From the moment you step into the Gateway Schools complex, you enter a world where principles, ideas, achievements and questions of science are not limited to the classroom, but permeate every part of the campus - both indoor and outdoor. A place where students are encouraged to discover learning and learn by doing. All elements of the campus work together to create this unique learning environment.The Samuel Shepard Jr. Gateway Educational Park, opened in the fall of 1995, contains three of St. Louis Public Schools' newest and most attractive schools. Gateway Middle, Gateway Elementary and Michael Special School are truly gateways to the future for St. Louis area students.The complex emphasizes advanced science, mathematics and technology learning. All classrooms in the elementary school are equipped with modern computer and science equipment, as are most classrooms in the middle school. Science laboratories are comparable to those at the high school level. The special school, Michael, has the most up-to-date facilities and equipment for instruction and therapy of orthopedically handicapped students.Exhibits throughout the schools are designed to supplement educational experiences, as are outdoor features on the 18-acre campus. The courtyard spans 2+ acres and creates a landscape rich in both geometric shapes and naturalistic elements. The courtyard serves as a place where classroom instruction about math and science comes to life. Designers grouped large naturalistic program elements (forest, prairie, pond, stream and rock crags) in the eastern half of the courtyard. In the midst of these natural elements is an amphitheater with seating for presentations and outdoor lectures. The western half includes several interactive exhibits including a hydraulics laboratory, water wheel, weather station, windmill and compass. Every detail of the courtyard supports the math and science theme. Pave areas have geometric patterns and shapes, and walkways include a solar system path, embedded fossils and animal tracks. Massive, colorful geometric shapes at the courtyard's eastern edge reveal exhibit space inside the buildings.The complex is named for Samuel Shepard Jr. In 40 years (1930-1970) as an administrator in St. Louis Public Schools, he designed and oversaw programs that raised student achievement, parental participation and community involvement. His work received national attention and was regarded as a model for school reform.