The Meridian Star
We have run our share of local stories in The Meridian Star pages of youth violence, teenagers involved in area crimes and allegations of school to prison pipelines.
And we make no apologies for that. People want to know what is going on in their communities and our job is to keep you informed of the good and the bad — and we try to give you both.
The Meridian Star devotes a lot of space to school accomplishments; from students who have achieved academic excellence to teachers who have gone above and beyond to ensure their students are provided the best education possible.
But even we, collectively as a news gathering organization, are surprised sometimes — occasionally pleasantly so.
One of those pleasant surprises came recently during a tour of Meridian High School attended by members of The Meridian Star Editorial Board.
School Principal Victor Hubbard walked us throughout the school, taking time out of his busy day to point out steps taken to address prior problems, recent accomplishments and future goals.
What we found was an energetic and optimistic administration and staff; students eager to learn and an impressive campus that is immaculate and well equipped.
Walk down the halls and you'll find signs that encourage students to excel, while others clearly outline school expectations. For example, one sign directs students to walk on the right side of the hallway in single file; and they do.
In fact, as Hubbard points out, students will often politely inform visitors if they are walking up the wrong side of the stairwell.
At every class we stopped, the students we met were engaged, polite and respectful.
We were also impressed with the school itself, which boasts nine fully equipped classrooms/labs with 24 computers each. In fact there are more than 250 computers at the school, all with Internet access.
There is a video interactive classroom used for distance learning and video production and a Career Center dedicated to helping students find and obtain college scholarship funding.
The school's vision statement is, "Meridian High School is committed to developing a community of life-long learners through rigor, relevance and relationships."
The motto is "Moving from Good to Great."
Listed on the MHS website are the school's beliefs, some of which are:
* Every student can learn to become a contributing member of society.
• Students must be challenged to learn problem solving techniques, develop healthy self-concepts, and learn to work with individuals of different cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic levels.
* Administrators, parents, teachers, students and the community must share the responsibility of education and the advancement of the school's mission.
• Students must be provided a safe and orderly environment in which to learn.
All are lofty goals. And the school has shown improvement, moving up a letter grade this year from a D to a C, which is reason to celebrate.
Based on our tour of the school, the school's grade should be higher. School performance is not always accurately measured solely by test-based accountability ratings like "A," " B," or "F."
We challenge to our state legislators to tour Meridian High School and other schools where passionate teachers are working with willing students. Perhaps then they might take another look at the standardized test-based accountability laws that govern our schools and take other factors into consideration as well.