Notes on 4/16 Virtual Coffee Hour with Principals


In this second 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. Time and attendance in the zoom meeting also allowed for parents to share their families’ experience of remote learning. 


The format and tone were supportive and encouraging. The feedback and discussion were appreciated. 


Here are some key take-aways:

  • Everyone in the meeting really appreciated learning what others are asking and dealing with. 
    • For some it was valuable to know that others are sharing the same challenges
    • For some it was enlightening to better understand different perspectives and situations
  • Parents offered great feedback on scheduling, types/choices of activities, and virtual classroom organization (how students navigate the virtual space using Clever at Cole and Google Classroom at Spofford)
    • Kids struggle to find content if there are different access points
    • Hearing teacher’s voice helps (pre-recorded videos of storytime, lessons, etc.)
    • Choice board can help kids be flexible and independent
    • Zoom meeting at beginning of week helps set the week’s plan
  • One of the greatest challenges schools/ teachers are facing is that every child is in a different environment at home
    • Schools are working to balance asynchronous learning, such as pre-recorded videos, activities, games, etc. with live (synchronous) scheduled meetings and check-ins. 
    • Some families really need flexible schedules, while some need the live connections.
  • Lots of communication is taking place among educators
    • Leadership team meets every day
    • Principals meet with teacher teams regularly, as well as communication with support staff, specialists, other tri-town schools
    • Guidance from MA Commissioner of Education comes via superintendent Dr. Morrison 
  • 1-1 student-teacher video conferences are being done by teachers and support staff, such as RTI math and reading coaches. 
    • 1-1 meetings can be scheduled by emailing your child’s teacher.
    • Some teachers have a sign-up for parents and students to meet 1-1 with teacher. 
    • Teachers are also reaching out to parents about scheduling 1-1 meetings.
    • Teachers have office hours
  • Teachers are using feedback to modify courses, and are sharing ideas and getting more creative.
    • One thing they are looking into is breaking into smaller video groups for certain activities.
    • Continued feedback is helpful!
    • If remote learning is extended, we will see more creative solutions happening
  • Although grades are not being recorded, teachers are using the structure of grades/levels to give students feedback and ask for revisions to work (ie: if this were graded, it would be a “2”). Teachers are finding that students are responsive to feedback.
  • Principals are looking at the capstone experiences and traditions for the 6th and 2nd graders as “postponed” not cancelled. Also brainstorming remote ideas for some aspects.
  • In the fall, teachers will look at the standards from both spring and fall and develop a blend
    • Will do “back-filling” as needed
    • Working on summer essential skills, resources
  • Both 6th grade teams are working from a foundation that is aligned, although there may be differences in the delivery
  • Communication to parents about school closure extension and/or eventual plan to return to school will come from Dr. Morrison
    • Guidance will come from the state
    • For the eventual return to school plan, major coordination will take place at the local level with Boxford Board of Health, Police, Fire, Nurses, etc. for all of the best health and safety procedures for our kids.