Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December Letter from the Principal

December 19, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians of Great Falls Students,

As we approach the Winter Break, I would like to first take this opportunity to wish each of you and your families a most happy, healthy holiday season! I hope that you will have a chance to relax and enjoy some special times with your children. As always, I am pleased with not only how hard they have been working each and every day, but that they are kind. They strive to be “Citizens of the Code” and I could not be more proud!

One of our school goals is to help our students understand the important characteristics that make up ethical, responsible, and involved citizens. Our staff model and teach our students not only how to take responsibility for his/her own behavior, but how to demonstrate responsible behavior that is consistent to our core values, The Code of Conduct.


Over the past few months, our school community has embarked on numerous campaigns that exemplify the Code of Conduct. Here are a few highlights to share:

Holiday Giving: As in past years, we have received many wonderful donations from local churches, businesses, Great Falls staff members and Gorham residents. These generous donations have made it possible for our school community to provide warm winter gear and holiday giving to families in need.

Backpack Program: We are continually accepting new enrollees into the Backpack Program for families experiencing food insecurity. This may be in the form of short-term support for families experiencing a challenging circumstance or extended support for the school year for those families in chronic need of food support. We are grateful for the many donations that allow us to provide food for our students.

5th Annual Empty Bowl Project: The Empty Plate Project is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger. The basic premise is simple: students create handcrafted bowls and then are asked to keep a bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. All K-5 students created a pottery bowl during their art classes with art teachers, Allie Rimkunas and Patricia Kaczmarek. We asked parents to support our act of kindness by making a donation in any amount to purchase their child’s bowl made during art class. The bowls were distributed at the Family Movie Night. Great Falls will be donating all proceeds to the Gorham Food Pantry.

King Arthur’s Bread: On Thursday, December 7th, our 4th and 5th graders learned to make bread from scratch. They discovered that math, science, reading, and baking know-how add up to delicious bread! Our students were given all the ingredients to take home and used their newly acquired skills to bake two loaves; one to keep and enjoy and one that was donated to the Gorham Food Pantry.

Please remember to check our school website on a regular basis for updates and information. The website may be accessed by logging onto The Great Falls Website.

  • Thursday, December 21st - Full day of school
  • December 22nd - January 1st - Holiday Break
  • Tuesday, January 2nd - Students return to school
  • Tuesday, January 9th - Grades 3-5 Winter Chorus Concert at 6pm
  • Tuesday, January 9th - Round #2 of Kids’ Clubs begins
  • Monday, January 15th - No School - MLK Day
  • Tuesday, January 16th - Meet the School Committee Parent Meeting  7-8pm
  • Wednesday, January 24th - Early Release Day
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
Great Falls Principal


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Super-duper proud to announce...

馃帀Our Very Own 
Gigi McAllister!馃帄

馃This is an amazingly HUGE accomplishment and the Great Falls school community could not be more proud of Mrs. McAllister!馃槏

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November Letter from the Principal

November 2017

Dear Great Falls Families,

I hope you enjoyed your parent/student/teacher conference and feel as though you have a better understanding of what your child is learning, how they are demonstrating their learning, and the goals your child has to be successful in the learning yet to come. Fall conferences are a wonderful time to talk about learning expectations and how your child will grow throughout the school year. Thank you for participating in this process!

Superintendent Perry recently shared a blog post regarding this very topic at http://gorhamsuperintendent.blogspot.com/ . Proficiency-based learning (PBL) ensures that students will acquire the knowledge and skills that are necessary for success in school, college, careers, and adult life. It is based on the idea that the more transparent we are about our expectations for students and how they are doing relative to those expectations, the greater the learning that is likely to occur.

In fact, the Gorham School District strongly believes that student engagement as well as achievement improve when the components of proficiency-based learning are fully implemented in all grades and content areas. These components are:
  • clear learning targets;
  • aligned instruction and assessment;
  • timely interventions; and
  • grading/reporting that reflect those targets.

Over the past few years, Gorham teachers have been working hard to identify clear learning targets at each grade level in every content area. These learning targets are aligned to a set of K-12 Graduation Standards, which are based on the Maine Learning Results, including the Common Core State Standards for ELA and Mathematics, and the Next Generation Science Standards. They are called performance indicators because they “indicate” through a student’s “performance” if the student is on track to achieve the K-12 Graduation Standards.

