I wanted to love this school. My kids are happy enough there, but in the 3 years they've attended they still haven't mastered basic math. 28% of Meridian 3rd graders last year did not pass the Staar math test. That's unacceptable, and admins' response to it is to tell parents to hire tutors. No, your CHARTER states you are to educate every child that walks through your doors. You are failing almost 1/3 of them in math alone. My children were in the TAG program in RRSID-they aren't hard to teach. We were given no indication that they were having problems in math until the Staar tests came home on the last day of school. Until then, all I had were report cards, where my children received 3 out of 4 (meaning performs consistently on grade level without help) on every report card for math. The head of primary school is dismissive of parents with concerns, telling them they need to hire tutors, and has actually screamed at parents who asked for meetings to discuss academic concerns. They have a "don't let the door hit you on your way out" mentality with anyone who expresses concerns, because they have a waitlist. That waitlist won't last long with the current school performance.
The leaders have done an amazing job on focusing on IB and simply getting such a large school launched and running. The teachers we have had have been super nice although overwhelmed and too busy "learning IB" to focus on individual needs. Lastly, the parents are invested in their children's education - they had to apply and then commit to driving each day, etc - it is invaluable to be a part of such a community. However, we pulled our children out after two years for the following reasons: 1. Large gaps in curriculum, especially in science 2. Absolutely no interest in TAG/differentiation - which left our kids bored and eventually lazy 3. A prevailing, "If you don't like it, leave" message/attitude which felt both condescending and dismissive. This is from administration. 4. No school on Wed afternoons to accommodate IB faculty development - which adds up in lost academic time We felt as if we had "lost ground" with both children who had been excelling previously and we don't have the luxury of spending more time to see if the school would catch up in its gaps (which I believe they eventually will; they have a committed leadership and parent community).
Meridian is a public Charter school that follows the International Baccalaureate Program. Meridian is the vehicle realized by several Williamson County families that worked together with the goal of offering an education that will bring a love of learning to the classroom for their children and yours. Meridian is a school of 'choice' offering an inquiry-based curriculum. This school is an amazing alternative to standard public school education, allowing each child the opportunity to learn in a way that is comfortable and challenging all at the same time. With only 770 students, K-10, it gives that small school feel with big school options. We have loved having our daughters attend the past 2 years and enjoy seeing the way the school continues to grow and adapt each year.
This is our second year at Meridian and our child, despite some behavioral issues, continues to thrive. We feel that the caring and perceptive teachers are there because they love learning and they love children. IB is challenging and isn't for everyone, but it's an amazing program that challenges kids to do their best.
Since education is not a one-size fits all, it is nice to have an option that is not a private school or a parochial school. Our family is happy to have our student at Meridian. While he started out a bit behind, after a full year, he was able to be to complete the assigned work and has since done well in middle school. It may not be a school for everyone as there are many conveniences that are lacking - like bus pick-up. But it is a charter school and I understand that they do not receive as much money as the regular public schools do. That's why they fundraise and have a strong volunteer program. I am not able to volunteer much time, and no one has ever hassled me about it. The elementary classes do expect parents to spend time with their child during the week doing homework - but they are given choices and a week to do it. So it does take parental involvement - but it's for my child, and I get to understand what he is doing in class. The school seems to be attracting teachers with experience, even experience with the International Baccalaureate program - so they are coming to Meridian. That speaks well of the school and the leadership and it's goals.
I pulled my children because 1) lack of a rigorous elementary education 2) too much money and time demanded from the parents in order to sustain attendence 3) At one point I was told that "they" ( other district public schools) don't teach things like spelling and grammar anymore- when I went to mine I discovered OH YES THEY DO Meridian just chooses not to 4) the grading system. The student receives a check mark if it looks like he worked on his homework - the answers can be wrong but checked write if it looks like they tried 4) their use of the Everyday Math program. Its a spiral curriculum that does not encourage mastery of skills, just exposer to them. Most parents hire private tutors to teach what the curriculum lacks. 5) I feel my children lost 2 years of quality learning in order to wear a uniform to school and chant IB learner characteristics.
We left an outstanding Round Rock school to attend Meridian and we could not be happier. I tell my friends that attending Meridian is like attending a private school for free ... although it is better than a private school because private schools (like regular public schools) are driven by the desire to score well on standardized tests. Meridian does not focus on the STAAR test. We do not do regular benchmarks and our kids don't do STAAR prep worksheets as part of regular instruction. Instruction is organized around large thematic units (central ideas) where kids spend time asking questions, thinking critically and creatively, problem solving individually and in groups, etc. In the end, the goal is to take some kind of action as a result of what was learned. My kids love school and they have had some of the most outstanding teachers I have ever encountered in my 17 years experience as an educator. Our extra-curricular and athletic programs are evolving at a healthy pace. The after school program is high quality. School lunches are more expensive than regular public school lunch but the food is freshly prepared by chefs at the Studio Kitchen; no processed / frozen foods.
This was our first year at Meridian and we absolutely love it! I really liked the public school my children were previously enrolled in but the difference between that school and Meridian is like night and day. Meridian has truly helped my children reach their full potential and the teachers and staff there could not be any more nurturing to my children. Changing schools was a hard decision for us but definitely the best one we have ever made.
Both my kids attend this school. We can not be any happier with the school staff, philosophy and the teaching methods. Being a new school with IB curriculum, they have been trying their best to hep the kids stay on the top and each teacher and other staff members care about the future of the kids. Unlike a lot of other schools, they don't prepare the kids to get higher scores to get better rating for school, but their orientation is towards making the kid succeed in all areas. The teachers are focused on bringing out the best in each kid by doing everything to help the kids learn the concepts effortlessly and in a creative way so they don't have to try hard to memorize the concepts learned. The after school program (called AAA enrichment) is the best after school program that my kids ever attended (they teach Chess, Yoga, international languages (Spanish, Hindi..etc) and so many other fun and creative activities). I am very happy to share that this school has very talented, caring, patient, creative, supportive staff whose goal is to give best possible education experience to kids. I can keep going but having to stop due to limitation on number of characters allowed
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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