Jordan Middle School Schools & Kids, posted by PrivateSchoolParent, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2007 at 8:13 am
I have two kids who have gone only to private schools (sophomore and 5th grader). We are thinking of sending our younger child to Jordan for a less insular experience. Wondering if current or former parents can comment on their recent academic, social and any other relevant experiences at Jordan. Much appreciated.
Posted by marielena, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2007 at 1:06 am
I have 4 children, the first one attended private from kinder to High school, and also attended Occidental Colle. He is such a wonderful kid. I could not pay for my other children so they attended Palo Alto schools, the difference of education my first son, it is a far better than my children who attended JLS, Gunn, Palo Verde. I can not speak of Jordan, but at JLS, is a zoo. I am not surprise that many kids do not make it when they get to High School. However if they have your support, love and attention, they can make it anywhere. Whatever you choose I wish you the best luck. Marielena
Posted by natasha, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2007 at 10:32 am
Anyone want to comment on the parent meeting that the head of Terman held a few years ago in which he told elementary school parents that the middle schools have a problem with drugs and oral sex? Made *my* hair curl to hear that.
Posted by private school teacher, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Mar 31, 2007 at 12:13 pm
I teach in a private school in the area, however my two children attended Jordan a few years ago. My children needed extra support and the results were very mixed. Some teachers were phenomenal (others were hit or miss) but services were very poorly coordinated and it is easy for a child to get lost with so many students. It is very easy for students to fall thru the cracks. Good students with no issues can do really well there, but if you need anything extra, I would steer clear if you can. By the way, the student population at my school is very similar to the student population in Palo Alto - the main exception is that our classes are much smaller and the staff knows all of the students.
Posted by ex JordanPalyParent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Mar 31, 2007 at 12:49 pm
My son went through Jordan & Paly; he graduated last year. Therefore, his experience of Jordan was back before Terman was open and all the kids were stuffed into 2 middle schools. It was overwhelming at times. (And, come to think of it, underwhelming, too.)
I've often felt that although the elementary and high schools are excellent in Palo Alto, the middle schools are something to be endured. You might consider staying in private school for 3 more years, and then transferring over to the public school system. Plenty of students do that and assimilate quite well as freshmen.
Again, keep in mind that my opinion is based on the 2-middle schools experience.
Posted by Mom of Jordan graduate, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2007 at 9:10 pm
My daughter went to Jordan middle school and then on to Paly. She did really well at Paly after going to Jordan. However, I will say that the Middle School years were the most difficult ones for my daughter and from the parenting standpoint. I do believe it is true for many, many children and families, regardless of the school they choose. It has to do with puberty, the age group they are in.
So, what did we find at Jordan?
We found a very large school where there is not much room for individual attention to the students, although the 6th graders are more "cocooned" than the 7th and 8th graders.
We found a school were the quality of teaching was very uneven. For example: In 7th grade our daughter had a new math teacher who was completely incompetent and left after a year or two. In eighth grade she had a fantastic math teacher. However due to the terrible experience in 7th grade, we had to support her math learning through 8th grade. Basically, we tutored her in math every day after school.
We found a social scene that was not much of our liking. However nothing extreme. It is a time when children naturally rebel. they'll do it regardless of the school.
We did find a school where the electives were fantastic and she would not have gotten anything close to this in a private school (I did look into private schools for both her and my younger son). Orchestra, and other bands, and wonderful art classes were among such electives. Our daughter thrived in those classes. Some kids love the theater program.
All in all, I would say that you can have a satisfactory experience at Jordan Middle School, but that it requires the parents to be quite involved, to know what is happening there, to support the child, and supplement school as necessary.
Posted by pamom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2007 at 12:30 am
First of all, the head of Terman is female, but both the principal and the vice principal are not afraid of answering tough questions from parents. If parents ask is there bullying and oral sex? They'd answer honestly. The same question was asked four years ago when we were incoming parents, but we never did see rampant oral sex on campus. Bullying happens and yes, you have to keep on top of it becasue kids don't like to report it - they think they can handle it themselves.
