Monday, November 16, 2015

Planning for moving up to Middle School and High School

By request of a parent, this thread is for discussing deciding on a middle school for upcoming fifth graders and for high school for eighth graders.

Here are the original questions:

  1. Specifically now that students have been at JAMS for over a year, how is it going for kids? What are strengths and challenges? Is there a good advisory program? Is there fun and social time? 
  2. In the past, has Garfield done an open house or tour for incoming 9th grade students and their parents? We're trying to make an informed decision & have found tours/info nights on other HS calendars, but nothing on Garfield's.
Along these lines I just found this upcoming event:

Seattle Middle School Parent Panel
December 3
6:30pm - 8:30pm
$25/single, $35/couple
The Meridian School, Good Shepherd Center, Wallingford
If you're preparing for the move to middle school, come and hear parents talk about their child/family's experiences. Schools represented: Hamilton International MS, Lakeside, Seattle Academy, Billings, Bush, Northwest, Evergreen, Seattle Girls' School, Eastside Prep, Holy Names and Roosevelt HS. Hosted by The Meridian School, The Good Shepherd Center, Wallingford.  Reserve your seat and more info:

I'm sure there are questions out there about the other programs as well.

Admin Note: please sign with a pseudonym if you post anonymously. Also I highly recommend creating an open-id identity instead in that case. Its still offers privacy but with the new comment view on the main page allows your name to be seen.


Anonymous said...

My 6th grader is having a fantastic time at JAMS. It is a heavier workload than we had anticipated. None of the classes are too much, but put together it adds up to a lot. The music program, as with so many in SPS, is stellar, and I can see her skill has jumped significantly from the daily practice. World History and math are both excellent, as is science. I would say the only weak point is language arts. I don't think that is the teacher, who seems fine, but the very watered down curriculum. They have done very little writing, and will not be doing much the rest of the year. It really sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the quality of the other classes, and seems more like 4th grade level at Lincoln than a progression from last year. It is my sense, from talking to friends who went private, that something is weak everywhere, though, and I'd like to stress again how high quality the other 5 classes are. Principal Montgomery does a great job of managing the transitions, and when she imposes rules they make sense to my kid, which matters to me more than the specific rules.

Advisory- mixed bag. The teacher seems lovely. I get what they are trying to do. But my daughter would really, really prefer to have the time to do homework, and is frustrated to have what she sees as designated time to make sure kids aren't falling behind contributing to her feeling like she is falling behind. Maybe it will feel like more of a community in the coming years. She already feels like she has a community there so is less invested in creating one in advisory. It is nice, since it is starting so early this year, to start the day with something where you don't have to think. Lunch is much more social than in elementary, because you can choose where you sit (though there are somewhat silly rules about it). She talks to friends at the beginning and end of classes, too, and music is a bit social. Plenty of breaks, and the spirit week right before Halloween was pretty fun, too.

A gun scare earlier this year(a child wrote a threat on he bathroom wall, which was immediately reported and dealt with) seems to have tightened security in nonsensical and unhelpful ways, but I think the parents bear the brunt of that, not the kids.

New Jaguar

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have experience with a highly capable or Spectrum student at Madison? I foresee this being the only option available to us in a couple of years.

Fairmount Park

Anonymous said...

Having had children at HIMS and JAMS, I'd say it's been hit or miss at both. I think the forced transition to JAMS created a more fractured experience for the older students and they may be somewhat less invested in JAMS. They also have the comparison of what it was like at HIMS. I'd imagine this year's incoming students are having a better experience at JAMS now that routines are more established. Last year JAMS tried various schedules that added to student frustration.

Electives at JAMS have been solid. Our child is not part of the music program, but has taken art, PE, and world language (which has been good except for a half year with an unqualified substitute). They seem to be learning a good deal in 8th grade biology and are getting practice writing lab reports. HCC LA/SS continues to be unfocused and lacking in many ways. That was our experience at HIMS as well. We are still wondering when they will start learning some US history in 8th grade SS.

The homework load seems light given they are off to high school next year, but you are going to have various opinions on what is best. In terms of general environment, I'd say JAMS is more restrictive and my child reports feeling as if they are still in elementary school.

-my 2cents

Anonymous said...

I know this question is outside this thread a bit, but seemed the most likely spot to ask.

In the past, has Garfield done an open house or tour for incoming 9th grade students and their parents? We're trying to make an informed decision & have found tours/info nights on other HS calendars, but nothing on Garfield's.
Rising 8th

JLardizabal said...

When I called the Garfield counseling office, I was told they haven't set the tour/open house dates yet. These should be sometime in January/February.

Benjamin Leis said...

For those who missed it I have expanded the scope of this thread to include H.S.

Anonymous said...

Fairmount Park - I haven't met anyone with a kid in Advanced Learning at Madison yet. I can tell you that the Math course offerings do not match up with the HCC offerings at Washington. Their offerings stop (Algebra 1) 2 levels before WMS (Geometry & Algebra 2). My kid has gotten a great LA education at WMS and frankly, the whole 8th grade line up is very good so far. Maybe your Principal would like to move up too and work with older kids in a few years!
Rising 8th

hschinske said...

