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Dear GATE families,

In 2013, I configured West View’s GATE Program to conform to a 6-day rotation. The double period was broken into two shorter periods. As a result, the program gained momentum and continuity; GATE became a more integral part of the students’ week. Students were also able to devote a greater level of concentration to their tasks.

I have since re-configured the program to comply with our district’s TRIBE time requirements. As a result, sessions are limited to 40-minute blocks that are shared with other pull-out programs such as band, orchestra, or speech. Your child’s standing GATE appointment will now consist of two of these 40-minute blocks per six-day rotation.* At this point, you may wonder how students will be able to accomplish as much as they did in previous years, when they were allotted more GATE session time. The answer comes in the form of extra “Office Hours” availability.

With “Office Hours” availability, students are able to take advantage of the fact that TRIBE Time occurs during the same period every day. Here is an example from a proposed sample Grade 5 schedule:

 

DAY 1

DAY 2

DAY 3

DAY 4

DAY 5

DAY 6

8:35-9:15

GATE 5-A

GATE 5-A

GATE 5-B

GATE 5-B

5-ENRICHMENT GROUP/

OFFICE HOURS
AVAILABILITY

OFFICE HOURS
AVAILABILITY

GATE Grade 5 is a large population, so I split it into two sections, called “A” and “B.” If your child attends Section A, s/he would have GATE Class on Days 1 and 2. Days 3 and 4 are reserved for Section B. At some point in the year, I typically run an enrichment mini-course that would meet on Day 5. When the mini-course is not in session, Days 5 and 6 become available for all Grade 5 GATE students to further their independent or collaborative work on GATE projects and assignments, as long as I am available to supervise. If the student has another obligation on an “Office Hours” day, such as band or speech, s/he may not be able to take advantage of that time. I have worked with the other teachers to minimize the chance of conflicts on both “Office Hours” days.

As a result of this flexibility, your children can have more access to GATE services than before. Here are some guidelines for “Office Hours Availability”:

  • The “Office Hours” times are meant to allow students more time to work independently and collaboratively on GATE assignments only. These are not sessions for direct instruction (although I am happy to answer questions or provide special supplies), and students may not use them as a study hall to work on regular classroom assignments.
  • Students who wish to utilize “Office Hours” must notify both their classroom teacher and me before morning announcements. If I am unavailable, I will try to suggest another day.
  • The classroom teacher has the right to deny students to use “Office Hours” if the teacher has an alternate plan for the student.
  • If the student fails to use “Office Hours” or regular GATE time efficiently, I reserve the right to suspend that student’s “Office Hours” privilege.

I hope that “Office Hours Availability” will allow your children to develop their personal organization/independent work habits. They will be able to take more control of their learning and their workload. This, in turn, will prepare them more fully for the menu-driven, independent GATE program at the Middle and High Schools.

Sincerely,

Mr. Richter

* Grade 2 students will have three 30-minute blocks of regular GATE time to minimize conflicts with dismissal procedures.

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North Hills School District
135 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Phone: 412-318-1000 Fax: 412-318-1084
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