Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Summer Wish

A Summer Wish from Mrs. Fortier and Mrs. Sawyer:

It's been a wonderful year and although we will miss you , 

​  ​
we hope you enjoy your time away!

We hope you ~

READ every day!  
We challenge you to READ at least 500 minutes! We will too.

PLAY every day!
Get outside, run, bike, explore.

CREATE new things!
Draw, paint, design, build.

Notice ~Wonder ~ QUESTION ~ 
We can't wait for you to share your summer stories with us.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Great Falls Family Trail Walk

Great Falls Family Trail Walk
Thursday, June 9th at 5:30 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to participate!

The Nature Loop Trail walk participants will begin walking at 5:30p.m. The 1-mile walk will conclude with a BYO family picnic and a concert by Earth Jams’, Matt Loosigian!

All t-shirts were pre-ordered and will be handed out at the registration table on June 9th beginning at 5:00 p.m.

The trail is a bit buggy and wet during this time of year. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Trail guides will be present to accompany you and your family during your walk if needed.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Letter to Parents - June 2016

June 4, 2016

Hello, Great Falls Parents,

It is hard to believe how quickly the school year has passed. As the school year comes to a close, our minds and hearts are filled to the brim. It’s been a great year! I would like to thank you for your trust and commitment to the vision of Great Falls Elementary School, “Succeeding today to be ready for tomorrow!” It is your belief in our values that help us to sustain our vision. We will continue to put your child first in everything we do!
This was a very busy year and you, as partners in education, played a great role in making it a success! Although it is a hectic time of year, it is the time when I most realize how blessed we all are to be part of this amazing school community. Parents and teachers commit their time and energy every day toward creating a nurturing environment in which children can thrive!

We accomplished a ton this school year!  Below are some highlights of the wonderful events from 2015-2016:

September K-5 Team Building Day:  K-5 Fall Team Building Day started our year with an active opportunity to get to know each other as a classroom community.
USM Mentors:  Approximately 30 USM student-athletes acted as mentors for our students during the fall semester. Students offered academic support, activity breaks, and their friendship during their time together.
October Family STEAM Night:  Teachers and community volunteers offered over 20 interesting activities to nearly 300 students & family members who attended STEAM night. Activities such as catapults, paper airplanes, and tessellations were designed to build student excitement around science, technology, engineering, art, & math.
Socktober:  Staff, students, & families joined together to collect socks in support of homeless shelters and veterans homes.  We easily surpassed our initial goal and collected over 1000 pairs of new socks which were distributed to a variety of groups in need.
November Mad Science Assembly:  K-5 students enjoyed an interactive event about the fundamentals of moving science including Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion and all sorts of surprises including dancing, chemically assisted football tossing, and even amazing "space-age" rocket packs.
King Arthur Assembly and Bread Drive:  4th and 5th grade students learned about bread making at a hands-on assembly, and were given the materials to make two loaves of bread at-home, one to keep and one to give away. As a school community we were able to donate over 100 loaves of bread to the Gorham Food Pantry.
Parent Teacher Student Conferences:  The general purpose of conferences is to connect in a one-on-one setting with the child’s teacher, as well as an update on academic progress and “skills for life.” Great Falls had an impressive 97% attendance rate for parent participation at parent/teacher/student conferences.
December Family Movie Night and Empty Bowl Project:  The Empty Plate Project is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger. All K-5 students handcrafted a pottery bowl during art class with art teacher, Allie Rimkunas. Parents supported our act of kindness by making a donation to purchase their child's bowl, which were distributed at the Family Movie Night! Great Falls donated $1,400 to the Gorham Food Pantry.
Grades 3-5 Chorus Concerts:  The Gorham 3-5 chorus performed for audiences of family & friends throughout the school year. The students did a great job and continued to impress with their talent & enthusiasm! Special kudos to Janelle Mosey!
February 24th World Read Aloud Day:  GHS students and their teachers partnered with our K-2 classrooms to share the fun of reading aloud in celebration of World Read Aloud Day. GHS students shared their favorite picture books and created a wonderful lasting impression on our youngest students.
Jump Rope for Heart Campaign:  Great Falls participated in the American Heart Association and Jump Rope for Heart student exercise event! Following a kick-off presentation by “The Spindrifters,” a jump rope demonstration team consisting of students from South Bristol School, our own GF students jumped to their heart’s content to raise heart health awareness & funds. Great Falls donated approximately $2,500 to the AHA.
School Spirit and Read Across America Week:  We celebrated literacy during the week of Dr. Seuss’ birthday including dressing up like book characters, crazy hat/hair day and twin day. We ended the week with the Art of Literacy Family Fun Night. Families were treated to arts and crafts connected to our favorite children’s books, face painting, and a reader’s theatre presentation.
Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day:  Students & staff carried favorite poems in their pockets, which were shared between classmates and across grade levels. Our students were truly excited to participate in this day.
Great Falls Parent Connection Group:  This group of committed parent volunteers met monthly to collaborate on school-wide projects and appreciation activities for all school staff. The members are always developing new ideas to improve parent/family engagement in school.
5th Annual Career Fair:  Over 30 parent and community volunteers shared their passion about their career. Every Great Falls student attended this event, which generates excitement about the importance of school.
Grand Opening of the Nature Loop Trail:  The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust completed work on a 1-mile trail that starts and ends at Great Falls School. This trail includes clear signage and kiosks that teach the wonders of the Maine woods. We are very excited about the addition of this amazing learning opportunity!  

Phew! … and that was only a few of the many AMAZING things your children and our staff took part in during this school year! I look forward to continuing these and many other opportunities to build community and enhance the positive climate & culture at Great Falls next year!  I wish you all a very happy, safe, & enjoyable summer.  Please be sure to take time as a family to talk & play together.  I look forward to seeing you in August.

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all families of Great Falls Elementary School for another successful year!  I wish our 5th-grade students all the best as they transition to middle school this fall. On Thursday, June 9th, we will celebrate their achievements and reflect on their journey at Great Falls. It will be bittersweet as we have watched them grow and exemplify what it means to be a “Citizen of the Code!”  

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.  Please follow my Twitter page & blog, which can be found at https://twitter.com/MrsBFortier and  http://greatfallsprincipal.blogspot.com/.
Kindly yours,  
Becky Fortier