The Lion

October 2018 - Safety Update
Top Lion
Dear Parents,
I received a handful of emails in response to the messages that went out last week, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to converse with those parents. Safety is always my #1 priority and I appreciate when our community joins me in thoughtful conversation. Many of our safety initiatives and improvements have been shared at the past two parent meetings (April and September), but I recognize not every person is able to attend every meeting. Heading into the second quarter, it seems this is a good time to reflect on where we've been and where we're going in regards to safety and security at Meridian:
We have gone to great lengths since the Stoneman Douglas shooting to assess our safety and security measures. Meridian has taken a holistic approach to safety preparedness and prevention, which has included, but has not been limited to, working with local law enforcement to complete a detailed threat assessment of our facilities and procedures, bringing in RRPD to present their Situational Awareness training to our staff as well as planning a future Active Shooter training for staff, and the creation of a Safety Task Force.
The Safety Task Force, made up of administrators, teachers, counselors, parents, and a Board member, has met seven times since April and has spent much time and consideration researching and reviewing best practices. Many of the changes and improvements we've made came from these conversations. For example, we're in the process of implementing a new emergency communication system that will streamline both our internal and external communication and sync directly with first responders, as well as give staff the ability to report an incident or threat directly to administration and law enforcement at the touch of a button. We've also incorporated the  Standard Response Protocol (recommended by the Texas School Safety Center) into our emergency procedures to provide a common language and action-based directives and strategies. After much conversation about active shooter training and preparedness, it was decided that Meridian would adopt the strategies taught in Avoid Deny Defend. This decision was reinforced after our Communications Coordinator attended The Briefings: A National School Safety Symposium where this method was suggested over all others for providing the most comprehensive and effective strategies. Avoid Deny Defend has since been introduced to our staff and students (grades 5-12 only) in conversations leading up to, and in conclusion of, the LOCKDOWN drills that took place on September 10
When RRPD completed the threat assessment of our facilities in the spring, a few minor suggestions were made, but the officers reported to city officials that Meridian was by far one of the safest schools they'd visited. They commended us on our limited access points and system of locked interior doors. The only time those doors are accessible is during the brief minutes between class periods, and they are then monitored vigilantly by knowledgeable staff. And by monitored, I mean staff is physically holding open the doors, which can be closed and thereby locked in an instant. For those who may not know, our classroom doors also remain in a locked position. Doors with magnetic frames have a flat magnet that can quickly be moved, allowing the lock to engage. Other doors are to remain in a locked position at all times, but can be left ajar during the day to prevent distractions when students come and go. and we continue to stress with students and staff that the safest place to be is behind a locked door. It's also important to note that the majority of our classroom doors open out rather than in. (Doors that open out are said to provide an extra degree of safety.) The very few classrooms with doors that open in are now equipped with safety devices that can quickly be placed to provide extra security. 
We also recognized that just preparing for an emergency was not enough; we need to be proactive in preventing crisis. Having a positive school climate and culture are big factors in creating a safe environment. A school whose students are equipped to communicate thoughts and feelings effectively and whose community adopts a practice of kindness, empathy, and inclusion, is a school more prepared to handle adversity.
In the spring, our counselors worked together to create a Teacher's Guide to Critical Conversations & Trauma Response. The guide provides teachers with a variety of resources including best practices when facilitating emotionally charged classroom conversations, links to online resources, and information on developmentally appropriate responses to stress and trauma. It is our responsibility as educators to truly hear our students, honor their thoughts and feelings, and provide a safe environment for them to grow and learn from their experiences.
We are also empowering our students through the national If you see something, say something. awareness campaign, which was originally created to prevent terroristic attacks at a national level, but has since grown to include materials for schools. Middle and high school students have taken video challenges in advisory classes and have been discussing when it's appropriate to say something (reporting a threat vs. tattling) and how to go about doing so (tell a trusted adult, submit an anonymous tip, or report to law enforcement). 
Promoting and fostering positive peer relationships is a critical factor when looking at a school's culture, so I was moved when Jacki James, founder of Kindness Matters, spoke to parents at the September ViP meeting. Jacki lost her son to suicide as a result of bullying and now speaks to schools about the power of words and the importance of spreading kindness. I'm pleased to share she'll be joining us again later this month to provide interactive student assemblies for grades 5-8. 
Still to come...
In April's parent meeting it was shared that Meridian was working with local law enforcement to provide active shooter training for staff, and last week it was confirmed this will take place on November 28. Officer Smith, from RRPD's SWAT Training Department, met with us to customize the program for that day, and we feel confident our staff will receive the very best training from his team. The following trainings have also been scheduled:
Threat Assessment - training for principals on October 8
NIMS &  Incident Command - training for our Site Safety Team, October (exact date TBD)
Kindness Matters - student assemblies for grades 5-8 on October 22
Mental Health First Aid - training for teachers and staff on December 20-21
Standard Reunification Method - training for teachers and staff on January 7
It is my hope that these updates give you a snapshot of the holistic approach we're taking to make sure Meridian is a safe place for all. I am very proud of everyone at Meridian for working together to make safety a priority without taking away from the students' learning experience. We want our school community to be aware and prepared, but not fearful or fret with anxiety.
I wish all our families a safe and restful Fall Break. As always, please feel free to reach out to me any time.
Rick Fernández
Head of School
Click here for a comprehensive list of our safety updates.
September 2018

Top Lion
Dear Meridian Parents,

As Meridian's head of school, I often hear how happy a parent, a student, or a faculty or staff member is to be a part of this outstanding school. My fall message to parents is usually reserved to highlight some of the school's recent successes. I will do that today, but it's critical that I begin with what is on our minds most, school safety.  

Safety has always been the #1 priority at Meridian, and we've gone to great lengths to assess our procedures, plan for emergencies, and prevent unfortunate incidents from ever occurring. We hope you'll come out to hear about this holistic approach we're taking and learn what we're doing to make Meridian safe for all!  On Thursday, September 13, 6:30 - 8:00 PM, Meridian will host its annual Fall Parent meeting. At this meeting, we will share our school's holistic approach to our safety plan. Come hear about our crisis team, safety task force, and partnership with Round Rock Police Department. The safety presentation will be the lion's share of the meeting. I believe this parent meeting will be the most important meeting we have ever had.

The creation of Meridian World School is the result of a grassroots movement led by Williamson County parents and community leaders. Today, Meridian is a great school in large part because of parents. At the end of the year last year, U.S. News and World Report ranked our school the #1 High School in Texas and the #6 High School in the United States. In mid-August of 2018, the Texas Education Agency communicated that Meridian earned a 94 under the new A-F accountability rating system with distinctions in all four core subjects, ELA/reading, mathematics, science, and social studies. In July, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP) results were communicated. Fifty-two of our 59 seniors took one or more IB DP examinations with a passing rate of 98% on one or more of these examinations. Forty-one of our seniors took the challenge of the full IB Diploma taking an examination in each of the six subject areas: English, foreign language, social studies, science, mathematics, and the arts. In addition, these students took an IB DP Theory of Knowledge course, wrote an extended essay of up to 4,000 words, and satisfied the criteria for the Creativity, Activity, and Service component. Eighty-eight percent of these students earned their IB Diploma, which is the highest Diploma rate for Meridian to date. Our stellar results are because Meridian has highly motivated students, talented educators, dedicated administrators, and extremely involved and supportive parents. This year's school theme is, "Our Future is So Bright." I am convinced that the IB Primary Years Program (PYP) for students in grades K-5, the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) for students in grades 6-10, and the IB DP for students in grades 11-12 will prepare them for what comes next whether it be the next school year, college, or the workforce. I am also very proud that character education is embedded into all three IB programs where we are helping to create learners who are inquirers, knowledgeable, critical thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective. 

