Assets in Action: The Power of US! Ways to show we care…

The secret to helping children and youth grow into happy, healthy, and responsible adults isn’t really a secret at all. Simply making a point to connect with young people and show that you care about them can make a difference in their lives.

Here are the facts. Research from the Search Institute, a leader in child development research and creator of the 40 Developmental Asset Framework, identifies 40 essential developmental “nutrients” (or Assets) that have a powerful, positive impact on young people. Children and teens who possess many Assets are involved in fewer risky behaviors. Even better, they are much more likely to exhibit positive values, leadership, good health, and success in school.  Unfortunately, many young people don’t have enough Assets.   According to national surveys conducted by Search Institute, about 59 percent of young people have 20 or fewer of the 40 Developmental Assets.  The good news? We can change this because we all have the power to build Assets in young people’s lives.

Search Institute leader Peter Benson once said, “When it comes to raising healthy and whole kids, every community member matters. Even the smallest of actions matter… The web of family, school and community support is critical and essential.”

Looking for easy ways to build Assets, show kids they matter and that you care about them? The Search Institute has gathered 150 different ways to do just thatand all 150 ways can be found at Asset building happens in many wonderful ways around the Tri-Town and at Spofford School, such as pictured here…

Ways to Show Kids You Care #31: Share in their excitement!

Bubble Experiment (1)

Spofford 6th grade science students explore the properties of bubbles —- their enthusiasm is infectious

This is the first of many great examples of Asset building photos Tri-Town Council will be collecting and sharing and we would love to include your submissions too! Send us your photos!  What ways do you show Tri-town kids you care?   Let us know at

Google for Education

Dear Parents,

We are excited to announce the implementation of Google for Education beginning this year at Spofford Pond School. We began with our sixth grade students and will be moving into grades 3, 4, and 5 this week and next week.  Google for Education provides many digital tools to enhance the way we use technology and share information within and beyond our school community. Our main objective is to have a place where students can share work, communicate with teachers and save/retrieve projects using laptops, tablets and other devices. We piloted this over the past two school years with grade six students and that went very well!  

Google for Education, a suite of free, cloud-based productivity tools allows us to collaborate and communicate more effectively through the use of technology.  It also offers a range of new learning opportunities for both teachers and students.  Further information about Google for Education can be found at:

Students, like staff, at Spofford will receive a Google for Education account that will allow access to our Google-hosted domain. This is a “closed account” where students will only have access to what the teachers provide for them.  At this time, they will not have the ability to email.  If that changes, we will communicate with you  in advance.  In order to do this, Spofford Pond School requires parents and students to sign our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).  Copies of our AUP can be found on our school’s website: and by choosing the Quick Link entitled “2015-2016 School Handbook”.  From there, you can refer to page 54, section 22.11: “Responsible Computer, Network and Internet Use”; page 55, section 22.12: “Grade 3-4 Student Digital Device Rules”; and page 56, section 22.13:  Grade 5-6 Student Digital Device Rules”.

Google for Education student accounts created by the school district will be managed based upon the classroom requirements and parental consent.

In school, teacher supervision and content filters are used to help prevent access to inappropriate content and to ensure proper educational use of the application.  Google does not request any personal information from students and the District does not provide personal student data to Google.  Student accounts can be accessed by domain administrators at any time.  Information about the privacy policy and protections of Google for Education can be found at:

As with all Internet access, the district utilizes a content filter.  While at school, staff will monitor students’ use of Google for Education productivity suite; either by direct observation or by automated systems, which identify prohibited use. At all times, whether at school or home, students are responsible for their adherence to the Spofford Pond School AUP.

If you still feel it would be best for your child not to utilize these tools, the Spofford Pond  School Technology Department will make sure that your student does not have access and will then be issued an alternative.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or concerns.


Kathryn Castonguay, Principal

Math Olympiad

Dear Parents,

Math Olympiad is a challenging math competition program where students in grades 4, 5, and 6 meet for practices and then participate in 5 contests throughout the school year.  In the past,  students have been invited to join our Math Olympiad program based on MCAS scores.  This year,  we will be using the End of the Year summative math test from our Math in Focus program.  Every student in our school took this test last June in the classroom.  The highest scoring 20 students in each of grades 4, 5, and 6 will be invited to join this program.  Those students will bring home permission slips on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

For more information or if you have questions or concerns, please contact our Math Curriculum Support Specialist, Jennifer Sirmaian at


