Call it a grand entrance for Natomas Gateways Middle School, as the District’s newest campus lifted the curtain Thursday with a ribbon cutting and classroom tours that attracted several hundred students, parents and community members.
“I’m very impressed – one, with the technology, and also the design of the school is very nice,” parent Chris Baker said, adding that he’s pleased that his seventh-grader will attend this year. “I think it’s a good decision.”
Parent Jewel Tyse appreciated the unusual shape of classroom desks, which were designed with small group, collaborative learning in mind. She also appreciated the “Creation Station,” a classroom where students will build robotic, automation and other projects.
“I think it’s really nice,” Tyse said of Natomas Gateways, which is located on the grounds of Natomas High School. “It’s beautiful. I love it.”
Bryce Forbin, 12, said he is interested in robotics and engineering, so he is looking forward to Natomas Gateways’ instruction in that. He also likes the school’s close proximity to Natomas High School, which is where its students will attend ninth through 12th grade.
Parent Tashira Alexander said she is pleased that Natomas Gateways will offer a sports program this year – she didn’t expect that – and she believes that the school’s small size, less than 200 students, will provide an intimate learning environment.
Superintendent Chris Evans, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, noted that Natomas Gateways will offer a health pathway, instruction in robotics and automation, A-to-G coursework required for University of California admission, a Chromebook computer assigned to every student, a sports program sharing facilities with Natomas High School, and partnerships with public agencies and private firms to help students explore potential careers.
Sue Heredia, president of the Board of Trustees, said the new middle school marks another example of the District’s push in recent years to expand academic choices for students and families – Natomas Gateways will do that through its automation, robotics, health pathway, and by its commitment of a Chromebook for every student.
Principal Marnie Lynch likened the campus to a popular line in the movie, “Field of Dreams” which predicted, “Build it and they will come.” Instead of a baseball field, Natomas Unified dreamed of a middle school. And what started as one innovative idea mushroomed into something very beautiful – Natomas Gateways, she noted.
On Thursday, indeed, they came – several hundred people to see for themselves why the District is so excited.