Gateway Academy FAQ

Information and Registration

Q: Where is Gateway Academy located?

Gateway Academy is located at Dodge Middle School, 4200 208th Street West, Farmington MN 55024.

Q: What is the timeline for registration for the 2019-20 school year?

Information and registration events will be held in January. Enrollment requests need to be received by January 30, 2019. Registrations will be taken after the deadline and accepted on a first come, space available basis.  

Q: How are students selected?

All students are eligible to attend Gateway Academy. As such, there are no entrance criteria or other enrollment requirements. Families will be randomly drawn through a lottery as enrollment requests exceed capacity, balancing student ages as much as possible. Preference will be given to families residing in the district attendance area prior to open-enrolling students from other school districts.

Q: What type of student will be successful at Gateway Academy?

To know if Gateway Academy is the best fit for students, parents are encouraged to consider how their children best learn and the skills they might tap in this interest-based, project-based, service-based learning experience. Gateway Academy will develop a number of aptitudes to help students with this transition including: adaptability, flexible thinking, creative expression, critical thinking, problem solving, self-direction and personal initiative, group collaboration, empathy, and entrepreneurship. Students who are successful recognize that the focus at Gateway Academy is not about getting the “right” answer on a test, but rather about creating innovative solutions through determination, rich content knowledge, and collective effort.

Q: How are students “agents of change” in the community?

Students at Gateway Academy recognize that they are active citizens, responsible to their local and global community. As students consider learning projects, they are encouraged to identify concerns in the community and research, prototype, present, and implement solutions for development or policy consideration. As agents of change, students design around the needs of the community and work in partnership with business and community leaders to refine and implement their learning. Whole-school service learning projects will be incorporated into student portfolios as well.

Academics, Programs, and Services

Q: How do students develop core skills in math and literacy? What about the other content areas, specifically science and social studies?

Specific skills from the MN English Language Arts Standards are integrated into every student project and are further addressed through reading and writing workshops during the day. Additionally, specific math instruction are scheduled into the student day to ensure students develop a rich, concept-based understanding of mathematics. Science, social studies, and other content areas are featured or otherwise incorporated into student projects utilizing workshops and seminars to provide direct instruction complementary to student research and digital resources.

Q: Can students participate in art, music, physical education, choir, band, world language, or other common electives?

The major consideration for staffing is the student advisor who works with students to develop and implement the personal learning plans and core content supports. These advisors have focus areas to match with student interests and can further support student projects. While these projects may incorporate many of these subject areas in their wide-ranging scope, some subjects such as choir or world language may need to be addressed through programs at the middle school, internships in the community, or through online learning opportunities. These will be built into students’ schedules as needed.

Q: How is learning made personal to a student’s pace?

Students not only tap into their interests and community needs when designing learning projects, but they also target specific K-12 academic standards around which to focus their research and direct instruction. Working in the area which they find challenging but achievable, students develop skills and content knowledge appropriate to their level of understanding and project completion needs.

Q: When do students matriculate to the high school?

The short answer - when they are ready. Based on a student’s personal learning path and portfolio of work, students are able to transfer to the high school when they have met the required learning targets. Additional consideration may be made regarding a student’s social and emotional readiness for the transition. Alternatively, students choosing to extend their learning prior to entering the high school may do so on site by engaging in high school content through Schoology/Facetime courses, independent study, or online learning.

Q: What does multi-age learning look like at Gateway Academy?

Learning at Gateway Academy is not dependent on traditional, grade-based designations, but rather allows a variety of arrangements for students to learn together, complete group projects, and provide peer mentorships. Certainly, students of similar interests and abilities are able to work together, but projects are also able to be broken into separate tasks to accommodate a range of interests and abilities. This would be especially true of large-scale or whole-school projects.
Staff and Community

Q: Who teaches at Gateway Academy?

Similar to the students, the staff at Gateway Academy are highly collaborative, adaptable to change, and reflective regarding their influence and impact with students. They are knowledgeable in project-based learning and have demonstrated the effective release of responsibility for learning to students. They come with a range of teaching experiences offering support to students of all ages and interest areas. As a team, the staff are aware of each other’s strengths and work together flexibly, monitoring and adjusting based on student projects and needs.

Q: How are families involved in the school?

Parents and families play significant roles in the school, sharing in leadership decisions and providing access to enriched learning. They are encouraged to volunteer their time, knowledge, and talents to extend student opportunities and provide service to the school community.

Q: Will transportation be provided?

— Students living within the walking zone of Dodge Middle School, where Gateway Academy is located, are not eligible for transportation services. — Students living in the Boeckman Middle School attendence zone will be shuttled to Gateway Academy at Dodge Middle School. Students living within the walking zone of Boeckman Middle School will need to walk to their shuttle. — Students open enrolling from other districts will need to arrange their own transportation. Additionally, students wishing to take advantage of flexible start or end times, field-work, and other off-site learning experiences may need to arrange their own transportation as those become available.

Q: What services are available at Gateway Academy?

Food service - on site meals, breakfast and lunch program, are provided through Chartwells.
Health services - a nurse is on call for medical assistance as necessary and on site staff is trained in first aid, CPR, and student medication administration.

Special education - IEPs are reviewed in the development of student learning paths and services delivered as appropriate.

After school activities - students may participate in after school activities at Dodge Middle School. Additionally, activity buses may be available to transport students to other schools so they can participate in after school activities.

Q: How can business and community organizations be involved with Gateway Academy?

Business and community organizations are needed to help provide authentic/real-world learning experiences. Gateway Academy looks to business and community organizations to sponsor student projects, provide mentors for students, share expertise through seminars, and provide field-work experiences.

Q: How is administrative support provided to Gateway Academy?

Administrators in the Department of Educational Services organize around the needs of the students, staff, and Gateway Academy, in addition to district-wide responsibilities, and provide administrative and instructional leadership.  Additionally, Dodge Middle School principals support families, staff and students as they would all members of their school community.