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Key Communicator Newsletter - 11.4.14

Key Communicator - November 4, 2014

MPSD Shows Improvement on the 2013-14 State Tests

The Meridian Public School District is very pleased that the 2013-14 state test scores show an increase in student proficiency levels in both math and language arts which resulted in nearly all schools showing improvement.

For the first time since the implementation of the Mississippi Curriculum Test, second edition (MCT2) and in nearly a decade, there are NO failing schools in the Meridian Public School District.

Of the ten MPSD tested schools, six schools improved student performance levels and school letter grades from the 2012-13 school year to the 2013-14 school year and four schools maintained.

Highlights from this year’s data release include:
-No Failing Schools
-Six schools increased a letter grade
-Increased proficiency levels in Language Arts and Math (now 50%)
-Every school improved or maintained performance levels
-Poplar Springs is rated an “A” which is the highest level possible
-Meridian High has been ranked a “C” school for two consecutive years
-Nearly half of MPSD schools are labeled “C” or better
-Poplar Springs Elementary is the highest performing elementary school in the East Mississippi area
-MPSD had three of the top ten performing elementary schools in the East Mississippi area
-MPSD ranked in the top 81-100% of the state in terms of improving proficiency levels for students in the lowest 25% for Language Arts

For more information on MPSD state test results, click here.

‘A’ Rated MPSD Teachers

Please join us in congratulating the following teachers who earned an ‘A’ rating on the 2013-14 state test:

Elementary Teachers:

Iona Martin

Harris Elementary

Alternate Assessment

Kieosha Williams

Parkview Elementary

Alternate Assessment

Carla Bonner

West Hills Elementary

3rd Grade Mathematics

Catherine Moore

Poplar Springs Elementary

3rd Grade Mathematics

Mable Moore

Oakland Heights Elementary

4th Grade Language Arts

Linda Posey

Poplar Springs Elementary

5th Grade Science

Kiera Ezell

Crestwood Elementary

4th Grade Language Arts

Shavondra Clayton

Crestwood Elementary

4th Grade Mathematics

Haley Alexander

Poplar Springs Elementary

3rd Grade Mathematics

Mable Moore

Oakland Heights Elementary

4th Grade Mathematics

Cassie Brent

Poplar Springs Elementary

5th Grade Mathematics

Sophia Evins

Parkview Elementary

4th Grade Language Arts

Secondary Teachers:

Kimberly Ridinger

Meridian High School

Algebra I

Kim Hill

Northwest Middle School

Algebra I

Rhonda Burrage

Magnolia Middle School

Algebra I

Allison Pena

Meridian High School

Algebra I

Kim Hill

Northwest Middle School

8th Grade Mathematics

Jamie Buxton

Meridian High School


Valerie Williams

Northwest Middle School

Alternate Assessment

Donna Smith

Meridian High School

Algebra I

Rosemary Young

Meridian High School

Alternate Assessment

Camille Lesseig

Meridian High School

US History


MHS Student Evan Hamlin Wins VAS Art Award

Last year, Evan Hamlin was a student at Magnolia Middle School in Diana Armstrong’s class, and it was during this time that he entered the VSA (formally known as Very Special Arts) competition for children with disabilities entitled “I am…My Neighborhood.” Evan’s artwork was selected as one of the winning pieces and will be part of an exhibition at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. during the month of November. Evan is now a ninth grade student at Meridian High School.

Click here to see the award winning art. Congratulations Evan!

MHS Band Earns Top Spot at Region III Band Festival

Congratulations to the “Greatest Band in All of the Land” for earning all “one” ratings and the top spot among all of the other bands at the Region III Band Festival recently. The performance also earned the Wildcat Band the ranking of number four in the State out of over 900 bands. Way to go Wildcats!

Click here to read the full story from MHS Drum Major Joshua Williams.

