Principals' Message: A Snapshot of Meridian Learning

These are challenging, stressful times, but Meridian teachers and students are rising to the challenge. 

Here is a snapshot during a brief walkthrough of Meridian classes:

  • Mr. Hall’s Chemistry class was discussing the biochemical causes of and responses to stress, as well as mitigation strategies.
  • Mr. Miske’s US History class was examining the results of the 2020 election and how they compare to past elections.
  • Ms. MacFarland’s English Language and Literature class was conducting a Socratic Seminar discussion of the Great Gatsby. (She was nervous about how her favorite instructional strategy would work over Zoom, but was very happy with the results).
  • Dr. Blankenship’s DP History class was embarking on exploration and role play of key figures in the Russian Civil War that followed the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Several faculty members are enrolled in a 30-hour course on Blended Learning through technology integration, taught by the UTeach program at the University of Texas. Dr. Bowers is one of those enrolled and is excited about class use of technology tools such as Peardeck and Jamboard, and her ability to personalize instruction based upon student needs and choice.

We love walking by and seeing the varied ways students are learning in their classes!
Notice: Communications regarding COVID-19

See our COVID-19 dashboard at the top left of this newsletter, which will be updated weekly with the number of active cases. You can click on the link under the update for details. Our website is updated daily/as needed.
Veterans Day

On Wednesday, November 11, we honored our faculty and staff who are veterans. Our high school band also created this video honoring Meridian faculty and staff and band members’ relatives who have served.
2021-2022 Calendar Approved

Our 2021-2022 Calendar is approved and can be found on our website under "About Us." 


2020-2021 Campus Improvement Plan Review

You are invited to join school leadership Monday, November 16 from 9 am -10:30 am via Zoom meeting, for review and comment on this year’s Campus Improvement Plan (CIP).

The plan includes a review of our goals from last year and those that we have set for the current year. 

If you can, please take this opportunity to review the plan and attend the meeting. If you have questions, please submit them in writing prior to the end of day Friday, November 13.
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Where to Find Class Resources: 9th & 10th Grades

One item of feedback we have received is that it can be confusing for students and parents to know where assignments are posted for a class, where to turn them in, etc. To help with this we have created spreadsheets like the ones below:


These spreadsheets show where class agendas, resources, assignments, and assignment due dates are posted, as well as where to turn in assignments and tutorial days and times for each teacher on the team. We're publishing the spreadsheets on ManageBac so students can access them.
Courses Taken in Middle School & GPA

Some of the courses our students take in Middle School (French, Spanish, and Algebra 1, plus Geometry for some highly advanced math students) count for high school credit and appear on the high school transcript. In the past, these high school credit courses taken in middle school also counted as part of the 4.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) calculation on the high school transcript. 

A change in our student management software now allows us to exclude high school credit courses taken in middle school from the 4.0 GPA. As this was the original intent of Meridian School policy on GPA, for the class of 2023 (current 10th grade) on we will no longer calculate high school credit courses taken in middle school as part of the high school 4.0 GPA.

Interested in more information on GPA? See pages 22-23 in the Meridian School Secondary Academic Program of Studies. This document is also a good reference guide for information on the IB Middle Years and Diploma Programs, grading, graduation requirements, and more!
Semester Exams

This year is different in a variety of ways, and semester exams will be a bit different as well. December 14-17 is Semester Exam Week, but we will not have a special semester exam schedule. 

The week of December 14-18 we will have a regular A-B schedule, with 90 minute class periods. Wednesday, December 16, will not be an early release day (the last Wednesday of the semester never is early release). Wednesday, December 16, will be an A day with 90 minute periods 1-4 and school ending at 4 pm. See the AB Calendar 2020-2021.
 