As for JLS, my older son was in Connections for three yerars. I could not have made a better, wiser, more compassionate chice for him. he sailed through Gunn and now is at a UC, still loving school.
The point is, all kids are different and my choices may be really bad for your kids. Middle school is supposed to be a bridge between the elementary years and High school, but it has turned into a giant prep class for Gunn and Paly high lanes. Some kids love middle school and hate high school, some kids love both, some kids hate both. PAUSD is awful at celebrating the "average" kid. What I have found though, at Gunn, is a good group of teachers, willing to help kids who ask and who appreciate the kids in the middle.
The best way for kids to get through the secondary years is for you to stay in their lives, keep being their parent and keep talking to them.
Posted by PrivateSchoolParent, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2007 at 9:08 am
Thanks for all the comments, especially those by pamom and Mom of Jordan grad. Has anyone else had good, bad or indifferent experiences with the Connections program at JLS? My son is in the lottery for that choice program.
Posted by A Former Parent, a member of the JLS Middle School community, on Apr 1, 2007 at 11:15 am
If your children can't handle Jordan Middle School, they'll have trouble making it in life!! After going through the PAUSD from Kindergarten to 12th grade, my elder son (now a Manager in a high tech company) said: "Mom, it doesn't matter where you go to school, it doesn't matter what college you get your undergraduate degree from, what matters is where you get your granduate degrees."
Posted by natasha, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2007 at 12:40 pm
I realize this is not a popular or well-represented viewpoint, but I beg to differ with your son, Former Parent. As a very well educated person with fancy academic and career pedigrees, I came to parenthood believing one thing: what REALLY matters is not where you go, or how much money you (or your husband) make, or anything else. What matters is that you are a good and kind and tolerant person who cares about others and that you are basically happy. I'm not seeing much of that "Whole child" philosophy applied in the elementary schools, the middle schools, or even the high schools. I see a lot of parents who think they are better than others because of their luck and their narrow definiteion of success. Palo Alto was not like this when I was growing up here. Anything you achieve can be taken away by life and bad luck. What you have left is your character. What do the schools, or the extremely competitive parent population of this town, do to further character development in our kids?
Posted by View from the School, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2007 at 3:16 pm
good question regarding character development. I can tell from experience in secondary schools (PAUSD and elsewhere) that it would be easier to do give thought to character develpment if parents were more interested in that than grades, test scores, college, having tutors for everything, and passing the buck when the kid cheats or plagiarizes. Actually most parents are either neutral or good in these matters, but the small percentage who cause the largest percentage of problems really drain the life energy out of staff. There are some out there who will tell you how bad the teachers are and I'll tell you from the inside that a lot of the teachers they rail against are fantastic educators. The louder the complaints the more likely they come from some family that leaves a wake of frustrated teachers all of whom have been told that they're the problem. Their kids evade responsibility and lie to everyone, and when the teacher provides the evidence there's almost never an apology. So thank you to the folks above who are pointing out the obvious... any given school or program or teacher may be "good" and may be the right choice for some kids and not others. And character matters more than pedigree or the name on the diploma. We need to model for kids how we can all do the best we can to give and receive good information and make the best of situations, giving others the benefit of the doubt as we work through difficulties.
Posted by PrivateSchoolParent, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2007 at 4:15 pm
I agree with all that's been said about the importance of character development but no longer expect schools to provide much more than lipservice in this area. There is so much pressure on schools to provide academic rigor in order for kids to compete in the college application ratrace (see today's New York Times' cover story). It's up to parents to provide their children the guidance they need to become adults with the character they deserve. But getting back on topic, it seems like that academically competent kids should do just fine at Jordan, accepting the reality that there are weak teachers at any school and that a large public middle school will not have the resources that a smaller private one may have.
Posted by A Former Parent, a member of the JLS Middle School community, on Apr 1, 2007 at 5:19 pm
I thoroughly agree with Private School Parent, your comment: "It's up to parents to provide their children the guidance they need to become adults with the character they deserve." Too many parents abrogate their responsibilities to mold their children's character and expect the schools to do it. I believe that children learn by example, and the first and most important example should be the parents.