I hope to see you at our 6:30 PM parent meeting on Thursday, September 13 in the Mays Gym. In addition to the safety presentation, you will hear from Charles Ryder, high school principal; Melina Berduo, middle school principal; Shannon Haulotte, primary school principal; Karalei Nunn, founder and COO; and Jessica Boese, Communication & Volunteer Coordinator.
Warm wishes,
Rick Fernández
Head of School
September 2017

Top Lion
Dear Meridian Parents,
We enter our seventh year as an International Baccalaureate (IB) authorized school for the Primary Years, Middle Years, and Diploma Years; we are an IB ContinuumSchool. Given that authorization for each program undergoes a three-year process of self-study and implementation, we have reason to celebrate. Please join me at a parent meeting on Thursday, September 14 at 6 PM in the Mays Cafeteria where we will celebrate having achieved MYP authorization last spring and therefore earning the IB Continuum status.  
At the beginning of each school year, our teachers participate in professional development and have a day or two to get their rooms ready for their students. On the first day when all K-12 teachers and staff come together, I do my best to communicate my vision and goals and offer words of encouragement and appreciation. This year, I tried something a little different. I invited Ellie Dieringer, a rising senior, to deliver the convocation speech. I thought this was the right year for this since Ellie began with us as a sixth-grade student in the Primary Years Program and has experienced the Middle Years Program and will begin her second year of the Diploma Program. For 45 minutes and without a single note, she captivated the audience of almost 200 Meridian staff members by reflecting on her journey at Meridian. She spoke eloquently about what she had learned over the years at Meridian. She touched our hearts when she cited specific experiences in primary, middle, and high school, which contributed to her growth as a learner and a caring citizen of the world. As she spoke, I thought and wanted to shout, "This is the result that we want for all of our students at Meridian!" We want to help students become confident learners and poised communicators who are ready for what comes next for them whether it be the next grade level, university, or the workforce. Instead of principals or IB coordinators outlining the benefits of an IB education, we were able to hear how Meridian and an IB education positively influenced a rising senior. Not only did Ellie give examples of the effects of the rigorous IB curriculum and the character education of the IB Learner Profile, but she also interweaved the importance of the MindUp program, sports, and clubs, specifically Model United Nations. She credits her supportive family and teachers for her success. 
We want to prepare all of our students for success. How do we measure success? One measure is the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and End of Course (EOC) examinations. On August 15, 2017, we were greeted with some good news from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The 2017 Accountability Summary showed that Meridian School not only received an accountability rating of "met standard," but also the school earned five distinctions.
  • Academic Achievement in Reading/English Language Arts;
  • Academic Achievement in Mathematics;
  • Academic Achievement in Science;
  • Academic Achievement in Social Studies; and
  • Postsecondary Readiness.
Another measure of success is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program examinations. 
  • Ninety-two percent (92%) of the Class of 2017 students took and passed one or more IB DP examinations.
Another measure of success is our overall attendance rating which was:
  • 97.18% for 2016-2017
A critically important measure of success is how we do financially. Meridian World School earned a perfect score of 100 (Superior Rating) on the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST).
According to the Texas Education Agency, "The purpose of FIRST is to ensure that open-enrollment charter schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those practices. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to better manage their financial resources in order to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes." Let's take our hats off to Eileen Kuhn, our Chief Financial Officer, and her dedicated team. Ms. Kuhn is a school founder and served as our first president of the Meridian World School Board of Directors.
An important measure of success, especially to our students, is having a sense of community outside of the school day. Last year, many of our primary students participated in Triple A, and in martial arts, chess club, band, orchestra, Math Pentathlon, Destination Imagination, Lego Robotics, and Spelling Bee. Our secondary students also had some places to call home in our athletics program. Our display case houses trophies from volleyball, cross country, swim team, baseball, basketball, and tennis. If athletics were not their thing, secondary students could find like-minded friends in: band, orchestra, soccer club, Destination Imagination, Robotics, Book Club, Writing Club, PALS, Dance Club, African Dance Club, Glee Club, National Honor Society, Debate Club, Democrats Club, Science Club, Projects for a Cause, Rocket Club, Minecraft Club, Chess Club, Gaming Club, Coding Club, Model United Nations, Student Council or in our first-ever musical. I don't know about you, but I attended a very large high school, and I don't remember that many choices.
Success also comes from doing whatever we can to hire and keep outstanding teachers and staff. A few years back, I heard a teacher say that, "I want Meridian to be my forever home." Our new middle school assistant principal who came to us with 17 years of experience wrote the following on Facebook, "Are you ready for my top 20 new school brags in no particular order?"
  1. The chef in our cafe cooks not just edible food, but tasty and healthy food! Yes!! During professional development, we even had the opportunity to eat in our restaurant-worthy cafe!
  2. The cafe recycles and teaches all children how to as well (they don't even use disposable dishes), compost leftover food, and the school is working on a water system to reuse water too!
  3. I received a very nice school polo shirt.
  4. Teachers are starting a grass roots teacher support/education program that is totally voluntary. Their presentation involved bat costumes and batman music too, and a hilarious acronym.
  5. Four cake worthy celebrations already with two of the cakes being homemade and AMAZING!
  6. Teachers are released at 1:30 pm every Wednesday for PD and get to leave early on the last Wednesday of the month to model balance in their lives!
  7. A parent brings cold water bottles every single day for after school car line duty!
  8. My amazing admin coworkers and I placed vases with flowers on everyone's desks to surprise them for their first Monday!
  9. My office is beautiful, bright, and perfect for me!
  10. I am observing amazing teaching, daily, from interactive games, hands on experiments, to strategy games and discussions about the IB learner profile.
  11. I received a bag full of affirmations to hang on my magnet boards, from those I work with.
  12. My email box and voicemail box doesn't take over my entire day.
  13. Cafeteria duty is 1 hour max!
  14. I get to go to school with my two little ones every day!
  15. Parents feed staff an amazing lunch every single month!
  16. I'm learning so much about and am taking part in IB learning and service learning.
  17. My school is getting real live chickens!
  18. There are all sorts of exciting events planned year-round that I don't even know about yet.
  19. I get to work with the best of the best, real curriculum and instruction specialists.
  20. IB and service learning are what we do!
Other teachers also chimed in with appreciation for Meridian on the same Facebook string, which makes me very happy. This post reminded so many of us who came from traditional ISDs how nice we have it at Meridian. We are by no means perfect, but we really try to provide a first-class education that will prepare our students for cooperation and competition in the global world. As a charter school, we feel that we do much more with less. The one resource, which is the most important, that we know we cannot do without is stellar teachers who want to be at Meridian. We offer a competitive salary, but let's face it, it should be more. It shouldn't just be more at Meridian, but more everywhere. A couple of years ago, I introduced a $1,000 incentive for teachers who have completed their 5th year with Meridian. These teachers receive a one-time bonus of $500 and $500 in the 6th year and each year thereafter.
In the Top 20 List above, Meridian parents receive a few well-deserved shout outs. In my almost three-decade career as an educator, I have worked in only five different schools - all of them were exemplary, and four were IB schools. All of them had amazing parent involvement and support, but none of them had parents like Meridian. The grassroots, roll-up your sleeves, and do whatever needs to be done attitude at Meridian is a major reason for our success. I sincerely thank you, our Meridian parents, for giving so much of your time volunteering in car line, teacher appreciation, and/or any of the many events that could not happen without you.
Warm wishes,
Rick Fernández
Head of School
October 2016

