TRMC, MSMHS U.S.News & World Report

TRMC Earns High Honors from U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report has awarded high distinctions on two LEARN high schools in the publication’s annual rankings of the best schools nationally and locally.

The publication’s famous ranking system awarded medals to four high schools in New London County and two of those schools are run by LEARN. Marine Science Magnet High School (MSMHS) in Groton earned its first-ever Gold Medal and Three Rivers Middle College (TRMC) in Norwich won a Bronze Medal.

LEARN Associate Executive Director Kate Ericson was very proud of the schools for the recognition.  She said the schools are exemplars of LEARN’s magnet school mission to bring together students of different backgrounds from throughout southeastern Connecticut.

“Recognition from U.S. News and World Report is confirmation that public school choice empowers students and families to control their educational destinies,” Ericson said. “These are schools that provide students of various socio-economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds with rich learning environments cultivated by high quality educators.”

U.S. News & World Report reviews over 20,000 schools throughout the country in annual rankings. Top-ranked schools excel at student performance on proficiency tests, offer challenging curricula to students, and have high graduation rates.

TRMC’s Bronze distinction was the first medal that the school has earned. LEARN runs TRMC in cooperation with Three Rivers Community College on its Norwich campus. The school offers 11th and 12th graders the opportunity to enroll in college classes and earn credit while working toward their high school diplomas.

“This is a huge accomplishment for such a young school,” said TRMC Principal Brad Columbus. “It represents all the hard work of the staff, students, and families who have played such a critical role in helping TRMC become one state’s best college preparatory high schools." 

TRMC will hold its Commencement at the college on Tuesday, June 19, at 10:30 a.m. The school does not select a valedictorian or salutatorian, but will feature several student speakers. Two TRMC students – Jaeden Spitale of Baltic and Alexi Switz of Stonington – will graduate from high school having already obtained their college Associate’s degrees.

MSMHS was one of only 15 schools in the state to earn a Gold Medal. It was ranked as the sixth best high school in the state and the third best magnet school, as well as being named the #352 school in the entire country.

MSMHS the only southeastern Connecticut school to receive a Gold Medal, the first it has received since it was first eligible for a U.S. News ranking in 2014. MSMHS has consistently been ranked highly, with the Connecticut State Department of Education naming it as a School of Distinction for Overall Performance.

In his seventh year as the founding principal of MSMHS, Dr. Nicholas J. Spera contributes the success of the school and its student achievement results based on a strong set of core values and beliefs about learning that are supported by all of the school’s stakeholders.

“All great schools have three components,” Spera said. “First, they must have a group of caring and motivated teachers willing to go above and beyond for their students. Second, a student body that is willing to create a strong culture and climate conducive to learning along with the belief that effort creates ability. Lastly, it is essential to have the unwavering support of the parents and community. I am blessed to be in a school where all three components exist.”

Over the past two years, MSMHS has received several honors and awards including being named the Connecticut State Department of Education School of Distinction for Overall Performance, 7th Most Challenging Public High School in Connecticut by the Washington Post, and Spera was awarded the Northeast Principal of the Year Award by the Magnet Schools of America.

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