All posts by Mike Sperling

International Luncheon 2019: NSCS Beverly Culmination of March into Missions

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loves is God’s child, and knows God… God is love. John 4:7a&8b


What is March Into Missions?

March is a special month on the NSCS Beverly Campus. The entire month is dedicated to raising awareness for missions around the world, and for those closer to home. We call it “March Into Missions.” This is one of our most favorite months of learning and celebrating together.

In 2019 ,we embarked on new missions as well as continuing a mission project we started earlier. Four of our outreach projects this year included: DCF Foster Care Outreach, continued support for New Missions: Support for Wasley, help for displaced peoples, and student experiences in Kenya. Check out our previous blog about the missions that our students and teachers took part in this year.

Our students learn so much about the power of giving of their time, and how we are so blessed in our lives. They enjoy talking to family members and friends about the work they are doing and sharing how others can help missions, either near or far. Our students are phenomenal at giving of themselves.


The International Luncheon

The culmination of this wonderful month was our annual International Luncheon on March 27th. Students, along with the help of their families, prepare wonderful dishes for the entire school to share together. Faculty members and students had the opportunity to dress in traditional clothing of their native counties, and share stories from those cultures. We saw many amazing outfits from our teachers! Even Mrs. Heinz got into the spirit with a traditional Japanese Kimono.

The lower hall smelled divine with the aromas of all the wonderful dishes prepared. The hall was decorated with flags and keepsakes from nations all over the world to remind us that there are people everywhere that need and deserve God’s love. We enjoyed so much sharing a meal together and learning from each other. Thank you to all the parents and teachers who shared prayers in their native language. We are so blessed to have just over half of the families in our school represent ethnicities other than caucasian. This is an unusual phenomenon for the North Shore of Boston! Truly, we experienced a little slice of heaven today as people from many tribes, nations, and languages gathered to celebrate how God loves us all!


Time Management Skills to Teach Your Child

Is your child always running late or procrastinating doing work? Time management skills are one of the more difficult competencies to learn. Even adults can attest that they lose track of time or often feel rushed. How can you help your child learn time management skills (and maybe help yourself at the same time?)

Do a Time Assessment

Depending upon the age of your child, try a little experiment to see how long s/he believes a task will take and then compare it to how long it actually takes. For example, make a guesstimate how long it takes to do normal tasks like getting ready for school, doing homework, chores, and the nighttime routine. Then compare the amount of time you thought it would take to the time it actually takes. This time assessment can help your child become aware of the relativity of time.

Establish a Plan

Does your child have activities or sports after school as well as homework, or maybe a job? Help them establish a plan on how the time will work out. For example, If school gets out at 2:30 pm and there is an average of an hour of homework, a two-hour sports practice, and dinner to account for, how will your child prioritize and get it all done? Some families create a daily or weekly planner so everyone knows what days there are activities. Take a close look at the times and have your child map out how it will all fit in. The more they are involved in the discussion the better they will be at carrying out the plan.

Set Priorities

Seems like we are all busy in our society, so talk with your child about prioritizing what they need to do versus what they want to do. If your child needs to do homework, practice the violin, clean their room and still wants to have time to play on electronics then they will need to prioritize. Talk to your child about what should come first, second and so on.

Talk About Stress

We all know that feeling when we are running late or feel panicked that we forgot something. Talk to your child about what it feels like when they feel stressed because they did not plan well or are being rushed. How could this change if they start earlier or prioritize their time? For example, if they woke up 10 minutes earlier would the morning routine be less chaotic. Or perhaps getting homework done before dinner would leave time for something they want to do like games or video game time before bedtime.

Be a Role Model

Our children look to us for clues on how to act and plan. It can be a struggle, but be a good role model in planning your time. Talk to your child about why you do certain tasks at a certain time. Keep the conversation going since time management will look different at each stage of schooling and in life.

Do you have time management tricks you use? Tell us about them and share your expertise.


Celebrating Literacy Week 2019

To quote the renowned Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Just like the good doctor, we love reading at North Shore Christian School. In fact, we love it so much that we celebrate Literacy Week next week on our Lynn Campus. As a part of this celebration, we are also hosting a Scholastic Book Fair on March 21st. Who doesn’t love getting a new book and supporting our school all at the same time?

