What does learning look like at Meridian?

Diversity is necessary.

Diversity at Meridian is not only about how our students and families reflect a diversity of backgrounds (see facts), but also about our curriculum and pedagogical styles. For example, in Humanities classes, students read contemporary novels and study current events alongside reading more classical texts. On any given day in a Meridian classroom, student might be working in small groups, listening to a lecture, watching or film, or having an all class discussion without teacher interference.

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We use the city.

While the school facilities serve as the students' academic and social home base, Boston and its surrounding towns serve as an extended campus. The school is connected to the broader community through service projects and draws upon city resources and natural environments such as libraries, nature centers, and cultural institutions. This use of the city makes it possible for students to learn in a variety of ways and settings. An additional benefit of our use of the city is a more affordable independent school. Meridian does not need to spend money on expensive facilities, as we have the entire city just a subway ride away.

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Communication skills are central to all disciplines.

Students practice speaking and writing persuasively, creatively, and technically in each subject. Evidence: Same as above.

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Collaboration is a taught skill.

Students learn to work together to establish and maintain respect for each other and to care for their school. Collaborative leadership within and between the students and faculty establishes trust and assures creative and successful outcomes.

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Students make choices about what they learn.

develop integrity, perseverance, compassion, courage, and a passion for learning and creating that they take with them to other places and stages of life.

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Regular feedback helps develop a growth mindset.

Students receive regular feedback on the progress that they have made developing the essential skills and understandings identified for each course. They also learn how to assess their own efforts and how to work for constant improvement. Students embrace reflection and revision as the path to thoughtful and effective work. Students share their project work with the community through a variety of venues and build a portfolio of their accomplishments. Evidence: Portfolios, student reflections, rubrics, peer evaluations, and teacher reports.

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Long-term endeavors

Diversity at Meridian is not only about how our students and families reflect a diversity of backgrounds (see facts), but also about our curriculum and pedagogical styles. For example, in Humanities classes, students read contemporary novels and study current events alongside reading more classical texts. On any given day in a Meridian classroom, student might be working in small groups, listening to a lecture, watching or film, or having an all class discussion without teacher interference.

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Authenticity

Diversity at Meridian is not only about how our students and families reflect a diversity of backgrounds (see facts), but also about our curriculum and pedagogical styles. For example, in Humanities classes, students read contemporary novels and study current events alongside reading more classical texts. On any given day in a Meridian classroom, student might be working in small groups, listening to a lecture, watching or film, or having an all class discussion without teacher interference.

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Flexibility

Diversity at Meridian is not only about how our students and families reflect a diversity of backgrounds (see facts), but also about our curriculum and pedagogical styles. For example, in Humanities classes, students read contemporary novels and study current events alongside reading more classical texts. On any given day in a Meridian classroom, student might be working in small groups, listening to a lecture, watching or film, or having an all class discussion without teacher interference.

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Learning at Meridian: An Introduction

Diversity is necessary.

Diversity at Meridian is not only about how our students and families reflect a diversity of backgrounds (see facts), but also about our curriculum and pedagogical styles. For example, in Humanities classes, students read contemporary novels and study current events alongside reading more classical texts. On any given day in a Meridian classroom, student might be working in small groups, listening to a lecture, watching or film, or having an all class discussion without teacher interference.

Students not only work alongside their peers, but just as adults do in the workplace, they learn to work with people both older and younger than them. This means they have daily practice in listening to people who have more life experience than them, and also get to be those leaders as they grow up at Meridian. This is not only true in our classes, but also in our extracurriculars, in Committees, in MAPS, and in less structure times, such as during lunch.

+ Diversity is necessary.

+ Curriculum is interdisciplinary and intra-curricular.

Interdisciplinary courses have rich and useful advantages over more traditional fragmented models. Good learning is inherently about the making of connections between ideas. Within classes that bridge literature and history or mathematics and science, students have the opportunity to make broader and more sophisticated connections, and they can better see the relationships between events and ideas that they study. In this way, the model of the Renaissance learner who can synthesize ideas from diverse intellectual realms is at the heart of Meridian’s curriculum. Classes are taught in longer blocks with time for focused, uninterrupted efforts. Students can explore bigger topics in greater depth, and teachers assign fewer and more engaging homework assignments.
Additionally, as a project-based school students are able to explore what is often seen as afterschool activities during classtime. Students regularly incorporate art, music, video, podcasts, and more into their projects. They learn to express complex intellectual ideas in a variety of mediums and across their classes.

+ Classrooms exist outside of a school building.

