Frequently Asked Questions
(Please note: this list is not exhaustive, and if you have any other questions, you are encouraged to call the school or send us an email)
1) What is the difference between Gateway Tech School and Gateway College Preparatory School?
While we are run by the same parent organization (Orenda Education), and we share a name, we are really two separate and distinct schools that are targeting two separate student populations. Gateway Tech is what is referred to as a “blended learning” environment. Blended learning is any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortal location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace. Our students do the majority of their coursework online at our school but they also benefit from one-on-one interactions with our certified instructional staff. The backbone of our instructional program at Tech is the comprehensive Odyssey Courseware. All courses offered at Tech are state approved, and conform to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Currently, the instructional day at Gateway Tech is broken into two sessions: students attend from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM, or from 12:00 PM -4:00 PM. Gateway Tech expects students to attend DAILY, and while 4 hours per day counts as a full day’s attendance, individual attendance is closely monitored.
Gateway Prep offers classes for grades K-12 in a smaller, more intimate, yet academically challenging environment. While we currently offer all courses at the pre-AP and AP levels we are in the process of applying for authorization from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to add the IB program as a curriculum offering in the middle school and high school years. Our middle and high school students also benefit from smaller, single-gender classes. The school day at Gateway Prep is a full day (8:15-3:30) and as its name implies strives to prepare all students for the rigors of a four year college while also offering a wide selection of extra-curricular and athletic offerings.
2) How do online courses work? How much do students have to do every day? Isn’t this just an “easy way out” of “regular” high school?
There are many misconceptions about programs such as Gateway Tech. Online learning has proven to be a valuable way for students at all levels, from kindergarten to doctoral level students to acquire knowledge, demonstrate comprehension, and collaborate with their peers. The courses are not any easier than their teacher-led counterparts. For example, if a student finds Geometry to be a challenge in a traditional setting, chances are it will be a challenge for him here too. The primary advantage is that students are able to pace their learning in a way to maximize comprehension. The “teacher” is the software program, and in essence, they are the only student. While we do look for minimum amounts of work completed based on students’ ability, the pace at which they go is often controlled by their own level of comprehension. There are also “highly qualified” and certified teachers with students at all times to guide and monitor their progress and help them as needed. Success in this program is largely influenced by a student’s own desire and drive. Students in this program must be able to set goals and work independently, and MUST feel comfortable learning on computers.
3) Do students receive a diploma?
When students complete all state-mandated requirements for obtaining credits and passing all exit level STAAR, they earn a diploma, just like they would at any other state accredited high school.
4) How quickly can students get done with courses?
While we set minimum amounts of credits that must be achieved, students who are very motivated CAN complete a semester’s (.5) credit in as little as three weeks. Students generally work through 2 classes at a time. This approach lets them have some variety in their day, but still remain focused. As we said before, students attend for four hours per day and while they are given breaks, must remain focused.
5) Do students have to take STAAR tests?
All students take age/grade appropriate STAAR including exit level STAAR. This is a state requirement.
6) Are there extra-curricular opportunities like there are on the other campus?
Students in the Tech program are welcome and encouraged to participate in extra-curricular offerings at the Prep Campus. These include theatre, choir, journalism and yearbook, robotics, and many other options.
7) What about advanced classes?
There are a limited number of upper-level classes available on Odyssey. Students (with prior approval and whose schedules allow) may also take certain AP level courses at the Prep Campus. These may include courses in science, foreign language, art and music.
8) Is there transportation available?
There are currently no plans to offer transportation to the Tech campus. Students generally drive their own vehicles or are dropped off/picked up by parents.
9) Do students have counseling services available? What about help choosing a college or career?
We currently have a counselor available to meet with students about general issues, and also to help them with the identification/selection of viable post-secondary options. Students take career interest assessments, and regularly will do activities related to careers and post-secondary choices. We are greatly expanding our offerings in this crucial area, and will have more news to share shortly.
10) What is a “typical” Tech student?
This is a very difficult question to answer as we have so many students that we serve. Generally, a typical Tech student is motivated to finish high school, has a willingness to accept help from teachers and counselors, and is able to set goals. We have students that plan on going to a community or two-year college, students that are military-bound, students that will enter the field of art and design, and students that will enter skilled trades.
11) Is Tech an “alternative” school?
We are an alternative school of choice. We are NOT a behaviorally-based school, but rather an academically- based one. Our code of conduct addresses our expectations such as attendance, respect, and effort, which are non-negotiable. Students merely looking for an “easy out” to their ISD School are cautioned strongly to weigh their options.
12) How do I enroll? What is the process like?
The Tech campus has openings for the current school year (2012-2013). You are encouraged to call the campus at 512-868-5299 and make an appointment to speak with a member of the administrative or counseling staff. You can also email us at any of the addresses listed at the end of this document. The actual enrollment form can be completed online, and should take no more than a few minutes to do. Once it is decided that Tech is the best choice for you (or your student), you will be provided with registration instructions.
Annette Stevenson, School Coordinator, 512-868-5299
Tabetha Toddy, District PEIMS Coordinator, 512-868-5299