Thursday, July 3, 2014

Make connections and spend time in the garden this summer with JAMS and Nathan Hale families!

Looking for a fun and healthy summer activity?  Hale's large and thriving school garden is the place to be from 4 to 6 PM every Sunday night through Labor Day weekend.  Come help us maintain the garden, and share in the harvest at the end of the evening.  The garden is located north of the Jane Addams Middle School Campus.  EVERYONE is welcome--Hale students, JAMS students, siblings, families, and neighbors.  Students can earn service hours.

Please join us!  For more information, please contact teacher Jessica Torvik at<>

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Math Placement for JAMS 6th Graders

Principal Montgomery has sent us information about students' placement in math classes this coming year. She has sent the District's math placement recommendations to 5th grade teachers by now, so you can contact your child's teacher or you can contact Ms. Montgomery at p l mont gomery at seattle schools dot org [remove spaces, replace words with symbols] about your child's JAMS math placement.

Families may opt up by a level, but you need to fill out the paperwork and mail it to JAMS.  Bringing the paperwork to JAMS after July 1 would be best.  Here’s the link to the opt in form. Scroll down until you see a table of languages and select the language you’d like the form in. If you can’t open it, please contact Ms. Montgomery and she can send it to you as a Word document.

Matrix used for 6th grade math placement

Highest Fall or Winter 5th Grade MAP Score
4th Grade MSP Score
200 - 425
426 - 475
476 - 524
525 and above
100 - 229
230 - 239
 240 - 249
250 and  above
Algebra 1

"CMP" stands for the district-adopted middle school curriculum, Connected Mathematics Project. JAMS will be using an updated version. More information about the curriculum can be found at the Pearson website.

Math Placement FAQ

What is the recommendation based on? 
The recommendation is based on MAP and state assessment results from grades 4 and 5. The recommendation matrix is displayed above.

Why does the district use 4th grade scores in placement recommendations? 
Middle schools need to build their schedules well before 5th grade MSP results are available.

Why are some students recommended to skip over a math class? 
The vast majority of students will not be recommended to skip a math class. Most of our math students will be recommended to take the next course in sequence. Math is developmental and sequential and very few students can skip an entire grade of math and not experience repercussions later. Nevertheless, in an effort to offer the best mathematical opportunities for all students, a very few students may be a recommended to take a course beyond the next one in sequence.

What if a family disagrees with the recommendation? 
A family may choose to ask a middle school to place a student in a math class one year beyond the recommended course. To do so, most schools require the students and families to sign a placement contract. 

What should a family consider in helping a student enroll in the right middle school math class? 
Families are encouraged to be very thoughtful about their math enrollment decisions.  Students and parents/guardians should carefully consider a student’s math acuity, confidence, work ethic, and strength of foundational mathematics skills before enrolling in an advanced pathway.

Can students opt into Algebra 1 in Middle School? 
The math department believes the best way to help students be prepared for college and careers is through completion of a mathematics pathway that allows students to experience a balance of procedural fluency and conceptual understanding. To ensure this, it has been the tradition in SPS not to allow students to opt into Algebra 1. However, this year, to accommodate the possibility that the recommended math course may miss a student who is ready for Algebra 1, the district has decided to offer an Algebra readiness test to students who meet one but not both of the criteria for placement in Algebra 1. This test can be requested by the parents or teacher of a fifth grader. It will be given at John Stanford Center once a month beginning in April. More information on this Algebra readiness test can be obtained from Anna Box, Math Program Manager, or Shawn Cook, Assessment Development Professional. Scores and resulting placement recommendations will be communicated to families and to the middle school where the student will enroll.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

JAMS Music announcements from Debra Schaaf

Music Announcements
First meeting of Friends of Jane Addams Music (FOJAM): Wednesday, June 11, 7 pm, JAMS Library: This organization will support the JAMS Music Department to ensure high-quality experiences for all music students. Please join us!!

Music Mailing List
If you haven’t already, please register your email address and child’s information here:

6th Grade Music Placement Audition Dates
There will be 4 levels each of Concert Band and String Orchestra available at JAMS next year. Try-outs for placement in Band and Orchestra Classes will be held Saturday, June 7 and Saturday, June 14 at JAMS. An audition is NOT necessary for students who wish to join band or orchestra for the first time, or who would like to begin a new instrument.
Students should bring their instrument and music/book, and should be prepared to play something that they feel they play well.
Here is the link to the sign-up for BAND (Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, all saxes, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone/Euphonium, Tuba, Percussion.):

Here is the link to the sign-up for ORCHESTRA: (Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass):

