From the Principal
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Research shows middle school is a critical time in a student’s life.
During this time students can either be placed successfully on the trajectory to high school, college and career—or descend on a downward pathway. Without extra support, students are more likely to get in trouble and fall behind. Access to enrichment opportunities makes the difference in school success for most prep level school students. It is for that reason, the Niagara Falls City School District provides multiple afterschool programs for our students to extend their school day. Afterschool programming is very popular at Gaskill. Last year, approximately 80% of our student body participated in one or more components of our afterschool programming. Some of the afterschool enrichment programs our teachers provide are:
Math and ELA Clubs - The purpose of our math club is to allow re-teaching of previously taught math concepts, pre-teaching of future math concepts and provision of individualized instruction to meet the unique needs of each student. The ELA club supports students in reading and writing development. Students read and write to understand key ideas, details, craft, and structure of fiction and non-fiction text. In addition, students practice speaking and listening skills to evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) Clubs - The Robotics Club allows participating students the opportunity to design robots which complete a specific task while competing for points against another team. A teacher mentor helps students by creating engineering notebooks to record and design modifications in order to improve and enhance the robots. Each team prepares for an interschool scrimmage and also a tournament. During the spring semester, teams of students build their own soap box derby cars as part of the City of Niagara Falls’ Memorial Day event. Gaskill students compete in a fun public event which also features an all-female team. Another STEM club at Gaskill is the Beauty & Brains Club. The Beauty & Brains club allows students to learn the chemistry & science behind the creation of beauty products. Students create their own products including bath bombs and lip balms while learning about STEM careers in the multi-billion dollar beauty industry. Students also learn about the field of coding and use block coding to program ozobots. Food labeling and learning how to distinguish between healthy vs. unhealthy food choices is also taught.
Performing Arts Club - Performing arts students at both Gaskill and LaSalle Preparatory schools are provided an opportunity to participate in multiple performing art activities throughout the school year. Students engage in theatrical performances, musical performances, and talent shows.
Gaskill Fantasy Basketball- This club enhances student engagement and increases mathematical understanding. Students create their own rosters, while establishing a point system that dictates standings. Students monitor points, set rosters, and explore analytics while engaging in a fun and enjoyable after-school program.
Anime Club - Students read anime novels, view animation from the genre, and learn to draw anime or manga.
Other after-school programs include modified sports, knitting club, chess club, Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club recreation program, Niagara County Community College’s Liberty Partnership Program, and the Niagara University Literacy program. For more information, please contact Mr. Zafuto or Mr. Lozina at 278-5820.
It is common for students during their first few months of prep school to feel overwhelmed, but for students who need additional time to adjust to their new middle school experience, our school counselors (Ms. Cowart –Grade 7 and Mr. Zafuto – Grade 8) are available for students as well as various community partners who provide support services after school. Some of our collaborative partnerships include:
Living Wellness of Niagara. Living Wellness of Niagara provides support to prep school students by focusing on a variety of student needs, including but not limited too; academic, behavioral and social emotional supports. Small group, individual, or family counseling sessions are provided afterschool on a weekly basis.
Girls Circle program is facilitated by Community Missions of Niagara Frontier, Inc. This program is designed to foster self-esteem, Girls Circle helps girls maintain authentic connection with peers and adult women in their community, counter trends of self-doubt, and allow for genuine self-expression through verbal sharing and creative activity. The group specifically addresses the growing issue within schools of how to best address problem behaviors among female students
Winning Because I Tried program facilitated by Mr.Modie Cox, teaches students that success is within their realm via effort and not the final outcome. The goal of the program is to teach students it is not about the win or the loss, but it is about believing in their own abilities and doing the best they can.
An important part of our school commitment involves developing key relationships with our parents. The first quarter of the school year has ended and the second quarter ends January 25th. Parent communication is more important than ever to ensure students move on to the next grade. Therefore, we encourage parents to read our school newsletter, log on to our website, join us on Facebook and at PEG meetings, register and utilize the district’s parent portal where parents will be able to view their child’s up-to-date course grades as well as daily attendance, or call our school to set-up an appointment to discuss your child’s progress.
If we successfully educate and empower our children together, they will hopefully transfer their ‘habits of mind’ into high school and beyond, but it takes all of us to do so.
Mrs. Smith, Principal—Gaskill Prep