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Children are our most valuable resource. It is our objective to motivate and challenge these children to strive toward their full potential; therefore, we will develop the curriculum and an environment to meet the special needs of gifted and talented children’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.
The vision and philosophy of Manchester GATE School can best be summarized through a series of statements that our staff and community are committed to. This vision and philospohy impacts the many relationships and interactions that make up the educational process of our school. We believe . . .
Demographic Description of Manchester GATE School
Number of Students: 750 Grades: 2nd through 6th Schedule: Traditional
Administration: Janet Gengozian, Principal | Daryn Sassano, Vice Principal
Welcome to our 2014-2015 school year. So you can better understand what you may become a part of, here is some historical and demographic information about our school as well as an overview of the curricular program at Manchester GATE School.
Manchester GATE Elementary School, located in the central part of Fresno, California, opened as a public school in 1955. Since that time, Manchester has been used for a variety of magnet school opportunities. It has housed both the Vocational Education Program that eventually became Duncan Polytechnical High School and the Adult School Program that ultimately moved to what used to be Hamilton Middle School. Manchester next became a magnet school for identified gifted and talented students.
The GATE program offers a specialized program to identified gifted and talented students, designed to enrich and enhance their identified abilities. Students from all Fresno schools attend Manchester GATE School. They are transported to and from school by the Fresno Unified School District transportation department. Manchester has a very diverse ethnic composition that reflects that of the entire district. Current enrollment statistics show the ethnic make-up at Manchester to be: White (40%), Hispanic (33%), African American (9%), Asian (15%), Filipino (1.0%), and Pacific Islander (0.5%).
Bringing the GATE students to a single site affords the school a diverse racial and ethnic make-up, exposes students to a broad spectrum of cultures, and provides students with interaction between ethnic and racial groups not found in their own neighborhoods and home schools. The purpose of the school is to provide a qualitatively different educational program for gifted students from throughout the district. It is one of the only elementary schools of its kind in California. The program offers a differentiated curriculum geared to providing the GATE students with a stimulating education including computer literacy, science laboratory experiences, literature, drama, and co-curricular activities.
In 1987, 1995, 2000 and again in 2013 Manchester GATE School was selected by the state Department of Education as a California Distinguished School. In addition, as part of REDBOOK Magazine’s “Best Schools Project”, our school was selected as the best school in California in 1995. Were were also a District Rewards School in 2013-2014. In 2000-2001, we were proud to have been selected as one of 260 schools nationwide as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence!
Manchester provides a magnet program for 758 identified gifted and talented students in grades 2-6. The staff is composed of 25 classroom teachers (grades 2-6). Two additional certificated teachers teach science lab and computer lab for all students on a weekly basis. Two part-time music teachers provide instruction for all interested students in instrumental music. An art specialist provides integrated art activities to each grade level two or three times a year as funding allows. Additional support staff includes classroom aides and a library clerk. Its expanded curriculum program is accomplished through differentiated staffing, GATE, School Improvement, and L.E.P. funding. GATE funds are expended for an art specialist, instructional materials, and staff development. The School Improvement Program provides for an upgrading of the Computer Lab, instructional supplies that enhance our curricular program, instructional aides, and staff development programs. Special Education provides a part-time Speech and Language Specialist and an Adaptive P.E. teacher for identified students. During the 2008-2009 school year Manchester GATE School will have Title I funds available to assist identified students who are experiencing achievement difficulties. This program will continue to provide necessary student support to selected students.
Manchester provides a safe and orderly atmosphere for learning, and a friendly, welcoming environment for students, parents, and visitors. School beautification projects to landscape the grounds have been completed under the direction of staff, parent, student, and community groups.
Manchester maintains a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:33 in grades 4-6 and 1:25 in grades 2 and 3. All classrooms are utilized, and additional rooms have been provided for a Library, Science Lab, Computer Lab, and Music Rooms. The school multi-purpose room reflects the warm and friendly atmosphere of the school with displays of student work and acknowledgment of student achievements.
The parents of Manchester GATE School students are deeply involved and interested in the operation of their school. There is a very active Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) which meets on a monthly basis. Its membership includes parents representing the cultural diversity of the school, and its programs are informative and stimulating. The PTA sponsors many school-wide activities such as the school carnival, the Holiday Shoppe, class activities, and parent workshops. The Manchester School Site Council functions in a collaborative role with school staff members in the planning and implementing of school-wide programs and activities. Parents volunteer in classrooms on a regular basis and support all school programs, presentations, and projects. Manchester GATE School offers a wide variety of opportunities for parent and community volunteers to help the school provide an interesting variety of activities for students. The PTA annually surveys parents and maintains a file of names of people who have indicated a willingness to volunteer. Typical of these volunteer activities are: classroom presentations in their fields of expertise, such as art, music, science, and health; recreation and student fund-raising projects; PTA activities; transportation for study trips and sports events.
The Manchester staff and community provide for a wide variety of co-curricular learning experiences. Students have the opportunity to participate in choral singing. A primary and intermediate chorus provides this opportunity to interested students. Instruction in the basic instruments of the orchestra and band is open to all students. Many school instruments are available. Our library is for the use of all students. All classes are scheduled for a least one period a week.
Activities and clubs for Manchester students include: Student Council for grades 3-6, Peach Blossom Festival, Knowledge Open, Chess Club, Wordmasters, Geography Bee team, talent show, Manchester Melodies, Mini Melodies, Band, and Destination-Imagination competition. Sports programs are available to interested students at noontime. Interscholastic school teams participate in F.U.S.D. sports leagues in flag football, volleyball, basketball, cross-country, track and softball.