7th and 8th Grade Placement
Students from Hamilton and Eckstein Middle Schools will be placed in band or orchestra classes based on recommendations from Mr. Rowe, Mrs. Armaly, Mr. Escobedo, and Mr. Smith. Students transferring from other middle schools will need to audition for placement. Please use one of the links above to sign up.
Senior Jazz Audition Date
Admission to Sr. Jazz is by audition only; at least a year of Junior Jazz experience is required. Instrumentation is limited to standard big-band: alto, tenor and baritone saxes; trumpets; trombones; and rhythm section. Auditions for Senior Jazz Band will be held Friday, June 13 at JAMS. Students should be prepared to play:
Horns: (saxes, trumpets & trombones): two different major scales of their choice (one of which must be two octaves) and one chromatic scale (preferably two octaves), a piece that demonstrates understanding of jazz style, a demonstration of improvisation (optional; concert B flat blues is recommended. There are high-quality backing tracks available on Youtube for practice, or you can use Jamey Aebersold discs) and sight-reading.
Piano, bass, guitar: a prepared piece that demonstrates understanding of jazz style, a demonstration of improvisation (optional; concert B flat blues is recommended) and sight-reading
Drum Set: demonstrate steady time in three different styles: Swing, Latin of your choice, third style of your choice; sight-reading.
Although this sounds like a lot, I promise to keep this as low-key and low-stress as possible, and am thinking of this as a first opportunity to get to know students individually and to just find out what they know and can already do. If there’s something listed in the audition requirements that students are unsure of, DON’T PANIC! We’re here to learn!!
Here is the link to the sign-up for SR. JAZZ:

Junior Jazz Sign-up
Junior Jazz is open to students who have at least one year of experience on their instrument. Sign-up forms will be available after the start of school. Junior Jazz will meet twice a week after school on Wednesdays and Fridays, and will be taught by Colin Pulkrabek.

Questions? Contact Deborah Schaaf:

Instrument Rentals
If you are new to band or orchestra, you will need an instrument! Renting an instrument generally costs between $25 and $45 per month. Here is a list of shops that provide rental services:

The Bass Church: (specializing in double bass)
9716 Phinney Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 784-6626

Bischofberger Violins: (Violin, viola cello)
1314 E John St
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 324-3119

Capitol Music Center:
1006 NE 50th Street
Seattle, WA  98105
(206) 622-0171

Hammond-Ashley Violins: (All orchestral strings, including double bass)
320 Third Ave NE
Issaquah, WA  98027
(425) 392-396

Kennelly Keys Music:
Across the street from Northgate Mall
10720 5th Ave. NE
Seattle, WA 98125
(206) 440-8299

Metropolitan Music:
8414 5th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 729-9299

Mills Music:
13500 Bel Red Road Suite A
Bellevue, WA 98005
(425) 643-3100

Seattle Sound Repair
4122 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA  98103
(206) 659-9023

It is the policy of the JAMS Music Department that every interested student be able to participate, regardless of his/her family’s ability to provide an instrument. If instrument rental causes financial hardship, please contact us about borrowing a school instrument.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

JAMS PTSA's website: the best, most immediate source of information

Hopefully, many readers have already discovered the JAMS PTSA official website: 

The PTSA website is undoubtedly the best source of updated information about events and developments at JAMS.  There is also the JAMS Fusion page, (yes, that's correct), which is perhaps less user-friendly, but has detailed announcements that Paula Montgomery posts directly.

Both of these resources include the option for you to sign up to receive email updates. We encourage you to join these email lists.  You'll get news about topics such as the election of PTSA officers, ongoing hiring of teachers, and upcoming meetings for your children to get to know their new school.

A note about this blog:
You will have noticed that the posts on this blog have been few and far between as of late -- this is partly due to personal pressures and partly due to the fact that the PTSA and Ms. Montgomery now have direct means of communication with the JAMS community.  This blog was created back when JAMS was only an idea, and there were no other sources of information and organization. Now, there are other, centralized sources of direct information. The blog will continue to exist, but it will exist mainly in the form of discussions rather than intermittent news blasts. Please send your suggestions for topics to  Thanks!

Monday, April 28, 2014

JAMS music booster club (FOJAM) seeks volunteers for its Board of Directors

More good news for music-loving JAMS families: Zari Magness, the president of Hamilton's very active and effective music booster club, has announced the formation of a similar club for JAMS!  Zari is looking for volunteers for the FOJAM (Friends of Jane Addams Music) Board of Directors. Please see Zari's message below. If you would like to get involved, you should be able to get a message to Zari through principal Paula Montgomery at p l mont gom ery at seattle schools dot org or the incoming JAMS Music Teacher Leader, Debra Schaaf: d e schaaf at seattle schools dot org [remove spaces, replace words with symbols].  Music at JAMS is going to be fantastic!
Dear incoming JAMS families,

I am pleased to update you on the status of the new nonprofit music booster
club for Jane Addams Middle School. The purpose of the organization is to
support the music program and music directors at Jane Addams and provide
enrichment for all music students. We are happy to announce that Articles of
incorporation for Friends of Jane Addams Music (FOJAM) have been filed with
the state by one of the Hamilton parents, Faith Pettis of Pacifica Law
Group. We are grateful to Faith and her firm who agreed to do the legal work
pro bono for FOJAM. We still need to make the 501c3 filing with the IRS
which will incur some additional filing fees, but we will detail those later

In the meanwhile, we need to identify 7 volunteer director positions for the
FOJAM board. Attached please find a short document (~8 pages) with the board
structure and responsibilities and let me know if any of these positions are
of interest to you. Ideally the board should be representative of all
schools feeding into JAMS. Once we have nominations for these positions, a
meeting will be called to vote on the directors as well as to vote on the
FOJAM bylaws.

