GATE Class Development Process Overview
People often want to know what will be offered next semester. However, at GATE our class offerings are developed through a process using the active input of our membership so that what is being offered serves the needs and desires of our current membership.
The process is three-fold:
First is "Class Suggestions." During the second month of the current semester, we ask families to give us their intent to return for the next semester of co-op. After that, those that intend to return begin submitting ideas for classes. Members list classes they would like their student to take but can't teach themselves, classes their student needs to take, or classes they could offer to others as a teacher. We gather basic information about these classes and form a survey that is divided by our grade groupings to make sure we have a large selection for each grade grouping that is relative to the number of students in that grade grouping.
Second, we develop a "Class Survey." All the suggestions, by grade grouping, are then put into an online survey form. All the members who are returning then have the opportunity to choose or vote on the top 5 classes they would prefer for each of their students. The classes with the highest votes are then reviewed by the leadership team and divided once again into grade groups to ensure that we have a diverse selection. The classes are reviewed in relation to target group (is it one only boys would take?), grade level, type (academic versus enrichment), and course (PE, Math, Creative Arts, etc.) to ensure that we offer a variety that corresponds with the kind of classes desired by the membership. This is also the stage where we confirm teachers and curriculum are available for the desired classes. Suggested and chosen classes cannot go to registration without this confirmation.
Third, is Registration itself. After class survey, the chosen and confirmed classes must then be slotted into 3 class hours offering choices for all grade groups for all class hours. This step sometimes results in 2 of your survey class choices being offered at the same class hour. Therefore, the member family would need to choose which class their student would take. After registration is closed, the actual classes that will occur can be confirmed. Sometimes a class does not "make" during registration because of extremely low number of students and the students would be asked to register for another class. While this has not happened often so far at GATE, it has and does happen. After that, teachers are then notified to begin preparation of the curriculum and syllabus for their classes.
A couple of notes:
If a class takes a lot of preparation, we suggest that those classes are offered during the fall semester so that teachers have the summer to prepare and gather supplies. For the spring, we suggest people offer classes they have taught before or more simple classes that have a pre-prepared or easily prepared syllabus and have easily obtainable supplies.
New families who apply by the regular registration application date (and existing families who are returning) are able to participate in the class development process at whatever point their application is approved and membership is confirmed. Families who apply by the late registration date are not able to have any input in the class development but simply register for the classes available during late registration. They will then be a part of the class development the for following semester.