Top Lion
Dear Meridian Parents,
Commencing each school year is always exciting for us as I'm sure it is for other schools, too. But at Meridian, it seems that there is always a major undertaking. This is probably true because we are just beginning our sixth year and we have had four building constructions, two of three IB program authorizations and implementations, and more than doubled the children we serve since we opened in August of 2011. We are a young school and together have accomplished so much in a short amount of time. The spirit of the Meridian grassroots movement is one that should be modeled.  
October 12 was a great day to be a Lion at Meridian. On this day, we celebrated the grand opening of our brand new middle school building with a Round Rock Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. I was given the honor of saying a few words to an audience of parents, students, faculty, Board members, community members, and special guests. I chose to use my time to communicate our accomplishments and who we are as a school. For our parents, students, and faculty, this was a celebration of what we know to be true; for the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and honored guests, this was an opportunity to hear about a unique learning environment and to tour our beautiful, new facility. On this day, I also had the pleasure of delivering the welcome to you, our amazing parents, at the annual fall parent meeting.
We informally call the new building the "M" building for two reasons, it houses all of our middle years students and it's on Mays Street. This new building also serves our secondary students. All secondary students use M building's cafeteria for lunch and library for research and studying. High school art, theatre, P.E. are housed in the M building. 
My goal at the ribbon cutting ceremony was for the RR Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and invited guests to understand that our school is high achieving and continues to thrive.  I shared the following
  • In 2011, we started with 650 students in grades K-8.
  • We now have approximately 1,400 students in grades K-12.
  • Our current waitlist is at 1,545.
  • The school earned two of the three IB program authorizations in record time.  The third one is slated for award this year.
  • According to the Texas Education Agency we have met standards every year.  Two years ago, when the TEA began awarding academic distinctions, we received 7 out of 7 distinctions and last year we received 6 out of 7 distinctions just missing the 7th one by one point.
    1. Academic Achievement in Reading/English Language Arts (Earned both years)
    2. Academic Achievement in Mathematics (Earned both years)
    3. Academic Achievement in Science (Earned both years)
    4. Academic Achievement in Social Studies (Earned both years)
    5. Top 25 Percent: Student Progress (Earned both years)
    6. Postsecondary Readiness (Earned both years)
    7. Top 25 Percent: Closing Performance Gaps
  • 100% of our first graduating class opted for the super challenge of the full IB Diploma Program.  
  • 82% of this class earned the full IB Diploma.
  • 100% of this class was accepted and matriculated to university.
  • Our students have traveled to Costa Rica, Australia, Spain, and Switzerland, many on partial or full scholarship.
  • Many students are athletes, most had winning seasons, some were state champions.
  • Meridian has a low teacher turnover; most teachers who choose not to return to Meridian do so because their spouse's job requires relocation.
At the ribbon cutting, I credited our success to founders who crafted a charter that included a stellar mission and vision; a grassroots movement made up of generous, supportive and involved Williamson county families who desired a different educational approach; the IB curricula; administrators with proven pedagogical leadership in three IB programs; teachers who know their subject, know or are enthusiastic about learning about IB, and care deeply about their students; and young scholars who are enthusiastic about learning. Meridian is a success because of its people. Meridian is a success because of our shared beliefs. At the ribbon cutting, I shared the following Meridian belief statements. 
  • That safety is the number one priority.
  • In hiring knowledgeable, certified teachers who care about students.
  • In treating teachers with respect and as professionals who deserve a fair salary.
  • That it is the school's responsibility to promote open-mindedness, healthy food choices and caring for one another and the environment.
  • In teaching our students to give back to their school, their community, and their world.
  • In devoting a large part of our budget to teacher professional development.
  • In the importance of recess, athletics, and the arts.
  • In a strong parent voice and involvement via our Volunteers-in- Partnership (VIP) organization.
  • In recruiting Board members from the community with diverse backgrounds who share our mission.
  • In monitoring and addressing student stress with programs such as MindUP.
  • In encouraging students to see the world.
  • If you teach the IB curriculum with fidelity, you will receive good State testing results. In other words, we don't believe in drill and kill or conducting benchmark after benchmark after benchmark. We do one benchmark.
The quote by American entrepreneur Russell Simmons, "Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you," is one that I have revisited during my journey in leadership positions. The Meridian Executive Team of Karalei Nunn, COO/Founder; Eileen Kuhn, CFO; Kelly McBride, Primary School Principal; and Charles Ryder, Secondary School Principal all deserve a huge thank you and congratulations for helping to build and sustain our successful school. As leaders they exemplify the IB Learner Profile Traits of:  knowledgeable, inquirers, thinkers, caring, open-minded, risk-takers, reflective, balanced, communicators, and principled. Of course, I worry about the trait of balanced. They have gone way above the call of duty and spend way too much time at Meridian or at home working on Meridian projects. Unfortunately, "going above the call of duty" was what was needed to get us where we are today.  I'm sure that these leaders feel the same as I do about those who report to them. 
We are often asked, "Ok...the new building or phase or program was great, but what's your next big move?" We are currently discussing when we will offer a pre-K program. (The classrooms have already been built.) We are also examining the needs to improve our site to become an extension of the classroom, a true living / learning laboratory. Our "next big move" will definitely be reexamining and refining our current programs and facilities. As many of you know, the IB organization does not authorize the programs for life. The IB Primary Years Program (PYP), the IB Middle Years Program (MYP), and the IB Diploma Years Program (DP) all undergo an intensive self-study and reauthorization known as the Program Evaluation Questionnaire (PEQ) and visit. The beauty of the IB curriculum is that it is not stagnant; it's reviewed, modified, and changed every five years. The PEQ is often more stressful on schools and educators than the authorization, because the expectation is that the standards and practices of the program be better implemented than they were when it was authorized five years ago. Our own PYP leaders and teachers are preparing for their PEQ visit this school year. Our MYP leaders and teachers are preparing for their verification/authorization visit this school year. Our DP leaders and teachers have analyzed their first examination results and are monitoring and adjusting their teaching with the goal of having another successful year. This sounds like a lot and it is, but it is critical that any stress placed on the educator not transfer to the students. This is one of the reasons that our school became an authorized MindUp school, which teaches students about how their brains work and how they can do exercises that reduce stress.
I hope that you will join me in continuing to support your student(s), our administrators, and our teachers as we strive to have a safe and successful school year.  I have had the pleasure of serving as an educator at five exemplary districts; Meridian parents are clearly the most generous and supportive anywhere. 
Warm wishes,
Rick Fernández
Head of School/Superintendent
Meridian's Theme for 2016-2017: Navigating our Complex World