At the K-5 level, teachers have already identified the performance indicators in all content areas and are now using assessments aligned to these indicators. Finally, teachers are using Jump Rope, an online standards-based gradebook, to track student progress to the performance indicators. To learn more about Jump Rope, check out the online resource found at How to Interpret Your Child's K-5 Report Card. The 1st trimester report cards are scheduled to be emailed to parents on Friday, December 8th.

Quoting Superintendent Perry, “Everything we do is aimed at making sure our students ultimately graduate prepared and inspired to be successful in any post secondary learning they wish to pursue beyond our great schools!”

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.  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with thankful hearts and continued blessings!

Becky Fortier, Great Falls Principal

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October Letter from the Principal

October 3, 2017

Hello, Great Falls Parents!

It is just about time for Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences! Here is some important information for you to have:

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, goal setting, and 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. It is expected that issues that are of a serious concern would have been discussed prior to and outside of these conferences. IEP meetings, even in close proximity to conference dates, do not take the place of student led conferences.

Conferences are held on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 25th and the full day on Friday, October 27th. 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 Tuesday, October 10th at www.PTCfast.com.
The PTCfast online program is used for scheduling conferences, unless teachers know that there is a family who does not have Internet access at home.  Teachers will be sending out notices and passwords for parents to use to set up conferences. The procedure is user friendly and quite efficient, especially when a family has more than one child in our school.  This program allows you a maximum choice in dates and times, choosing the one that works best for your schedule. When you pick a day and time, you will receive a confirmation and a reminder prior to the conference. If you need to change the day and/or time, you simply return to the site and do so, unless it is beyond the cutoff time selected by the classroom teacher.

Parents’ quick guide to www.PTCfast.com

Step 1:  You will receive a letter or email from your student’s teacher containing a link to the class’s conference website.  Enter the link into your browser.

Step 2:  Enter the class code your student’s teacher has sent to you into the box on that screen-- you can copy and paste it if that's easier!

Step 3:  You will see the list of available time slots your student’s teacher has available.  If someone else has already selected a time slot, you won’t be able to check the box and the time slot will be red.  Check the time you would like for your conference. Reminder emails will be sent out closer to the conference.

Please make sure to contact us if you run into any difficulty with this process.  We don’t anticipate that you will, but we are, of course, happy to help. Great Falls takes pride in having a very high participation rate in Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences. We look forward very much to seeing you around school when you come in for your child’s conference!

Becky Fortier

Great Falls Principal

Thursday, September 21, 2017

JumpRope Grading and Reporting System

September 21, 2017

Dear Parents & Guardians,

As part of our work toward Proficiency Based Learning, for the past three years Gorham Elementary Schools have been piloting an online grading and reporting system called JumpRope.  This year, report cards will look differently as we have fully transitioned to using JumpRope.  We believe that you will find this new format to be much more informative than in the past.
You will receive your child’s JumpRope report card at the end of each trimester via email.  The email address(s) utilized for this purpose will be the one(s) that were provided to the school during opening days and are now listed in Infinite Campus.  These are the same email addresses that are used to send home Blackboard messages.  If you need your email address updated, please contact your school’s secretary as soon as possible.  If you have requested hard copies of school notices, then your child’s report card will be printed and sent home.  
Teachers will be prepared to walk through an example of a JumpRope report during the Parent/Teacher Conference window later this Fall.  Additionally, we will be offering a parent/guardian informational session on November 13, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. @ Village Elementary School Library.  In addition, online tools to assist parents in interpreting and understanding these reports will be located on our Gorham Schools website under the Proficiency Based Learning tab.  

Becky Fortier, Great Falls Principal

Tuesday, September 12, 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 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.

Over the next few weeks, we will be using Star 360 as a formative assessment in grades 1 through 5. The Star 360 assessment will provide 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 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 me if you have any questions about the Star 360 assessment.

Becky Fortier, Principal

Thursday, August 31, 2017

September Letter from the Principals

Great Falls Elementary School

September 1, 2017

Dear Great Falls Families,

Welcome back! We are officially in full swing and loving every moment! Every staff member, student, and parent has been working hard to get Great Falls up and running for a productive and successful year! Check out the school calendar at Great Falls Family Calendar 2017-2018.

