Probably would have had a much better experience if my son was high achieving is all academic areas. He is average in a few. The policies are very teacher centric. This allows some teachers to be very authoritarian with no grace at all. Some teachers have a very duplicitous standard for themselves compared to the students, and the leadership at the school will not contradict the teacher, ever.
I attended Maclay for 10 years (2-12th grade); my brother and sister also graduated from Maclay (11 years and 10, respectively). -Positively: The Spanish program is excellent; I was nearly fluent leaving high school. My social studies / history background had a great foundation. And, although I was terrible at Math, the personal attention from a few kind teachers helped me pass. Also, I think athletics is crucial for young women to develop both healthy bodies and minds, and I am grateful that despite not being an all-star I was on a team and played. -Negatively: I was bullied from 2nd grade on about my then-perceived, now-established sexual orientation. I recall and can count the times teachers intervened on one hand. I was different, and other than a small number of supportive staff, there wasn't acceptance of difference. As one might guess at a small, K-12 school-- the peer culture is hugely influential and clicks form early. Unfortunately the same factors lead to an embarrassing amount of gossip involving both students and parents (including gossip abt. family/marital problems). Lastly, there's a SERIOUS lack of diversity. I graduated w/ 87 kids. Three were students of color.
I've attended Maclay for seven years now. I will not specify what grade I'm in, due to teachers hunting me down for saying this. I don't like being asked why I strongly dislike Maclay. I couldn't tell you if Maclay was the best school in Tallahasse, but what I could tell you is that Maclay's education, and staff members aren't as great compared to other private schools in the U.S.
I was a student at Maclay for 14 years, pre-K through 12th grade. Maclay has weak and under-funded arts and music programs (at least, they were weak when I attended, but admittedly were improving as I graduated). However, science, English, foreign language, math, and history are all very strong. I was not always fully engaged, but Maclay more than did its job preparing me for success at a highly competitive Ivy League school post graduation. Both my siblings attended Maclay and were similarly well prepared for life at and after college. The teacher-student relationships are very good; my teachers genuinely cared about my progress and wanted me to do well, both academically and more broadly as a maturing young adult (read: as a teenager who occasionally didn't know what I was doing). After fourteen years, I can say without doubt that Maclay is not perfect, but I would send my children here without hesitation.
My son attended this school for 3 years, this last year has been the WORST! he started saying he hates going to school.. and on top of that he was being bullied by an older kid during the after school care! Im extremely dissapointed! His grades have dropped from As to Bs because he is just not interested and feels intimidated by his teacher. OF COURSE they will ALWAYS come up with the ADHD story.. and ironically now a days EVERY teacher had an ADD son/dauther, so for 600$ a sicologist will do an eval to give me some "tips" on how to handle him! I was under the impression that since this is one of the best school in town the teachers probably attend great seminars about this subject and would know how to face this "problem". On top of that our sicologist said he was starting to suffer from a mild depression from this problems at school..When I emailed the lower school principal she just said " it was sad and they would look into the after school situation" NOTHING was said or done afterwards. As i said to her im a single mom that makes a huge effort to send my son to the best school.. but aparently I dont drop enough$ there to make it a priority! cant wait for this year to end
My two children attended Maclay, and it was the best investment I could have made for them. I work for the university system in Florida, so I know how important a solid educational foundation is for success in an academically rigorous college setting. My kids are now adults, and they are successful and happy. My husband and I made sacrifices, but I'm very glad we did.