Leaders of the Meridian School District in the early 2000s envisioned a four-year college-preparatory high school system that would create learning environments and challenging curricula to promote the knowledge and skills necessary for students to enter college with many credits already earned or to be credentialed for other postsecondary learning.
Of particular interest was health care, which has emerged as Idahos largest, fastest-growing and highest-paying industry.
The districts pilot project, to link high-achieving students to college success, drove the founding of Renaissance High School a magnet for students from across the district.
Four events occurred around the same time Renaissance High School was in development that helped realize the goal of creating a college-preparatory high school:
Jabil Circuits closed its Meridian plant in 2002, opening an opportunity to repurpose the plant for the magnet school, an administrative office that could drive efficiency for patrons and other collaborative programs.
Meridian School Dist. No. 2 joined with Idaho State University, the city of Meridian and other partners to form The Core a med-tech industry cluster focused on sustainable economic development driven by health research, health care and support industries.
The school district partnered with Idaho State, the states designated lead institution for health education, to collaborate and prepare students in a new way.
The Otter administration, the Idaho Legislature, private donors and patrons of the school district helped create a cooperative environment in the big building that could accommodate new-age learning.
Enrollment is capped at 210 for each of Renaissances four grades of secondary education. Renaissance is a school of choice for those willing to sign an agreement to fulfill the schools rigorous curriculum.
Students are given the opportunity at the beginning of their junior year to take courses from the International Baccalaureate Program, which offers a challenging two-year curriculum. A diverse learning environment enables students to achieve either a coveted IB certificate in individual classes or an IB diploma, depending on their area of interest. Both the IB certificate and diploma are widely recognized as the gold standard by the worlds leading universities.
Renaissance High School graduated its first International Baccalaureate class last May.
Alternatively, Renaissance students are given the choice of earning an associate degree in liberal arts through our partnership with Idaho State University and agreements with other schools. Students earn a high school diploma and an associates degree simultaneously.
The degree track is for students interested in concentrating their higher-paced studies on the health sciences or another area of focus so that they are prepared either to enter the workforce or to handle the rigors of the college workload.
This school year, for the first time, many graduates will head for their postsecondary education already possessing associates degrees and numerous transferable college credits. Many will walk in Idaho States May commencement to claim their associates degrees.
At Renaissance High, we have created a culture focused on student success. We set high expectations for them. We expose them to rigorous, high-quality academic programs. They master the tools that prepare them for very bright futures.
Linda Clark, superintendent of Meridian Schools. firstname.lastname@example.org