The day begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m.
Below is a sampling of some of the most common questions that come up during an initial visit to The Gateway School. In addition, some of these questions come up upon the students’ acceptance into our school.
A typical class of eight students has one special education teacher and one to three assistants. There is usually one staff member for every two students.
Each class has a behavior plan that is developed by the classroom teacher. If a student needs an individual behavior plan, all of the staff who work with the child, meet and develop a plan for that particular child. The plan is sent home for parental approval and then is sent to the Case Manager so that it can become part of the IEP.
All of our teachers and therapists hold certifications or licenses that allow them to work with special needs students. All of our assistants have completed two years of college or they have taken and passed the Para-Pro Praxis Test.
There are usually six to ten students in a class.
The school has an “open door” policy and parents can visit and observe their child. Parents can also observe their child having therapy. Therapists are willing to train parents in what they are working on with a particular child so that the parent can do the same activities at home. This will serve to enhance the child’s program and help the parent and therapist to work together to improve the child’s skills.
Therapy sessions are thirty minutes long.
Therapy can be done individually or in a group. The therapist decides which format is appropriate and will best meet each child’s needs.
Transportation is provided and arranged by the sending school district. Transportation can be done by a public school van or bus or by vehicles that are privately contracted by the sending district.
A communication book is used by students at all grade levels. The teacher will write news of importance to the parents and they in turn can inform the teacher of anything that they want to convey. In addition, parent conferences are held in November and March and they afford the opportunity for parents and staff to meet. Progress reports are sent home to the parents in November, March and June. The annual IEP which is held at the school is another forum in which the school staff and parents can communicate with each other.
The Principal will review the child’s records. During the initial visit the principal, classroom teacher and therapists will observe the child and determine if the placement will meet the child’s educational and therapeutic needs. The parent will be informed of the school’s decision to accept or not accept their child at the end of visit.
The child can start as soon as The Gateway School receives the IEP and as soon as transportation can be set up the school district.
The decision to seek placement at The Gateway School is the responsibility of the IEP team with is composed of the parents/guardians, child study team members, and other professionals with expertise relevant to the student’s education plan. All applications must come from the sending district through a local Child Study Team. The team sends Gateway a packet with the child’s reports and IEP. The principal or supervisor of instruction will review the reports to determine if the child seems appropriate for the Gateway program. If so, they will schedule an intake visit for the child and the parents. After the intake, Gateway’s staff will decide if they feel they can provide an appropriate program for the child, and will subsequently notify the sending district CST of their decision.
As every child is entitled to a free and appropriate education, parents are not responsible for the cost of special education or related services including transportation. The tuition at Gateway is paid by the sending school district.
Children are group-based on their age, as well as the academic, social and behavioral needs as specified in the student’s IEP. Each class has a diversity of academic levels. At certain age levels there are several classes available.
Classes vary in size from six students to a maximum of twelve students in a class. All classes have a certified Special Education teacher and at least two paraprofessionals working within the classroom setting.
While each student individualized education plan (IEP) is the foundation of his/her academic program, it’s the use of integrated and multi-sensory teaching methods that make the curriculum work so well. Instruction in language arts and math is typically implemented in one-to-one and small group settings. Instruction in other subject areas such as science, social studies, health, social skills and activities of daily living are typically taught in classroom or large group settings. Classroom area programs are dynamic-changing as necessary to meet each student’s needs and consider their learning styles and developmental levels.
Life skills are embedded into all areas of the curriculum. The Gateway School also has a simulated apartment that is used by all classes to teach independent living. Students have the opportunity to practice cooking, cleaning, laundry and personal care skills. In addition, through the use of Community Based Instruction (CBI), all of our students have the opportunity to take trips off-campus that allows them to practice their skills in the community.
Career awareness is introduced across the academic curriculum starting at the age of five through classroom lessons and CBI trips. By the time students reach formal transition age when they turn 14, they are well-prepared to learn specific work-related skills and appropriate work attitudes and behavior. They may participate in our in-school work program in various jobs including secretarial work, custodial work and working in our school store. When Gateway students reach an age of 18, their work skills and independent living development can continue with participation in Gateway’s off-campus work program which includes job training at local businesses such as K-Mart, Walgreens and the Carteret Public Library.
The Gateway School runs a 30-day Extended School Year program in the summer from early July through mid-August. The curriculum includes a continuation of the goals and objectives that are worked on during the regular school year. Several trips are planned throughout the summer including visits to the beach, zoo and bowling.
All children bring their lunches from home and eat them in the lunchroom at their assigned lunch hour. There are no facilities for students to heat lunches. On most Fridays, students will have the opportunity to purchase lunches prepared by our high school students as part of our in-school job program.
At The Gateway School, students may receive related services in the areas of Occupational, Physical and Speech Language Therapy in addition to counseling as specified in their individualized education plan. Related services may be provided individually, in small groups or integrated into the classroom program. All of our related service specialist work closely with classroom teachers to address our students’ therapeutic needs.
For many Gateway students, daily communication books go back and forth between home and school. School staff also communicates with parents via e-mails, phone calls and weekly newsletters. School staff participate in re-evaluation and annual review meetings with parents and sending district Child Study Team members. Twice each year The Gateway School holds Parent/Teacher conferences in both afternoon and evening sessions to accommodate various parent schedules. At The Gateway School, we have an open door policy which means that parents may come in to meet with school staff and administration at any time. We just ask parents to call the school to make sure the staff members they wish to meet with are in attendance.
Parent workshops are typically held twice a year. Speakers provide information on topics of particular interest to the parents. Examples of topics include: transition planning, guardianship, special education rights and responsibilities, and behavior management.