Teachers and staff members have been visiting Great Falls throughout July and August to prepare their physical spaces, while also attending workshops and trainings. A lot goes on behind the scenes and throughout the summer months to prepare for the start of the year! The office staff has completed many new registrations, mastered student bus destinations, and prepared all the documents necessary to collect information to effectively communicate with our families. Please check out the Top 10 Things to Know From the Office to help keep our students safe and our procedures running smoothly.

The Great Falls staff has ensured that their instructional techniques and strategies are on target to help all students meet grade level standards. Teacher teams continue to work collaboratively to implement quality lessons that are thoughtful, engaging, and tied to our curricula goals. Character education is always a priority and staff will continue to focus on addressing the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of our students through pro-social education. Character education and establishing a positive classroom community are always a priority during the first few weeks of school. Our staff does a fabulous job at setting the stage for a collaborative, productive year to come. Be sure to peruse staff websites, blogs and more under school information at Great Falls Staff Email and Websites.

We could not do what we do without the continual support from you! Thank you for attending Kindergarten Orientation and Open House! Please connect with our school community by checking out The Great Falls Parent Connection Facebook Page. Please consider volunteering in our school by completing the annual registration form at Volunteer Information. Join us for  volunteer orientation on Thursday, September 14th at 9:00a.m. in the Great Falls cafeteria. Our parent community makes it possible for the Great Falls staff to successfully teach our students.

You shopped for supplies, new sneakers, established nighttime structure, packed healthy school snacks and lunches, made after school childcare arrangements, and completed many school forms. You have instilled in your child a positive attitude about school and learning. Through clear communication, at home support with routines and homework, participation at school events, and more, you help to establish a positive home/school connection that is necessary for the success of our students. Please note that September is Attendance Awareness Month. Every day is important in a child’s learning and we thank you for sharing this message with your children and supporting us in reducing absenteeism.

Thank you today and thank you every day for supporting Great Falls in achieving our district vision…

“Prepare and Inspire!”

Our students are the heart of our work! They are our focus as we aim to prepare and inspire! It has been such fun watching our students become reacquainted with old friends while meeting new ones. The returning students have been wonderful role models and guides for our Kindergarten students. The lively conversations happening in the cafeteria, on the playground, and during team building activities are energizing and amusing. Every incredible child walking through our school reminds me every day of why we do what we do. Our kids are the reason and are at the center of every decision we make and every action we take!

At Great Falls School we are dedicated to success.  We value skill, knowledge, and excellence in all areas. Our mission is to prepare and enable all learners to grow everyday.  Our sights are set on being ready for the world of today and of tomorrow. In an environment that fosters kindness and safety, we work to ensure that all children and adults will reach high standards of scholarship, character, and citizenship.

We are ready! Please feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions and feedback. We are available through email at becky.fortier@gorhamschools.org and stacey.sawyer@gorhamschools.org or by phone at 222-1050.

Happy September!


Becky Fortier, Great Falls Principal
Stacey Sawyer, Great Falls Assistant Principal

Monday, August 14, 2017

Parent Reference Guide

Great Falls Elementary School
Succeeding Today to Be Ready for Tomorrow
Parent Reference Guide
Mission Statement
At Great Falls School we are dedicated to success.  We value skill, knowledge, and excellence in all areas. Our mission is to prepare and enable all learners to grow everyday.  Our sights are set on being ready for the world of today and of tomorrow. In an environment that fosters kindness and safety, we work to ensure that all children and adults will reach high standards of scholarship, character and citizenship.

Please view our school website often at http://greatfalls.gorhamschools.org/.

