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Ferrier Files: The Nashville school that's made for a pandemic

Ferrier Files: The Nashville school that's made for a pandemic (FOX 17 News)
Ferrier Files: The Nashville school that's made for a pandemic (FOX 17 News)
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A small Nashville school that has flown under the radar for 35 years now finds itself the perfect answer to the pandemic.

When you walk the halls of Gateway Academy it is like nothing you have ever seen.

The classrooms are at full capacity this morning at Gateway Academy, but that means something very different here.

It means there is one student and one teacher.

Gateway is the ultimate school meets tutoring experience.

The students rotate to a different class every hour, just like regular school, except they will be walking into a very personal tailored educational experience.

“I think if you walk through the halls you are going to see a typical school. We joke and say we are a one room schoolhouse, but I say that because we are a school, we provide daily instruction but I think what you will see most of all is engagement,” said Gateway director Ryan Mathis.

Even with us roaming the halls with a television camera, we barely got a glance, we did not see daydreaming, doodling or staring off in space, we saw eye contact between teacher and student.

“The best thing about the one on one is the spontaneity which I totally love as a science teacher and so it’s so gratifying and when you hit on a topic that peaks the interest of a certain student you just go with it," said Gateway science teacher Joan Lehning.

High school senior Eva Whalen came from a big high school to Gateway. She feels transformed.

“I love the one on one teaching and learning. The fact that I can ask questions whenever I need it. I'm not afraid to speak up to anybody. Having fewer kids is a plus for me,” said Eva.

Her mom Kathi has seen her daughter bloom.

“One of the greatest features the individualized approach and seeing each child as an individual and meeting them where they are and for Eva she has been able to learn and thrive and the teachers have taken time to get to know her and what makes her tick,” said Kthi Whalen.

Eva’s grades are better, she is more confident and she is happier: The triple crown of the education experience.

“For me gateway academy is giving an opportunity for students and families to have a safe place and whether that is on the social emotional side or academic needs we really craft an educational experience that is a transformational journey,” said Mathis.

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Class size starts at one and can go up to 5 if it works for everybody...they are also now offering small group remote learning classes. You can learn at

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