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Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick for Special Ed
100 Essex Drive
Staten Island NY 10314
Phone: 718-370-6950

Our Insights

What’s Special

Lots of trips; lovely campus and outdoor spaces

The Downside

Some students would like more feedback on their work

Students who attend Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School travel to Fishkill, New York, to hike and sleep in cabins, tackle a ropes course and make new friends. It is a safe, well-run school with experienced teachers. Most students graduate on time, including those with special needs.

The school is part of the NYC Outward Bound network, a nonprofit that emphasizes adventure and team building in school, in the city and in the wilderness.

“Learning is an expedition, not just about opening a book but about exploring in interdisciplinary ways,” said Helen Frank, director of communications at NYC Outward Bound. Expeditions may be as close to home as the fields in the school’s back yard or as far away as London and France. The network also offers “a lot of college support,” Frank said, in small advisory groups called “crews.”

All 9th-graders are assigned to a “crew” of 10 to 15 kids and a teacher who serves as crew leader. Crews stay together for all four years of high school. In junior year, the crew sets its sights on college. Students write and peer edit personal essays, work on the application process and visit college campuses.

Students take field trips related to their studies, to locations like the New Jersey Renaissance Faire or the New York Historical Society, according to the school website. Two earth science classes visited the Hudson River. Students also designed their own rivers in the classroom to conduct experiments on stream formation, erosion and deposition. They may also go into the fields behind the school to learn the difference between biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) while mapping the schoolyard's surprising web of life.

In addition to taking regular high school classes and the option of several Advanced Placement classes, all students participate in a one-week intensive in April, delving into topics such as Secrets of Staten Island, Farm2Table or Student News Network. They take trips and talk to experts about their topics and make a final presentation.

Community service is taken seriously here. Students research and choose causes that the parent association helps them support, such as the Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for people living with Parkinson’s disease. Teens donate blood, clean up the beach and march for a cure for cystic fibrosis.

Students do well on most tests, surveys and other measures at Gaynor McCown, but, according to school surveys, some feel they do not get the personal support and attention they need and do not always learn a lot from feedback on their work. The city’s Quality Review flagged “teaching” as a special focus.

McCown offers the intimacy of a small high school with many of the activities and perks of a large school. Opened in 2008, it shares a gleaming campus with its sister middle school, Marsh Avenue School for Expeditionary Learning, another high school called CSI High School for International Studies, and a District 75 school for disabled students. Students have access to athletic fields, a large gymnasium, a library and a variety of after-school activities and social programs.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Students with special needs make good progress here, according to school data, and most graduate on time.

ADMISSIONS: Educational option, or "ed opt" aims to serve a range of children with low, middle and high English language arts scores. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and DOE data, June 2018)

Read more

School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
86%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
88%
86% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
41%
37% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
93%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
93%
80% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
2%
2% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
79%
76% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
10.1

How do students perform academically?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
93%
82% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
73%
48% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
42%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
85%
67% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
434
Asian
2%
Black
9%
Hispanic
22%
White
59%
Other
7%
Free or reduced priced lunch
44%
Students with disabilities
27%
English language learners
1%

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
92%
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
25%
38% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
82%
66% Citywide Average


For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2020 High School Directory

Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Requirements:
  • We do not rank students for this program; all students will be selected randomly.
Program Description:

Our school partners with NYC Outward Bound Schools and EL Education to offer student-centered learning, focused around case studies and expeditions, that incorporate fieldwork, products presented to authentic audiences, and service learning opportunities. We expect students to uphold our character traits of creativity, honesty, humor, respect, and responsibility. Students are part of a Crew that provides social and emotional support, opportunities for community service and academic tracking.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Biology, AP Computer Science Principles, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP United States History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Indoor Track, Soccer, Tennis, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Flag Football, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools
NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location

Location

Mid-Island (District 31)
Trains: N/A
Buses: S44, S55, S56, S59, S61, S79-SBS, S89, S91, S94, X17, X17A, X17J, X31

Contact

Principal
Traci Frey
Parent Coordinator
Diana Leon Gonzalez

Other Details

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Jerome Parker Educational Campus with two other schools
Metal detectors?
No

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