Office Contact Information
Rhonda Perkins, Administrative Assistant - rhonda.perkins@gorhamschools.org 222-1053
Julie Murray, School Secretary - julie.murray@gorhamschools.org 222-1050
Teresa Merrill, School Nurse -             teresa.merrill@gorhamschools.org 222-1062
Michael Lortie, School Counselor - michael.lortie@gorhamschool.org 222-1169
Jaime Tardif, Social Worker -             jaime.tardif@gorhamschools.org 222-1168
Stacey Sawyer, Assistant Principal - stacey.sawyer@gorhamschools.org 222-1051
Becky Fortier, Principal -             becky.fortier@gorhamschools.org 222-1052

School Hours
School starts at 9:00 a.m. Dismissal begins at 2:50 p.m. If your child is out for the day or you need to make changes to dismissal, please call 222-1050 as soon as possible. The office is staffed at 7:00 a.m.  If you choose to email, please be sure to email both Mrs. Perkins and Mrs. Murray. Children who do not take the bus should not arrive at school before 8:40 a.m.

Arrival Procedures
Bus students will arrive at 8:30 a.m. Staff will be supervising the bus loop, playground, and cafeteria. Students participating in the breakfast program will report to the cafeteria. Weather permitting, Kindergarten through grade 2 students will be escorted to the playground for a morning fitness break from 8:30 a.m. - 8:55 a.m. Grade 3 through 5 students will enter the school and report directly to their classroom. Students dropped off by their parents between 8:30-8:55a.m.  are expected to use the parent drop off circle. Please use caution when students are exiting vehicles. Students arriving after 9:00 a.m. will need to be escorted by an adult into the main office and signed in.  Students will be marked as tardy if their arrival is after 9:00 a.m. It is Great Falls policy that parents do not go to the classroom to drop off their children.

Under no circumstance are students to be dropped off at school prior to 8:30 a.m. This includes the playground area. There will be no adult supervision until 8:30 a.m.

Dismissal Procedures
If you need to change how your child will be dismissed at the end of the day and you did not have a chance to send in a note, please make sure to call before 10:30am.. This gives us time to provide the teacher written notification of the change.

Parent Pick Up:
We have two groups of parents/caregivers that we consider with our end of the day pick-ups:
One group is the parents/caregivers who pick up their students everyday or certain days of every week. These parents/caregivers need to send us in a single note at the start of the year to let us know that this will always happen. The second group is the parent/caregivers who call in, drop in, or send in a note to pick up their child occasionally. If you would like to pick up your child at the end of the day and have not sent in a note, please call the office (222-1050) by 10:30 am.

All parent pick-ups will begin at 2:55 and will take place in the gym. Mrs. Murray will only call the individual names of the children who may not be aware that they are being picked up. If your child is a usual pick up or if you sent in a note, s/he will not be called down by name but will be called down with pick-ups at 2:55.

Mr. D will manage a sign out table in the gym for all pick-ups. You will need to SIGN YOUR CHILD OUT at the table. Once you have signed them out, you will need to wait in the gym in the designated parent waiting area to “connect” with your child and take them home. It is Great Falls policy that parents do not go to the classroom to pick up their child.

If you are dropping in please stop by the office by 2:45 and notify the staff who you are picking up. Mrs. Murray will call your children to the gym. You will need to sign your child out at the sign-out table and then you are free to connect with your child and take him/her home.

We must receive a note from you indicating that your child may walk home at dismissal. Walkers will be dismissed after all buses have left the premises.

Early Release Days
There are eight scheduled early release days for development/conferences for teachers and administrators. They are noted on your school calendar. A reminder will be sent home with your child. Lunch will be served before dismissal at noon.  

Lunch and Recess
Students in kindergarten through grade 5 will have a forty-five minute lunch/recess period scheduled daily. Please send a daily snack with your child, as there will be a ten-minute snack break during the day.
Lunch and Recess Schedule
Lyons -K
Bryson - 1
Dupuis- 1
Levesque - K
Mosher -K
Lesperance -1
Kein - 1
Simpson - K
vanLuling - K
Sinnett - 1
Stevens - K
LaRosa - 2
Alves - 2
Kelly - 3
Henry - 3
Taylor - 2
Sturgis - 2
Leeper - 3
Walsh - 3
Mullin -5
Choate - 5
Sedenka - 4
Frailey - 4
Paolino -5
Sands - 5
Stanley - 4
Tibbitts - 4