September 2015
Top Lion
School Name

Parent Meeting
Thursday, September 3

6:30pm - Child Care Drop Off
6:45pm - Meeting Starts



 Rick Fernandez_HoS_headshot
Dear Parents,
As we begin our fifth year as a school, it's a good time to set down a milestone marker.  At the end of our fifth year, I am proud to say we will have our first graduates, and our IB Diploma Program students will sit for the school's first IB DP examinations. I am pleased to announce that we have secured the Alma Thomas Theater at Southwestern University for graduation. Graduation will take place on Saturday, May 28, 2016 at two o'clock in the afternoon. Any child who has started his or her fifth year with us at Meridian should also be celebrating a milestone.
Seeing Meridian School today and all of its growth and success takes me back to March 2011. This was the spring before Meridian was slated to open. At that time, we had no building, and I was the only employee. I worked out of the small back office of the John L. Kuhn Accounting Firm. I was busy interviewing and hiring and writing policy. Of course, I didn't do this alone. Meridian has always been fortunate to have a strong grassroots effort made up of dedicated board members, founders, circle of families, and instrumental community members. 
On Friday, August 7, 2015, we were greeted with some very good news from the Texas Education Agency. The 2015 Accountability Summary showed that Meridian School not only received an accountability rating of "met standards," but also the school earned seven out seven distinctions.  
  • Academic Achievement in Reading/English Language Arts;
  • Academic Achievement in Mathematics;
  • Academic Achievement in Science;
  • Academic Achievement in Social Studies;
  • Top 25 Percent: Student Progress;
  • Top 25 Percent: Closing Performance Gaps; and
  • Postsecondary Readiness.

"Earning any type of distinction under the state accountability system is commendable and should be a source of pride in a community," said Commissioner of Education Michael Williams. "Achieving all seven distinctions reflects extraordinary work taking place on a campus while affirming a strong commitment to students."

Of course, we are very proud of these impressive distinctions, but we certainly don't measure success on STAAR results alone. I am very proud that the Meridian community has embraced and supported our chosen International Baccalaureate Program curriculum. Our school is committed to offering the IB programs with fidelity. This requires that we carefully select our staff and teachers and invest in them by providing continual training and support.  

I have said publically that a school cannot be great or even good without strong parental support. As early as Year One, I have said that our parents are extremely involved, supportive, and true partners. I have always said that Meridian is a good school, but have been hesitant to say that we are a great school because we are a young school and not enough data has come in for me to back up such a claim. Today, I will shout it from the rooftops that MERIDIAN IS A GREAT SCHOOL.  

Earning IB authorization for both the Primary Years Program and the Diploma Program in only three years and Middle Years Program candidacy in the fourth year is quite an accomplishment. Superior financial reports from the State along with the maximum distinction awards are also evidence of a great school.  

As Head of School, nothing makes me happier than to see our students in action. I delight in observing them as they listen attentively to their teachers, engage in intense group discussions or Socratic seminars, or enjoy recess, lunch, or physical education when they can be themselves and release some energy. Watching them in team sports, a band concert, a chess tournament, a spelling bee, or a PYP Exhibition is a real treat for me. While I do a lot of observing and interacting with our students, I credit our superb faculty and staff and our supportive parents for being on the frontline daily helping to shape and educate our young Lions. Another thing that makes Meridian a great school is that we place equal importance on providing a good character education that emphasizes the importance of "enjoying the good life with others" and "being a good citizen of the world."

I would like to invite parents to our Parent Meeting on September 3
where I will introduce an innovative program that I believe compliments the IB curriculum. The program offers simple strategies for helping students focus their attention, improve their self-awareness, self-regulation, build resilience to stress, and develop a positive mind-set in both school settings and life. Research shows that children and educators using this program increase their overall well-being while becoming more optimistic, less distracted, better engaged in learning and resilient with pro-social behavior outcomes for students, improving the overall school culture.

I hope that you had an opportunity to come to "Meet the Teacher Night" and "Open House." I know we have done our very best to ensure that we have hired teachers and staff who share our mission and vision. We know that you have a choice when it comes to education, and we sincerely wish that Meridian is the best fit for you and your child.


Rick Fernández
Superintendent/Head of School  

Central Texas provides many opportunities for us to hear about start-up companies and IPOs (Initial Public Offering). They can be very exciting and dramatic, especially for those who stand to profit.
Even without the traditional profit motivation, the excitement was palpable as Meridian traveled through the non-profit version of the IPO process, asking potential bond investors for low-interest, long-term bonds! A few tense moments occurred during the final few hours - 'will they or won't they?'  - but in the end, investors understood Meridian World School, LLC to be a credible investment, a worthy risk and we secured $30,000,000 to continue our mission!
This $30MM investment allows us to refinance the 104,000 sf facility we occupy along with all the completed renovation work. At the same time we purchased the 80,000 sf building and property that you drive by everyday in carline - 2550 Mays, partially occupied by ThermaSol currently.
That's not all folks! Funds to renovate the building and the site are included. So the design process for the renovation has begun and construction is anticipated to begin in January with the plan to open the new facility in August of 2016!
We are so grateful to all the staff and parents that have supported us through the first four years! Without your willingness to take a risk and to support us financially, we would not be in the position to even seek investment at this stage of our development. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!
Please plan to attend the Parent Meeting on September 3rd
for a sneak peak at the future of Meridian!
Warmest Regards,
Karalei Nunn
Meridian Founder & C.O.O.


Michelle Adamolekun has served on Meridian's Board of Directors since 2013. Her background in Human Resources brought a unique and welcome voice to the group. Michelle recently accepted a new job which is moving her family out of the area. Unfortunately for us this means an early retirement from our board. We are grateful to Michelle for all that she has given to Meridian of her time, her talents, and her treasure. We will miss her but know she'll go on to do wonderful things in her new community.

Michelle's departure leaves an open position effective immediately. On the agenda for tonight's board meeting is the nomination of Ann Wink. Many of you know Ann as a long-time friend of Meridian. Not only did she serve as one of our school's very first board members, she has an extensive background in education and is considered an expert when it comes to IB. Having spent ten years working for the IB Organization, we think Ann will be the perfect compliment to our 2015-2016 Board of Directors.

November 5, 2015
January 14, 2016
March 31, 2016
April 29, 2016
June 23, 2016
Joseph Burke, President - 2018
Jessica Loera, Vice President - 2018
Alexia Thex, Secretary - 2017
Bhavani Parpia - 2017

Mission Statement: Meridian School will provide an invigorating educational environment that develops responsible citizens who can artfully navigate our complex world and enjoy a good life with others. Each student will engage in diverse investigationsdisciplined inquiry, and integrated service learning to cultivate intercultural awareness, creativity and mental acuity.

Top Lion
School Name
In This Issue


On the Calendar

Volleyball Schedule

Saturday, Oct 20
Meridian Expansion Capital Campaign Benefit

Thursday, Oct 25
School Board Meeting
Monday, Oct 29 & 
Wed Oct 31
Girls Basketball Tryouts

Tuesday, Oct 30 & 
Thursday, Nov 1
Boys Basketball Tryouts

Friday, Nov 2
Hard Hat Tours and Dessert Reception

Saturday, Nov 3
Harvest Moon Dance

Monday, Nov 19 - 
Friday, Nov 23
Thanksgiving Break

Tuesday, Nov 27
Parent Education Night: Bullying

Thursday, Nov 29
School Board Meeting

Monday, December 3
Meridian Choir Performance

Thursday, December 6
Strings Ensemble Concert

Tuesday, December 11
Band Winter Concert at
Hyde Park HIgh School -The Quarries 

Wednesday, December 19
Triple A Winter Celebration

Thursday, December 20

End of Grading Period

Friday, Dec 21- Friday, Jan 4
Winter Break

Mission Statement: Meridian School will provide an invigorating educational environment that develops responsible citizens who can artfully navigate our complex world and enjoy a good life with others. Each student will engage in diverse investigationsdisciplined inquiry, and integrated service learning to cultivate intercultural awareness, creativity and mental acuity.