Posted by natasha, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2007 at 5:54 pm
I couldn't agree more. What concerns me is the relatively few parents who seem to feel the need to do so, because they are all competing so ferociously for their children to get the best grades, the most goals, the most APs, the best whatever meets their measure of success, which often does not mean teaching their children to take responsibility for their actions or to see themselves as global citizens. I did not mean to imply that the schools are responsible for teaching children what their parents don't value, but wondered what impact that parental attitude has on the atmosphere of the schools. I also don't mean to imply that there are no parents who value more than material acquisition and quantifiable accomplishment. But the vast numbers of them who DO exist make it a lot harder to explain subtler values to the other children.
Posted by pamom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2007 at 6:27 pm
Phil - nice of you to come flying onto this thread and trash my post. I was responding to natasha's post:
"Anyone want to comment on the parent meeting that the head of Terman held a few years ago in which he told elementary school parents that the middle schools have a problem with drugs and oral sex? Made *my* hair curl to hear that."
I was just clarifying that now the head of Terman is a woman and that oral sex wasn't obvious while my son was there.
Calm down and read *all* the posts before jumping all over somebody.
Posted by pamom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2007 at 7:32 pm
Phil - no worries, I appreciate your comments, it's not like this forum is easy to read anyway. You post something and two days later you get [post deleted] by tyler or bill and then it makes you wonder what you wrote!
I think the parent forums for going into middle school get caught up in frenzies of " well, I heard..." and then the admins have to answer every quirky question thrown at them. Not that they don't all deserve answers, but I sure remember coming home from a middle school forum thinking I should lock my kid away for three years lest he be exposed to the worst behavior imaginable. Actually, there are problem kids in middle school - but there are those people in High school, college and in probably every job as well. We can't shelter our babies forever, much as we'd love to; our job is to teach them right from wrong, how to recognize both, and make choices that can help them grow into responsible adults.
I just wish we (our schools included) could give them more time to be kids! They get into AP classes, take as many units as possible, get to Harvard or Yale (or, gasp, a UC) and they're done with their undergrad experience when they're not even old enough to buy a celebratory glass of champagne. Whoa - what's the rush? I think they should all take a year off between 8th and 9th grade and go work on a farm or help build a house or help at a hospital or something productive and giving to their fellow humans. Oh wait, now I sound like a nut case and that won't help Privateschoolparent who started this thread!
Posted by natasha, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2007 at 7:11 am
pamom -- I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question thoughtfully. I think you probably wentto the same (or a similar) community forum as my friend who told me about that one. I have 2 girls and was really shocked and terrified by the idea that kids are in the bathrooms at break coercing oral sex from each other by peer pressure, and thought it pretty likelythat it's the girls being pressured. Not what I want for my up-and-coming sixth grader to have to deal with, and it did seem appalling that in Palo Alto, which the board constantly says has the best schools ever, etc., they couldn't get a handle on it. The parent I was relying on for my information is not an alarmist, by the way. She was more concerned that her daughter would not be restrained from coercing others into in appropriate behavior! Anyway, it's nice to know that the kids who are being raised to be kids will not be in this pit of madness. Wish we could get rid of the bullying, which went on in elementary school too, but I think that would only go away in an environment where the parents were not extremely competitive and entitled, which I don't see happening any time soon. I saw a LOT of parents who were bullies themselves, and thought there was nothing wrongwith the way their children behaved.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2007 at 8:32 am
The Connections program at JLS, especially in seventh grade, was a good match for my child. Its project-oriented focus and close community created a small oasis at JLS. The kids in the program had many opportunities to work together on group projects and lots of good classroom discussion about what they were learning, which you don't find so much at the high school level.
Posted by Remembering, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 2, 2007 at 9:16 pm
I agree with the posts above about the mixed quality of Jordan. Teachers were mostly good and a few were great, but there were a few stinkers too.