Kathryn M. Castonguay

Tri Town Council News

“Failing Well: Raising Resilient Kids”
Thursday, October 1st7pm-9pm Masconomet Auditorium
Success isn’t just about winning: it’s about who we are when we fall short. Today, kids and teens have never had more opportunity-or have ever seemed more fragile. When kids lack the skills to face down a challenge, recover from failure or adapt to change, they fall short of reaching their potential.  In this talk, you’ll learn strategies you can use immediately to help your child become braver and interpret setbacks with more optimism. You’ll also learn how to explore your own relationship to failure, so that you can model resilience for your child. Register at (events tab)

Volunteering at school

We welcome volunteers at our schools – we could not accomplish all that we do without your help! Volunteers enrich the learning environment, extend the teachers’ teaching time and expand our resources. Volunteers work under the direction of each classroom teacher who will explain the best way to provide support during the Fall Parent Information Night/Open House. You can sign up for specific activities and roles at that time. If you cannot attend, speak directly with your classroom teacher.

Volunteer opportunities in the classroom

Classroom teachers assign the role of Room Parent to one or more people at their discretion generally following the Fall Open House. Room parents facilitate communication between the teacher and the classroom parents, providing support to the teacher as the need arises. Room Parents may manage classroom volunteers, organize special events, assist with classroom supplies and traditionally coordinate the purchase of gifts to the teacher from the class.

CORI: criminal offender record information

All volunteers at the school are required to obtain “CORI” approval:

On November 27, 2002, chapter 385 of the Acts of 2002, “An Act Further Protecting Children,” was enacted. That law contains a provision authorizing school committees, Superintendents and Principals to have access to criminal offender record information (“CORI”) and requires that they obtain “all available” CORI of “any current or prospective employee or volunteer of the school department, who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children, including any individual who regularly provides school related transportation to children.”

To volunteer, you must update your CORI every three years. Visit the school office to complete a CORI check. Be sure to bring Photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport.

Volunteers must strictly respect the confidentiality of student information at all times. Any misuse of information results in the immediate termination of your volunteer services. As a volunteer, you are required to sign a confidentiality statement.

Due to safety concerns, we ask that even if you spend a substantial amount of time in the school on a regular basis that you not to bring younger siblings.

Volunteer opportunities: PTO

The mission of the Boxford PTO is raise money to enrich our children’s educational experience from pre-K through the 6th grade. Funds that are raised provide grants to teachers, purchase equipment and library books and fund curriculum enrichment programs and parent
seminars. Each school year, the PTO produces a directory of families and also publishes yearbooks for both schools. They also maintain an active website. The organization strives to bring the community together through events like the Fall Fundown, Annual Halloween Party, school talent shows, as well as other special events. Each Fall, the PTO holds its annual Membership Drive. By joining the PTO, parents can help support all of these wonderful initiatives. PTO meetings are held monthly, and parents are welcome to attend. There are many opportunities to get involved throughout the school year, and volunteers are always welcomed and appreciated.

For more information, visit or email

Volunteer opportunities: BEST

The Boxford Elementary Schools Trust (BEST) is an all-­‐‑volunteer, non-­‐‑profit organization dedicated to fostering excellence in our public elementary schools by raising private funds to support the long-­‐‑term strategic goals of our schools. Our efforts focus in the areas of innovative teaching tools and professional development.

Since it was founded in 1996, BEST has contributed over $500,000 to our elementary schools, funding the installation of SMART Board technology, laptop computers and iPads in our classrooms, supplemental programs in Math, Science and Art, as well as professional development grants for our teachers.

Over the years, BEST has continued to address the very real challenge of maintaining excellence in our schools in the face of changing financial climates. There is an important need for public schools to have funds over and above what is provided through taxes. This additional funding can help to make the difference between an average educational experience and one that is more meaningful.

For more information, visit or email

Volunteer opportunities: D.A.S.H.

Disability Awareness Starts Here (D.A.S.H.) is a sensitivity awareness experience designed to educate elementary school students about a variety of disabilities. It provides them with the knowledge and insight to understand, be sensitive to and meet the special needs of people they encounter who have disabilities.