If you can not commit to a board position right now, there are many
volunteer positions where you can help. These non-board positions are also
listed in the boxes in the attached document as well but I can provide you
more details on what they entail. To provide a great music experience for
our students at JAMS, please consider helping out by volunteering for any of
the many jobs that will need you when school starts. If you have experience
writing grants, please contact me, so we can start brain-storming while the
FOJAM startup goes through.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.

Zari Magness
2013-14 President
          Friends of Music at Hamilton International Middle school. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Your Input Sought on 6th Grade Electives!

JAMS Principal Paula Montgomery and the Parent Core Team are seeking input from families heading to JAMS in the next few years about 6th grade electives.  Please keep in mind that this does not impact students entering 7th and 8th grade. 
Parents! JAMS would like your opinion about 6th grade!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

JAMS PTSA Charter Member Meeting; Officer Nominations Sought

From the Jane Addams Middle School PTSA Steering Committee:

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 2nd, 7 PM in the JAMS Cafeteria for our CHARTER MEMBER meeting. Bring your checkbooks as we will be signing up members for our newly formed PTSA. At this meeting we will also be electing our Executive Board.
We are currently soliciting nominations for the following positions:
  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Legislative Chair
If you would like to be considered, or you would like to nominate someone else, please send a brief statement to: Also, all positions, except for President, can be shared between two people.
More information can be found at
Please consider being an integral part of our new middle school.
Looking forward to seeing you there,
The JAMS PTSA Steering Committee

Monday, February 10, 2014

JAMS News and Open Thread

Don't forget! There are two important dates coming up for prospective Jane Addams Middle School families.

TOMORROW, February 11:
5:30-6:30 p.m., in the Jane Addams library, principals Paula Montgomery (JAMS) and Debbie Nelson (JAK-8) will be available to talk to families of current Jane Addams K-8 students who will be 7th or 8th graders next year about the differences between JAMS and JAK-8.

6:30-7:30 pm, in the Jane Addams auditorium,  Information Night for prospective JAMS families. This is a chance for you to tour the school and ask questions about the JAMS program.

5:30 - 6:30 p.m. in the Jane Addams library, Special Education Executive Director McWilliams and other Special Education staff will be available to discuss Special Education Services at JAMS for 2014-2015.

6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Jane Addams auditorium, the second Information Night for prospective JAMS families, another chance to tour the school and ask questions about the JAMS program.

The JAMS PTSA Steering Committee has announced on its website that after-school activity programs at JAMS will be run by the YMCA!  This is great news for people who were wondering or worried about how this would be pulled off at a new school. The YMCA runs the after-school activity programs at Eckstein and HIMS.

The JAMS Fusion Page official website has announced the hiring of four more teacher leaders: science leader, language arts leader, head counselor, and assistant principal. With the music teacher leader hire announced earlier, this makes five teacher leader positions filled. If you are interested in participating in the teacher hiring process, you can take the SEA interview training and let Principal Montgomery know that you would like to participate in an interview team.  There is a training scheduled for tomorrow, February 11.

As reported earlier, the JAMS PTSA Steering Committee is helping the new music teacher leader, Debra Schaaf, gather information ahead of time about the music program needs of kids who may be coming to JAMS. Please visit the JAMS PTSA Steering Committee's website to fill out the online information form.

Feel free to discuss any and all of these things in the comments to this post, or anything else (on-topic) that's on your mind!

Monday, February 3, 2014

New JAMS PTSA web site puts you in touch with Music Department and PTSA!

The JAMS PTSA Steering committee has set up a web site -- -- to keep families informed of all events happening at the new Jane Addams Middle School.  This site has links for useful JAMS-specific information.  The Steering Committee is busily working on putting together the charter application for JAMS membership in the Washington State PTA.

Here's a great opportunity for music-loving kids to let Debra Schaaf, the Music Teacher Leader of JAMS, know about their talents and what music opportunities they'd like to have at JAMS.  Click on "JAMS Music Information Form" in the upper right corner of the main page to submit your information to help Ms. Schaaf and Principal Montgomery in their music planning.

Thanks to the JAMS PTSA Steering Committee for their ongoing work!

Open thread: what topics would YOU like to see as posts?

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About Us

Seattle, WA, United States
We are a group of parents who are excited to get involved in planning the best possible middle school for our kids!