Serving on Gateway’s Board of Trustees is a rewarding and meaningful way to engage in your community. If you believe that all children deserve an accessible, high-quality public education, read on. This page contains information about our schools, board service, and applying to serve on our board.
Board of Trustees Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Am I Ready for Board Service? Ten Questions to Consider
Determine if you’re ready to serve and if Gateway's board is the opportunity is right for you:
- I believe that all kids deserve a high-quality education and can achieve the highest academic standards -- and that public charter schools working in partnership with the traditional public school system is how we can ensure that's possible for every child.
- I can commit at least 6 to 8 hours per month to board service.
- I am willing to attend monthly Board of Trustees meetings. Meetings tend to last two hours (5-7pm), but may be shorter or longer. All meetings are open to the public.
- I am willing to participate on at least one board committee. Our committees include facilities, faculty affairs, finance, fundraising, and board recruitment. Committee participation requires attending monthly committee meetings (which are in addition to regular board meetings) and the completion of assigned tasks.
- I will prepare in advance for board meetings and take responsibility for self-education regarding major issues before the board.
- I will undergo board trainings approved by our board so that I understand the duties and responsibilities of board members. I will comply with public laws (i.e. open meetings laws) relating to board service.
- I will participate in annual self-assessments for the board and the executive director.
- I understand the importance of promoting and advocating for Gateway Public Schools. I will be an ambassador for Gateway to my community.
- I am willing to support Gateway's fundraising efforts in at least one of these ways: connecting the school to people in my network, making personally meaningful donations, asking others to donate, and participating in fundraising events with other board members.
- In general, I will use my personal and professional skills to support Gateway Public Schools.
If you're enthusiastic about all of the above, Gateway may be looking for you! Submit your interest form today!
If these criteria aren't a good fit for you right now, no problem. There are many more ways to get involved at Gateway!