Joe Joss the principal is great -- he has a vision for his school and works to move it in that direction. He has been weeding out the less effective teachers and has hired some great ones. Ward Brannman the band guy is phenomenal. About half the kids at this school are in band!! (starting in 7th grade is not a problem! go for it! it is a great community that allows all the different levels at KaJH to interact positively.) Bullying happens but our experience was a quick, discrete handling, with no negative repercussions for my 7th grader who was bullied by a 9th grader. VP did her job competently. It is a very diverse community, ethnically, linguistically, and also academically, as the gifted and the developmentally disabled both have programs here. It will be interesting to see the transition to a Middle School. Joe's leadership skills are a plus.
Enter your review here] Avoid this school if you can. The staff will promise a lot but will deliver very little. Academically the school is not so bad but do not expect much if you compare to other JRH schools in Kirkland or Bellevue. Bulling is a big problem too.
The principal is amazing, and super nice. But when it comes to the sports program, The coaches pick randomly not by skill level so really good players are on lower teams and aren't challenged. Also, bad players are put on higher skill level teams, and so good players are on lower level teams and get upset, like me and all my friends when the girl who is worst at volleyball is on varsity and we are all good, they are better than me and we are all on regionals. DO NOT DO SPORTS HERE!
Kamiakin Jr High has a wonderful music program. Our instructors, Mrs Kim Merkley and Mr Ward Brannman have touched my children's lives immensely. Particularly, Mrs Merkley has worked with my son, Stuart, for the past 4 years. He began taking orchestra in grade 4. Stuart has ADHD. Music has helped him with focusing, social skills, and been a source of self pride. He is a better person because of the fine arts. Despite huge budget cuts, Lake Washington School District has been able to retain our music program. My daughter, Amy, spent 5 years under Mr Brannman's direction playing the flute. He has instilled love of music and personal excellence as she has moved on to high school.
Our oldest just finished his time at Kamiakin, and it was a very positive experience for us. My son had a bullying experience that was handled quickly and discreetly, so I was happy with the leadership of vice principal who is now to be principal. I think it is all in the way you approach it. They try to keep parents involved and aware of what is going on, and do a good job. I liked the community events including bbq at beginning of year, mothers day lunch, grandparents brunch and fathers breakfast. Teachers do a good job of keeping track of students' progress, especially in 7th grade.
Kamiakin is a nice enough school, but its academic curriculum is not rigorous enough. They don't supply enough math courses. Also, they do not allow students to learn languages until the eighth grade.
I have been going to Kamiakin for two years. At the beginning of the day every day there is a half hour reading period, which cuts into the class time of other classes, but can be useful and encourages us to read more novels. In 9th grade students have to do a 'CAPstone' project, which has to do with community service and presentations about it. I played softball and tennis. The baseball field is always muddy and is rarely playable. The tennis uniforms are very old and the same ones are used for girls and boys. They are just t-shirts, while other schools have much nicer ones. Once in a while the principal will hold assemblies for each grade level to talk about what's going on and stuff. There is also adversity assembly once a year and a fathers', mothers' and grandparents' brunch (all different days).
Kamiakin does very little to discipline bullies. Along with other students, my son has been bullyied for most of this school year by this kid. He was hit and degraded 10 times by this bully and the school did nothing other than talk to my son and the bully equally. My son is a good student and did nothing other than show up for school ready to learn. The school talked to the bully's parents and that was it. The bully continued to bully my son worse because he knew who told on him. I as the parent insisted they do more and after much reluctance did an inner school suspension. I also insisted the bully be pulled out of my son's classes and the school wouldn't do it. I finally went above the school and called the district's Assistant Superintendent. Finally something was done.
I am quite impressed with the quality of leadership - I have observed both princ and vice princ engaging in sincere conversations with students, acknowledging them by name, asking questions to let the students know they cared. Some teacher requirements seem unreasonable i.e. making kids do mega extra homework when having to be out ill, causing some students to desire to go to school ill. Overall, I've been very impressed with the quality of this school, and their quality of special events i.e. mother's brunch, dad's breakfast, grandparent's lunch, etc.
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