I've been a student at McKeel for a few years now. The first year there, 6th grade, I was shocked to find the uniforms so expensive. You have to pay for basically everything at McKeel. I do agree with other comments, about the school only wanting to be an A grade school. They have high expectations for grades. Get an F more than twice on your report card, and you get kicked out. Although, the school does have a good side. They will NOT tolerate bullying or fighting. You do either after being warned a first time, and you're out. But, overall, it's a good school.
It seems that MOST of the normal day to day things are made to be so very difficult at McKeel, from obtaining the correct uniform (which is far above what a Target or Wal Mart uniform would be) to checking your child's grade, to understanding exactly what is expected of you. Communication is very poor, and there is no passion from any of the educators, nor is there any courtesy provided to you when you visit the office, I truly hope they do not treat the children this way.
I have been a student here at McKeel Academy for 3, going on 4 years. It started off okay and has had its ups and downs. When I first started I, nor my parents were told about the crazy uniform system at McKeel so I got in trouble quite often(you can get kicked out for multiple uniform problems). The uniforms are pretty expensive but required and all the school cares about is being an 'A' school. If you help the school financially or are an important part of a varsity team then you get special treatment by the staff. The work is tough but some how does help you for the real world, work wise. "No child left behind" is a facade put up by the McKeel staff. If you can't keep up, you get dropped, hard. They don't care at all. Basically all they try to do is find the best of the best and forget the rest. But, there is one teacher, Mr.Morgan(health) who is probably the best teacher that I will EVER come across. I feel that I have learned so much from him, much more than curriculum, life and people skills and just how to be a better person overall. He truly cares about his students and athletes(since he is also the wrestling coach). On that note, I would say I'm finished. Go McKeel!
We've been a McKeel family for 9 years, my son started in kindergarten and just left middle school. Years ago this school was great but has steadily went down hill. They really only seem to care about being an "A" school and what looks good for the McKeel name. If you are rich and can support the school financially you'll have no problem but if you struggle with outrageous uniform prices and barely make it then school doesn't care about you. My son struggled this year and had some issues during the year but overcame and went from a D/F student to a B student but we just received the letter stating he would NOT be able to come back next year since he "did not meet the criteria" for McKeel. The principal states that the concern is for the students, bull, it is for the image of the school so that they can weed out the so-so kids and have the best/rich kids to make sure that they continue to receive an "A" school status. If they were concerned for the children they would not have a committee look at each student to determine if they meet "McKeel criteria" All children have the right to an education and this isn't a private school, help the struggling ones not get rid of them!!!
I am a special ed. teacher. I work with students with special needs. My son is ADHD and has attended McKeel with his sister for several years. McKeel has very high standards academically, socially and personally. A check system keeps track of misbehavior and disorganization. You can expect about three and a half hours of homework a night, more if there are projects due. If your child is college bound, this school will prepare them. My older boys got honor roll in public school, then were overwhelmed in college. This will not happen to McKeel students. All schools have clicks, but drugs or violence will get a student kicked out, It is a relief not to worry about these issues. Of course, verbal bullying is harder to prove, but student are reminded repeatedly to refer to the counselor with any problem. Several comments on this page were written by children, who rarely see the big picture.
I just transferred to Mckeel late this year and find it VERY stricter and harder than any other school I've been to so far. Their educational expectations are set very high which makes it SUPER hard if you transfer in late. I have had problems with 2 teachers so far. I was a very overwhelmed with all of the due dates and work. I never thought I would work so hard in my life. I'm working till 12 each night.. and Im only in 8th grade. You have to be willing to be work hard and to be challenged educationally. My parents and I hate the uniform company that the school uses (Fontain- which is now Rise Brothers). They are over priced and if you transfer into the school, late in the year, you have to drive all the way to Clear-water to get a fitting. The staff, so far, are very nice. If you need help, you have to E-mail the teachers-That's KEY communication. They have a "check system" where you write checks if you forget deadlines or you don't have a belt (not a big fan of that). I've worked very hard and It's only October. They definitely are way more technologically advanced than most public school. It's a pretty good school, but it's not the best.
I am the parent of a student whom no longer attend McKeel by way of a less than half credit. Our son has attended this school since middle school and I have found that several teachers will not return emails or phone calls. Our son had a history teacher he was afraid of as a result of hero yelling in the class, telling them to shut up and more conduct that would be considered harassment in the work area. When reported the staff indicated this would be investigated, we asked to have our son moved to another teacher and were denied, the less than half credit is in this class. Until this past year I would have recommend his school, now I shall pass the word that if you are not part of the jock or to do crowd you will not be wanted by the school. Bullying is prevalent with little or no action taken when reported not only by students but the very instructors we intrust our children. This school although well known for it's academic's falls short of "leave no child behind". How about McKeel standing up for all students and quit hiding behind the statement it's in our charter. Academics good, communication, understanding the student and true teaching less than satisfactory.
This school is a joke. It is nasty. I don't think they ever clean it. There is spots where the ceiling has holes in it, One of the classrooms had mold in it all last year, the walls inside look like they need a good paint job. If you have money then your kids will be treated different then the kids that come from poor family's.
I currently have two students at McKeel, one is in 7th and one in 11th grade. I have been involved with this school for six years. I find the teachers and staff to be very helpful and caring. The administration is also very concerned for the students. I feel I made and excellent decision when my husband and I decided to send our childre to McKeel Academy of Technology.
Our two youngest children have been in the McKeel system for the past six years, and are now in middle school at McKeel Academy. We feel so fortunate to have them in what we believe is one of the finest secondary school in Polk County, including any of the private schools. As a parent of two students and a board member of the PTSO, I've met and spoken with most of the administrators, teachers and administrative staff at the school, and it's obvious that everyone feels like they are part of a team that strives to go above and beyond and do whatever is necessary to help their students succeed. Their passion and enthusiasm has spilled over into the PTSO, and we are developing big plans to make McKeel an even greater school in the future. Hats off to Mr. Maready and the MAT team, you're the best!