Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Great Falls Parent Step Up Night

Tuesday, May 30th from 6-7pm
Great Falls Gym

Join the administrators and staff at Great Falls Elementary School to get a sneak peek into your child’s next grade. A teacher representative from grades 1-5 will be presenting information and answering questions.

Great Falls Field Days 2017

It’s that Time-of-Year!!!!  This year Kindergarten through Grade 5 field days will be held at the Gorham Sports Center. As always, this will be a fabulous and fun event.

Students will be leaving Great Falls at 9:10 am and starting their field days at 9:30 am. Please encourage your students to bring a water bottle.

Kindergarten - Tuesday, May 30th
Grade 1 - Wednesday, May 31st
Grade 2 - Thursday, June 1st
Grade 3 - Friday, June 2nd
Grade 4 - Monday, June 5th
Grade 5 - Tuesday, June 6th

Friday, March 24, 2017

Join us at the Great Falls Family Fun and Wellness Fair!

The Great Falls Family Fun and Wellness Fair
Friday, April 7th 

Join the Great Falls staff and a variety of community vendors as we celebrate and promote family wellness! There will be lots of active activities for all including a bounce slide, obstacle course, yoga, a story walk and more! The cafeteria will be set up as a health and wellness expo with local businesses and experts ready to share their health and wellness knowledge! 

Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Parent/student/teacher conferences are held on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 15th and the full day on Friday, March 17th. However, there is a 2-week window during which your particular conference may be scheduled. The available dates and times during this window of time can vary depending on the teacher. You will be able to register for student conferences beginning on Wednesday, March 1st at www.PTCfast.com. Thank you!

Getting Ready for Kindergarten!

Calling All Incoming Kindergarten Students 
Joining Great Falls in 2017!

Please join the staff on Tuesday, March 7th at 6:00 p.m. at Great Falls Elementary School for a meet and greet! This will be the time for you to schedule your child's kindergarten screening appointment as well as obtain the registration packet needed for school enrollment.

Tuesday, March 7th
Parent Information - Great Falls Gym at 6:00 p.m.     
Registration & K Screening Appointments at 6:30 p.m.           
April 5th-12th                   
Screening by appointment: You will make your appointment for the screening on March 7th at your school.

By Friday, August 18th
You will receive notification of your child's kindergarten teacher by mail.     
Monday, August 28th
Kindergarten Orientation:
Students and parents will attend together to learn more about a typical day, have a short bus ride, and play on the playground.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Star 360 Winter Results

Today your child will be bringing home their Star 360 assessment results. Even though there is a space at the bottom of the reports for a signature, you do not need to sign and return the documents. The copies are for you. 

Star 360 assessments are computer adaptive and automatically adjust each question based on how the student answered the previous prompt. This reduces testing time and limits frustration and boredom. By using Star 360 three times per year, we are able to compare students’ progress in reference to normal expected growth and toward criteria for mastery of our state’s standards.

Once again, this is one measure and it serves as a “snapshot” to check on student growth in the areas of reading and math. We use many additional pieces of evidence throughout the year to determine the profile of each child. Feel free to contact your child’s teacher or an administrator if you have any questions about the Star 360 results.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February Letter from the Principal

February 2, 2017

Dear Parents,

Great Falls will, once again, participate in the American Heart Association and Jump Rope for Heart student exercise event! Throughout the years, our students have made tremendous donations supporting the American Heart Association!
Before our students ask for donations for the American Heart Association, they will learn (or review) the components of heart health, which are diet and exercise. Diet and exercise are critical elements of both the Physical Education Standards and the Health Standards. This donation drive gives Great Falls an opportunity to connect these concepts in a thoughtful way.  The students will also learn how the Heart Association uses donations to help save lives through their education efforts and research.

In addition to providing money for the AHA, this student exercise event provides funds that allow us to enhance learning beyond the classroom.  It is our goal to provide children with a fun and engaging field day in June where students participate in wellness experiences outside of their regular PE classes.
Wednesday, February 8th  - AHA Packets will go home with students.

Friday, February 17th - Kick Off Assembly Featuring Student Jumpers!

