Notes on 4/9 Virtual Coffee Hour with Dr. Castonguay

Firstly, many thanks to all who have been so kind and supportive and good-natured about this challenging process.


On Thursday, April 9, Spofford Pond principal Dr. Castonguay held a “virtual coffee hour” co-hosted with the PTO, to allow parents to connect with her, each other, share, and ask questions.


She was joined by Assistant Principal Ada Greenberg, and six parents. PTO co-presidents Michelle Fallis and Bonnie Thornborough relayed questions that had been submitted, and the small group allowed for open questions at the end.


Some key take-aways from that meeting are:

  • Feedback is good. Principals and teachers really encourage parents to give feedback on how things are working on our end. They are meeting daily and making adjustments in response to feedback and their own observations, with the goal of continually improving this process and experience.
    • Send your teacher an email sharing what is working well and not-so-well for your child.
    • The Third-grade team sent a chart for collecting parent feedback, or any email to teachers is great.
    • You can also feel free to email Dr. Castonguay about anything or set up a meeting.
    • The same goes for Cole families. Please email your teacher, and you can also email Principal Betsy Boulanger at:
  • Dr. Castonguay expressed their understanding that families are in a variety of different situations, so the school’s goal is to find a balance of elements that work in different ways and are not overwhelming. For example, they are working to create more pre-recorded lessons so that kids can view and re-view within a timeframe that works best for their particular family situation and schedule.
  • Regarding the question of grades: Dr. Castonguay said right now the expectation is for kids to be engaged in their learning. Teachers are asked to make note of if kids are active or disengaged, and to reach out to parents/students to work on solutions for any concerns and provide support where needed.
  • Dr. Castonguay also said they are working on creative ways to support teachers and students, such as having support staff involved in classes and/or setting up individual meetings. She also expressed awareness that some students may have a busier schedule of meetings with different support staff, but the goal is for this support to be helpful and that they certainly do not want to add stress with extra scheduled meetings. Any feedback on this is appreciated, too.
  • Regarding the question of keeping kids caught up going into next year, Dr. Castonguay said the curriculum will be adjusted as needed next year, and they are also working on what might be called a “minimum tools” program that could help over the summer.
  • Regarding our sixth-graders, for whom several special traditions and celebrations likely can not happen as planned this spring, Dr. Castonguay said that despite much uncertainty now on when this can happen, the goal is still to eventually have an event to celebrate them and their moving on from elementary school.   
  • We will love to do more “virtual coffee hour” sessions to continue to support families, and would love any suggestions about ideal days/times. The next one will be hosted by both Dr. Castonguay and Mrs. Boulanger for both Cole and Spofford parents.  This first one was at 3:00pm Thursday. Please email us at to share any preferences. Thank you!