School: Port Richmond High School
School District: New York City Department of Education - District 31
City, State: Staten Island, New York
About the Nominee: Timothy Gannon was nominated by a colleague, Mark Erlenwein. Port Richmond High School offers a bevy of support services to students, including health care, after school activities and intense college preparation. This year, Port Richmond was among a select few schools toured on the first day of the 2016-17 school year, September 8th, by NYC Schools chancellor, Carmen Farina and NYC mayor, Bill de Blasio. They and the students were welcomed to the new school year with new paint, immaculately polished floors and a clean, all around nautical crispness. Both the Chancellor and Mayor had high praise for Principal Gannon's leadership. "It's important to honor a principal who did not accept the status quo," they said. "This is what a Community School really means," noting the school's mission of supporting students' physical, emotional and academic lives.
Port Richmond High School is a comprehensive Community School that empowers students to reach their highest academic potential while providing a nurturing environment. Small, interest-based learning communities and a rigorous honors program are open to all students. The school also offers a wide variety of services to students and families through the Port Richmond High School Health and Wellness Center. All ninth graders participate in the Freshman Academy. During the students' first year, this Academy provides a culture of high standards, advanced courses and academic supports that address individual students' needs. Students are exposed to a wide array of extracurricular and athletic activities in combination with a challenging academic program that prepares them for college and the world of work.
Under Principal Gannon's leadership, Port Richmond High School has consistently flourished, most notably in the areas of credit accumulation, Regents accreditation, college and career readiness and attendance. As further evidence of Principal Gannon's impact on the community, a recent survey indicated that 92% of teachers say that he communicates a clear vision for this school, and 91% say that curriculum and instruction are well coordinated across different grade levels. 94% of parents feel that he works to create a sense of community in the school. Each of these percentages are well above the city averages.
Port Richmond is an historically rich, but economically distressed community. Recognizing the needs of Port Richmond's diverse population, Principal Gannon sought to expand an existing collaboration with Wagner College and community organizations. This expansion resulted in the launch of the Port Richmond Partnership Leadership Academy (PRPLA), a program aimed to enrich the achievement of Port Richmond High School rising juniors and seniors by developing collaborative programs and projects to cultivate college readiness. Academy participants are immersed in two innovative, credit-bearing college courses during a summer intensive. Additionally, they complete a focused community advocacy project or internships and engage in civic learning field trips throughout the summer and academic year.
Wagner faculty and students across the spectrum of disciplines partner with PRHS students, faculty and staff to carry out civic engagement and research-based work. Partnership activities include, but are not limited to: college tours for every PRHS freshman, teacher professional development opportunities with Wagner faculty college and high school co-learning experiences and research and campus life experiences for select PRHS students. The evolution of the PRP has reached new heights with the addition of an embassy-style Wagner Office space. This space is supported full time by Wagner staff and college interns for college readiness skills development and course delivery for Wagner students at PRHS, as part of the launch of the Port Richmond Partnership Leadership Academy (PRPLA).
Under Principal Gannon’s leadership, Port Richmond and Wagner College’s work extends further down the pipeline with Los Promotores. This initiative seeks to improve the long-term educational and economic well-being of children and families of Mexican origin through relevant research and high-quality services in elementary school. Funded by Deutsche Bank’s Anchoring Achievement in Mexican Communities program, Los Promotores forms educational services hubs to improve academic performance indicators in third and fourth grade, as well as employment prospects. Its partners are Project Hospitality, El Centro del Inmigrante and Make the Road New York.
Principal Gannon is an educator and professional of the highest caliber. He is a caring, enthusiastic and compassionate principal who works tirelessly to improve and sustain a wholesome learning environment for all students he serves in his community. He is truly a LifeChanger!