Spofford Pond Newsletter

Inclusive Practices, Innovation, Social Emotional Learning

June 3, 2020

Tri-Town School Union Vision Statement

Tri-Town School Union Vision Statement: The Tri-Town School Union believes in nurturing a dynamic learning environment where creative thinkers and innovative problem-solvers develop the empathy, resilience, perseverance, self-management, and kindness needed to positively impact the world.

Upcoming Dates


June 4th Retirement Parade for Andrea Monty! See details below.


June 4th Boxford School Committee


June 8th -12th A Week Remote Learning with the Specialist Team for all students!

(Information listed in newsletter below)


June 12th-Last Day of School & Grade 6 Moving On Ceremony/car parade

Principal Letter

Dear Spofford Pond Families,


As we come to a close of the school year after three months of social distancing/remote learning, we want to acknowledge and deeply thank our community of teachers, staff, parents and students for the way in which you all came together this year with the common goal of supporting the children. We have a strong and beautiful community that takes care of one another and most importantly the students in our school.


During this time of remote learning, we observed countless offerings of neighborly acts in our school community and the community of Boxford at large. Some of these are as follows:


  • In our "remote" classrooms, in addition to providing academics, teachers were connecting and caring for students' emotional wellbeing.

  • In the town, our food banks were working overtime to support those in need. Our food services department in the schools were providing meals for families

  • Our police department led many rolling car celebrations for birthdays and for high school graduation.

  • Our guidance counselors offered student and parent support with the goal of anxiety and stress reduction.

  • The PTO made videos for the staff of our school and our staff responded in kind with videos for our students.


We are certain there are many, many more examples of this. All demonstrating that love, care and concern is oxygen for healthy living. The world needs this more now than ever. I urge the continuance of these acts of love and kindness now, post-pandemic and post this time of protest.


Between the pandemic and a nation crying out for justice and an end to racism, we are in a deeply critical time in our lives. It is a time for stronger neighborly love by continuing to offer one another grace, fairness, and equity. We have the chance to turn troubled times into a moment of childhood that your children will remember as the time when their parents, teachers, and community taught them how to be a citizen of the world. We know that this only takes small acts of kindness and responsible living within our circle of influence for a powerful life lesson to be absorbed by the children and likely never forgotten.


There are many silver-linings and lessons learned from the traumatic events of our world and with these, we can move forward together as a stronger community of problem solvers.


For those who are looking for strategies and support during these challenging times, I have included links below for you to access.

https://www.npr.org/2019/10/08/767205198/the-things-parents-dont-talk-about-with-their-kids-but-should

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/tragedy-grief-resources-education

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/24/716700866/talking-race-with-young-children

https://sojo.net/articles/our-white-friends-desiring-be-allies


So, again, we thank you for your collaboration and partnership as we come to the close of the school year.


A few housekeeping items:

Save the date-June 8th & 9th will be parent pick up of student belongings at the school. More information to follow.

Sixth Grade Rolling Parade- 6/12 @ 1pm-More information to follow in a separate communication

Reminder: Class assignments will be posted in August.

Summer learning: A menu of summer at home learning opportunities will be posted in early July.


Your Boxford Principal Team,

Kathryn Castonguay, Principal

Ada Greenberg, Assistant Principal

Elizabeth Boulanger, Principal

Strategies to Help Children Cope with Stress and Worry

Click on this link to access a webinar on helping children cope with stress and worry. Hosted by our guidance/mental health staff!

Spofford Pond Morning Announcements

Click on this link to access the video.

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Week of Learning with the Specialists June 8th-12th!

"Dear Spofford Families,

Please see the attached information regarding the last week of school, June 8 - 12, 2020 and the Send Off to Summer activities that will be hosted by the Spofford Pond specialists teachers.

Send Off to Summer Letter to Families

Surf’s Up promo video

How to Join a Google Meet

Thank You!

Specialist Team

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Notes from 5//7 Parent Coffee


In our fourth virtual meeting, co-hosted by Spofford Pond and Cole Principals with the PTO, parents were invited to submit questions which were relayed for Dr. Castonguay and Mrs. Boulanger to respond. Many specific questions about grades were graciously fielded by teachers, too. Thank you! So appreciated! (Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!)


Here are some key take-aways:


Regarding collection of student items, parents will be able to come to the school in June to pick items up. Maybe not into the building, but working on a plan. Question of Lost & Found… still working out that plan, but developing!


Teacher and staff collaboration and communication has been key throughout this transition to remote learning.

  • Teachers and principals expressed gratitude to all the parents who are helping their students learn at home.

  • Principals are very proud of the work that teachers are doing.

  • Many technical frustrations/set-backs, but teachers keep working to improve the learning experience for their students.

  • One big challenge in the virtual environment is that it is hard to “read the room.”

    • Difficult for teachers to be one tiny box on a screen—and each child, too

    • Not easy to sense how kids are really doing - from an SEL (social emotional learning) perspective. ~ Something teachers are especially skilled at when in-person.

Parents asked about spaces where kids can share their work…

  • Workboards are developing

  • Class Dojo has been successful for many: child’s story can be private, submitted, then shared

Feedback Loop has been a key element for student feedback, and also teacher feedback, and improvement.

  • Teachers are focused on encouraging students to re-work their assignments, and students have been responding well to that

  • When teachers notice a student is not doing work, then support staff are looped in to help:

    • Guidance, or math/reading specialists

  • Julie Benson, Guidance Counselor at Spofford Pond, has been holding virtual lunch meetings with some kids

  • Mrs Benson and the Guidance team are also holding (held) a virtual parent support meeting on Wednesday May 13

Question of summer schooling…

  • No in-person teaching will take place

Regarding Fall…

  • Leadership team is working with several sub-groups about preparations for the Fall

  • Co-teaching model will continue

  • Arrangements for specific class teachers still in progress

  • Guidance will come from the state on distancing regulations, etc.

  • Focus on SEL will continue in Fall

    • This has been a traumatic experience for all students, and there is much awareness around the fact that students must feel safe before they are ready to learn

  • Regarding DESE (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) guidance on “power-standards”...

    • These are the concepts deemed most important for students to understand in each subject and grade

    • These are the teachers’ focus for the remainder of remote learning this year

    • These will also be the focus when assessing student comprehension and review of concepts in the Fall

    • Here is the DESE website that outlines these power standards: Grades K-5 are listed in the Elementary document, and Grade 6 is listed in the Secondary document:

  • The meeting concluded with several expressions of gratitude, and Happy Mother’s Day wishes



Food Waste Information from Pranali Ashara

Have you wondered about what happens to food waste in landfills? Or about the amount of water it took to produce an apple? Or what is the climate impact of buying non-seasonal fruits such as blueberries in December?


Well, to answer all of these questions about food waste and spread some knowledge during this uncertain time, I have created a video series revolving around the various aspects of food waste; each video has a specific focus from food miles to methane production to monoculture to tips for shopping smart! The videos are for all, so parents and students, feel free to watch them and learn something together!


Please click on either of the links below to access the videos - they are in the process of being published on both my project's Facebook Page and Website.



Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/Operation-Zero-Waste-684664881958123/2537857003146107/



Website: http://operationzerowaste.org/blog.html


Thank you and happy watching!"


Thank you in advance,

Pranali Ashara