My daughter graduated from Meridian last year. She has gone on to a fantastic Seattle middle school in the heart of Seattle, is a friend to all, smart, community-minded, athletic, and was beyond well-prepared for middle school. Organizational habits taught at Meridian will last her a lifetime. The school's new administration is wise, forward-thinking, and relies on a fantastic parent community and good, kind kids to make plans for an even better future for the school. My daughter is now in a class with Bertschi, scds, ucds, and Bush kids and I would say (as her parent :-), but still) that she is excelling socially and academically. I highly recommend Meridian. Oh, and did I mention the most beautiful grade-school campus in Seattle? Also, if you've read A Pattern Language, you'll appreciate the mixed-use, mostly non-profits facility that houses the school.
We have two very different children currently at Meridian (4th and 1st). Our oldest is introverted, with a desire to please, and some learning issues. The younger is sharp, boisterous, and extroverted, and can be authority-challenging. I have watched the faculty, head of school, and staff at Meridian come to know both of my children deeply, and handle the social/emotional and academic needs of each with great care. We are very happy with the school. Our children are growing into wonderful people there.
We transferred from public school. Two things have stood out for me this year. The school community has been so warm and extremely supportive. My son had a passion for learning and took an interest in every subject because the peer to peer learning model and our teacher, the school, presented the work in an engaging way.
We love having our daughter at Meridian. We've been there for two years, having just completed the first grade. What makes Meridian special? At a high level, it's their emphasis on getting the kids to love learning. So while there's emphasis to to have students excel in math, reading, and Spanish - perhaps more important is that the school is striving to have kids be confident to tackle math problems, eager to pick up a book, and excited about different cultures. In regards to the classroom, we have watched our daughter achieve incredible heights both socially and academically. With class sizes not being above 16 students, a full time teacher, a shared grade-level aid, and ever-present parent volunteers - we feel like there is plenty of support and help where it's needed. Today our daughter loves reading and this year alone she's gone from reading Level 1 primer books at the beginning of the first grade to enthusiastically reading chapter books at every opportunity. In regards to the parent community, there's a continuous stream of opportunities to get involved with the school and other parents. The on-site afterschool program is another Meridian strength.
We had two kids at Meridian our oldest went on to middle school with severe deficits in her education and we are now pulling our youngest for similar reasons. The education at Meridian is terrible it has been a total waste of our money. My oldest child can barely add and she's in 6th grade the math program at Merdidian is very very weak!
We could not be happier with Meridian. With 2 kids now enrolled, we are seeing our older child absolutely blossom and looking forward to the younger one finding her place in a great group of smart, enthusiastic kids. Contrary to the comment below (granted she's not a boy), our daughter *adores* the art program and does it in the summer, too. It is a fantastic resource and has added tremendously to her experience. I don't know others that were made to dislike art by the very kind and encouraging teacher-couple. Science: the head of school is a scientist by training who is pushing science boundaries and the recent auction raised $10s of thousands earmarked for science. My daughter loves math; her teacher approaches it from so many angles (traditional paper/sensory/manipulatives/games) that it's hard not to find something to like! Both of our kids are "gifted" by testing standards, but Meridian's down-to-earth attitude doesn't make anyone feel excluded from a learning or social standpoint. Meridian is understated and doesn't go for glitx -- more like a Swarthmore than a Stanford (where I went) -- high achievers with an independent streak; parents are the same.
We had both boys at this school starting in 1999, and have transferred our second to public school. Tuition has almost doubled since then, and the new head of school has used that money to make physical improvements that frankly, weren't that important for education. The final straw was the art school that Meridian contracts with: the teachers clearly view boys as "stinkers" and made my children and others hate art. The community service is now lip service, and many of the good teachers have left. If you have money and your children didn't get into UCDS, this is the school for you.
Super math program! The school has a great math specialist who in addition to supporting all the classes also runs the 4-5 grade math team. About 40%(!) of the 4 and 5th graders (along with a number of 3rd graders) are on the team and compete at Math is Cool and Math Olympiad. The school regularly places at these events. My son is gifted in math and has been well-served at Meridian via the schools philosophy of challenging and supporting all student (whatever their level might be).
We were new to Seattle this year and nervous about placing our second grader--he's thrived at Meridian and we couldn't be more pleased. Previously he was at a strong, small-town public school in Massachusetts.