As a parent and an educational professional (non-county), I couldn't be happier with McKinley. Two of my children have attended McKinley and excelled in Middle School. We have been affected by the use of the relocatable classrooms, and I have found them to actually be a positive: temperature is better controlled in the portables, there is easy access to restrooms, fewer distractions from the hallway noise of the main building, and a special "McQuad" comaraderie. The necessity of these buildings (as well as the real estate market in the feeding community - houses sell very quickly!) should point out the popularity of and satisfaction with this school. Many North Arlingtonians don't realize that almost all of our county schools typically perform in the top 15% of schools nationwide, with a property tax rate that is lower than most cities in the US (Check census facts) with no rate hike in 2012. Many school districts ask for hundreds of dollars per family to fund libraries, music programs, even textbooks! We are blessed to have such a wonderful neighborhood school as well as several county choice schools (ATS, H-B, Science Focus, Key..) for no additional fees!
We have loved McKinley and have felt that it has struck a fine balance between rigorous instruction in the basics and an enriching program in the arts, music, and drama. The school, under Mr. Brown's excellent leadership, is a warm and well-organized place. We have been especially impressed by the effectiveness of the communication on the part of the teachers and Mr. Brown. The PTA is also extremely active. There are always opportunities for students to get involved in enrichment activities, such as the partnership the school has with the Educational Theater Company. The one weakness has been Spanish, we feel, because of a weak teacher, but even that seems to be improving. Overall, it is a wonderful school.
I have 2 children at McKinley Elementary. Our McKinley teachers have all been absolutely wonderful. The school's Principal and staff all do a truly excellent job as well. Parents are very involved & supportive. Ensuring every child succeeds is a top priority at McKinley. Academically, McKinley has consistently remained at the very top in terms of standardized test results (And not just simply passing SOL tests... Frequently 70% to 90% of McKinley score as "advanced / top quartile" in Math/Reading SOL test results). McKinley's academic results are comparable to the very best public and private schools in the United States. The Arts program is very high quality and the optional after-school plays and classes are truly phenomenal. Hundreds of families and kids choose to sign up for these after-school classes and events. The Arts program does not detract from academics. The school's Spanish program is a good one which is offered to all kids 3 times per week. Kids really do become semi-proficient in Spanish prior to starting Middle School ! Of course, McKinley is not perfect. But our family loves this school and we are extremely grateful our kids attend McKinley Elementary.
We read some of the comments listed and decided to post as well. We have no choice but to send our children to McKinley. We like arts but they won't be leading to our children's wider educational goals. The teachers are terrific but the education is lacking. My 4th grade child should be able to write with proper grammar and punctuation. This isn't taught sufficiently. My other child is now in middle school and has learned far more there than at McKinley. I agree with the poster regarding the abundance of non-educational programs. If you're competing with first graders you can excel. When you get to high school or take college exams and realize there are many things you haven't learned, it's too late. We are also displeased with McKinley.
We feel very blessed to have our child attend McKinley. Principal Colin Brown is in his second year at the school and is a sharp, thoughtful leader who is a pleasure to work with. I absolutely love that my child had access to full day kindergarten, not to mention the FLES program (3 days a week of Spanish (40 minute classes), art, music, AND PE. In a time of budget cuts, it is such a relief to know my child gets such a well-rounded education. Contrary to the review below, the reading, math, science, and social studies instruction do not suffer at all. My first grader is learning topics I myself didn't see until third grade. The school is bursting at the seams, capacity-wise, and I wish the district didn't have to resort to "relocatables" as they call trailers nowadays, but I think the excellent staff are doing an outstanding job despite that minor challenge. The teachers and staff pay attention to the needs of every child, and are constantly working to improve. And the PTA is fantastic and supportive, including helping to put interactive whiteboards in every classroom and supporting ongoing teacher professional development.
I have one child at McKinley and one who just promoted to middle school. We love the education, teachers, warmth and excellent education they are receiving at McK - I have to say I'm surprised at the one review, but there are unhappy and dissatisfied folks at every school, perhaps the poster didn't realize the McK is an art-focused school. Bottom line, my middle schooler is leaps and bounds ahead of fellow Arlington students socially and academically b/c of the well-rounded education she received.
We have three kids who've attended or are attending McKinley. We think the education is very, very over-rated. Considering the workforce and overall competition for universities and jobs, there should be more than 1 hour of math, 1 of science and 1 of English (huge lack of education there)....and those are on the days they don't cut them for an assembly or some sort of counselor talk. BIG waste of educational time. There is too much focus on what is fluff - music, art, Spanish, and chorus. We are very disappointed in the "education" the kids are getting, the high taxes we pay for it, and the school and school board not taking advantage of the possibilities that exist for a great education in such a wealthy community. Even my children are disappointed with all the extraneous stuff.
McKinley is an amazing school! We specifically purchased a house in McKinley's neighborhood because of the school. The curriculum is aggressive enough but allows for the 'down' time. A great school in a wonderful neighborhood. While I hear good things about all K teachers, consider yourself blessed if you get Mrs. Bates!
As a parent of two students, I can't say enough good things about McKinley Elementary School. Located in a family-oriented neighborhood, McKinley is blessed with a professional and caring staff and wonderful teachers. We relocated to the area two years ago as my son entered First Grade, and he integrated very quickly. My daughter has just finished Kindergarten and has had a wonderful experience. Principal Anderson continues to be the foundation of this exceptional elementary school in one of the best sidewalk neighborhoods in Arlington. A military relocation is forcing us to leave this area, but given the opportunity to return to Arlington, McKinley will be our first choice of schools.
McKinley is a wonderful school in a close knit community which values friendship and citizenship. Principal Anderson is an outstanding principal who genuinely has each of the 390 students best interest in mind. Ms. Anderson's goal of reaching each child's potential--in the way best suited for that particular child--is echoed from the teachers. Parent involvement is unbelieveably positive. Parents work with teachers to make sure each child feels valued and gets personal attention. McKinley's very active PTA continues the theme of building community with many programs for McKinley students and the surrounding commuinity.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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