Newsletter 9

September 14, 2012 




Dear Meridian School Stakeholders,


We have finally gotten a break from the Texas heat just in time for our fall break. I hope that our students and teachers have a sense of rejuvenation and are ready to start the second quarter with enthusiasm and vigor. Report cards are scheduled to go out on Tuesday, October 16.


Recently, our school has undergone some sprucing up. The front of our building is in the process of getting a nice, new paint job; accent colors will be added later, and Meridian's premier muralist, Casey Stippick, will lead an effort to paint the Learner profile on the building.  Inside is looking (and sounding) pretty good, also. Sound panels were added to the Multipurpose Room to help with the acoustics. Ten new Promethean boards have been in use in our 6th-8thgrade classrooms. This new technology along with our dedicated teachers and highly motivated students is a recipe for success.


In addition to Meridian fundraising events, individual students have taken ACTION (as the PYP teaches us) in several ways. In September, Joidyn Elliott and her mom, Eunice Elliott, took one of the largest of these actions. They heard of a contest sponsored by Rack Room Shoes this summer that could result in a $10,000 computer lab for a student's school. Though there were only five to be awarded in the nation, they decided on an entry and entered the competition.   Many of you received the Constant Contact email from us and voted daily for Joidyn's picture, which showed her under the lobby mural "holding up the learner profile."   


In September, it was announced that Joidyn was one of the five national prizewinners, resulting in a $10,000 award for computers for Meridian primary classrooms, along with a computer for Joidyn herself.   These types of awards can make and have made a huge difference for our school, and we are exceedingly grateful for this contribution and happy for Joidyn.   In addition, it teaches our students that ACTION can make a difference for many.   Our secondary students also competed in the Famous Footwear Rock Your Schoolcontest where up to $75,000 will be awarded to a school. Two eighth graders, Shelby Brainard and Gabreille Lewis wrote essays that earned them spots in the Top 50. We hope to hear the results of this contest very soon.


It was just over a year ago that Meridian opened its doors with a beautiful building that served K-8 students. Next year, we will expand to the IH-35 side of our building with classrooms, state-of-the-art science labs, cafeteria and offices for our secondary students. Below you may learn about two events scheduled to kick off our capital campaign drive. Let's continue the momentum of our past campaigns and more recently our students' initiative and raise $650,000. 


I continue to be grateful to work with a strong community of stakeholders who support our vision and take action to ensure that it is carried out.


Go Lions!


Rick Fernandez,

Head of School


Joidyn Rack Room Shoes Photo Contest



Joidyn Elliott Wins $10,000 Computer Lab for Meridian

Joidyn Elliott, 3rd grader, was one of 5 nationwide winners of the Rack Room Shoes "Back to School" Photo Contest and was honored with a $10,000 grant to fund a computer lab at Meridian School and an Apple Macbook Pro for herself. "I feel so lucky to get to go to Meridian and I just wanted to figure out a way to show it," said Joidyn.  "We talk about demonstrating the learner traits every day and I thought this pose was just perfect!"  Indeed, it was a perfect way to demonstrate what can happen when we all take action!


Capital Campaign Kick-Off 

Meridian is hosting two exciting events to launch our capital building campaign. October 20th marks the date of our initial kickoff event, "Expansion: Building Minds," which will give you a first-hand look at our vision for Meridian going forward. Imagine attending a wine and cheese reception in an intimate setting at the home of Meridian founder, Karalei Nunn, and Tom Nichols. Then, on the evening of November 2nd, we are giving behind-the-scenes "Hard Hat Tours" of our future Meridian followed by a dessert reception. You will not want to miss it!  Capital Campaign Kickoff Events


Secondary Students and 6th graders are Enjoying their Newly Installed Promethean Boards

Thanks to the challenge grant initiated by the Katherine and Scott Duff family, many donors responded and Promethean boards were purchased for Secondary classrooms, as well as 6th grade.   Thank you to all who donated for this effort. 


Did You Know?

Do you know of a grant or a business that would like to help fund Meridian's educational initiatives?  If so, please contact  Are you a Dell or AMD employee?  Did you know that you can earn "Cause Cards" for your volunteer hours?  Employees of Dell and AMD can log their volunteer time at their respective companies and earn money for Meridian School.   If you need help getting started contact


Annual Fund

Meridian School receives an average of $2000 less per student/ per year than a regular public school.  The Annual Fund provides money to support things like IB materials, IB fees, classroom math and science supplies, competitive teacher salaries and much more.  ACT NOW!  If you have not given to support your child's education, do so now.  To download a giving form go to (you must scroll down to find the form):



Do you have a special occasion coming up?  Want to honor your child's birthday?  The Meridian Library Book Donation program is a great way to help our school.  For more information, click here:


Coming Soon:

Just in time for the holiday season, the Library will host an online Amazon Book Fair.  Shop for all your holiday needs from the comfort of your own home.  This year you will be able to buy your Amazon gift cards during our Fall Gift Card Fundraiser to use during the book fair.  For more information on the Book Fair check the library webpage.  For information on the Gift Card program go to:





The first quarter of the school year is over and look at what we've accomplished!


Together we:

  • Prepared the school for the new year by moving furniture and installing white boards and pencil sharpeners
  • Hosted Meet the Teacher Nights
  • Fulfilled School Supplies
  • Staffed Car Line and relieved teachers to prepare for the school day and hold tutorials
  • Provided grade-level Meet and Greets
  • Assisted in the Lunch Room allowing teachers to eat lunch together
  • Built-out a ViP Calendar for the school year
  • Created New Committees and Leadership Opportunities
  • Supported the Library
  • Hosted three Staff Appreciation Luncheons
  • Established General ViP meetings to expand parent involvement opportunities
  • Produced Meridian's first School Directory
  • Organized and orientated Room Parents
  • Facilitated the forming of clubs, such as Destination Imagination
  • Held Meridian's first Primary Movie Night
  • Began a Capital Campaign

Thank you to everyone who helped to get the 2012-2013 off to such a fine start! There is still much to accomplish. Please join us for our next monthly General ViP Meeting on Thursday, November 1 at 7:30 pm in the school cafeteria to learn how you can contribute. 


ViP Leadership Opportunities:

ViP still has several leadership positions available, including Jennifer Jackson's Co-Leader. ViP Co-Leaders will guide and support all ViP committees and functions, communicate directly with administration and lead ViP leadership and general meetings. A two-year commitment is recommended.


ViP also has some committee co-leadership positions available, including: Community Events, Extended Learning, and Student Services.


We also need parents interested in leading specific ViP projects, including: Parent Education Night Coordinators, a Silent Auction Chair, two additional Wellness Day Leaders, a Multicultural Night Leader, a Scholastic Book Fair Leader, a School Supplies Leader, a Lunchroom Volunteer Program Liaison, a Uniform Support Leader, a Staff Appreciation Host, various Community Events leaders, and a T-shirt Coordinator.


