First Quarter Grades in Ascender and Report Cards

Many of you may have noticed that grades in Ascender have been a bit wonky. Part of this is due to issues on the Ascender end, which we are working with the Region 13 Educational Service Center to resolve. 

You may have seen that your child was "withdrawn" from their classes at the end of the quarter and then enrolled in the same class during the same period. This is because, over the summer, we planned the Master Schedule for a "hybrid" model where 1/2 of our students would be on campus at the beginning of the week and 1/2 would be on campus at the end of the week. To accommodate this, we had two sections of a class meeting each period. The state changed COVID-19 school re-opening guidance and we did not use the "hybrid" model, but we were left with two sections in each class period. 

To clean up the grade book, at the end of the quarter we combined these into one section.  What this looks like, however, is that the students who were in the second section had a "schedule change" into the first section. It didn't change their teacher or class period, but it looks strange in the grade book. So if you see two classes (for example, two first period English classes) listed in the grade book, with one of them saying "withdrawn 10/19/2020," that's why. The grade for the class that does not say "withdrawn" is the official one.

This switch caused some unanticipated difficulties at the beginning of this quarter and has led to teachers having to re-enter some grades and report card comments. Report cards have been delayed by this, but should be available on Ascender by the end of the week.

Finally, on the report card you will see comments for each class that are based upon our Timely Work Completion rubric.  Please take a look at the Timely Work Completion rubric so that you can better understand these comments.
Iowa Testing for Grades 6 through 10

Students in grades 6 through 10 will take the Iowa test during the next two weeks: 
  • 6th-8th grades Monday, Oct. 26 and Tuesday, Oct. 27
  • 9th-10th grades Monday, Nov. 2 and Tuesday, Nov. 3

Students who are on campus will take the test at Meridian, while students who are distance learning will take the test from home. The test is administered online.

Please see this Iowa Test Information Letter for details.

Parents of students who are Distance Learning, please complete this required parent permission form.

Contact with any questions you might have about Iowa testing.
PSAT Administration at Meridian Thursday, Oct. 29

Who will take the PSAT?
  • 10th and 11th grade students who are learning On Campus.
  • 11th graders who are Distance Learners who signed up via the survey sent by Mrs. Holcombe the week before Fall Break have been approved to come on campus for the test.  Please arrive before 8:30 am. Parents may drop off on the courtyard side (north side of campus); students should walk around the outside of the high school building to enter via the main high school lobby entrance.  

10th Grade Distance Learners: we are sorry but we cannot accommodate 10th graders who are in Distance Learning for this PSAT administration in October. There is no option to take the PSAT online.   

10th and 11th graders who are not taking the PSAT will Zoom with Mrs. Holcombe at 8:30 am Oct. 29. They will receive an alternate assignment that is being prepared by Mr. Manuszak. Mrs. Holcombe will send out the Zoom link to the students via their school email Tuesday, Oct. 27. 

If COVID conditions allow school to remain open in Semester 2, we will have a PSAT make-up date on January 26, 2021.
Safety Drills 

Meridian follows the Standard Response Protocol for emergency procedures, and we are conducting safety drills over the next few months. Not all drills will be announced in advance. Each drill will be repeated during After School activities. 

Our next drill takes place the week of November 2. 

You should have received a message notifying you after Tuesday's drill took place if you have the PikMyKid app downloaded on your phone. 

We message families after each drill both as a notification that it happened and to let you know you would receive a similar message in the event of an emergency.

If your student is not on campus, you do not need to download the app.
Human Sexuality Curriculum: Parent Webinar Oct. 27

Parents and guardians are invited to attend a webinar Oct. 27 from 6 to 7:30 pm to learn more about Meridian's Human Sexuality curriculum, presented by Austin LifeGuard. If you cannot attend, we plan to schedule another parent information session at a later date. 

Austin LifeGuard presentations to students will take place during PE class for 6th through 9th grades on these dates: 

  • 6th grade: Jan. 26-29
  • 7th grade: Nov. 5-6 and 9-10 
  • 8th grade: Feb. 11-12 and 15-16
  • 9th grade: February 18-19, 22 and 25

A parent information letter and opt out form will be sent home with students through PE classes. Students will ONLY need to return the opt out form if their parents want them to opt out of the program by Monday, Nov. 2 (for 7th grade). Students opting out will participate in a study hall period in the library at the time of the presentation.

Here are topic overviews for 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade.
MYP Parent Night Oct. 22 at 6 pm

MYP Parents: we will host a webinar on the Middle Years Program with an emphasis on assessment. If you’re curious about how your child is assessed using MYP guidelines and practices, join us Thursday, October 22 at 6 pm. Here is the link. The passcode is 815410. We look forward to seeing you there! Questions? Please contact Kristen “Mac” Machczynski, MYP Coordinator.
Freshman Conferences Update

Freshman Conferences with the high school counselor have been revamped for Quarter 2. (If you already had your conference in Quarter 1, this will not apply to you).

Conferences will be in a small group Zoom format with 30-minute blocks for up to five families (parents/guardians and students) at a time. We will complete a Freshman Conference Form during the small group conferences and a parent-signed copy should be scanned and sent to the counselor.

Sign up for this important meeting -- please select a class period that your student has Study Hall, PE, or their elective course (Design, Computer Science, Financial Literacy).
Upcoming Events and Useful Links
Upcoming Holidays, Holy Days and Observances
United Nations Day

October 24 has been recognized since 1948 by the United Nations Organization as United Nations Day, commemorating the day in 1945 when the United Nations charter went into effect. Read more
Events At-a-Glance
Questions or Concerns? We're here to support you.

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

Student or Curricular Concerns

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

Additional Contacts

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


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