School Culture Initiatives (SCI)
Lifting Every Voice and Sing, sung by Meridian School
About the Office of School Culture Initiatives
Terri Johnson, our Coordinator of SchoolCulture Initiatives, assists in creating a welcoming and positive school culture, cultivates community liaisons and partnerships, creates safe spaces to have open dialogues, builds trust within school communities, reviews policies and procedures for equitable practices, and provides training/opportunities for building a culture of community, justice, care and belonging. Read on for Terri's bio.
It's critical everyone feels safe and supported as part of the Meridian family. We want a better world for everyone and believe that diversity makes us all stronger. This ethos of equality exists deep in the core of the International Baccalaureate's mission: to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. We recognize that this starts with us, both as individuals and together as a school community.
School Culture Initiatives Council
During the Spring 2022 semester, a Meridian School Culture Initiatives Council was selected for the 2022 - 2023 academic year. The SCI Council was made up of 14 members and included students, parents, staff, teachers and administrators. The Council met on Zoom several times during the semester and also formed and met in committees. The committees included: Student Initiatives; Practices, Policies and Procedures; Faculty and Staff Initiatives; Racial and Gender Equity; and Community Engagement. At the end of the Spring semester, the SCI Council created a SCI Strategic Plan.
Beginning the fall 2022 semester, the SCI Council will share the plan with the Meridian Community and receive feedback and suggestions and form collaborations and partnerships. Community Conversations will be held throughout the year along with workshops and community outreach opportunities.
You may see pronouns listed in communications with faculty and administrators. Staff may choose to include their pronouns on Zoom handles, email signatures, name tags, and other areas. Pronouns are words used to refer to people. They reflect one’s gender identity (she/her, he/him, they/them).
In 2020-2021, Meridian staff, families, and students participated in conversations, training, listening sessions, surveys, and meetings to gauge where we stand in regards to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Much of this was in partnership with the Equity Literacy Institute.
Staff training and equity work continues as we review what we have learned and begin to implement changes to better serve our diverse community from Kindergarten through to our alumni, staff, and families.
The initial heavy lift of the school’s DEI work was spearheaded by Monique Swain, Director of Student Enrichment Services, in the summer of 2020, and she served as DEI Coordinator, in addition to her full time role, throughout the year. With the DEI Committee they constructed a solid foundation, for the school to build off. In 2021 the school hired a full-time Coordinator for the next two years to help grow their efforts even more.
As part of a student survey regarding equity and inclusion at Meridian School, participants were asked the following open-ended question: What is one thing faculty and staff could do to make you feel more welcome at Meridian School?
103 participants responded to the question. Of those responses, a few trends stood out:
- A call to strengthen open communication with students, listening to student concerns and then visibly acting on those concerns.
- Offer more inclusive and relevant curriculum and instruction.
- Look into disciplinary procedures and processes, as well as dress code
- School leadership is acting on the survey’s feedback in all areas.
A staff survey (with 120 participants) yielded a similar call to foster open and welcoming communication, as well as continuing constructive DEI work to strengthen the Meridian community and keep all community members in mind.
Reviewing and adjusting disciplinary procedures have been at the forefront of the behind-the-scenes work from school leadership. The process was reviewed by administrators and parents in 2020-2021, resulting in the following changes for the 2021-2022 school year:
- More clear and consistent communication between faculty and administration on incidents/infractions
- Discipline infractions regarding DEI-related issues are reviewed by multiple administrators
Meridian's relationship with Law Enforcement
On safety: The school works with several organizations, including local law enforcement and the I Love You Guys Foundation, in training for crisis response and post crisis reunification. Meridian follows the Standard Response Protocol and Standard Reunification Method. Most calls to the RRPD made in the past have been required under state statute to inform police of potential threat situations. The school works with RRPD and the City of Round Rock regarding traffic flow. Meridian World School has no financial or legal arrangement with the RRPD, nor does the school employ a School Resource Officer (SRO).