It isn't that bad of a school! People spread rumors, but really, if you try, you will succeed. If you do not, you will think it's the school, and not you!... The school has excellent science, math and musical programs.
After two years at JAMS, we are moving our child to private school. 6th grade was OK, keeping in mind your child cannot learn to write in a class of 34 kids, some of whom have discipline problems. The teacher has no time for the personal attention required to learn to write. Last year half of 7th grade (each year is divided with two sets of teachers) had no regular English teacher for half of the year, and it took the school that long to fire the problem teacher. English class was babysat by a parade of subs. Next, they lost the social studies teacher and their brilliant math teacher. Both of these were replaced with permanent subs, but not great ones. The science teacher was there all year, and although he was all worksheets all the time, he comes out as a hero. Public schools are having a really hard time these days, caught between the teachers unions and the state budget cuts. Its not that JAMS is worse than the alternatives (Lincoln, Paul Revere, Emerson). Its a really tough time to be in public middle school.
Since the new principal and the plans for upgrading JAMS, I have been pleased with my daughter's first year. Now, I will have two children attending this coming year. The school has have various activities to be involved with and support for the students. Plus, the Boys and Girls Club right on the edge of campus, is a blessing!
I have two children at JAMS and I have been very impressed with the school. The science department is outstanding, our new principal is bringing compassion and vision to our campus (as well as high expectations for students AND staff), discipline is fair, parent commitment is growing. All good for these in between years! And, the kids are being prepared for high school. If anything, I have been consistently impressed with the quality of this school.
We've been consistently disappointed with JAMS. JAMS doesn't offer much for advanced students. Little to no 'differentiation' happens in classrooms. There have been a handful of dedicated teachers, especially in Music and Math, but many are just dialing it in. Ask around--most parents and kids know who's who. Also, make sure you read the students' comments at 'Rate My Teacher'.