Principal Karen Phillips and fifth-grade teacher Katie Sims talked with The Brazil Times about the events that took place at Meridian during the 2008-09 school year and plans for the 2009-10 school year.
"One of our major goals, was the implementation of the Response to Intervention (RTI) Program," Phillips said.
RTI, is a three-tiered model which is designed to meet the instructional needs of all students. For 25 minutes a day, every student at the school meets in their small group for additional instruction from the core curriculum taught in the classroom.
The Accelerated Math, a pilot program has made a huge impact in Sims class is.
"The program assigns three objectives and prints a practice sheet," she said. "With an 80 percent accuracy or higher students can then take a test. On the test, if they receive an 80 percent or higher then new objectives are assigned."
"The students love the program," she said. "We are hoping to see a raise in test scores."
Remediation is so important at Meridian that it is stressed everyday, from 8:20-8:50 a.m., when school is in session.
Collaboration among the school staff and the grade level teachers is another key to success.
"We've all come together to help one another out," Sims said.
"It isn't just with the classroom teachers," Phillips added. "It's the art, music and physical education teachers that are also working with the classroom teacher to find out the standards being covered and then it is also being incorporated into their classrooms."
Though any new program may take up to three-five years for measurable results, the staff at Meridian is anticipating an increase in test scores.
"We hope with the implementation of the new programs we will see results in testing next year," Phillips said.
The school did make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the 2008-09 academic school year by meeting the 15 requirements through the Indiana Department of Education, however they are still on academic watch.
Something that Meridian is very proud of was its 50th anniversary celebration, where students and teachers compiled items for a new time capsule. The history of the school was discussed in the classrooms and retirees came back for a reception. There was a door-decorating contest and 50 balloons were released.
Meridian and Forest Park Elementary both received the Wireless Generation Diagnostic Tools grant, which teachers will be receiving training on in August.
Eight staff members will be attending Supporting Student Learning conference this summer, where they will study the topics of reading and research base strategies.
A new partnership is emerging with Kids Hope USA through First United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church and teachers continued the Wendy's partnership, which takes place the second Tuesday of every month.
There were two retirees from Meridian Elementary, Donna Kaufman has 26.5 years teaching in total and 20.5 of those years with Clay Community School Corporation and Patricia Casassa an Instructional Assistant for 15 years.
"I would like to commend the staff, they are very passionate and dedicated about what they do," Phillips said. "The support of our parents and the hard work of the students. It has been a busy productive year and we've had a lot of accomplishments."