The Manchester G.A.T.E. School’s mission statement says that, “Children are our most valuable resource. It is our objective to motivate and challenge these children to strive toward their full potential.” Therefore we will develop the curriculum and the environment to meet the special needs of our gifted and talented children’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.” The Manchester G.A.T.E. School staff has established an effective school climate which provides a positive and stimulating learning environment, provides high expectations and encouragement for student achievement, acknowledges achievement, and develops pride and self-esteem.
The learning environment of the school reflects a strong, well-balanced, academic focus. The administration, staff members, parents and students perceive school as a place to learn and they hold high standards and expectations for achievement and behavior. School-wide procedures for recognition of student achievement in curricular and co-curricular areas are a regular part of the school program. Respect and support among and between students and staff members are evident throughout the school. Awards assemblies are held to recognize students for outstanding scholarship and various other accomplishments. The “Block M-GATER Award” recognizes a combination of excellence in academics, citizenship, attendance, participation in co-curricular activities and service to the school and community. In addition, there are several classroom recognitions designed to acknowledge student accomplishment and develop self-esteem.
The goal of Manchester School is to promote success and greater student achievement through high expectations and by providing a comprehensive educational program. This is accomplished by assuring that all students have an equal opportunity to experience and be exposed to the core curriculum as well as other related programs and activities.
Our improvement efforts have focused on four areas. First, we have continued to strive to meet the special literacy needs of our students. Secondly, we will continue to work on the application of technology as a learning tool in our classrooms. A third area of interest for our staff is our focus on the development of our ability to differentiate the curriculum for our GATE students to better meet their academic needs. In addition we are focusing on ways to assist our children in vocabulary development and ways to better comprehend expository text.
The school-wide 2nd-6th grade curriculum also integrates and includes the following subject area components: a Literature-Based Language Arts Program that is meaning-centered with skills taught in context emphasizing daily writing; a manipulative-oriented math program where students are exposed to all math strands, problem-solving, and the language of math to enhance understanding; a history-social science program with emphasis on skills, attitudes and a knowledge base that corresponds to the state framework; a P. E. program of skills, fitness, and games that meets student needs; and a fine arts program incorporating the visual and performing arts through band, orchestra, a classroom music program, choir and folk dancing. A comprehensive laboratory program, which includes science and computer, further strengthens the curricular areas, as do the efforts of our art specialist, who provides lessons at each grade level based on art and anthropology. Student participation in the international GLOBE program gives students further opportunities to apply and utilize knowledge gained. This program crosses curricular lines and allows students to apply math and science skills. Technology is playing a more critical role at Manchester School as students explore and experience computer science and technology, and utilize computers to access information and create reports and documents. Our focus is on computer utilization across the curriculum, hoping to make the study of technology “transparent” and useful. A goal of the school is to increase the availability and utilization of computers and technology to better prepare students to participate fully in the 21st century. A school website and classroom websites have been developed to assist in school/home communication.
The curricular program at Manchester provides opportunities for accelerated academic progress and achievement. A significant feature of gifted instruction is providing for the higher level thinking skills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis (Bloom’s Taxonomy). Motivation for academic success is provided through stimulating classroom work, building on student interest, exposing students to a wider range of topics and disciplines, linking students with the outside world and parental encouragement. Manchester students consistently score in the top levels of all standardized and criterion-reference testing instruments.
The curriculum materials and methods used in the classrooms at Manchester are appropriate to the talents and abilities of our students and provide for accelerated academics, creative thinking and studying topics in depth. The overall delivery system of curriculum is based on the teaching-learning-assessment cycle. A variety of instructional strategies are used by all staff which include flexible groupings based on student need--individual, small group, large group, as well as cooperative and collaborative learning groups. Various active participation techniques are used and, to the extent that resources are available, hands on materials are used. The underlying goal is to provide opportunities for students to be able to apply what they are learning in a meaningful way.
An Appropriate Academic Environment. . . At Manchester GATE School, one of our basic philosophies is that gifted learners have the right to participate in an appropriate academic environment. One of the ways we try to accomplish this is by having teachers provide a differentiated curriculum. Gifted students have many characteristics which call for differentiating the curriculum. Among these are the following: the ability to handle abstractions, the power of concentration, the ability to make connections and establish relationships among disparate data, the ability to memorize well and rapidly, and multiple interests, or a wide information base. These characteristics call for teachers to try to meet these learning needs by utilizing the four basic features of a differentiated curriculum; accelerating the curriculum, studying subjects with more complexity and in more depth and studying things that may be novel. This has basic implications for the way that Manchester GATE School teachers organize and deliver their curriculum. There is a need for very flexible scheduling so that students may do special project work. There is also a need for integrating the curriculum to create special interdisciplinary curriculum opportunities and to allow students to pursue areas of interest. There is also a need to adjust time-frames for learning and to adjust when concepts are introduced. By differentiating the curriculum we hope to provide a normal academic environment for our students--one in which they can utilize their skills and talents.
Monitoring of instruction and feedback to students is ongoing and includes learning logs, writing samples, language arts surveys, math assessments, criterion-reference tests, and teacher made assessments. Teachers are utilize a number of authentic assessment techniques to monitor and assess student learning.
The Manchester staff and community developed the Manchester School Site Plan goals for the school year. Goals were established in the areas of Literacy, Written Language proficiency, Mathematics proficiency and Differentiated Curriculum. These targets will assist us in the process of refining and developing the overall program we offer for our students