February 8th - March 3rd - Students will collect donations for the AHA.

March 6th - March 10th - Students will participate in the Jump Rope for Heart student exercise event during PE class.

Donations are due back by Friday, March 16th
Thank you for supporting this amazing cause!

Becky Fortier, Principal

Great Falls Elementary School

Monday, January 9, 2017

January Letter from the Principal

January 9, 2017
Dear Parents/Guardians,

Formative assessments play an important role in education. A formative assessment is a tool for evaluating student learning during teaching in order to gauge whether students are understanding the material at that identified time. It is a learning tool, not a final evaluation of mastery. Formative assessment helps teachers alter their approach to the learning objectives if students are struggling with or exceeding grade level standards.

New this year, we are using Star 360 as a formative assessment in kindergarten through grade 10. This assessment replaced the former assessments, Aimsweb and NWEA, that were utilized as a “snapshot” to check on student growth in the areas of reading and math. The Star 360 assessment provides more intuitive information that will help to plot the course for what each student needs in their learning. This assessment is only one of several methods used to monitor progress and achievement over the year.
Star 360 assessments are computer adaptive and automatically adjust each question based on how the student answered the previous prompt. This reduces testing time and limits frustration and boredom. We will compare students’ progress in reference to normal expected growth and toward criteria for mastery of our state’s standards three times per year.
The first round of testing for students in grades 1-5 occurred in September and in the coming weeks, kindergarten through grade 5 students will participate in the next round of testing. Time spent on testing will be minimal as it will typically take a student 20-30 minutes to complete each session of reading and math. That being said, those students who require the full allotted time or specified testing accommodations will continue to receive such. Student results will be sent home by early February.
We are very excited about the possibilities of Star 360 and are confident that your child will have a positive experience. We encourage students to try their hardest and do their best while recognizing that any assessment is an in-the-moment snapshot and not the final word on a child’s understanding or skill. Certainly, a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast will go a long way toward minimizing test anxiety and we appreciate your support in this regard.
Feel free to contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions about the upcoming Star 360 assessment. As always, please feel free to reach out to me at any time with questions and feedback. I am available through email at becky.fortier@gorhamschools.org and by phone at 222-1050.  
Becky Fortier, Great Falls Principal

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

December Letter from the Principal

December 1, 2016

Dear Parents,

Great Falls School is committed to providing a healthy environment for all its students. Our students are doing a great job with Fresh Friday and we will continue to emphasize brain breaks in the classroom.

As a reminder, and with the holiday season upon us, we respectfully request that parents do not send in any food for celebrations, such as birthdays and holidays, to be shared in classrooms. This does not include the daily snacks that you send in for your own child, however we encourage you to provide healthy options.

We want our school to continue to be a safe and comfortable environment for all students, which reflects our value of respect for all.  We endorse the practice of non-food celebrations for a multitude of reasons, several of which are as follows:

  1. To minimize disruption to the teaching day.
  2. To support healthier nutrition choices as stated in the K-5 Maine Physical Education and Health State Standards.
  3. To minimize non-nutritious foods being brought into school, allowing individual parents the opportunity to control how much and which foods their children eat during the school day.
  4. To increase the sensitivity of our community to the needs of our students who have health issues that affect their food intake. As stated in our Gorham School Allergy Policy, our schools are committed to providing a safe environment for students who have an allergy history.

We understand that food is part of our culture and a means to celebrate special occasions of all kind. Of course, this procedure does not mean that our children will not have fun, class parties, or celebrations. Instead of food, students can participate in a variety of creative activities during celebrations of all kind. Non-food tokens such as stickers or pencils can be used to celebrate birthdays while promoting a healthier school environment.

We are asking for your continued support and help by refraining from sharing food items within our school unless we request them for curriculum-based activities. Thank you in advance for supporting the safety and wellness of all students.

Thanks for all you do to encourage student wellness!


Becky Fortier, Principal

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Check Out the Great Falls Gazette!


The Great Fall Gazette is a bimonthly student staffed newsletter and is available for printing and reading online on the Great Falls School’s web page. The next issue will be the December 2016/ January 2017.