October Teachers of the Month – Susan Allen and Taiesha Young

Congratulations to Ms. Allen from Carver Middle School and Ms. Young from Oakland Heights Elementary who were recently honored with a surprise classroom visit, $25 gift card to Applebee’s from Nino’s Daycare, and roses from Cartoons and Balloons.

Carver – Susan Allen
Ms. Allen is a first year teacher at Carver Middle School who is doing great things in her classroom. She is a hard worker with creative lessons that challenge and engage her students.

Oakland Heights – Taiesha Young
Ms. Young was chosen by her peers at Oakland Heights to be the Teacher of the Month. They chose her because “she really gets her students involved with learning; demonstrates how to get her students to learn with enthusiasm; makes learning fun in Pre-K; cares for students as well as entire staff; and she goes the extra mile to meet the student’s needs.”

Mayor Percy Bland, Meridian Parks and Recreation Director Kelvin McGruder, and local businesses, Cartoons and Balloons and Nino's Daycare, will be recognizing an outstanding teacher or staff member from two MPSD schools a month during the 2014-15 school year. 

Congratulations to Ms. Allen and Ms. Young! We are very proud of you!

MHS Spanish Club Presents Folk Lo` Rico Dances This Wednesday

The Meridian High School Spanish Club invites you to the Folk Lo` Rico dances by the Ollimpaxqui Ballet Company on Wednesday, November 5 in the MHS Auditorium. “Dances of Mexico” will be presented from 10:00 to 11:15 a.m., and “Dances of Latin America” will be presented from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Admission for MHS students is $10 per show or $15 for both. Admission for the public is $10 per show with one free sponsor per 20 students. All proceeds benefit the Puerto Rico trip scheduled for the students next summer.

Ross Collins Instructor Martin Jack Named Adult Craft Instructor of the Year

Congratulations to Ross Collins Instructor Martin Jack for being named the MCEF/MS Associated Builders & Contractors – Adult Craft Instructor of the Year for 2014 for his hard work and dedication to the vocational education! Mr. Jack will be formally recognized on November 7 at the Hilton in Jackson, MS during the Merit Awards Banquet.

A special thanks…

To Meridian Community College students and staff for volunteering at several MPSD schools during My College Cares Day.

Six MHS Students Place in MS World Trade Center Institute Art Competition

Mississippi World Trade Center Institute invited Mississippi high school students to participate in the 7th Annual Young Artists & Authors Global Showcase art and writing competition. The competition theme for 2014 was “A Journey Through Asia.”

Ten Meridian High School Visual Arts students submitted artwork in drawing, painting, and photography. Six of those students received awards at the World Trade Center Open House recently. The first place prize of $200.00 went to Lauryn Smith, a tenth grade student. The other students receiving Honorable Mention were Mahnoor Javed, Destiny Dunn, Alena Calderon, Tyra Moss, and Piper Bott.

Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Meridian ROARS Literacy Event a Huge Success

A special thanks to everyone who helped make the Meridian ROARS Literacy Event last week a huge success! Over 200 parents and staff members and over 100 children came together to kick-off the District’s intense focus on literacy.

To read Dr. Taylor’s latest blog “On a Positive Note…” about Meridian ROARS, click here.

Golden Apple Award Nominations

MPSD is pleased to have five teachers from our district awarded Golden Apples since the program began at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. The Golden Apple Awards will continue this year, so nominate your favorite teacher by visiting either or and clicking on the Golden Apple logo.

Nominations can be submitted by parents, faculty, or community members, as well as past and present students.


Come Visit Us!

We have tons of opportunities for you to be involved in our schools, so mark your calendars!


Northwest Middle School Canned Food Drive

Monday, November 3, 2014 until Friday, November 21, 2014

Northwest Middle School students and faculty will be collecting canned goods to donate to a local food bank for the Thanksgiving holiday. Together, as a community, our canned food drive will do more than provide food for the needy this holiday season. It will provide those in need with the reassurance that there are people who care and are willing to help.