My daughter had one 6th grade teacher from hell and the other was heaven-sent. Or at least I thought Ms. Heaven-sent was an angel and so did my kid. But in summer school after 6th grade, my daughter came home enthused over how nice the summer math teacher was and how students were allowed to ask as many questions as they wanted. ( ? ? ? ) That's how I found out Ms. Heaven-sent had rationed questions--no more than two per student because "I have other students in the class."
My daughter was suicidal in 8th grade, hospitalized briefly in the fall. In the spring, the English teacher assigned a project. Students were to write and illustrate ten poems. My kid did her best work of the year. Four of her poems were about death/dying/cutting with illustrations in black, white, and red (for the red cross on the ambulance, for the blood dripping from the knife). The teacher gave her an A with a note: "Clever poems!" Did the teacher alert anyone? No. If I hadn't seen my daughter's work, I'd never have known.
Conclusion: Teachers at Jordan didn't have time for students. Young adolescents are not ready to fend for themselves in the big impersonality of middle schools. Go private if you can afford it.
Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2007 at 10:16 pm
Make up your mind (Remembering)....if you can. First you say teachers were mostly good, a few great, and then you close by stating that they don't have the time...please understand that this makes your point (going private) sound rather amateur/immature. Thought you should know in case you plan to join the debate team this week. Do you really think that private school teachers have the time that the teachers at our public shcools are lacking? Perhaps the high cost of a private school education will keep the riff raff out, and thus make the teachers job a little easier. They won't have to contend with issues like malcontent students who are uninspired to do the coursework. Perhaps public education has slipped a great deal. But dismissing the fine efforts of the instructors at Jordan, and jumping ship so readily, reveals how quickly we're turning into an elitist society. Cheers!
Posted by JordanTeacher, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2007 at 8:56 am
Someone told me I might want to read this interesting forum-- wow. Interesting indeed to see the range of opinion-- PrivateSchoolParent, here's what I tell people who are considering Jordan v. private: yes, Jordan is a much bigger school, more diverse, possibly more "anonymous." But the staff work very hard to make it smaller, to connect with each kid. That's one reason "teaming" was instituted a few years ago, and I think it has helped-- kind of like schools within a school, and enables teachers to better help each child succeed.
Yes there are great and some not-so-great teachers-- in my experience that's true everywhere, however, even in private school. I would humbly suggest that most of the Jordan teachers are excellent-- my daughter went thru Jordan and by and large had great teachers who really paid attention to her and her kinesthetic learning style.
The Special Ed and Resource teachers at Jordan are amazing-- the most dedicated teachers anywhere. It's true that public schools have a challenge to integrate special learners, just because of the size of the school-- but most private schools won't take special learners anyway... And I think Jordan does a fantastic job, mostly due to the diligence of the teachers and administration... I do agree that children with "504"s may have mixed results-- because then the modifications are up to the individual classroom teachers, and some are better than others at meeting those needs.
I would agree with the poster who said that the electives program at Jordan is rich-- fabulous music, theatre, art, languages, computers, broadcast journalism, creative writing, even biotech-- a great way for young adolescents to explore different interests before they get to the more specialized tracking of high school.
Yes there's a bullying problem everywhere-- but we really work at eliminating it at Jordan, with peer helpers, character education in the Advisory, diversity programs aimed at appreciating differences, etc. We think it's gotten better over the last few years. We wish it could be still better... Again, the vast majority of students will not experience it-- it's not a pervasive culture.
Oral sex?!?!? First I heard about it was on this forum (I mean at middle schools ). We do have occasional vandalism in the bathrooms, but we haven't had any problems with oral sex on campus. eeeuuu...
Posted by Remembering, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 3, 2007 at 1:18 pm
Gee, Phil, I didn't know we came here to debate and declare winners and losers. I was trying to acknowledge that our experience with teachers was mixed. Teachers can be good and still not have time for students—hence, my advice to go private.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2007 at 8:25 am
My son went thru Jordan -
The pluses - great electives, caring teachers, generally nice kids, wonderful writing instruction (except for a 7th grade teacher who shall remain nameless and that I wouldn't wish on anyone), great teaming in 8th grade
The minuses - little or no actual teaching of math, (we taught math at home for most of the three years), almost no supervision at lunch) one or two staff members and the occasional parents.