Wait, you have to pay to hear a school pitch? Do you at least get a coupon for thirty-five bucks off the tuition at the school of your choice?

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Follow the link and you'll see it's sponsored by an education consultant.

Anonymous said...

Garfield just posted the details on their tours - I guess you just show up. It seems late compared to some schools.
From the website:
Prospective Student Tours and Info
Posted on 11/20/2015

January 19 (T) and January 28 (Th) 2016: 9:00-9:45 meet in the QJA (preferably) or the Gym (if necessary); 9:45-10:30 – building tours

February 11 (Th) 2016: 6:00-8:00 – presentation in the Commons followed by self-guided tours with ASB/Link Leader support (department heads and program staff)

Sarah Antoncich,

Rising 8th

rising 6th said...

Has anyone heard any "rumors" about Whitman service area kids and HIMS? I have a kid in 5th at Lincoln. We are in the Whitman service area which means slated for Wilson Pacific in September, 2017.

The rumors heard by the parents in this group have always turned out to be true! Specifically, I hear HIMS is very crowded this year and is expected to be worse next year. Does anyone think all or part of APP will get yanked next Fall before WilPac opens? Is it that crowded?

Tying this into the original post, I'm interested in hearing any rumors about next year at HIMS, and if folks who were "forced transitioned" out of HIMS to JAMS would recommend trying for JAMS next year and dealing with transport to keep the stability of 1 school, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody weigh in about Franklin and Cleveland High Schools? What is the experience of our highly capable students in those schools? Offerings?


Anonymous said...

Looking at the master schedule for Ingraham this year, there are only two class periods of Physics. Two. For a school of 1200 some students. It's an HCC option school. For students on a college-prep pathway, you'd typically take at least one year each of biology, chemistry, and physics. Anyone know what's up with that? Am I misreading the schedule?

MS parent

IB Watcher said...

MS parent, as far as I know, no IHS student (HCC or otherwise) has ever been closed out of a Physics class. If your student is inclined towards Physics they may want to see where Eric Muhs is teaching. (BHS right now). Bio is fabulous at Ingraham. If your kid is HCC, they have multiple HS choices, IHS IB or IBX might not be the first choice for a Physics oriented kid right now.

Anonymous said...

IHS IB or IBX might not be the first choice for a Physics oriented kid right now.

Huh? Physics is just one of those basic sciences you take in high school, like Biology and Chemistry. It's not about being physics oriented, but college oriented. HCC or not, the college prep pathway should include the three basic sciences.

MS parent

IB Watcher said...

IB at Ingraham does include the three basic sciences. As you pointed out, there are two periods of Physics offered (that in addition, I think, to the half year of Physics that non IBX kids take as freshmen.) I'm just saying that advanced Bio is generally thought to be stronger at IHS than Physics.

Benjamin Leis said...

That reminds me, one of the areas mentioned by the Ingraham rep at the HCS meeting was adding AP Physics as an option for the 10th grade.

Anonymous said...


Would that be algebra-based physics or calculus-based? I think the IB HL physics course is equivalent to the algebra-based AP Physics courses.

Anonymous said...

The addition of an AP Physics class would certainly expand student options. Do you know if it's being considered for next school year?

AP now has four physics courses: AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 (each a year long, algebra based), plus AP Physics C: Mechanics, and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism (both Calculus based).

Benjamin Leis said...

It would have to be the non-calculus based A or B versions given it would be intended as a 10th grade option. I did ask a related question/comment, whether they had considered AP chemistry or Biology instead. I'm also not sure how any of these align with the IB science classes. In the past I tried to research AP Calculus vs the IB math sequence and it was very difficult to find enough information to make intelligent comparisons.That all said, this is no a plan of record just something being considered by the staff.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely not true that "Bio is fabulous at Ingraham," as IB Watcher suggested. Biology may be great - or not - depending on the teacher. There are some serious instructional deficiencies with several of the core science classes at Ingraham.

Anonymous said...

The Garfield site lists a change of date for prospective tours (although it isn't noted as a change.) The Jan 19th tour is now on Jan 26th. Glad I was looking for something else and noticed the different date.

-rising 8th

Anonymous said...

Dear Rising in 6th,

In reply to your questions about HCC being moved out of Hamilton in 2016, there are no plans that I am aware of that moves the entire program. At a recent Hamilton PTA meeting the current principal Tipton Blish mentioned that Hamilton will likely be over capacity Fall 2016. He mentioned to myself and another parent that he is brainstorming ideas and having conversations with the principal at Lincoln. One idea is to move some of the kids over to Lincoln. He mentioned that it would likely not be limited to kids from one program, but would be general ed, spectrum & HCC kids. He said this may take place if Licton Springs moves out to a new location.

Rising 6th said...

Where could Licton Springs possibly go? Thanks for the reply.