Parents interested in any of the open leadership positions should email Jennifer Jackson at and attend the informational meeting on Wednesday, October 17 at 6:30pm in the Meridian Cafeteria. Our goal is to have all open positions filled by November 1.




Stay on Top of All Things Triple A!

Please periodically visit the Meridian School website, Arts-Athletics-After School tab and click Triple A News and Updates for details about special events and activities.  


Use the website for all of your Triple A up-to-date information:

Triple A Fall and Winter Madness! 

Students enrolled in the full-time/extended day and early release Wednesday program successfully participated in Triple A's first Junior Olympics on September 26th, the Celebration of Comedy Show on October 4th, and the next big event will be our Winter Celebration on December 19th.  Here's what else to expect as we close out 2012:

  • The boys and girls basketball teams will conduct their tryouts during the week of October 29th
  • The Meridian choir will perform on December 3rd at 4:30pm at Meridian
  • Strings Ensemble students will have their concert on December 6th at 4:30pm at Meridian
  • The band students will have their winter concert on December 11th at Hyde Park High School at the Quarries
  • The Lego Robotics teams will compete in December and if they advance they will compete again early in the spring semester

Support the volleyball team for their final games on October 18th at Meridian, October 23rd at Sterling, and October 25th at Austin Sports Center - Cedar Park.  Feel free to email Monique L. Swain, Triple A Enrichment Program Coordinator, at or Lindsey Simmons, Triple A Athletic Coordinator, at for more information.





Changes are taking place as we prepare for the 2013 expansion at Meridian. In anticipation of the work required to move forward to this next phase, the Board approved the addition of the Chief Operating Officer position to the administrative leadership. I was honored and happy to accept the position. I resigned from the Board of Directors, effective September 30th, and Mr. Joe Burke was elected to serve as President. 


The Board will make a selection to fill the open board position at the October meeting. This seat is unique in that it is one of two that must be approved by the parent body organization - in our case, the ViP. Additionally, as I am also a parent, it opens up a seat on the Board for an individual who also happens to be a parent of a Meridian student. While this Board Member does not act as a representative specifically to or of the parents, this person brings a parent perspective to the Board. The ViP leadership is currently working to create the process for review and approval.


The Board of Directors has three responsibilities and all the work they do should fall under one of these categories: Head of School hiring and evaluation, Student Achievement Accountability, and Financial Accountability. 


We are hopeful that all of our board members will be able to attend either the reception or the hard-hat tour. If you can attend, please take the opportunity to say hello and speak with them.


Thank you all for the support you have given the board over the past year. I look forward to continuing to grow Meridian in my new role!

Karalei Nunn

Chief Operating Officer and Founder

December 2011
Top Lion
School Name
In This Issue

2012 - 2013 ENROLLMENT

On the Calendar

Mon, Dec 12
Girls Basketball Game
Boys Basketball Game

Tues, Dec 13 | 7:30 PM
Band Holiday Concert

Wed, Dec 14
Girls Basketball Game
Boys Basketball Game

Fri, Dec 16

Primary Class Parties
Pajama Day!

Mon, Dec 19 - Mon, Jan 2
Winter Holidays

Tues, Jan 3
Return to Class

Sun, Jan 1 - Wed, Feb 29
Open Application Period

Tues, Jan 10 - Tues, Feb 28
Information Sessions

Sat, Mar 9
Lottery Date

Quick Links

Find us on Facebook


Join Our Mailing List

Mission Statement: Meridian School will provide an invigorating educational environment that develops responsible citizens who can artfully navigate our complex world and enjoy a good life with others. Each student will engage in diverse investigationsdisciplined inquiry, and integrated service learning to cultivate intercultural awareness, creativity and mental acuity.

Newsletter 7  

December 9, 2011 

Dear Parents, 

I find myself revisiting the Meridian School Charter on a consistent basis, even though I have reread it several times to ensure that, as the school's leader, I am doing everything possible to fulfill the mission and vision of our founders. 

During my last perusal of the Charter, I focused in on the question: "How then, specifically, can the (School) promote learning for understanding and action in our 21st century, knowledge-based society and rapidly changing world?" The answer has four interrelated ingredients, but I want to reflect on the last one because I have seen schools go from good to great based on how number four applies. The last ingredient reads, "Our school must involve parents and guardians in the educational mission, and parents/guardians must take an active role in their children's schooling." 

I have had the privilege of serving in four school systems where this fourth ingredient contributed to making the school exemplary. The difference between those schools and Meridian School has to do with time. Those schools have been in existence for no less than a decade and as long as seven decades. Meridian School has only been operational for less than four months, and every day I am amazed at the commitment to Meridian from our parents/guardians and grandparents. 

I learned early on that at great schools, if we as educators are doing a good job, we will certainly hear from our parents. The opposite is also true: If we are doing a bad job, we will hear from our parents. This is the only way to ensure that we fulfill our mission. I am pleased to report that I have heard more positive comments than negative ones, but even when I hear the negative - almost 100% of the parents have been respectful, courteous, and cooperative. Because our teachers are on the front line, my expectation is that the spirit of mutual respect is also in practice. 

As you will read below, we have brought structure to our parent involvement with the formation of the Volunteers in Partnership (ViP) parent group. I am confident that this group will help take our school from good to great. 

I wish you and your family a safe and peaceful holiday season. 

Go Lions!


Rick Fernández 

Head of School

It is gratifying to have reached another important organizational milestone for Meridian School. After several meetings and interviews, we are pleased to announce that Jennifer Jackson of Round Rock and Paul Burkhalter of Georgetown have agreed to fill the roles of Co-Leaders for the organization's charter year. 

Jennifer's children come from Fern Bluff and represent the Primary school well in Kinder, 2nd, 4th, and 6th grades. Paul's sons were last at the Community Montessori School in Georgetown and are in 3rd and 7th grades. It is foundational that the ViPs represent our whole school and our large countywide area. Thank you to all who participated in the survey. Please see the message below from your new leadership. 

Karalei Nunn
Board President and Founder

We are extremely excited to co-lead the Volunteers in Partnership (ViP) organization at Meridian. Our hope is that ViP will enable parents to be involved at Meridian in the capacity that they choose - in support of the children, the administration, and the IB charter. 

In coming weeks you will begin to see progress on our top 3 priorities: 
  1. Leadership: The ViP structure will take shape, as we work to identify co-leaders for each of the ViP committees.  
  2. Scope: We estimate that we will have 8-9 committees within ViP. We'll be working to articulate the charter for each of these committees, as well as for ViP overall.  
  3. Framework: ViP will develop operating guidelines to provide clarity around how the organization will function.  
We are fortunate to have a population of Lion parents that are eager to volunteer in different capacities for our children. We look forward to meeting and working with you all!

Jennifer and Paul


Yes! Can you believe it is almost time to think about NEXT year? We just got started, it seems, but we are already looking forward to a great 2012. 

The application process opens January 1, 2012, for new students interested in applying for all of those open Kinder positions, as well as for other positions in 1st through 9th that may open up. Please let your friends and family know that January 1 - February 28 is the open application period. The lottery will be held on March 10 for any grade that is oversubscribed. 

You, too, will be asked to state your intentions for your students, as we will need to know what positions will be open. The deadline for that will be posted soon after school resumes in January. So please give serious consideration and, of course, we hope that you will be returning your student to Meridian for the 2012 - 2013 school year!