For more information, visit

Visiting the school

We welcome visits to schools by parents and other citizens. To ensure you have the opportunity to visit your child’s instructional program without disrupting normal classroom routines and to provide for the safety of the children, please be aware of the following conditions for visits:

  • The Principal maintains a logbook in the office for visitors and volunteers to sign in, indicating your name, the purpose of your visit, date and time. All visitors must sign in. The office staff will provide you with a badge or nametag to wear while you are in the building. In the case of special days and blanket invitations, you should sign a guest list in the school office. If you are unknown to the teacher, the Principal or an appointed staff member should accompany you to the classroom.
  • A parent or citizen who wishes to visit classrooms while instruction is in progress should give the Principal 24-hour notice of your intent, except on days when blanket invitations have been extended to parents for special events. If your planned visit is not at an appropriate time, reschedule with the teacher and Principal, as appropriate. If you arrive at school for a visit without advance notice, your admittance is at the Principal’s discretion upon consultation with your child’s teacher.
  • The Principal can restrict the number of visitors to a classroom to minimize disruption to the learning environment. We generally prefer to limit your visits to one visit per month, up to one hour, except for special programs or in response to blanket invitations.
  • Principals reserve the right to assign a co-observer and may result in a longer timeframe to schedule your observation.
  • Visits with your child during lunch or recess can be very disruptive, so we suggest that you limit your visits to classroom activities.
  • While visiting in the classroom, do not interrupt the class or the teacher in any way. If you want to ask questions or confer with the teacher, contact the teacher at a later time for an appointment.
  • When you leave the classroom, return directly to the Principal’s office before leaving the building and record your departure time in the logbook.
  • The Principal has the authority to exclude any person he/she has reason to believe is disrupting the educational program, the students or the building staff from the school.

Fall Fundown!

Dear Parents,

What a wonderful Fall Fundown we had!  The PTO did a fabulous job with this and it is so nice to have our two schools come together as one community.  We thank all of the parents who put this together  I want assure you that the students treated by the paramedics all responded nicely.   Here are some pictures from the evening:

20150921_165549-120150921_170445 20150921_165739 20150921_165808 20150921_165824 20150921_165846 20150921_165909 20150921_170230 20150921_170311-1 20150921_170417-1

Tri-Town SEPAC Event!

The 2015-2016 School Year Has Begun!

Feeling Overwhelmed?

YESS! (Your Educational Support Services)

We can Help!

Your Educational Support Services are helpful resources offered by The Tri-Town Special Education

Advisory Council to assist you in navigating and supporting the needs of you and your student(s) within the Tri-Town school system from Pre-K—12th grade!

Please join us as we look forward to presenting:

Organizational Skills:

A Crash Course for You and Your Child

September 23rd @ 7 PM at the Masconomet Middle School Library

Sharing helpful tips and insights will beAlison Salerno (2nd grade teacher from Harry Lee Cole), K-2 Dina Hawkes (5th grade teacher from Howe Manning), 3-6 Nick Mazzaglia (Special Ed. Coordinator, Masco MS), MS/H

Be sure to check us out for more information/upcoming events: Website:  and on Facebook TriTown Sepac

ial Ed. Coordinator, Masco MS), MS/HS



Be sure to check us out for more information/upcoming events: Website:   and on Facebook TriTown Sepac

Science from Scientists

We are so excited to be working with Science from Scientists in our fifth grade this year.  Thanks to BEST and New England Biolabs, we are able to host two “Scientists in Residence” who will co-teach labs with our fifth grade students twice a month!  Check out the bios of our scientists below and for more information, go to:


Cortney Wieber — Director of Education, Program Manager Curriculum and Vacation Programs, Instructor

Cortney loves science, traveling and animals, especially bats! She returned to the Salem, MA area after spending a few months in India and completing her M.S. in Australia at James Cook University, researching the role of flying foxes as host reservoirs for zoonotic viruses. Before that, she spent many summers abroad gaining hands-on experience in wildlife rehabilitation in various countries around the world while getting her B.S. in Environmental Biology at Salem State University. Cortney’s newest ventures include an emphasis on traveling within the country (instead of everywhere outside of it), running and training for her next Spartan race!


Tiffany Travis

Tiffany was born in Maine and raised in Connecticut before venturing her way to Boston for college where she fell in love with the city. Thanks to her dedicated science teachers over the years, she found herself passionate about the wonders of science. She earned a B.S. in Biochemistry in 2010 and her MAT in Secondary Education in 2014, both at Northeastern University. Tiffany has experience in both the research and education fields. She completed a unique trip with SEA Semester during which she sailed aboard a tall ship where she learned sail handling and researched the effect of ocean acidification on pteropods. Tiffany has also worked at two pharmaceutical companies as a co-op during undergrad and then worked her initial few years out of college at Joule Unlimited Technologies where she helped run small-scale bioreactors and cultured various strains of cyanobacteria used in production runs to synthesis non-biomass based ethanol as a byproduct of photosynthesis. After quickly realizing she loved helping others and seeing them learn, she moved on to teach high school chemistry and biology. She’s looking forward to sharing her passion for science and drive for learning with other students through Science from Scientists! In Tiffany’s spare time, she loves to bake, read, and travel. She’s also an avid runner and hopes to run the Boston Marathon in the near future.