My son has been at Finn Hill Middle School for sixth and seventh grade and is looking forward to spending his last year before high school there as well. His teachers have been so involved and enthusiastic and many specifically WANTED to work with middle school/junior high aged kids. The principal is very hands-on and usually eats lunch with the students. It's clear he truly loves and takes pride in his school. We've been very happy with the beautiful facility, staff, faculty and student population at Finn Hill.
Son and daughter attend Carl Sandburg. Great teachers overall and principal. The only complaint would be the common core curriculum means the teachers do not have a lot of leeway for kids of different skills.
My daughter attended Finn Hill for the first portion of 7th grade and I volunteered there. The school wasn't a good match for her so we moved her. There are some good teachers there, and the principal seems involved, but the student body is not particularly motivated to do what is asked of them academically, and expectations aren't that high. Perhaps a broader base of parent involvement could turn this around.
FHJH is a great place for students to grow academically and socially. It is unfortunate that some parents have expectations for their students that are not appropriate. I did not notice any parents who had concerns about the discussions at the PTSA meetings speaking up.
'This school has been a big disappointment. It is probably fine for most kids, but our eighth grader needs accelerated learning opportunities which have not been available. The Language Arts/Social Studies Honors 2nd class for 8th grade was cancelled just before he reached 8th grade, and the caliber of most of his English teachers has been shockingly poor. When the English teacher doesn't know how to spell the words on the spelling list, you should know the school has a big problem. I can not recommend this school to students who are motivated to really learn and get somewhere. Parent involvement is almost nonexistent to parents outside the PTSA. PTSA meetings are never about the academics of the school, nor about the students.
My daughter has had a great experience at FHJH. The teaching staff, overall, seem to truly care about the success of the students. The new principal, Mr. Scarpelli, has been the vice principal for the past few years and has a tremendous rapport with the students and parents.