Teachers may still give semester exams that week, but exams will need to fit in a 90 minute time constraint. Like in Fall 2019, semester exams, if teachers choose to give one, will count as a major/summative assessment for Quarter 3, and will be eligible to be retested in Quarter 3. 
Reminders for Families of Class of 2022, 2024

Join Class of 2022 faculty sponsors in a Zoom meeting Thursday, November 19 at 6 pm regarding the Senior Trip. Ms. Holcombe emailed families the Zoom link.

Freshmen parents who have not yet signed up for the Freshman Conference should do so now.
Dress Code Reminder: Outerwear Worn Inside the Building

This is a reminder that students are not permitted to wear pullovers of any kind inside the building (unless they are Meridian spirit wear). If students would like to wear an extra layer over their red/black polos, they need a jacket or sweater with a full zipper in the front in a solid, school approved color (red, gray, black, white, or gray). Our teachers and assistant principals will be checking more closely to make sure that students are following this rule, documenting with a discipline referral and consequences for repeat offenders.
Athletics Update:

  • 2020-21 Basketball - Registration opens Thursday, Nov. 19 and ends Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 10 pm. Physical forms are due Dec. 1.
  • Coaching Opportunities Available - Meridian Athletics is looking for Soccer, Baseball and Spring Cross Country coaches.
  • Streaming Live Athletics Events - Support your fellow lions by watching the live streaming or recording of competitions and performances for our indoor sports like Dance, Volleyball, and Swimming!
Morning Drop Off

If it’s possible for you to wait to drop off your secondary student until after 8 am, please do so. This helps reduce student contact in our common spaces before school starts, and reduces our need for staff members to supervise students before 8 am. If, however, you have a primary student or if you drop off on the way to work, we of course understand the need to drop early.

Morning Pick-Me-Up

Our staff members are continually thankful for your donations of coffee, cups, creamer and sweeteners. It gives us one less thing to worry about on our mental morning checklist. 

And we probably don't have to tell you how nice it is to have a quick cup of caffeine ready to go when you have a free moment to grab it!
Upcoming Events and Useful Links
Upcoming Holidays, Holy Days and Observances
Diwali

Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, celebrates the legend of the return of the Hindu god Rama to his kingdom after a long exile. Read on

Bandi Chhor Diwas

According to SikhWikki, Bandi Chhor Diwas (“Prisoner Release Day” in the Punjabi language), is a Sikh commemoration of the day on which the Sikh “Guru Hargobind Sahib was released with 52 Kings from Gwalior Prison.”  Read on

American Education Week

According to the National Education Association, “American Education Week—November 16-20, 2020—will present all Americans with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education.” Read on
Events At-a-Glance
  • Winter Spirit Wear Store Online through Nov. 22
  • November Cafeteria Calendar: Breakfast and Lunch options.
  • Secure Drill this week; After School families will be notified 30 minutes prior to drill and dismissal will be paused during the drill.
  • Lockdown Drill next week; After School families will be notified 30 minutes prior to drill and dismissal will be paused during the drill.
  • Campus Improvement Plan: Nov. 16 at 9:30 am
  • Giving Tuesday: Dec. 1 (Think of supporting Meridian in your Giving Tuesday plans).
  • Board Meeting: Dec. 1 at 6 pm
  • Overview of secondary events; subject to change
Student or Curricular Concerns

Assistant Principal grades 6-7: Matthew Castaneda
Assistant Principal grades 8-10: Crystal Lane
MYP Coordinator grades 6-10: Kristen Machczynski
Assistant Principal grades 11-12, IB DP Coordinator: Stela Holcombe
Secondary Special Education Coord: Haley Weisbrod
Secondary Librarian: Tina Van Winkle

Principals

Middle School Principal: Melina Berduo
High School Principal: Charles Ryder
Counselors

Middle School Counseling: Nicole “Coco” Cole
High School Counseling: Carrie Proctor
College Counseling: Kathy Gregg

Additional Contacts

Middle School Attendance: Olga Alexander
High School Attendance: Shawn Seaman
Cafe: Chef Leslie Sterzinger