A message from the Chair
GATE Academy is an exciting school for kids. And GATE Academy prepares kids for a world where there are more questions than answers. A recent college graduate told me, "Content is everywhere, but it's what you can do with it that counts, and that's what inquiry teaches kids. The students at GATE are so lucky—I learned so much there." This is particularly true in a world where it seems that everyone has an opinion and eagerness to change others, while very few seem to have developed the skills of listening, understanding, a compassion for multiple perspectives, or to demonstrate self-reflective awareness and humility.
What is inquiry? Looking around. Wondering. Experimenting. Figuring things out. Making connections. Checking for contradictions. Avoiding assumptions. Asking questions. Having an open mind. These are skills that require cultivation and develop with explicit practice. They are not easy.
What is inquiry-based education? The organized practice of cultivating skills of inquiry. We do it with glue guns, spreadsheets, sewing machines, challenge math, petri dishes, debates, play writing, acting, dissections, stone carving, pipets, and more. Inquiry-based education works. It ignites kids of all ages.
Who needs to practice inquiry skills? Everyone. Strong artists are inquirers. Notable writers are inquirers. Insightful scientists are inquirers. Bold inventors are inquirers. Fantastic mathematicians are inquirers. Successful builders, academics, administrators and teachers are inquirers. Inquiry is the stuff of life-long learning and doing, growing and improving.
GATE Academy's inquiry program is evidence based. Learning to ask one's own questions leads to curiosity and problem-solving. Learning by doing and experimentation—hands on or minds on—leads to stronger comprehension, better retention, and the ability to make deeper cross connections. Learning to communicate and to present well requires constant writing, lots of reading, structured discussion and debate, all accompanied by peer and teacher support. We do these things at GATE.
GATE remains at the forefront of best practices in education. GATE has always been inclusive and diverse because curiosity and high academic potential are found in children everywhere, irrespective of race, gender, economic status, religion, national origin or sexual orientation. At GATE each child is expected and taught how to both give and get respect and to work together as a community to create and respect a place to learn in. GATE has been teaching mindfulness to kids for years. GATE has physical education every day of the week. GATE's target outcome is for students to be in charge of their inquiry—that's true agency. GATE's inquiry is cross-curricular of necessity, not by fad.
GATE is a place where it is safe and fun to explore ideas —all different kinds of ideas and facts. What's the why behind it all? Can we understand and figure things out? What happens when we take things apart? The clues to how a system works can be found when it fails. And no human problem can be solved without willingness to understand and question first, to be open-minded, foregoing the facile road of quick judgment, and the deafening echo of confirmation bias.
This school is amazing, and motivated kids thrive here. I am honored to serve as GATE's Executive Chair and treasure our kids, faculty and families who join hands daily to make it all work.