While the school facilities serve as the students' academic and social home base, Boston and its surrounding towns serve as an extended campus. The school is connected to the broader community through service projects and draws upon city resources and natural environments such as libraries, nature centers, and cultural institutions. This use of the city makes it possible for students to learn in a variety of ways and settings. An additional benefit of our use of the city is a more affordable independent school. Meridian does not need to spend money on expensive facilities, as we have the entire city just a subway ride away.

+ Communication skills are central to all disciplines.

Students practice speaking and writing persuasively, creatively, and technically in each subject. Evidence: Same as above.

+ Collaboration is a taught skill.

Students learn to work together to establish and maintain respect for each other and to care for their school. Collaborative leadership within and between the students and faculty establishes trust and assures creative and successful outcomes. Evidence:

+ Regular feedback helps develop a growth mindset.

Students receive regular feedback on the progress that they have made developing the essential skills and understandings identified for each course. They also learn how to assess their own efforts and how to work for constant improvement. Students embrace reflection and revision as the path to thoughtful and effective work. Students share their project work with the community through a variety of venues and build a portfolio of their accomplishments. Evidence: Portfolios, student reflections, rubrics, peer evaluations, and teacher reports.

+ Students make choices about what they learn.

develop integrity, perseverance, compassion, courage, and a passion for learning and creating that they take with them to other places and stages of life.

Philosophy

Because curiosity is the foundation of lifelong learning, adolescents must have opportunities for expressing and pursuing their own questions. Meridian students learn how to propose, plan, and carry out original projects that address their inquiries and express their ideas in novel ways. 

Educators frequently note that adolescents are most engaged in extra-curricular activities such as athletics, theater, Model UN, debate, and visual arts. In its seven-year academic program, Meridian deliberately incorporates the attributes of these activities:

  • Long-term endeavors: Students work in-depth on a few tasks for an extended time, refining their skills and knowledge as they go.

  • Coaching: A mentor guides the students as they work, offering advice, provocative questioning, and support. Students are encouraged to make mistakes and try again.

  • Authentic tasks: Students undertake meaningful work that has relevance in their world.

  • Public exhibition: Peers, parents, teachers, and other community members see the performances, read the essays, and examine the experiments. This audience cares about the work that students do and provides meaningful feedback, questions, and encouragement.

Interdisciplinary Learning

Interdisciplinary courses have rich and useful advantages over more traditional fragmented models. Good learning is inherently about the making of connections between ideas. Within classes that bridge literature and history or mathematics and science, students have the opportunity to make broader and more sophisticated connections, and they can better see the relationships between events and ideas that they study. In this way, the model of the Renaissance learner who can synthesize ideas from diverse intellectual realms is at the heart of Meridian’s curriculum. Classes are taught in longer blocks with time for focused, uninterrupted efforts. Students can explore bigger topics in greater depth, and teachers assign fewer and more engaging homework assignments.

Multi-Age Classrooms

Meridian classes are also multi-age. Spanish classes are sectioned by skill level and can include students from many grades. Electives, extracurricular activities, and Community Groups are all multi-age experiences. When our school travels on field trips and overnight programs facilitators frequently comment that they cannot tell where one grade begins and the next ends. Humanities and MST classes are grouped according to the following structure:

  • Division 1 - Grades 6 and 7

  • Division 2 - Grade 8

  • Division 3 - Grades 9 and 10

  • Division 4 - Grades 11 and 12

Scope & Sequence

Meridian’s curriculum is built around three main interdisciplinary subjects:

The course sequence is below. Be sure to also check out each subject’s page, linked above, to learn more about specific classes.

Math, Science, TechnologyHumanitiesSpanish*
Division 1EngineeringHeroes and Villians
*Sectioned by readiness
Middle School Novice
Doing Research in Mathematics and ScienceMedia and JournalismMiddle School Novice High
Division 2Marine ScienceConstitution NationMiddle School Intermediate
Division 3Revolutions in Mathematics and ScienceAmerican HistoriographyHigh School Intermediate I
Human Biology and Decision MakingWestern Thought High School Intermediate II
Division 4Physics and CalculusCivilization from East to WestAdvanced SpanishJunior Year Project
Mathematical Research and ModelingStudent and Teacher Co-Designed CourseAdvanced SpanishInternships

Flexible Schedule

Below is a sample student's weekly schedule, though Meridian's small size makes it possible to accommodate diverse curricular needs and activities beyond the school building. This schedule often shifts to make space for field trips to museums and performances, visiting teachers and experts, and in-school research experiments. After school, students often participate in extra-curricular activities such as music, athletics, or theater, get extra help from a teacher, or just hang out with classmates.