Reading is such a vital skill in our society today. It not only develops the mind, but it can also help our students discover new ideas and promote curiosity and imagination. It is so rooted in our everyday lives that it is tantamount to breathing; sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it.

How, then, do we encourage our children to become lifelong readers? There are many steps we can take as parents that can support even the most reluctant readers to pick up a book and enjoy a story of their choosing. Here are a few suggestions.


Make Reading a Routine

Days can be filled with lots of activities, sports, homework, and other obligations. Try to make reading a part of your regular routine even if it is just for a few minutes a day. Many parents find that reading together at night is a great way to share time with your child while, at the same time, encouraging reading. Reading as part of a nighttime routine is also a good way to wind down with your child and strike up conversations about the reading or even about their day.

Be a Role Model

Our children watch what we do and adjust accordingly. Be a reading role model for your child. Find your own joy in reading, be it in books, magazines, newspapers, or whatever medium you like. Share what you like about what you are reading with your child. For example, if you like a good mystery, explain to your child how you like the intrigue or excitement of solving the problem. If you enjoy catching up on the sports section in the newspaper, explain which players you follow or what stats you look for when you read.

Make Books Available

The key to reading is having books available. Create a reading nook in your child’s bedroom or, better yet, make it in a room where the whole family can read, like the den or living room. Get your child their own library card and make frequent visits to the library. Remember, books make fantastic gifts that your child can pass along or trade with friends.

If your child loves movies, find a book that has a film adaptation so you can read, then watch the movie after you have finished the book. That gives amazing opportunities to compare and contrast what the book was like in written form versus on the big screen.

Take Reading Mobile

If you find yourself in the car often driving to activities or on vacations, then make reading part of your trip. Audiobooks are readily available and can treat the whole family to a story during a long car ride.

How do you plan to celebrate literacy week? Ask your child what they love about reading and how they are celebrating in their classroom.

NSCS March into Missions 2019

Now that we have turned the calendar to March, we embark upon one of our favorite times of the year! On the first of the month, the NSCS Beverly Campus students and faculty kicked off the event known as “March-Into-Missions.”

What is March-Into-Missions?

NSCS Beverly Campus Dedicates the entire month of March to raising awareness for missions; locally, nationally and globally. This year we have taken on new missions as well as continuing a mission project we started earlier.

This month-long commitment is much anticipated time of the school year for our students. It is the time of the year that our students are intentionally exposed to outreach opportunities both in their own communities, and those that may be very far away from them.  

What is NSCS Working on this Year?

DCF Foster Care Outreach

This year we are focusing on four outreaches. We will be partnering with the local DCF Foster Care system. A representative will engage the students on what it means to be a foster parent/family, how a family could get involved in either direct child care or providing supplies for foster care families, and how our local foster care system works to help children in need. We will also be taking up a supplies collection all month.

Our wonderful panel of guests are all involved in providing foster care. This sweet angel is a preemie held by a single mom who has taken this newborn in and is caring for all of her needs. She believes that she can make an impact in the foster care system.

Our students asked thoughtful and interesting questions that helped them understand the foster system and how they can make a difference in a child’s life. For more information about Massachusetts Department of Social Services visit their website.

New Missions: Support for Wasley

We are also supporting a young boy living in Haiti by way of raising funds so that he can attend school, receive two meals each day, and medical care as needed. We are happy to report that we have raised over $1,200! This means that Wasley can remain in school for at least three more years! We hope to raise enough funds to help him stay through high school. We will have a representative who recently traveled to the Dominican Republic, working with New Missions, come to engage our students as well and we will continue our collection of funds through November 2019.  

Kenya Experiences

Two of our students spent their winter break serving young children in Kenya! These two students will be sharing their story and how even though you are young you can live a life of impact!  

Displaced Peoples

Our Director of Music will also be sharing about people who are displaced. She will share about her work with Syrian refugees.  We helped support her recent trip to Greece to serve some of these refugees and she will be reporting on the work taking place there.

