What you think about Model will largely depend if you are from Richmond or not. If you were from Richmond it's all you've ever known to be the best. Especially, if you are from a larger more competitive and geographically diverse city you will be disappointed that this is the best Richmond has to offer. My child went all the way through Model middle making straight As and honestly was never challenged academically. The only upside to sending your child to Model is it's convenient and you will feel like your child is safe. Like every public school Model has some good teachers and they have some very poor teachers - the difference is that at Model, even though you're paying the tuition like a private institution, they really don't want your opinion. The reason why Model lab school often does well at testing is because it is basically does not have many poor or minority children (look at the states demographic stats if you don't believe me).
A school is only as good as it's students, parents, teachers and administration. Everyone cares at Model and that is what makes it different. I have been very pleased with the middle school staff overall. They are very dedicated and give my son the extra attention he needs.