Ralph R. McKee Career and Technical Education High School

Grades 9-12
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What’s Special

Well-equipped career education programs, supportive environment

The Downside

Declining enrollment, no athletic fields

Our Review

Ralph McKee Career and Technical High School is a nurturing school that prepares students in trades such as carpentry, graphic arts and automotive technology. Some students get union jobs in the construction trades when they graduate, while others go on to college. "Many high schools lose the great middle, said Principal Sharon Henry. This school is for them.

Many students enter with poor academic skills, but teachers work hard to help them catch up. Students take double periods of math and English in 9th grade, then begin the career classes in 10th grade.

AVID, a growing national college preparatory program, plays a key role in the effort to boost academics at McKee. AVID students, who generally scored well below grade level on their 8th-grade state standardized tests, take most of their academic subjects together, along with a special class that provides extra support in problem-solving and note-taking. One parent whose daughter is headed to Spellman College in Atlanta, said, "AVID takes kids who are 75, 80 even 70 students and transforms them."

The school has an honors program for higher-performing students and a pathway to AVID for 9th-graders who are deemed not ready for the full AVID program. The school offers calculus and chemistry, but not physics. A few Advanced Placement classes and some college-credit courses also are available. The only foreign language offered is one year of Italian.

The shop classes reinforce academics. "If you have real world applications of math, students are going to learn it faster," said Assistant Principal Ralph Guarinieri. "For some kids it's just algebra and geometry but when you put it in a project, it hits home." That applies in the humanities as well; in graphic design, for example, every student must research a country and then submit possible designs for its money.

Automotive students repair cars brought in by teachers and area residents, and graphic design students prepare pamphlets and other materials for local businesses and organizations. Employers offer an array of internships. All the CTE (career and technical education) programs stress employability; that includes instruction in "soft skills," such as working with other people.

Some programs, such as auto mechanics, have far more boys than girls. At least one girl seemed to thrive on that. "I wanted to try something different," she said. "I didnt want to be like other girls. I wanted to get my hands dirty."

The school has a strong sense of community. On the day we visited, parents at a bake sale chatted enthusiastically about the school. "You literally can come in here and say, 'I need to talk to my child's teacher," one said. A recent graduate, who came back to coach students, recalled his time at McKee as "a loving family and support system. It gives you an edge." Shop teachers in particular seem to have a sense of mission, speaking proudly of alumni they see working in businesses around Staten Islandmany of whom are going to college as well. However, the schools enrollment has declined in recent years, something Henry blames at least partly on its location. The school has no athletic fields and shares some sports programs with Staten Island Tech.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: McKee offers ICT team-teaching classes mixing special education and general education students and self-contained classes. Some of the students in the self-contained program work at Caf McKee.

ADMISSIONS: According to the high school directory, McKee screens students for some of the career programs, and for others it uses the education option method, designed to ensure a school will have students with a range of abilities. Given a low number of applicants, though, most students who apply will be admitted. (Gail Robinson, April 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
762
Asian
5.6%
Black
28.9%
Hispanic
43.3%
White
20.2%
Other
2.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
68%
Students with disabilities
29%
English language learners
5%
Male
79%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
68%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
88%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
37%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
82%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
24%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
80%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
49%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
9.0
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
68%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
85%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
75%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
78%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
82%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 dedicated spaces for Visual arts and an Auditorium
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
72%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
44%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
73%
70% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
71%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
3%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
15%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
20%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
49%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
53%
63% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
0% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
55%
65% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
64%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
90%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
90%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
92%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
61%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Electrical Engineering and Installation Program
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

The Electrical Engineering and Installation Program instructs students in AC/DC circuit analysis, soldering, wiring of various circuits, residential wiring, commercial wiring, and motor controls.

Software Engineering
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

The Software Engineering program (SEP) will give students training and experience in coding. The SEP core topics are Python, Scratch, HTML, CSS, processing, and Java. Additional programming electronics and robotics skills are learned with Arduino, and LEGO robotics. Within robotics, students learn LEGO Mindstorms, EV3, and digital fabrication. Within 3-D printing using Makerbot, students learn Flash, animation, and Action Script. Internship partners include NYC DIIT and Ernst & Young.

Computer Systems Networking
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Students become proficient in Cisco to take the Cisco Certified Networking Associate Exam (CCNA)—successful completion of this program prepares students for computer repair and maintenance, network design, and infrastructure support to install computer connections, program routers, and maintain computer networks. Internships partners include ASI, Digital Edge, and State Senator Diane Savino.

Graphic Design
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

Preparation for art and media design careers using digital technology – a blend of art, computers, and journalism; students will learn the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign etc.) animation, and video/audio editing. Students participate in internships and are prepared for advanced study and work in the field of graphic design. Internship partners include Blue Label Design, Froogle Printing, RGM Signs, Special Tees, and Wicked Stitches.

Architectural Drafting
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Study includes structures, space, color, and form. Focus on hand drafting, architectural design, model making, and sketching. Students will learn industry standard software (AutoCAD & Revit); seniors complete projects culminating in portfolios for college entrance. Internship partners include E.B. Pritchard Architecture & Glass, Island Engineering, IMC Architecture, and Steven Savino Architect.

Automotive Technology
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Students use an industry standard curriculum (NATEF) that covers all facets of automotive repair. Students will learn Steering and Suspension, Brakes and Electricity/Electronics and Engine Performance. Students must take industry exams for certification. Internships are available for eligible students. Internship partners include Blackler Air, DANA Lincoln/Ford, Dema’s Auto, Gotham Motorcycles, Lombardi Harley Davidson, Max Fleet, Millers Tug & Barge, and MTA.

Construction/Carpentry
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Integrated program that leads to industry based certification. Students are prepared for entry-level positions in construction trades. Curriculum includes carpentry and mechanical construction and CNC Router and MasterCam production. Students are prepared for college and industry positions. Internship partners include E.B. Pritchard Architecture & Glass, Millers Tug and Barge, NYC Division of School facilities, Scaran HVAC, and RGM Signs.

Academics

Language Courses

Italian

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Golf, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Golf, Stunt

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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