Parent Testimonials

Parent Speech from Freshment Orientation Night, March 28, 2012

Click here to view the video of this parent testimonial!

Picture you are back in high school and imagine a day like this:

You get up in the morning and are genuinely excited to go to school. After all, you might be spending time in the aquaculture lab feeding or measuring tilapia and rainbow trout, using the simulator, being in one the great classrooms here. Or maybe going on the Envirolab boat at Project O. Once at school you are greeted outside (yes, outside in all kinds of weather) with a smile by Dr. Spera or Mr. Litvinoff. Inside, students have a morning meeting in the Great Hall with Dr. Spera. He gets out his flag, you say the Pledge of Allegiance together, and he may highlight a student and his or her recent accomplishment. In addition, he gives a brief motivational talk before classes begin because you see this a school where life lessons are taught as well as Science, Math, Civics, Language Arts, and Spanish. When you go to classes you have teachers that know you on a personal level. They are supportive, encouraging, motivating, and have a sense of humor. You will keep hearing MSMHS is an amazing place with a family type atmosphere, and there is no place like it, and you will hear it because it is true.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush said when she was nineteen and newly engaged to former President George Bush, her father gave her some advice he thought she might need in the future: "There are only three things you can give your children. One, give them the best education available. Two, set a good example. And three, give them all the love in the world."

Number one is already taken care of here at MSMHS. And number two, well in addition to a good example at home, our children see good examples here every day. There are honorable people here, real role models in a world that desperately needs people to look up to.

My daughter is a freshman here, she had to miss a day because she was sick with a fever, and she still wanted to go to school! She loves her teachers and has honestly never had a bad day here. The teachers have high expectations and standards for student learning and behavior, and there is a lot of homework but the teachers are here to help. They are here early in the morning, work through lunch, and help kids after school when they aren't running student clubs like Mrs. LaVista who runs five. Teachers go home and are amazingly available to students through email. Teachers attend PTO meetings here at night because they believe in the teacher component of PTO. They want to be involved in all aspects of their students' education. They are here at night for school dances, on weekends for Open Houses, fundraisers outside of school, and even a Sunday cleanup at Bluff Point coordinated by Ms. Howard and Ms. Ferland. During recent CAPT testing, Mrs. Horst and other teachers were here at 6 am getting breakfast ready for our kids for two consecutive weeks!

Mr. Litvinoff feeds the fish every day and is on call 24/7 with Dr. Spera because of alarms set up in the aquaculture lab. Kids work hard here because they see firsthand their teachers working hard, staying late, and helping others in the community.

Miss. Pascuzzi is working with the Interact Club to sell tee shirts to raise money to send care packages to our troops overseas.

Mrs. Horst coordinated turkey dinners for those families related to our school who were in need.

And as for Dr. Spera. Some parents and students think he sleeps here. All those events previously mentioned, Dr. Spera is right there supporting his staff. At Thanksgiving time, he personally drove his teachers to deliver those turkey dinners. And, let me ask you--do you know a principal that would work until 8:00 at night on a ladder hanging lights in his office to decorate for a teacher appreciation luncheon, coordinate all the food brought in by parents for that luncheon, and then pay out of pocket for things not donated? I did not know such a principal but do now.

Not only does Dr. Spera know the names of all the students here, he knows what they do outside of school, about their pets, he knows if they like the Red Sox or Yankees, Giants or Patriots. Dr. Spera gets information daily from other high schools where his students play sports so he knows about their accomplishments.

Dr. Spera and Ms. Iovino drive teachers to sporting events at other high schools where MSMHS students play. They go to musicals, concerts, and drama club performances. Whenever MSMHS parents get together, we marvel at his boundless energy and enthusiasm. That enthusiasm is contagious. I urge you all to get involved in this school. You will be happy you did.

Some here will tell you that because Dr. Spera talks about MSMHS being like a family that students don't want to let each other down. Families support, accept, and respect one another. Dr. Spera has said from the beginning bullying is not tolerated here and everyone is treated the same. He has illustrated that he means it. He recently instituted peer to peer mediation and brought in professionals to train some students so they can work with each other on certain issues so administrators don't have to become involved.

When Dr. Spera calls students into his office, he wants it to be a learning experience. If he has to dole out discipline, he expects it not to be a surprise because his students know his expectations.

Another significant life lesson students see at this school--to get respect you have to give respect. It does not mean you have to accept what children say or even part of it but you always try to understand where their ideas and opinions come from. Your children will be listened to when they talk about their life experiences, their families, and those things are remembered and those details will appear in future conversations. These children know how deeply they are cared about here.

This is an amazing school and you know what is even more amazing? Just because it is a great school doesn't mean it can't be better, just ask Dr. Spera. He's not happy it's a great school, he is always working to make it even better.

This is an exciting time to be at Marine Science Magnet High School. WELCOME.


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