I hope everyone’s summer was filled with great moments spent with family and friends enjoying needed vacations, weekends in the Idaho outdoors or a day at Roaring Springs staying cool during this summer heat. While some have already started, this week 40,000 students in 58 West Ada schools are preparing to embark on a new school year. I want to wish students, parents, teachers and administrators a successful year! I am excited to see my own kids explore new activities and challenge themselves as they grow and learn.
What also begins this time of year is increased traffic on the roads, bikes on our pathways, and walkers in our school zones. This also means alterations of speed limits, flashing hawk signals, and buses stopping traffic. I encourage everyone to be mindful of their surroundings and show patience with increased traffic – especially in and around school zones.
The most important thing is to be safe and pay attention. The Meridian Police Department recently shared some important safety tips on social media for back-to-school (you can view the post here). School zones are generally posted at 20 mph, so be prepared to slow down. School buses stop frequently for students loading and unloading, so make sure to pay attention to flashing lights and never pass another vehicle with the stop-arm extended. Even with over 50 miles of pathways and sidewalks across the City of Meridian, there are still areas where students walk that do not currently have a pathway. Ultimately, please be prepared for the additional time on your commute and pay close attention for kids, school buses, and school zones.
We, as a City, are also taking steps to keep Meridian students safe. I am proud of the continuous efforts the West Ada School District and Meridian Police Department undertake every day to protect Meridian’s young learners. As we continue to increase safety in schools, we are adding six new School Resource Officers (SRO) to the Meridian Police Department. These new SROs will be a dedicated resource for our elementary school students, giving the other SROs ability to focus on their efforts in the middle and high schools.
As parents and community members, this is also a great time of year to get involved with our schools. Join the PTA, volunteer in a classroom, go watch a sporting event, and really get involved with the future of Meridian. Each school has a different process for joining their PTA and volunteering, so take a moment to reach out to the administration in your student’s school to learn more.
One program I would also like to mention is the start of another Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) season. This is a rewarding part of my work as Mayor, serving with these high school-aged teens—a youth organization dedicated to helping the City by tackling issues that our teens and the community face throughout Meridian. This is the time of year MYAC welcomes new faces and gets into full swing! Students in grades 9th – 12th who live in Meridian or go to school in Meridian, and who are interested in making a positive impact to their community are invited to be a part of MYAC. We’re holding a kickoff event for those who are interested on Monday, August 29th, 6:00 PM at Wahooz. Students and parents are welcome to come learn about MYAC, and students will have a chance to bowl and get to know each other. For more information about MYAC, including a link to the application form to join, please visit our webpage..
As we transition from the heat of summer into fall, on Friday nights you will likely find me taking in one of our high school football games. I love watching the players on the field, listening to the band play, enjoying the students cheering and seeing parents talking and laughing with one another. If you see me, say hello and lets continuing to come together as a community. With that, I wish all of our students, teachers, and parents a very successful school year!