Information Sessions scheduled for New Families or Families new to MYP/DP Years. All sessions will be held on the Meridian campus. Childcare will be available for children 3 and older. 

Jan 10, 2012  6:30 - 8:30 PM     Facility Tour, Meridian Overview with PYP
Jan 26, 2012  6:30 - 8:30 PM     Facility Tour, Meridian Overview with PYP
Jan 31, 2012  6:30 - 8:00 PM     Facility Tour, MYP and DP (focus DP)

Feb 16, 2012  6:30 - 8:30 PM     Facility Tour, Meridian Overview with PYP
Feb 21, 2012  6:30 - 8:00 PM     Facility Tour, MYP and DP (focus DP)
Feb 28, 2012  6:30 - 8:30 PM     Facility Tour, Meridian Overview with PYP

Meridian is currently working with a professional website design company that has completed work for scores of schools, including charter schools. They will work to transition us from our start-up website to a new site with easy-to-update features and links to teacher's pages, events, and news. 

You have been so patient, and it will be great to take one more big step to improve our ability to communicate with parents - not only about the big picture vision, but also the day-to-day workings at Meridian!


$55,000+ in gift card orders = $3,800+ funds for Meridian with NO extra cost to anyone!  


AWESOME support and participation! BIG SHOUT OUT to the ladies who helped get our orders counted and cross-checked, and to the parents who asked their friends, families, co-workers, and neighbors to support the school through this program. Your commitment is amazing!


Plan to pick up your gift cards on either Thursday, December 8, or Friday, December 9. We will be available to distribute gift card orders both days from 7:25 AM to 8:25 AM and from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM in the lobby of the school. You (or  a previously designated adult) must show ID and sign for your gift cards. 


Thank you, thank you everyone who supported or participated in this program. Meridian families and friends ROCK!


$12,600 in book fair sales = $6,900+ funds for Meridian to buy books for the library and literacy library.


Thank you to everyone who supported the book fair by purchasing books. Thank you to everyone who bought books for their children's classrooms. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the incredible parent volunteers who helped plan for and worked at the book fair.  



Thank you to all of you who have contributed thus far. To date, we have raised $90,800 of our $115,000 goal. If you have not already made your suggested donation of $170 per student, please consider Meridian School in your end of year donations.  


We have extended our deadline for the Founders Wall because we have had new families join Meridian after September. To donate, please complete the form and return to the office, or donate through Paypal.  


NO donation is too small! Participation is important to us as it helps with our grant writing efforts. We want all families on the Founders Wall, so if $170 is not possible for your family at this time and you wish to be a part of this, please know that a donation of any size guarantees inclusion on the wall. 


Although we have not yet reached the goal of $115,000 for this year, we have received compelling motivation to move forward with the commercial playscape to complete Phase II of the project. You will remember that we received a $15,000 grant from KABOOM with the requirement that we match that amount. The playground equipment vendor has offered to lower the cost of the equipment considerably if we are able to commit by December 31. 

After careful consideration, we are able to move forward, in part because the playground task force has been so frugal with materials and generous with free labor that the first phase was completed under budget. Thanks to all who have made this happen!

Installation is anticipated in early spring. Won't the children be excitedjQuery18302729308740498695_1474662764936

Remember, the fundraising isn't over - we still need to work to reach the goal - BUT it is great that our school, in the first year, has been able to accomplish so much! This is about the power of numbers, and dedicated ones at that! Thank you all.  


Please take the time to bookmark the Meridian Library wiki space page: 

Here you will find a calendar that includes the class visit schedule and library special events. You will also find the volunteer sign-up for the library and other important library information. Coming in Spring, the library will launch an in honor/in memory of book donation program. Thank you all for supporting the library. 


The Triple A Enrichment Program after school is enrolling now for Full-time (M - F), Early Release Wednesday Only, Abrakadoodle Art Program (K - 5), Martial Arts (K - 8), Guitar (2 - 8), and Strings Ensembles (K - 8). Registration will open for Lego Robotics (5 - 8) and Soccer (K - 8) after the winter holiday break. We are also now hiring for the Full-time (2:30 PM - 6 PM) and Early Release Wednesday (12:30 PM - 6 PM) programs.

The Band Holiday Concert is Tuesday, December 13 at 7:30 PM at Hyde Park High School at the Quarries. Volleyball games will be on Fridays starting January 20 at 5:30 PM at Meridian School. There are two girls basketball games coming soon, December 12, 4:45 PM at St. Helens in Georgetown and December 14, 5 PM at Zion Lutheran in Walburg. Also, there are two boys basketball games coming soon, December 12, 5:45 PM at St. Helens in Georgetown and December 14, 6 PM at Grace Academy in Georgetown. 

For enrollment information, more information about upcoming events, or to apply for employment, please email Monique L. Swain, the Triple A Enrichment Program Coordinator. 


Long sleeve t-shirts are available in Youth and Adult sizes (no women's/juniors) in heather gray and red only. The long sleeve shirts will be available to order on the website next week. These shirts will not be pre-ordered as the short-sleeved shirts were, so you should anticipate a two-week turn-around from order to delivery. If you order by Friday, December 16, your shirts will be available the week of January 2. 

Please place your child's name and teacher's name on the order to facilitate delivery. Only one child's/teacher's name is required if ordering for multiple children. 


Meridian School will follow Round Rock ISD's procedures for school closings and school delays. During severe weather conditions, please tune in to the local television stations. 

Top Lion
School Name
In This Issue


On the Calendar

 Thurs, Oct 20 | 6:00 PM
Board Meeting

Thurs, Oct 20 | 6:30-9:30 PM
Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament

Tues, Nov 29 & Thurs, Dec 1
Scholastic Book Fair

Quick Links

Find us on Facebook

"Like" us on Facebook!
Make a donation via Paypal!

Join Our Mailing List
Order a Meridian T-Shirt!

Mission Statement: Meridian School will provide an invigorating educational environment that develops responsible citizens who can artfully navigate our complex world and enjoy a good life with others. Each student will engage in diverse investigationsdisciplined inquiry, and integrated service learning to cultivate intercultural awareness, creativity and mental acuity.

Newsletter 6 

October 13, 2011 

Eileen Kuhn, Teresa Elliot, David Dunn, Marsha Farney, Karalei Nunn, Rick Fernandez, and Kelly McBride


On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of leading a tour of our building for members of the Texas Charter School Association including David Dunn, executive director. Also on the tour was our area's elected representative to the State Board of Education, Marsha Farney. Everyone was fascinated with the facilities, seeing students totally engaged and our school's goal of becoming an IB authorized school. Meandering through the building, we heard the same refrain from our guests, "That is so innovative; we need to bring other school leaders to see what you're doing." While this was flattering, we know that we have much work to do and have no time to rest on our laurels.


The almost perfect attendance by parents at Open House is a huge indicator of the success of a school. I have no doubt that with your continued support that our school will truly be a model for doing more with less. I thank everyone who completed the Volunteers-in-Partnership (ViP) survey. We have been combing through them and our goal is to set up meetings with parents as soon as next week. A school, especially a charter school, cannot reach its full potential without strong parental involvement. This is where Meridian has the advantage: our parents are committed to the success of our school. Our ViP program is what will make our good school a great one.


