Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Dear Great Falls Families,
During this time of year, I cannot help but think about how grateful I am for the people and relationships that are a part of my life each and every day. Great Falls School is such a special place to be with staff and students who not only value the importance of kindness and compassion, but seek ways to keep these important virtues alive and well in our school community and beyond.
Whether it is a full school initiative such as Socktober, where we held a sock drive to collect over 1,000 new socks for local shelters, or the 4th and 5th grade King Arthur’s Flour campaign, where students made 200+ loaves of bread for the local food pantry, Great Falls students always go above and beyond with kindness!
Next up, thanks to art teacher, Allie Rimkunas, all kindergarten through fifth grade students will be taking part in the Empty Bowl Project. The Empty Bowl Project is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger. The basic premise is simple: students create handcrafted bowls which they are asked to keep as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The money raised is donated to an organization working to end hunger and food insecurity. Great Falls will be donating all proceeds to the Gorham Food Pantry. A form will be sent home soon asking you to support our act of kindness by making a donation in any amount to purchase your child’s bowl.
The bowl pick up date is Friday, December 11th from 5:30-7:30p.m. during our annual Great Falls Family Movie Night. The admission to the movie will be a non-perishable food item, which will also be donated to the Gorham Food Pantry. Thanks to you, this event is our largest community contribution as we typically donate a substantial sum of money and food to support the efforts of our local food pantry.
Kindness truly counts at Great Falls and I thank you for fostering a kindness habit with your children at home. The holidays serve a perfect way to help your children pay attention to those around them. Be watchful for everyday moments when a little kindness can make a big difference for someone!  
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.  Plaese follow my Twitter page & blog, which can be found at https://twitter.com/MrsBFortier and  http://greatfallsprincipal.blogspot.com/ where I will be making frequent updates.
Kindly yours, Becky Fortier                                                                                                                                                                                           

Happy Ed Tech Appreciation!

There are some staff that go way above and beyond the call of duty!

You … put bandaids on booboos, hug crying kiddos, escort sick kids to the nurse, tie shoes, lend a helping hand, zipper jackets, monitor recess, referee soccer games, open milk cartons, manage lunch for 200 kids at a time, listen to problems, comfort kiddos that had a bad day, provide snacks to those in need, facilitate problem solving situations, wash hands, find missing gloves, cover classrooms last minute, create indoor recess activities, dismiss kiddos at the end of the day, confirm bus schedules, talk to teachers on a daily basis, develop lining up systems, hall walking systems, stairway walking systems, cover bus duty, run safety drills, step in to assist at any point… all while loving our students and supporting them with reading, writing, and math!

Thank you for ALL you do! Thank you for being such an important part of the Great Falls School community!

Happy Ed Tech Appreciation Day!

I am thankful for the Great Falls staff...

*willing to jump in and help out, especially when those are in need.

*dedicated to the education of the whole child.

*providing new insight and keeping our work current and relevant.

*building successful relationships with students, parents, and colleagues.

*willing to contribute to our mutual efforts.

*keeping the ‘Whatever it takes attitude’.

I am thankful! Thank you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Geothermal Heating and Cooling at Great Falls

GORHAM, Maine —Geothermal heating and cooling systems are expensive to install, but in the long run are offering big savings for schools, businesses and homeowners who install them.
When the town of Gorham built the Great Falls Elementary School a few years ago, officials decided to install a geothermal system.
Under the school's lawn are more than 60 wells that are 400 to 500 feet deep.
"So that's taking water from the earth through a closed-loop and then it's distributed throughout the building and then we either gain heating or cooling from that loop through a heat pump," Gorham Facilities and Transportation director Norm Justice.
Justice said geothermal is 30 percent cheaper than heating with a conventional natural gas system, which saves the school district tens of thousands of dollars each year. He said there are added benefits to geothermal as well.
Check it out!