Finally, we will culminate this wonderful month with our Annual International Luncheon on March 27th.  Every family will be invited to prepare a meal that is representative of their culture. We will enjoy a time of food and fellowship as we reflect upon God’s faithfulness to all people.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is God’s child, and knows God… God is love. John 4:7a&8b


S.T.E.M Afternoon: Circuit Building and Heat Energy Experiments

S.T.E.M. Afternoon

Our lower elementary students worked with our 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Bekas and focused on studying heat energy. Our upper elementary students took a close look at electricity and circuits with our 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Gourley.

In both cases, our students were posed a scientific question and were challenged to solve it using materials and information about their topic provided by the KnowAtom curriculum.

Electricity and Circuits

What fun our students had building circuits using wires, batteries, lightbulbs, cardboard, switches and some tape! After learning about the types of circuits such as: simple, series and parallel circuits our students focused on the question: “How does the amount of current in a circuit change when more light bulbs are added to a series current compared to a parallel current?”

It was amazing to see how adept our students already are at creating a circuit, understanding what a short circuit is and how to operate switches. They discussed how circuits work, what a current is and what things conduct electricity and what insulates it. Ask your student what the results of their experiment were and how they might think differently about the electricity that runs all the appliances and lights in your house.

Heat Energy and Mixtures

Our 2nd graders also had some fun creating mixtures of water and hot chocolate as they explored the question: “Does heat energy affect the speed of Dissolving?”

After collecting materials that included three temperatures of water (cold, room temperature and hot water), our students timed how long the hot chocolate package would take to completely dissolve.

Prior to experimenting, our students discussed what they already know about energy and heat. From there, they created a hypothesis about which temperature water would dissolve the hot chocolate fastest and slowest.

What do you think happened? Was it the hot water that dissolved the hot chocolate the fastest or the cold water? Or perhaps was it the water that was left at room temperature? Ask your child what the results were.

Does your child like to solve problems or experiment? Join us for our next S.T.E.M Afternoon or Saturday. Check out the next dates on the NSCS calendar.


NSCS Beverly Campus Presents Science Fair 2019

Every great idea starts somewhere. Scientists spend years working toward a solution to a problem in labs and natural environments. Sometimes those great ideas that impact the world are discoveries that happen by accident such as with penicillin, Post-It-Notes, x-ray machines, and pacemakers. Sometimes good old science and investigative research lead us to findings that forge changes that help medicine, daily life, or even our planet. It is with that love for discovery that our NSCS Beverly campus students embarked upon their 2019 Science Fair.

On the evening of February 11, 2019, family, friends and faculty were treated to an evening dedicated to the pursuit of scientific discovery. Beginning in the hall of the lower chapel, Mrs. Heinz delighted the crowd with a spirited trivia game with questions about the science topics the students researched for the past few weeks and months. Each grade focused on a different area of study and every single project showed hard work and dedication.

The Kindergarteners focused their science studies on, “The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars.” As a class, they examined the effects that the sun has on paper as well as the impact that the sun has on plants. They made educated hypotheses and followed their experiment through with data and a conclusion about how the sun can fade paper and help plants grow. In addition to their experiments, the class made paper mache planets and drawings of constellations. Individually each student created a trifold poster board about their planet including pertinent information regarding size, location, and characteristics that set it apart from the other planets. This was an amazing night for our early learners explaining their studies and how much they learned.

The 1st and 2nd graders studied, “The Fabulous Five Senses.” It was easy to tell right away that the students, dressed in lab coats and goggles, we ready to captivate their audience with experiments. The aroma of popcorn and tastes of sweet, salty and sour items were just a few of the ways that these students “showed-what-they-know” about sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. They even examined the mind-blowing McGuirk Effect. This discovery shows how we all use visual speech information. It involves showing a person’s lips making the shape of one sound—like “bah”—while the audio is actually the person saying “fah.” What’s interesting is that your brain changes what you “hear” based on what you see. The students did a marvelous job explaining their individual projects and taking parents through the experiments they tried in class.

