Meridian’s Customized Learning approach was developed in response to current research on best practices for meeting children’s individual learning styles and abilities.
At Meridian, we utilize the talents of every teaching member of the staff, through classroom and specialist area differentiation practices. In addition to the regular teaching staff, we have a four, full-time specialized teachers who collaborate with classroom teachers to facilitate academic and social-emotional learning and training. These staff members work to implement Customized Learning aspects into the school day using methods which include: professional development for staff on a wide variety of learning styles and differences; creation and implementation of individual learning plans for students that have specialized needs (both support and enrichment); small group instruction in targeted skill areas for support and/or enrichment; and monitoring of ongoing assessments to tailor instruction. Learning specialists also oversee collaboration with outside professionals who work with Meridian students and with our Associate Faculty to plan and organize instruction.
Every Associate Faculty member has a dedicated role in Customized Learning and receives specialized training and coaching to aid in their daily work in the classroom. Each grade level team includes two lead faculty members and a full-time Associate Faculty member. We’ve made significant scheduling changes to provide our Associate Faculty with more access to students, which results in an increased teacher to student ratio during instructional blocks. Our Associate Faculty members are trained and experienced teachers who work side-by-side with their teaching teams to plan and facilitate instruction, deepening their understanding of the practice of teaching by observing, learning from, and working with their grade level teams.
At the core of Meridian School’s customized learning approach is the idea of Flexible Learning Groups. Flexible Learning Groups are utilized throughout the school to foster learning, not just in Customized Learning. They are organized for a variety of purposes: topic interest, learning or presentation style, and for skill building or enrichment. At the beginning of each unit, all grade level teams meet with their grade level’s Customized Learning specialist to review learning targets and decide how to meet the needs of each learner. This teaching team then develops a plan to tailor the instruction of the Flexible Learning Groups, which includes classroom-based groups. The role of each teaching team member may change from time to time as learning goals change. Flexibility is the key to this system of instruction.
At the Meridian School we find value in an inclusive assessment model that doesn’t value one test over another but instead, uses the information we collect from a variety of assessments to add to our understanding of each and every student. Through this model we can ensure that when we plan for small group, whole group, or individualized instruction, we have the widest set of results to draw upon, allowing us to customize learning and keep each of our students challenged, engaged, and moving forward. Assessment data is used to inform the teachers about a student’s strengths and challenges and to plan for instructional strategies. With ongoing assessment, progress can be tracked and appropriate teaching methods modified to meet students at every level.
At Meridian, education is engaging and inspiring. The thematic curriculum fires imaginations and weaves academic learning into a joyful experience of exploration and discovery.
The Meridian School promotes diversity of thought and identity by bringing together community and curriculum to open minds and hearts, connect awareness to actions, and celebrate the contribution of the individual to the community.