My talk was organized by humanities teacher Molly Orner and attended by teacher Paul Heasman and student teachers Aaron Marestaing and Mina Bluethenthal.  It was arranged by Sadie Simon, Education Program Manager, JFCS Holocaust Center.

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