Posted by Joradan mom x2, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2007 at 4:17 pm
Jordan has been just ok and I’m not even picky. I just want my kids to be balanced and happy (which mostly comes from the home). I have a child in resource at Jordan and honestly I have not been impressed. I have to agree that we have had the occasional awesome teacher, but again the teachers have been just ok. With that said, I am also a teacher at a private school. Private school teachers (generally speaking) are not credentialed and public school teachers are. Therefore, all of that money being spent on a private school education is for a teacher that has no formal training in education (again, generally speaking). That is not to say that private school teachers are bad, but their is a reason that credentialed teachers have to take the extra fifth year in their education. It really comes down to your child. Although the Jordan experience was not thrilling, my child survived and is doing fine at Paly (as well as my current middle schooler at Jordan). Jordan has a lot of students and that is what I feel makes great teachers tired and overworked, which makes them "just ok" teachers. Whereas, private school teachers have less students.
Posted by JordanTeacher, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2007 at 12:54 pm
Just to follow up on palo alto mom's comment-- I agree that the Math instruction used to be very mixed, depending on the teacher--but it has gotten much, much better, in part due to the presence and guidance of Ellie Slack, who is a FABulous teacher and mentor. She also teaches a "zero" period math class that's for the truly gifted math students== it's quite accelerated, and wins all kinds of competitions, and the kids are thriving. So I think if your child was at Jordan now, his/her math experience would be very different...
Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2007 at 2:26 pm
I agree that Ellie Slack is wonderful and the kids lucky enough to have her are receiving a great education. She is also making progress with the math department, hopefully my youngest will benefit. I have an 8th grader, a middle of the road student - our experience:
6th grade - virtually no instruction, teacher spent a lot of time ordering food and making phone calls during class (except on parent visit days), kids "self taught", yes the teacher is still there.
7th grade - a great teacher who not only taught, but related math to the real world, she went on maternity leave and was replaced with 2 subs
8th grade - nice teacher who can not control the class, does not speak English well and the kids spend their time throwing things, flirting and getting her to say words which she does not realize are "bad".
Posted by Mother of Jordan student, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2007 at 4:24 pm
If you can at all afford a private school, go there instead of Jordan.
My child has had a a very poor experience at Jordan (now in the 8th grade), & I am very sorry that I did not send him elsewhere.
I don't begin to have the time to enumerate the various negative experiences he has had there, & how they have pretty much killed his love of learning. And yes, there is oral sex at Jordan, as well as drinking, drugs, bullying, stealing & cheating.
I can count on a few fingers the number of competent teachers he has had, while the rest were self inflated, self absorbed, superficial, wanna bes. The place is a mess! Beware.
Posted by Personally..., a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2007 at 9:49 pm
I'll be sending my kids to Jordan in a few years and I feel fortunate to do so. I've been on the campus, in the classrooms, on the fields, and among the staff. I have a extremely positive feeling about how my kids will do as part of the Jordan Experience.
As for PG-13 movies, when my kids are old enough (and this may have nothing to do with their age, just mature enough to handle it) to watch a PG-13 movie, I'll show it to them. I wouldn't want it at the middle school level until I've signed off on it ahead of time. Still, things happen and just because a substitute teacher showed a PG-13 movie once upon a time isn't a reason to condemn a public school. There are far far worse things to get upset about. :)
Posted by been there, done that, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 21, 2007 at 6:27 am
Try the middle school administration first. Taking things to the district office is not so helpful. Tried it over much more egregious problems than teachers showing movies. The problem is still unresolved and is worse than ever 3 years later because now the person causing the problems thinks there will not be any consequences, and apparently is right.
Showing lots of movies -- plugging students in -- seems lazy and not particularly edifying. I wouldn't want teachers deciding what popular movies to show my kids without notice. If I knew ahead of time maybe I'd just ask to have my kid sent to study hall or something. Have any middle school parents asked for that?
Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2007 at 5:44 pm
PG-13 movies are not the issue - showing a movie of no educational value, without parents permission, which also happens to be PG-13 is an issue. Any reason you can think of that a movie should be shown during PE? (and I don't mean one that teaches you about a sport)
been there done that - would this be teacher who insults the students and fellow teachers by any chance?
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2007 at 5:53 pm
I don't think showing movies in school is unique to Jordan. I have had children in many schools in Palo Alto, and all of them watch too many movies. Granted, a PG 13 movie may or may not be suitable, but my question is whether or not movie watching is an edifying school experience anyway. I know that there are times that when studying a particular piece of literature, a good book or a Shakespeare play, a movie of that may be a relaxing way to finish the unit before the final test or assignment, but I can't believe that that is the only reason we are having so many movies at school. I know also that for the living skills class at Paly, many PG (or other) movies are shown but generally speaking parents are informed of this beforehand and these are supposed to be discussion openers. However, this is not what is being discussed.
My own feeling is that too often (not just rainy day lunch times, or clubs) putting a movie on is a good thing to give a substitute to do or is a method of giving a teacher more time to grade papers during school time. Our children are at school to be educated, not given treats, and while they are at school I do not expect movies to be shown at the teachers' whim, regardless of whether they are PG13 or not.
Posted by One More Mom's Opinion, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 7, 2007 at 12:47 pm
I thnk the biggest problem at Jordan is that sixth grade classes are not tracked at all for ability. Some sixth graders are in Spanish Immersion, some are in Direct Instruction, and the rest are intentionally mixed into the remaining classes. The result is that there are bored kids in every class and overwhelmed kids in every class. With almost a dozen regular sixth grade classes, it would be very easy to group students so that they are learning at their own level.
The GATE program is a meaningless label, with the exception of math tracking for seventh and eigth grade.
Posted by Anonymous, a member of the JLS Middle School community, on Jun 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm
Hi. I'm here to clarify that JLS is an outstanding school! Not only am I saying that because I am a current student there, but because I have a convincing story. A few years ago, I graduated from Duveneck elementary school and was supposed to attend Jordan along with the friends I've had in the past six years. My older brother graduated there and was very happy at first but grew tired of the school quickly.Over the summer, the district kicked me out of Jordan and told me to go to JLS because I lived about a two minute's bikeride closer. I was terrified for I knew no one going to JLS. However, from the first day of school, kids were much nicer and I made friends in no time. I found that my friends from Duveneck missed me more than I missed them. The teachers were amazing and kind to me from day 1.The nation's best industrial tech teacher teaches here; not kidding. He was nominated and won a few years ago. JLS is a much friendlier atmosphere and has a higher education standard. Also, a special program called connections is featured for learning through projects and field trips instead of textbooks and JLS has the best English Language Learning program. A majority of students make it to advance math and there's a significant amount of peers who are current seventh graders who learn with the eighth graders and their advanced math class! These are just a few of the attributes of why JLS is a safer, more fun, and higher academic system for your kids. Thanks again!
Posted by Mom, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Jun 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm
The feedback here is outdated.
Jordan's Vice Principal was promoted to Principal of JLS a few years ago. We enjoyed her at Jordan.
My children have enjoyed Jordan and I have served on the PTA. Principal Milliken was our principal for the last 3 years but has been promoted to Director of Secondary Education. He and his administration were fantastic to work with. Principal Milliken cracked down on bullying. The main issue with bullying is lack of reporting. If bullying is reported, Jordan administration immediately tends to the situation in a professional matter. Students should know that they can report bullying and the school will keep their name confidential. The math department is good at Jordan due to Ellie Slack being math dept. head (now VP). The math textbook chosen two years ago is stong. As far as class sizes, I believe they are around 24 - not bad for a public school. Some school districts have 35 in elementary classes.
A friend of mine loves the Connections program at JLS.
All schools are going to have the good and bad teachers.
Many middle school girls these days are crazy. Your child has to find the nice ones.