Method Test Prep Spotlight seeks to highlight MTP clients, friends, and acquaintances who are doing amazing things in education. For each installment of the Spotlight, we will select a dedicated individual or organization to profile, and will then interview the awardee to share their story. Through the Spotlight, we hope to develop a bank of successful experiences and practices for other schools and educators to learn from.
It didn’t take much conversation to understand why Mr. Frank Luisi is so highly regarded in the Oceanside, NY community where he has spent the last 45 years. In that time, he has worked tirelessly in several roles—English teacher, football coach, and college advisor—to better the lives of his students and athletes at Oceanside High School, a large public school in Nassau County. Luisi is characterized by deep passion, integrity, selflessness, discipline, and commitment—all traits we look for in the best educators and coaches. But his influence transcends even these virtuous descriptors: he is a man who has always strived to create opportunities for every student he encounters. Look to the last few years, and you’d find Luisi helping a first-generation American student (and now future doctor) with Haitian roots earn admission to Harvard. Turn back the clock two decades, and you’d see Luisi writing a personalized letter and sending a highlight reel to every coach in the NFL to help one of his former football players land a quarterback position. (It worked.) And so it has always been—Mr. Luisi marries a wealth of knowledge with an unwavering drive to help students achieve their potential.
In his current role as Oceanside High School’s Advisor for College-Bound NCAA Student Athletes, Luisi preaches the importance of raising a student's Academic Index, or “AI,” as high as possible for merit-based aid opportunities. He shares, "the higher your GPA, the higher your ACT/SAT score, the more rigorous your course load, the more recruitable you'll be to college coaches, the more options you'll have for schools and the more money will be available to you for college." Luisi knows that college coaches must meet an average AI, and claims, "they love the high-AI kids because it gives them the flexibility to also recruit kids from disadvantaged backgrounds with lower AIs.”
Since assuming his advisory position, Luisi has sought to raise the ACT/SAT scores of Oceanside students. To achieve this goal, he has enlisted the help of Method Test Prep to create and run several ACT and SAT review classes throughout the year. He contends that providing these classes in Oceanside, where students earn SAT scores that are average for the region, makes his students more competitive in college admissions. "Colleges profile high schools based on average ACT and SAT scores, so making a concerted effort to raise the scores at the bottom of the curve helps increase opportunity for students at every level. It's important for the administration to understand that being committed to raising SAT scores across the board provides more opportunities for everyone," Luisi said.
For his part, Luisi works to create an environment of accountability and commitment in the review classes. "We prepare the room ahead of time, the desks are spaced out like they will be on test day, we provide the students with enough room to avoid being distracted. Students come in on time and prepared to work. They come in knowing how to login to their Castle Learning accounts so they can access Method Test Prep, their phones are put away and their Chromebooks are open on their desks. It's important for us to take ownership of the environment and be set up for success. Good behavior and attendance are required. Method Test Prep teachers run the class, but we own it and we take responsibility for coaching our students how to be of high character in the classroom so they can be successful in class and in life."
Another key to Luisi's program is ensuring that the school’s testing schedule allows students to take advantage of the Question and Answer Service, or QAS, provided by the CollegeBoard on the March, May, and October tests. By encouraging students to take the SAT on at least one of these dates, the school increases the likelihood that they’ll order their test booklets and use the questions within to improve as efficiently as possible. Working with teachers and tutors, students are able to quickly address their strengths and weaknesses. Luisi adds, "Combining that work with [their work on] Method Test Prep's online program, students are able to really impact their areas of deficiency and raise their scores."
More About Frank Luisi
Q: Is there a part of your job that you find particularly rewarding?
A: "Coaching kids through the process of dreaming. Seeing kids come in and describe their dream, building a plan to achieve it, and then reaching it. We have to lead them, guide them and show them, not just let them figure it out."
Q: Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
A: "Playing with my grandchildren, who bring me so much happiness. Play sports with them, taking them to Sesame Place and to see the Lion King."
Thanks again to Mr. Luisi for being a shining example of great things happening in education. The energy and passion he continues to display for education after all these years is nothing short of outstanding.
If you would like to nominate an individual or organization working with MTP to be considered for a Spotlight Award, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Spotlight. Please also share this story with people in education as well as with parents and other interested parties!
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