Port Richmond High School
Beautiful athletic fields
Low graduation rate
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2017: Longtime Principal Tim Gannon retired. Oneatha Swinton, who graduated from Port Richmond in 1996, became interim acting principal in June 2017. She was the principal of the John Jay School for Law high school in Brooklyn for seven years.
2016 REVIEW: Port Richmond is a large, traditional high school located in an old, residential neighborhood on Staten Island's north shore. With the towering arch of the Bayonne Bridge as its back drop, the school is housed in a well-maintained building that was constructed in 1920 and expanded in 1993 with the addition of a new wing. "We're a hidden gem," said Principal Tim Gannon in reference to the fact that many from Staten Island's newer communities (post-dating the opening of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge) along the south shore and at mid-island overlook the school because of its location.
The student population at Port Richmond is very diverse with no one ethnic group or range of student performance defining its community. It has a lot of highly motivated students recruited through its three, selective programs as well as its share who struggle academically, many of whom arrive their freshman year performing below grade level. There is an infant daycare center on the premises for the benefit of student parents and a program for low performing, older students designed to deliver instruction of core subjects in a single classroom environment. Teachers travel to the students, which minimizes the distraction of period changes as well as the opportunity to cut class.
Open to all students are programs in culinary arts, medical technology, information technology (focusing on Microsoft applications) and a television production studio. The latter is an elective available to seniors who fulfill all their English requirements. There is also a very active Junior ROTC program. Several members that we spoke with, all of whom were donning the ROTC uniforms, said that the program keeps them motivated and makes them feel apart of a group. As of 2016 the school also offers a Spanish-English dual language program.
Participants in the Virtual Enterprise, the school's business management program, spend their senior year running one of two virtual businesses. Their headquarters is a large room designed to replicate a corporate environment complete with cubicles and standard office equipment and furniture. Students must perform all tasks related to running a business from drafting a business plan, marketing and advertising to the administration of benefits, filing of tax returns and payment of salaries with funds drawn from mock bank accounts.
Of the three "screened" or selective programs, two require strong academics for admission. The Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education recruits minority student interested in science and medical-related careers. In one Gateway biology class students were relaxed and engaged, most raising their hands when asked what they knew about energy recycling. "You can't recycle energy," offered one girl. "You're right, it was trick question," responded the teacher. The Collegiate Academy Honors Program offers rigorous instruction in humanities, math and science for high achievers of all backgrounds. The College Discovery Program targets the more average student, offering a mix of honors-paced and regular courses. The school also offers advanced placement classes in several subjects, some open to students as early as their freshman year.
In non-honors classes we saw a big range in performance. For example in a collaborative team taught social studies course (two teachers with a mixture of general and special education students), the teacher was effective in drawing students into a discussion on the role that congressional committees play in the confirmation of presidential appointees. While some were knowledgeable about recent events in Congress, others struggled with the basic concept of a committee, unable to offer a definition or any examples.
All students that we met said they felt safe in the school and that there were no ethnic or racial tensions, a sentiment echoed by Gannon who noted that "many of the students come from diverse neighborhoods, so the school is no different for them." Those who were in one of the selective programs said it was important for them to maintain good grades. "I feel better in the better classes," said one student." "If you're in the other classes, some kids can be disruptive." Some of the long-term goals expressed by students were becoming an architect, fashion designer, child psychologist, police officer, archeologist and earning a masters degree in Europe.
The school is overcrowded and has to rely on portable classrooms and double sessions to handle the scheduling of its 2,700 students. In recent years the facilities have benefited from upgrades, including new athletic fields, a lot of new technology throughout the school, a fitness center with commercial grade weight training and cardio equipment and a spinning room with 30 new bicycles on par with those found in expensive health clubs.
Special education: The school has "collaborative team taught" (CTT) classes, where two teachers work with a group of special- and general education students.
College admissions: According to the College Office, 78 percent of graduates attend college. Many attend CUNY and SUNY schools, but some attend private colleges including Ivy League schools and other elite universities. (Laura Zingmond, November, 2005; updated July 2016; updated principal information 2017)
About the students
About the school
Is this school safe?
About the leadership
About the teachers
How many graduate?
Are students prepared for college?
How does this school serve English Language Learners?
How does this school serve students with disabilities?
Programs and Admissions
A competitive honors program that prepares students for college study in applied mathematics, sciences, and related professions. Students complete college-level courses in science and research opportunities, internships, and SAT/ACT prep.
Prepares students for career opportunities in the catering and food services industry.
JROTC provides students with the tools, training, and experiences required for today's leadership roles. Drill courses provide the opportunity for students to participate in the National Drill Competition.
A challenging program that immerses students in a CTE instructional model preparing them for business, economics, finance, and career education through the Virtual Enterprise Program and the Hospitality and Tourism Program.
Study includes structures, space, color, and form. Focus on hand drafting, architectural design, model making, and sketching. Students will learn industry standard software (AutoCAD and Revit). Seniors complete projects culminating in portfolios for college entrance. Industry partners include E.B. Pritchard Architecture & Glass, Island Engineering, IMC Architecture, and Steven Savino Architect.
Medical Technology introduces students to the multitude of occupations and careers available in the medical and health professions; the hands-on program prepares students for college-level courses through lab experience and internships.
A challenging four-year honors program designed for students with outstanding academic ability; this program provides multiple opportunities for college-level courses, Advanced Placement courses, and inquiry-based learning.
Comprehensive Academic Program
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Computer Science, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Human Geography, AP Spanish, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP World History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Flag Football, Gymnastics, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Staten Island NY 10302