The 3rd and 4th graders looked at, “The Engineering Process.” The engineering design process includes a series of steps that engineers follow to come up with a solution to a problem. The engineering process is different from the scientific method in that it deals with designing, building, and testing rather than merely making observations and doing experiments. Our students chose different topics within the umbrella topic of engineering design and displayed their research on trifold. Some of their deep research dealt with building bridges, objects that sink or float, energy, heat energy, colors, winds and turbulence, temperature and climate. Each student examined their topic while collecting data and conducting experiments. Some even made prototypes of their experiments. They learned so much about their topics that many plan to continue their studies on their own!

Finally, the 5th and 6th graders chose a topic that is near and dear to hearts, “How to Save the Coral Reefs.” Entering the classroom, one would think they you were entering an actual coral reef with the underwater lighting and seaweed floating from the ceiling. Each student took a look at the different coral reefs that are around the globe such as the Great Barrier Reef and the New Caledonia Barrier Reef. They posed questions such as: what are coral reefs, what is harming them, and how can humans help stop the pollution of the ecosystem that is dependent upon these environments. They also took a close look at the bleaching of coral reefs and how this could impact our Earth over the course of many years. Our most mature learners showed poise and a wealth of knowledge as they presented their findings.

In all, the night was a wonderful way for our students to show off what they have been learning and how hard they have been working. They should be very proud of their efforts. The NSCS community is proud to call them our own.

Making the Most of Vacation

For many of us, vacations conjure up visions of laying on the couch watching Netflix or maybe sitting on a tropical beach with our toes in the sand. While this would be lovely, especially given this cold winter Mother Nature has delivered, it is not always possible. Staycations are becoming more and more popular with families with two parents working. So, if you are firmly planted in New England with February break, what can you do to make the most of your vacation with your school-age children?

Depending upon your interests and the energy level of your children, there are plenty of activities you can do this vacation that are both fun and, dare I say, educational as well. Here are a few ideas that span the age range from pre-K to middle school for your next “staycation.”

Create a Vacation Plan

Like all things in life, planning can make all the difference between a harried, chaotic vacation and one that has a balance of downtime and activities that will make your whole family happy. Do some research to find out times when the locations you would like to visit are open and if there are any coupon codes or specials being offered to make your experiences more affordable.

Become Tourists

Although you may live in the New England region, you may not always have the time to see all of the sights or visit all the places that make this area so special. Make a list of your “must see” places, activities, and events. For example, if you have never seen the birthplace of the American Revolution, maybe now might be a good time to take a ride to Lexington and Concord greens (weather permitting). Or if you love science, then visit the Museum of Science or some of the local Children’s Museums. If art is your thing, maybe the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum would be a great day trip. If the weather is mild enough, just walking the streets of Boston and taking in the historic architecture and Freedom Trail can be a wonderful day to get to know your region and learn a little something in the process.

Don’t Forget To Relax

Vacations are meant to give students a break from the workload expected in school. We all need time to recharge so don’t forget to add this into your vacation plans. This may include watching some favorite movies, catching up on a hobby that you don’t have time for during school, reading books for pure enjoyment, and visiting friends!

Whether you have big travel plans or staycation plans this February break, make the most of your time together! From the faculty and staff at NSCS to you and your family, enjoy your break!

Pay It Forward This Valentine’s Day

If you have ever heard the expression to “Pay it Forward,” then you know it means instead of paying someone “back” for showing you kindness, that you pay it “forward” to someone else. While this concept has been around for decades, the idea has really caught on since the American romantic drama, Pay It Forward hit the screen in 2000.

The movie chronicles the life of 12-year-old Trevor McKinney and his school project. The seventh grade Las Vegas student launches a goodwill movement known as “Pay it Forward.” He does a favor for three people, asking each of them to “pay the favor forward” by doing favors for three other people, and so on, along a branching tree of good deeds. While the story has a tragic ending, the concept of this young man catches on and spreads across the country.

Every year around Valentine’s Day, we hear of others around our area doing similar kind deeds. This deed could be for someone they know or, someone they have never met before. Many people even make these small moments anonymous. When our students were asked what ways they could “Pay it Forward,” here are some of their responses.

