The new school year will mark the official kickoff for two new small learning communities at Meridian High. Last year MHS started its Health Small Learning Community. This year it's starting one that focuses on visual and performing arts.
"We've got theatres here in Meridian that could utilize resources from these small learning communities," says Ross Collins Vocational Center Director, Rob Smith. "This program will help prepare our students to go into these areas."
The second new learning community will focus on the areas of: science, technology, engineering and mathematics,which are also known as the STEM subjects.
"Modern industry so to speak is looking for critical thinking, problem solving students," says Smith. "On the heels of that, is the fact that our nation is also lacking in engineers. If you'll look at the data, over the last several years the number of engineers in this country has declined compared to other nations. So, we want to prepare our students for that field and really try to encourage the engineering, mathematics and science fields so that we can better prepare our country and our students for the future."
Just as with the Health Small Learning Community, all of the curriculum for the new programs will relate in some way directly to each divisions individual focus.
"I think that it puts an extra bit of bite into the career pathway and really will help our students get prepared for the future, be it in the health-care, arts or STEM areas."
There are plans to open more small learning communities at Meridian High in the future; this includes possibly one for business. At this time there's no word on exactly when that will happen.
For this fall 132 students are enrolled in the three small learning communities that MHS will offer. Students enroll in their freshman year. The ultimate goal for the communities is to better prepare students to directly enter the workforce or college after graduating.