If there are ups, you can certainly bet there are downs. While we all enjoyed the much-needed rain early Sunday morning, we also had a tiny flood at our playground door. We acted quickly and the small damage was addressed. I have been told that something even more damaging has been occurring: negative comments about our school and/or specific teachers on personal Facebook pages. For weeks, I have refused to believe this, because all the face-to-face conversations that I have had with parents have been very supportive and positive. I am asking all parents to use the communication processes that the school has in place for communicating questions or concerns. Please start by communicating with the teacher, then a principal if not satisfied and then contact me if not satisfied. Please do this for your student. Your student deserves to have a teacher who is focused on instruction and the development of the IB curriculum framework. The best way to communicate with the primary principal and secondary principal (that's me) is to send an email to


Go Lions!


Rick Fernández 

Head of School


Let me begin by stating how impressed I am with Kelly McBride's communication outlets for primary: Tuesday folders, a weekly newsletter, monthly coffees with parents, tours and mini-information sessions for parents of students who are moving up on the waitlist and a third PYP information session for those who missed the ones in the summer. My middle school teachers and I will strive to put out a middle school specific newsletter at least once a month but probably twice a month. I, too, will host Middle School Coffees and another IB Diploma information session.


Why Meridian? This is the question that I ask 7th and 8th grade students who are just now enrolling for the last few seats. The answers are always interesting. Sometimes I get a shrug or an "I don't know." Sometimes I get the cold, hard truth, "I didn't want to but my parents said I had to." Fair enough. The question might be a bit much for some middle school students, but parents should know the answer.  


Current and prospective parents should have conducted enough research or asked enough questions to know that Meridian School was founded with the goal of being an International Baccalaureate Program continuum, all three programs. Attendance at last summer's IB Primary Years Program (PYP), IB Middle Years Program (MYP), or IB Diploma Program (DP) or visits to the IB web page at should be a prerequisite to applying to become part of Meridian. Middle school students who choose to come to Meridian should be highly motivated. They should care about learning. They should want to become college-ready. "Shoulda, woulda, coulda." In a perfect world, ALL of our students would be highly motivated. Well, all aren't.  


This is where parents can help. When parents receive a call from a teacher stating that little Johnny needs to be more attentive or more prepared, parents should remind their student that Meridian was a choice. Right now only our primary school has the status of IB Candidate School, but 100% of our middle years teachers have had official IB MYP training. This means that these teachers are incorporating what they have gleaned from training into the curriculum. More importantly, this means that 7th and 8th graders will be experiencing a rigorous curriculum. Rigor is needed because application for IB Diploma Program candidacy will come in April 2012. If a student is to be successful when they get to the 11th and 12th grade IB Diploma Program, rigor must begin now. Being highly motivated will make the rigor less painful.  


Most of our 7th and 8th graders are highly motivated or at least motivated. For the few that are not or who chose Meridian for other reasons, proper behavior is a must. There's nothing wrong with being a late bloomer and Meridian has a talented pool of exceptional teachers who can guide students to success.

It was wonderful to see and talk to so many of our parents at Open House last week!  I am enjoying making connections and getting to know families.


Studio Kitchen today began a new procedure in the cafeteria in order to streamline the process.Please be sure when you are ordering lunches for your student that you are putting the correct grade level and teacher's name in. Students are receiving lunch tickets based on teacher lists. When the child's grade level or teacher name is wrong, the student does not receive a ticket.


We are working hard to catch these errors as they come through so that students get the lunch that was ordered for them, but we would really appreciate your help!


The Triple A (Arts, Academics, Athletics) Enrichment Program is available to all Meridian School students, every day, with the full-time option or part-time by way of independent programs. The Triple A Enrichment Program will continuously evolve to meet the needs of as many students as possible. 

We pride ourselves in enriching the lives of all students after school and not just babysitting. The full time Triple A Enrichment Program started a new rotating schedule on October 10th which includes study hall, yoga, science, drama, literacy classes and more. Our independent programs include multicultural art classes, martial arts, cheerleading, volleyball, basketball, guitar, band and strings ensembles.

For more information about registering for any of the Triple A Enrichment Program options, volunteering your time or donating materials, please contact the Triple A Enrichment Program Coordinator, Monique L. Swain, at


Thursday, October 20th, 6:30 - 9:30 PM 
Have fun and raise funds for the Meridian School Playground! Meet us at the Third Base Sports Bar in Round Rock (map here) for a Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament. 

Don't play? No problem! Free lessons begin at 5:00 PM.

Participation is limited to the first 70 who RSVP to Lee Holcombe at Suggested donation is $30 - $75. For more information, click here


Save the Date

Meridian School will host the Scholastic Book Fair on November 29 and December 1, 2011. The teacher preview day will also be held on November 29. The book fair is a perfect time to purchase books as gifts for loved ones!


If you are interested in serving on the Book Fair Committee or would like to work at the book fair, please email the committee chair, Kristen Myers, at


Stay tuned - more details to come!


Destination Imagination for the youngest lionsRising Stars


Please complete the survey (linked below) if your K - 2nd grader may be interested in participating. Surveys must be submitted no later than December 24th.




Meridian School Board of Directors
The Meridian School Board of Directors is comprised of five members by charter. Each has a term of three years renewable one time consecutively. Of the five, the in-the-works Volunteers in Partnership will have the ability to nominate people to two of the positions. The remaining three are members of the greater Meridian and Williamson County community that are nominated and approved by the seated board. Board members are not required to live in Williamson County. One board member may be the parent of a Meridian student at any given time. At this time, Karalei Nunn, the Board President, occupies this position. 

The current Board of Directors with biographies and positions can be viewed here. Should you like to recommend someone to become a member of the Board of Directors, please email Please remember that a parent cannot fill a position at this time. 

BOARDMEETINGThe Board will meet regularly on the third Thursday of the month every other month. Although a meeting was held in September, a meeting will be held in October to review critical data to be included in state reports due this month. The meeting will be held Thursday, October 20th, at 6:00 PM at Meridian School.  

Agendas will be posted on the website within 72 hours of the meeting, generally Monday afternoons for a Thursday meeting. The minutes of the meeting must be approved by the Board at the next regularly scheduled meeting prior to posting on the website. So there will be a 30-60 day lag in posting depending upon the meeting schedule.

Letter from Karalei Nunn, Board President 

The Board of Directors wishes to thank all the parents who have contributed so much over the past six weeks to make your students' lives at Meridian what we all want them to be, from arrival and departure, to the beautiful library, the evolving playground, and the lively cafeteria!

We are especially grateful to all of the newly hired teachers for their almost heroic efforts to teach a class of brand new students, in their brand new classroom, in a brand new school, with for some, the brand new International Baccalaureate methods! In a traditional school, only the very youngest kindergarten students and their parents are 'new' to the school. Yes, a few others may have moved into the neighborhood, but for the most part, students and parents from first grade are seasoned veterans, as are most of their teachers. But here at Meridian, we are all new and this first month has been an adventure. We know our teachers have been focused on and dedicated to making the classroom experience what it has to be to provide a quality IB education for Meridian students. Teachers, the Board of Directors supports all your efforts!

Finally, we want to thank our administration, Rick Fernández and Kelly McBride. The Board of Directors can take credit for hiring these two exceptional leaders, but they hired all of Meridian's teachers! What a task that was and what a job they have done. We are convinced that while there is much work ahead, the foundation is coming together for the school that we have long worked to build.

Warmest regards,

Karalei Nunn