Poplar Springs Elementary University of Southern Mississippi Dance Company

Tuesday, November 4

PSE Auditorium

The USM Dance Company will perform a Fall Young People's concert for all PreK-5th grade students. This is the performance component of a MS Arts Commission Mini Grant to bring movement and dance to elementary students.


Carver Middle School Reading/Science Fair Informational Meeting

Wednesday, November 5 – 5:30 p.m.

Carver Library


Meridian High School Blood Drive

Wednesday, November 5 - 8:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Meridian High School Spanish Club Presents Folk Lo’ Rico Performances

Wednesday, November 5

MHS Auditorium

The Ollimpaxqui Ballet Company will present the “Dances of Mexico” from 10:00 to 11:15 a.m. and “Dances of Latin America from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Admission from MHS students is $10 for one show or $15 for both and admission for other students is $10. All proceeds from the performances will benefit the Spanish Club’s trip to Puerto Rico next summer.


West Hills Elementary PTO Meeting

Thursday, November 6 - 6:15 p.m.


Northwest Middle School Fall Festival

Friday, November 7

Northwest Middle School will be sponsoring a Fall Festival for students who have shown “star quality” behavior for the month of October. The festival will include a Halloween costume contest, games, prizes, and a concession stand full of student’s favorite snacks!   Sixth graders are asked to bring a dozen cupcakes, seventh graders are asked to bring two - 2 Liter drinks, and eighth graders are asked to bring one bag of individually wrapped candy.


Northwest Middle School “Get your Growth On” Dance

Friday, November 7 - 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Northwest Middle School Gym

The “Get Your Growth On” Dance is an event for students who attended NWMS last year and showed growth on their MCT 2 test. Last year’s 8th Grade students who were promoted to 9th grade will be invited back to participate in this dance. Current 7th and 8th grade Students who showed growth on two areas will receive a Get Your Growth Ont-shirt. Current 9th grade students who showed growth on all 3 areas will receive a free picture at the dance. This dance is for 7th-9th graders ONLY!


Poplar Springs Elementary Scholastic Book Fair

Monday, November 10 through Monday, November 17 - 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Students and parents can purchase books, and the profits from the books sales benefit the PSE library.


Poplar Springs Elementary School Veteran's Day Celebration

Tuesday, November 11 – 9:00 a.m.

PSE Main Parking lot

PSE students and staff will honor and remember family members and friends who have served and currently serve in the military. This ceremony will end with students placing flags in the boulevard located on Poplar Springs Drive.


Northwest Middle School Thanksgiving Lunch with 6th Grade Parents

Thursday, November 13 – 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

The parents/guardians of sixth grade students are invited to visit their students for a special Thanksgiving lunch. The lunch will be during students’ regular lunch time which is between 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.


Magnolia Middle School Thanksgiving Lunch with 6th Grade Parents

Thursday, November 13

The parents/guardians of sixth grade students are invited to visit their students for a special Thanksgiving lunch. The lunch will be during students’ regular lunch time.


Crestwood Elementary School Thanksgiving Parent/Student Luncheon (Pre-K-Second)

Thursday, November 13 

Parents and guardians of students in Pre-K through Second grades are invited to attend a special Thanksgiving lunch with their child.


Poplar Springs Elementary Thanksgiving Lunch

Thursday, November 13

PSE Cafeteria

Students in 1st, 2nd and 4th grades will invite family members to share in the traditional Thanksgiving meal at PSE.


T.J. Harris Lower Elementary Parent Math Night

Thursday, November 13 - 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Teachers will present interesting math activities to help support students with math skills.


Meridian High School Performance of High School for Dummies

Friday, November 14 – 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

MHS Auditorium

Please join the Wildcat Players for their pre-competition performance of High School for Dummies. Admission is $2. Forms will be available for audience members to critique the performance and offer suggestions before the students take the play to competition.


