It’s the last week for one Des Moines middle school.
Gateway Middle School within the Central Campus building will empty its classrooms for good on Friday.
“I am still frustrated,” said Gateway parent, Kristin Carlson, “and more than anything saddened that such a great school will be closing.”
This summer’s vacation is a permanent one, and that’s still hard to swallow.
“I don’t think we really got a chance to see what it could be,” said parent, Jennifer Clark.
They might have lost their battle with the Des Moines School Board which said Gateway was too expensive, too small, and offered nothing unique. But there’s still fight in them.
“This idea that it was the school for the white, upper-middle-class, high-achieving kids?” said parent, Marzia Benson, “I don’t know where that came from.”
That battle will likely go down as one of Gateway’s lasting memories.
“I felt like we gave it our all,” Clark said.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get a lot of time with other parents,” said Carlson. “We’re all busy in our lives with work and activities and so it was a very positive thing that we all had the common cause of Gateway and really trying hard to keep it open.”
Gateway’s classrooms and hallways will be absorbed by Central Campus, but most of its students will be scattered across the district.
“She’s really going to lose connection with a lot of children that she met here that have become really, really close friends,” said Benson of her 7th grade daughter, “and frankly kids that she has a lot in common with.”
The district maintains that closing Gateway is right, but those inside still feel wronged.
“You know, having school choice in Des Moines I think is really important,” Clark said. “It’s one I think will keep people in Des Moines if they have options, instead of letting people flee to the suburbs.”
Gateway enrolled just 170 students last year. That number fell this year as many parents moved their children in anticipation of Gateway’s closing.