Welcome Back!
The start of the 2020-2021 school year is right around the bend! How we have missed all our students! We hope everyone has had a refreshing summer, and is excited as we are about the start of a fresh new school year. Yes, it feels different because, let’s face it, we all are realizing just how much we love to be with one another in person. But at least we get to see one another via Zoom. Take a moment and hug a loved one, because you can!

A bit of information about this newsletter for those who are new to the secondary school at Meridian. Lions Share is a newsletter to secondary school parents (and any students who care to sign up) that goes out weekly.

Below you'll find timely information for the weeks ahead. We also include access to important school dates; significant holidays, Holy Days and Observances; and staff contact information.

We hope you enjoy this, the first Lions Share Meridian Secondary School newsletter of the 2020-2021 school year!
First Days of School
The first day of school is coming up on August 10! We will be starting with distance learning, then, if the COVID-19 situation permits, transitioning to in-person classes after Labor Day.
Please see the Slideshow from our July 20 Parent Meeting for more information on reopening.
As noted in the slideshow, secondary students and parents may access their schedule on the Ascender online gradebook portal starting August 5. We will have more information out on logging into the first day of class in next week’s Lions Share.
School Supplies
As we start the year with distance learning, students will need a device with which they can access the internet and complete their assignments (ideally a Chromebook or laptop with a working microphone and video camera).

It is possible that some other supplies will be needed for a limited number of specific classes, in which case the teacher will inform the class of supply needs.
Once students return to the school building, they will need more traditional school supplies. Here are the supply lists for when we return to the building (after Labor Day, at the earliest).

Orientation Webinars for Parents and Students
Parents of Incoming 6th Graders:

July 30 at 6 pm, there will be an orientation webinar via Zoom for parents of incoming 6th graders that goes over more specifics on 6th grade policies and procedures. This will be approximately an hour with an opportunity for questions. (Passcode: 2WXpF2). If you cannot attend, you are welcome to join the webinar for 7th-9th Grades.

7th-9th Grade Students and Parents NEW to Meridian:

August 6 from 6 pm to 7 pm, we will be holding an orientation webinar for 7th-9th grade students and parents who are new to Meridian School.  Register in advance.

9th Grade Students and Parents:

August 7 at 6:30 pm, we will hold an orientation webinar for all 9th grade students and parents. Details will be sent out in next week’s Lions Share!
Parent Webinar for Students receiving SpEd, 504, and Dyslexia Services
If your student receives SpEd, 504, or Dyslexia services, please join our staff Tuesday, August 4, at 6 pm for a live webinar to learn how instruction will be delivered as we begin our year with distance learning.

There will be a question and answer period following. The session will be recorded and posted on our COVID-19 resource page within a few days after the presentation for those who cannot attend.
Zoom Meeting for Seniors and Parents of Seniors
Mrs. Holcombe has scheduled a Zoom meeting for  Thursday, August 6 from 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm to touch base with seniors about student activities, IB diploma program, staff changes, the college application process, and more!  To help Mrs. Holcombe better prepare for this meeting, you are invited to submit via Google Form your questions/concerns by Tuesday, August 4. (about anything and/or everything). The Zoom meeting link was emailed to students and parents directly by Mrs. Holcombe. If you did not receive it, please email her.
Distance Learning Technology Request Form
All students in grades 8 through 12 should have their own devices (like a Chromebook or laptop) to bring to school every day. With distance learning, we also recommend all students in 6th and 7th grade bring their own device.

We understand that it is difficult to obtain devices under the current circumstances, and there are families that have financial limitations as well. Meridian has a limited number of devices that can be lent to students in 6th and 7th grades. If you need to request a device loan, please complete the Secondary Chromebook Request form.

Parents of students in grades 8 through 12 who are unable to obtain their own device should email the appropriate grade-level Assistant Principal:

8th-10th grade: Crystal Lane
11th-12th grade: Stela Holcombe

If one or more of your students needs a device, please complete the form or contact your Assistant Principal by Wednesday, August 5 .
G Suite for Education - Action Required
Meridian School uses G Suite for Education with all students beginning in 2nd grade. Students use their G Suite accounts to sign into their Chromebooks, complete assignments, communicate with their teachers, and learn 21st century digital citizenship skills.

We ask for parent permission to activate this account each year. Please give your consent by Wednesday, August 5 to ensure your child can access all needed materials for the first day of school.
Vaccination Reminder to all 7th Grade Parents
We still need verification of student immunizations before August 10, according to the CDC and Texas Department of Health requirements. This applies even if students are doing distance learning.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted their student's updated record with documentation that they received both the Tdap and the meningococcal vaccines. For those 7th grade parents who still have not submitted their vaccination records: Immunization records are still being accepted by the nursing team!
Cafeteria Participation Form
Meridian participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). After closure in the spring, the NSLP guidelines allowed all families with children under the age of 18 years old to pick up meals at a school location nearest them. This fall, however, families who are interested in school meals will be required to pick up offerings at the school in which they are enrolled.

Meridian will offer breakfast and lunch to all students: those who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch Program (F&RL), and those who wish to purchase. Pick-up times will be limited to a designated time twice a week, so multiple meals can be picked up each time. Breakfasts are full price $2.75/reduced $0.30. Lunches are full price $3.75/reduced $0.40. Lunches will be similar to the Grab 'n Go options provided during on-campus instruction.

These plans are subject to change as we continue to receive updated instruction and guidance from the Texas Department of Agriculture.

During this unprecedented time of health and economic concerns, families who haven't in the past may now qualify for F&RL. You may qualify for a short time or all year. Please take advantage of this opportunity if you are eligible. The application is on our website.

Please complete this form if you are interested in participating on a regular basis in the Meridian meal program.
Uniforms: New Options!
While in distance learning, students will not be required to be in uniform. They simply need to be dressed in appropriate clothing.
When we return to school in person, students will wear their Meridian polo top, and then will have the option of either wearing the Meridian uniform shorts/pants or blue jeans.
In 2020-2021, we are adding a new uniform top option for high school. In addition to the previous uniform options, high school students may wear a black polo, as long as they get the Meridian Lion logo added to it.
As before, juniors and seniors have the option of wearing a grey oxford with the Meridian Lion logo. All students in secondary may wear a red polo, with or without the Meridian Lion logo.
Masks must be worn, but do not need to go with the uniform. The only restriction upon masks is that they not be disturbing or offensive.
Upcoming Events and Useful Links
Upcoming Holidays, Holy Days and Observances
For those of you who are new to the Secondary School at Meridian, we would like to note some significant holidays, holy days, and observances that are coming up in the next week. We have a diverse school community, and live in a diverse world, and at Meridian School we believe it is important as IB learners that we cultivate our International Mindedness. Read more.
Secondary Events At-a-Glance
Find a quick overview of secondary events; dates and times are subject to change.
Questions or Concerns? We're here to support you.
Counselors

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


Principals

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