Saturday, October 1, 2016

October Letter from the Principal

Great Falls Elementary School
73 Justice Way
Gorham, Maine 04038

October 1, 2016

Dear Great Falls Families,

If you are like me, asking “How was school today?” may not get you very far with your child. As parents, we want to stay on top of how our kiddos are doing, but the questions we ask tend to elicit one word responses. Part of developing a strong home/school connection is encouraging our families to support your child’s education at home. In fact, research shows that when you take an active interest in what your child is doing during the school day, your child will greatly benefit.

Some questions that may elicit more of a response from your child include asking things such as:
  • How were you kind or helpful today?
  • Was anyone kind or helpful to you?
  • What made you laugh?
  • What was the coolest thing that happened? What wasn’t so cool?
  • Who did you play with at recess today?
  • Pretend you are the teacher. How would you describe the day?

Another important part of being involved in the education process is checking in with the work your child is bringing home. “Let’s see what you brought home.” Look through the work items and comment on the positive aspects on your child’s assignments. “Show me what you have for homework.” Although, it’s your child’s job to do his/her homework, you play a role, too. Help your child find a distraction free space to work. Try to establish a homework routine for when your child completes their at home task. After your child finishes their homework, take a quick glance to see that it’s complete. “Tell me what you learned that you’d like to know more about.” Use your child’s interests to share activities. This may help with planning some fun weekend trips as well. When your child feels that you value school and have a great interest in what they are learning, they will share more about their day!

Open communication helps set up a great school conference as well. This month, your child’s teacher will be reaching out to schedule your parent/student/teacher conference. The general purpose of conferences is to connect in a one-on-one setting with your child’s teacher, as well as an update on academic progress and “skills for life.” These progress checks include student sharing of their work products, as well as the presentation of other assessments and work by the student or teacher. As your child will be present, it is understood that issues which are private and confidential require a different forum for communication.

Conferences are held on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 26th and the full day on Friday, October 28th. Technically, 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 vary depending on the teacher. You will be able to register for your child’s conference beginning on Wednesday, October 5th at

Please feel free to reach out to me at any time with questions and feedback. I am available through email at and by phone at 222-1050. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at and my blog at where I will be making frequent updates on the happenings at Great Falls.

Becky Fortier
Great Falls Principal