Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Student Clubs and Activities

Student clubs and activities are an integral part of providing the kind of comprehensive student experience that we all want for our kids at JAMS. As one commenter so eloquently put it about her current Eckstein 7th grader:
I would like his last year of middle school to be HAPPY not just tolerable so I think that some activities which empower, energize and connect kids as a group would be very welcome.

Similarly, L.H. emailed us:
I’d be interested to get a conversation going about particular student clubs as I am interested in starting a Model United Nations club that could serve to unify kids from different programs, and be interesting and fun. I have a friend whose kids do this in California and they get to go to the United Nations in NYC for a trip - could be really cool
Sounds fabulous! What clubs would you and your kids like to see at JAMS? Interests that current fifth graders would like to pursue or develop? For example, many Sacajawea kids have an interest in theatre from the school play and an amazing 4th/5th grade teacher who uses theatre as a strong teaching tool in his class.

Eckstein and Hamilton appear to offer after-school clubs through the YMCA: [list of current Eckstein clubs; opens as PDF in new window]. [List of current Hamilton offerings; opens as PDF in new window]

Commenters on this blog have also suggested:
  • Ultimate Frisbee club (co-ed, multi-age activity in which many Eckstein and HIMS kids participate)
  • FLL robotics team
  • Drama
  • Ski Bus
Are there other freestanding clubs that Eckstein and Hamilton students want to continue? 
The other question is getting the clubs up and running for the fall. One commenter noted:
At Eckstein, it seems like teachers are often in charge of many extra-curriculars..such as coaching sports teams and chaperoning ski bus. I am not sure if this is standard throughout Seattle Middle schools but I am hoping we will see this at JAMS. It also is a great way for kids to form an additional bond with teachers.

How do we do this? If your kid is really interested in a particular activity, are you able and willing to start getting together with other like-minded parents to support that activity at JAMS? This blog would be available to help you communicate and find each other. Let's work on this together!


  1. I would really like to see our karate program continue at JAMS - we have a GREAT dojo and program and it is actually not too expensive.

    What about having a PTA person/committee coordinate and take the teachers off the hook? If they want to do a class that would be great but I would hate to put more on them as they get up to speed at the new school.

  2. I would love to see science and technology expo as well as robotic group. Also a united nation student organization comprises of diverse student groups to focus on international crisis and make this world heal

  3. There needs to be an office just like at Hamilton that the YMCA staffs with afterschool activities. We rely on these programs Yoga, marshal arts, art programs, languages, music it needs to be all inclusive inexpensive and every day if possible. This is so very important to creating a healthy school atmosphere.

  4. I agree Anonymous @ 8:43. I don't know what Hamilton offers. I am hoping there will be some inexpensive after school options that allow my child to be there at school to do homework or some kind of enrichment without it being a huge burden on the pocketbook. I'm sure many families who are not reading this blog will not be able to afford some of the options mentioned. And, I don't mean to negate those suggestions...just hope that consideration is made for families who won't be able to afford to pay much for those activities. They are usually not cheap.

  5. Eckstein's robotics team is coached by a math teacher. It is funded by a grant she applied for. It hasn't cost the students anything. The grant covers the robot kit, the field kit, and registration fees. I believe they use a school laptop. A parent donated the materials for the competition table. The grant covered enough for one team of up to 10 students. Some schools have multiple teams. The students provided their own afterschool snacks and the only travel was to Ballard High School. If a team advances, there will be travel costs.I can get in touch with the teacher to find out all the details.

    I can also help get the team started, but I'm not sure yet, if I would be able to help supervise the team after school. If it was decided to fund a team or teams through a grant, we could use someone with grantwriting experience.The FLL website gives a breakdown of the costs involved.


    P.S. My daughter loved the idea of Model UN.

  6. At JA K-8, students from Hale mentor a Robotics after school program. Hale has an outstanding robotics team. It would be great if a similar partnership could be developed between JAMS and Hale.

    Also at JA-K8, MESA (Math, Engineering and Science Achievement) is a popular after school program for middle school students. The kids do a lot of hands-on engineering projects, and compete at the local and State level. I think for a school to have MESA it would have to have a fairly high FRL population, and there would also need to be a teacher willing to coach/sponsor the program.

    - KM

  7. What about the ski bus? It would be really unfair if Hamilton and Eckstein continue to do their ski bus program, and jams doesn't have one :-(

    That would not be acceptable at all.

    The same outfit does both of those middle schools, it ought to do jams as well. That will simplify logistics. And it is a great organization that is used to working with Seattle public schools.



    (I have no affiliation with them whatsoever, just want to make sure my kids get to go skiing like my neighbor's kids)

    -JAMS skier

  8. Will the Mohan ski bus be operating at Aki, Mercer, Denny, Madison and McClure too? Is equity between schools really important - or just ensuring no school gets more than yours? Honestly, some of the equity comments here are very tone deaf.

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  9. A strong PTA can help to subsidize some or all after school clubs (ok,, maybe not the ski bus, that is more expensive). Some clubs may have to fundraise separately if they have group trips, but I don't think that is uncommon. I do really like the Hamilton model with the YMCA organizing/coordinating. There is also a homework club that meets every single day at Hamilton - a must, I think. And yes, I am willing to organize a model United Nations - and I will check into how this might work.


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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!