Superintendent's Message

Message from the Superintendent - Dr. Timothy S. Yeomans, February 6, 2012

To Our Meridian Community,

Amid all of the uncertainty of the budget reductions coming from the State of Washington, I wanted to take this opportunity and share with you some of the very positive steps that have been taking place in Meridian over the course of the 2011-2012 school year.

The district and the school board made a shared commitment to the voters and taxpayers of the community to bring about tangible and substantive change to all aspects of the school district in the fall of 2007.  I am very proud to report to our community that “across the board” improvements have been made in every aspect of the educational program and support services throughout Meridian. By embracing the challenge to serve the educational needs of “each child” in Meridian and refusing to dwell on the challenges of the past, the strategic direction set forth by our School Board has become a substantial list of successes for our children and our community.

The educational program in the district, through the cooperation of our teachers, principals and support staff, has undergone a comprehensive process of alignment with our state standards for instruction. Professional development for our teachers, the purchase and implementation of new curricula, and new instructional schedules which have insured fidelity of time on instruction, are now leading to significant improvement in the academic performance of our students.  Our teachers are working in collaboration with their peers to develop and implement highly organized lessons focused on specific student learning targets, and our support personnel are providing focused interventions for children who require extra help to succeed. Graduation requirements that insure each graduating high school student leaves Meridian with the necessary course work to access all types of post secondary schooling have now been in place for three school years.

Meridian High School students now have access to a number of choices as they consider the path that will best prepare them for their future.  MHS offers a wide range of academically challenging Advanced Placement classes and elective offerings, a cooperative agreement with the Northwest Career and Technical Academy to host classes as a “satellite campus” is in place and operating, and access for students to a number of “running start” options, are all avenues open to Meridian students. These academic options combined with the exceptionally high number of students who partake in our athletic and co-curricular options have created an environment in which our students are thriving. Over the last four years the extended graduation rate at Meridian has made double digit increases. In 2011 nearly 87% of our students graduated with the course work necessary to move forward to post-secondary training and education.

A key item which has a high level of interest throughout the community is the very tangible success of the replacement and upgrades to the school facilities in the district. The replacement and renovation of Meridian High School is well underway.  The project is both “on time” and “on budget”. The new Meridian High School will not only provide a “state of the art” learning environment for our children, but it will also become the center for activities in our community. Over the next 17 months the construction will move toward completion, and the trust of our community will be realized. Over the past month the district has worked closely with Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to insure that the replacement of Irene Reither Primary School will also be realized. The plan to combine the students of Irene Reither and Ten Mile Creek into a single facility and repurpose the existing Ten Mile Creek building for use by the district Alternative Education Program is on track to begin this summer. The $17 million bond measure passed by the voters of Meridian in 2010, when combined with state matching funds, will bring over $41 million of facility improvements to our district. Better yet, nearly all of the work taking place on these buildings is being performed by local contractors and workers.  Following the completion of the MHS and IRPS projects the district and the School Board will consider the most expedient course of action for upgrading Meridian Middle School as well.

The comprehensive replacement of technology in the district, completed without asking for any additional voter support, has provided our teachers with a necessary instructional tools and technological access for all children in Meridian. These technological improvements are in daily use and our students and teachers are reaping the benefits.

This month the district will take delivery of the final two buses in our efforts to replace every bus that drives a regular school route in our district. This undertaking was also completed without any additional request to our voters. The operational efficiencies and negligible maintenance costs have made the improvement of our transportation fleet a great success for our students and our district.

In summation, we have worked diligently to be excellent stewards of the funds provided to our district by our local voters and the State of Washington. The investments that have been made during the last five years will allow the district to better serve the needs of our students and community for years to come. I know that I speak for the School Board in offering our deep appreciation to our community for your trust and support.  Meridian is a shining example of what can be accomplished when we all work together toward a common goal.

Because of your ongoing support, Meridian is a great place! 

 

Thank You.