  • Fold my laundry for my mom.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee when we go to Dunkin Donuts.
  • Shovel a neighbor’s driveway without them knowing.
  • Sit with a friend who is having a bad day.
  • Hug my parents.
  • Put away the dishes without being asked.
  • Bring the trash barrels in for my next door neighbor so they don’t blow in the wind.
  • Help my teacher when she needs help.
  • Collect mittens and hats for people who can not afford them.

Even the smallest act of kindness “paid forward” can mean a world of difference to that person. Who knows, that act may get passed on and on.

Organizing for Success

Did you know that organization is one of the key factors to success in school? Being organized in school can mean: being on time with assignments, knowing what is due when, and being able to plan ahead for longer projects. Since organization tends to be a learned behavior, let’s take a look at how students get organized through practice.

Have you ever looked in your backpack or locker and thought, “Wow, I’ll never find this assignment in here?” That is a sure sign that you may need some help getting organized. Other signs of being disorganized may be: poor grades, forgetting/losing papers, pens, books, not planning well for long term assignments and needing constant reminders to keep track of your “stuff.” Getting organized and staying organized can be tough but here are a few strategies that may help you get started in the right direction.

Start Fresh This School Year

Whether it is your binder, locker, desk, or backpack, start fresh by cleaning out clutter. Get rid of all old papers and assignments that you don’t need anymore. A clean slate is a great way to start.

Sort & Organize School Items

Once you have cleaned out all of your school items, start putting like items together such as all math papers together and all science papers together. If you need to get folders or notebooks to keep them grouped together that is a good idea. Don’t have a folder or notebook handy? Use a paper clip until all items can be organized by subject. If your assignments are online sort them into folders or classes. Whatever you have to do to keep items in the place where you can find them when you need them, then do it. It may mean color coding notebooks and folders, or labeling binder and books.

Create a Calendar

Many students find that being successful means seeing the “big picture.” This may mean getting your time organized as well as your study materials. Set up a calendar that helps you see what activities and assignments you have on each day. This will be helpful if you have long term assignments or assignments that are due at the end of each week. Plotting out which days you need to hurry off to an event or activity can mean getting homework out right away or skipping video games on certain days.

Maintain Your Organization Throughout The School Year

Once you have started a system to keep your time and materials organized, it is important to carve out some time each week to maintain your organization. Put papers where they belong, check off things on your to-do lists, and update your calendar. A little work each week can make or break staying organized.


Staying Organized in Middle School
Ways to Help Messy Kids Get Organized (An Occupational Therapists Point of View)
Organizational Skills for Students (that really work!)

Benefits of Being a Member of a Team

North Shore Christian School offers many after school opportunities to be a part of a larger team whether it is on the basketball court, the soccer pitch, in a musical ensemble or an art group. Being a part of a team can be a wonderful experience that can build character and help us understand each others strengths. Here are a few ways that encouraging your child to be a part of a team can benefit them both now in school and later in their career.

Complementary Strengths

Being a part of a team or group can help students gain a deeper understanding of each person’s talents and skills. For example, some students may be excellent at communicating while others are better at organization. Learning to break tasks into smaller, more manageable parts and assign these parts to individual team members according to their strengths is an important life lesson that will become more critical as they transition into the working world.

Learning Flexibility

Just like in life, learning how to “roll-with-it” can be hard. Starting young, learning how to work as a team means that our students acquire flexibility in finding solutions whether it is on the court, field or in the auditorium.

Time Management

Nothing teaches you time management like being a member of a team. If you are not on time you may let down your team. If you have not completed your part of the project you not only answer to yourself but the team as well.

Support and Morale

Honestly one of my best memories is being part of a musical ensemble. We were a tight group who supported each other and had each other’s backs in school and out. We would laugh together and sometimes cry. When facing a difficult musical piece we would work it through together. This is one of the intangible benefits of being part of a team.

Is your child considering trying an after school group? Encourage them to try something new or an old favorite. Either way they will benefit from learning to work with others, cooperate, compliment each other, and support each other as only our NSCS students can do. Questions about what programs are available? Check out our events calendar on our website and ask your teachers.