The Women's Journal

Gateway Lab Charter School: From The Parents Perspective

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pip_nc_Tim_Grffiths_amj16By Timothy W. Griffiths M.Ed., Executive Director, Gateway Lab School 


Gateway Lab Charter School is a state-approved, public charter school centrally located in New Castle County. The school’s unique design allows students with a variety of disabilities to find their path to a successful education.

That path to success was exactly what Leslie Mitchell, parent of Christian who is a 7th grade student at Gateway, was looking for. We asked Leslie why Gateway? “My son is a very intelligent and determined pre-teen who began falling behind due to various reasons. Christian is considered legally blind and has a condition that affects his balance and coordination.” Gateway works very hard to support students and their families in the learning process. “As a single parent, I continuously worked with Christian to keep pace. The stress to keep pace physically, emotionally and mentally became taxing. My son felt different and rejected,” said Leslie. Individualized planning and full wrap around services gave Leslie peace of mind that Christian could be successful.


What keeps you at Gateway? “Gateway was built with a genuine commitment to demonstrating sound leadership, good values, a strong work ethic, and respect. These basic essentials combined with the task of understanding my child’s needs and abilities has kept us at Gateway as they strive to encourage a healthy and safe learning environment.”

How has Gateway helped your family? “Gateway specializes in working with children who have IEP’s. They have been successful at synergizing my son’s abilities and programs to help him achieve higher standards while limiting unwanted stressors that can negatively impact his energy level. As my son requires one on one assistance, he has a trained designated paraprofessional educator who has built a great relationship with him and given our family great piece of mind knowing that he is receiving the proper support throughout his school day.” Leslie continued, “Christian feels more comfortable speaking up for himself and being his own advocate ensuring he is provided the tools he needs to be successful which allows him the opportunity to function independently or in a team setting.

Why could Gateway be the right choice for other parents looking for a school for their child? “As parents, we are our child’s best advocate, and the power of choice breeds competition in any marketplace. It is critical parents identify schools that offer a child focus talent of educators who are experienced and trustworthy, and who can efficiently execute strategies for learning in the classroom in order to develop productive citizens. I encourage those who live nearby to visit Gateway and consider whether this school offers an environment where their child can flourish.”

What would you say about the need for Gateway in Delaware? Many of the Delaware public schools are not equipped to meet certain needs of their student population nor have the funding to develop their programs or bring in talented resources to execute the proper accommodations for students to be successful. Should they continue to grow their school? “It’s critical to have Gateway expand”, says Leslie.

What would be one piece of advice you would have for a parent looking at Gateway as an option for their child? Selecting a school is one of the most important decisions we as parents will make for our child as this will become like their second home since this is where much of their time will be spent. If you are considering Gateway, make a point to tour the school and attend a school event to gain firsthand experience as you connect with some of the families and learn of the strides their children are making at Gateway.

Finding out if Gateway is the right place for your child is easy.  Learn more about Gateway Lab Charter School on our website 

Tim brings with him nearly 20 years of experience. He has helped develop and grow from concept to graduation, 14 schools in Philadelphia serving students who have been pushed out, dropped out and those who needed a more specific program to help them find success in school. He has also worked with schools in surrounding states to help develop and turnaround failing schools. Most recently Tim worked with a non-profit organization in Philadelphia to create a charter school where students who where disengaged could re-engage and be re-energize about learning, re-connect with teachers, and, while working with their parents and teachers, set goals for after high school.

Headshot by Shannon Adelson, Adelson Media, Inc.