Northwest Middle School Turkey Trot

Friday, November 14, 2014

Northwest will be sponsoring its annual PBIS Turkey Trot event on November 14, 2014. Students who have shown “star quality” behavior will be able to participate in a fun run/ foot race to compete for prizes. Those not interested in running can choose to walk or be spectators.   Snacks will be sold during this event.


Oakland Heights Elementary Reading Fair

Friday, November 14


Northwest Middle School Toython

Monday, November 17 through Wednesday, December 17

Northwest will be sponsoring a toy drive to provide Christmas toys for less fortunate children. Donated toys should be new and unwrapped. The Wesley House will oversee the distribution of all collected toys.


MPSD Progress Reports

Tuesday, November 18

Progress reports will be issued to all MPSD students.


Northwest Middle School Reading Fair

Tuesday, November 18 through Thursday, November 20

Tuesday, November 18th - All reading fair projects are due on this date.

Wednesday, November 19th- Reading Fair Setup, review, and grading

Thursday, November 20th- Reading Fair Judging


Poplar Springs Elementary Hosts Teaching Artist Julie White

Tuesday, November 18 – 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  

Julie White, USM Dance Professor, will teach model lessons in third through fifth grade classes integrating dance/movement into Common Core State Standards for math.  This is the professional development piece of a MS Arts Commission's Mini Grant to Poplar Springs Elementary.


T.J. Harris Upper Elementary Literacy Night

Tuesday, November 18 - 5:30 p.m.


Meridian High School Spring Musical Auditions

Wednesday, November 19 – 3:45 p.m.

MHS Auditorium

Students interested in auditioning for the MHS Spring Musical, The Wiz, need to complete an audition form and prepare 16 measures of a song to sing at the audition. For more information, contact Elizabeth Hines at MHS.


Crestwood Elementary School Turkey Trot

Thursday, November 20 


T.J. Harris Lower Elementary Thanksgiving Dinner

Thursday, November 20

Parents are invited to Thanksgiving Dinner during the regular scheduled lunch time for each grade level.


Meridian High School Poetry Out Loud Competition

Thursday, November 20 – 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

MHS Auditorium

The Poetry Out Loud Competition is open to all students in grades 9 through 12. There is no cost to enter. Students that win at MHS will advance to state competition in December. Visit for more information.


Northwest Middle School PTO Meeting

Thursday, November 20 - 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Northwest Auditorium

The Northwest Middle School PTO will be having a meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Science Fair Awards will be presented at this time.


Oakland Heights Elementary Science Fair Parent Workshop

Thursday, November 20 – 6 p.m.

The Science Fair Parent Workshop will provide parents with test preparation information as well as tips and strategies to help their children be successful.


Magnolia Middle School Turkey Trot

Friday, November 21


MPSD Thanksgiving Break

Monday, November 24 through Friday, November 28

All MPSD schools and offices will be closed for Thanksgiving Break.


MPSD in the News…


Wildcats Set to Return Home to Face Provine


MHS Downs Provine


MHS College Day


MHS Cross Country Team Off to Fast Start


Meridian to Face Oak Grove


MHS Alumna Graduates from Basic


Punt, Pass, Kick Contest at MHS


Riley Center Wins Governor’s Art Award


School Ratings


Harder Math Curriculum


Poplar Springs Presents MS My Home Program


Meridian Takes Down Petal


MHS Band Boosters Host EMCC Band Festival


Meridian ROARS


Meridian Star -


Statewide Tornado Drill (Oakland Heights)


Fall Retreat for Whole Schools Initiative


Meridian ROARS


Local Coaches Provide Tutoring Sessions for Youth


Playoffs on the Line for MHS

Thanks for helping us spread the great news about our schools! The Key Communicator is a publication of the Meridian Public School District, 1019 25th Avenue, Meridian, MS 39301. To join, email . To unsubscribe, reply to this message with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

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