What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools that are given increased freedom to be innovative (exempted from some aspects of bureaucracy) in exchange for a higher level of accountability for improved student achievement.
In 1998, seven San Francisco parents formed a nonprofit organization that is referred to as the charter operator: Gateway Public Schools. Gateway entered into a contract with the San Francisco Unified School District for the right to operate Gateway Middle and Gateway High Schools. Because of the contract — or “charter” — we call them charter schools.
What does a charter school's Board of Trustees do?
Our Board of Trustees ensures that Gateway Public Schools and its two schools fulfill their responsibilities under the charter contract. These responsibilities fall into four general areas: fiduciary monitoring, legal compliance, operational effectiveness, and strategic planning. The board also ensures that Gateway Public Schools fulfills its mission.
How are charter schools different than traditional public schools?
The key difference between charter schools and traditional schools is that charter schools are held accountable for student achievement in different ways in exchange for some flexibility around curriculum and school operations. When a charter school is not legally compliant, does not meet operational standards, or fails to perform academically, then it is at risk of losing its charter and shutting down.
What is required of board members?
Board members must be active participants in the governance of Gateway Public Schools. This means attending board meetings, exercising careful decision-making, and supporting our charter schools in the community. Board members invest four core resources: time, treasure, energy and expertise.
How many campuses does Gateway operate?
Gateway High School was founded in 1998, followed by Gateway Middle School in 2011. Both schools are located in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood and serve 800 students each year, along with a team of accomplished educators. Since our founding, 96% of GHS graduates have gone to college, nearly double the statewide rate. Students enter our schools through a 100% lottery system that mirrors the district's enrollment process. As public schools, students attend Gateway at no cost to their families, and students do not wear uniforms. For more information about our schools, visit www.gatewayhigh.org and www.gatewaymiddle.org.
What if I have other questions?
If you have questions that remain unanswered, please contact our Trustee Committee chair, Kevin Rafter. He would be happy to talk more about board service with you.