Great Falls School is a K-5 community, which promotes and values opportunities for cross grade level and peer interactions. We incorporate a multi-age lunch and recess block that develops our great sense of school community. Providing a well supervised, organized, and safe multi-age lunch and recess allows our students to grow socially and emotionally in a less formal environment. The multi-age lunch and recess block has proven to be a great success as it further develops our students understanding of the school's Code of Conduct and positively shapes daily interactions for all of our students
Lunch Program
All students have the option to purchase breakfast, lunch, and milk. Elementary breakfast and lunch menus are printed monthly and sent home the last week of each month, and are also posted on the Food Services page of our school website, www.gorhamschools.org. Menus include choice of 1 entrée, fresh vegetable, fruit, dessert when available, and 8 oz. milk. Middle and High School menus are posted daily. All menus must meet US Department of Agriculture standards, be highly acceptable for all students, be tasty, be prepared in a safe manner, and be served with a smile.
Students are given choices for entrees at breakfast and lunch. At our Elementary schools, teachers take a count each morning to see who is eating lunch, not to see who wants which meal. This way, students are free to choose any entree at mealtime. There is a full salad bar with fruits, vegetables, and condiments. Milk is offered with all meals - 1% white, skim, and 1% chocolate (at lunch only).

Cafeteria Expectations
  • Please enter the cafeteria quietly
  • Keep your hands and feet to yourself
  • Do not swap food
  • Be a respectful listener at all times
  • Please raise your hand if you need the attention of an adult
Free and Reduced Lunch
Applications for free and reduced meals must be completed each year and are processed by the Nutrition Office. Applications are sent home with students the first week of school, mailed, and are available in every school office and on the school district website any time during the school year if finance needs change. The free/reduced meals benefit applies to breakfast and lunch meals only, not snack milk, a la carte foods, vending, etc.
As students take a meal, their PIN will be recorded and their account charged. Each purchase must be tracked by federal regulations. No child ever needs to reveal whether they are free/reduced/paid. This is confidential information.
Pre-Pay Nutrition Account
All students have a PRE-PAY Nutrition Account. Students use a PIN for the Point of Sale System and their prepaid account. This system speeds up the lines, maintains confidentiality of Meal Benefits and provides better accounting.
When students enroll in any Gorham school, they are assigned a 4-5 digit Personal Identification Number. It is important that each student memorize their PIN as this number will be used daily. The PIN is confidential. At the cashier, they enter their PIN on the keypad, and pay with money from their prepaid account, with cash, or both. If students have enough money in their account, the price of the meal will be automatically deducted from the balance.

Parents may check all balances online for free (www.paypams.com) or call the kitchens for the information. The account is only charged if they take the meal or item. If they don始t eat, there is no charge. Any funds left over at the end of the year roll-over for the next year. All parents can view account balances, make deposits, see menus, view lunch purchases, even sign up for Automatic E-mail Alerts for low balances, and/or make automatic payments with any personal computer through the www.paypams.com web site. PayPAMS is now FREE; on-line payments can now be made at no charge!
NOTE: If your account balance due reaches $25.00, until your balance due is resolved your child will be provided with an Alternate Meal instead of the standard breakfast or lunch entr茅e. This Alternate Meal will include all the components of a regular lunch but with a cheese sandwich in lieu of the standard entr茅e, and will b e charged at regular price.


The school nurse will notify parents of students with allergies to complete an allergy action plan in collaboration with the child始s physician on an annual basis. Students who require emergency medications, such as inhalers (must complete an asthma plan) or Epipens, may self-carry with the written permission of their physician and parent. Parents will work with the nurse to set up instructions regarding snacks, meal choices, and field trip concerns at the start of each school year. There are students in the district who are latex allergic; therefore the only balloons allowed in the school building are Mylar balloons (NO LATEX BALLOONS).

Wellness Procedure
The Gorham School District is committed to providing a healthy eating environment
for all its students. We ask 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.

Instead of food, students can participate in a variety of creative activities during holiday celebrations. 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 support and help by keeping food items out of our school unless we request them for curriculum-based activities. We realize that this may require some adjustment to past practices, but we must adhere to the Gorham Wellness and Allergy Policies for the safety and wellness of all students.

Parents will be notified of all accidents occurring at school, except those requiring basic first aid. If the student needs follow up care at home or at the hospital, the parent is responsible for transporting the student (or their designated emergency contact person). For serious medical emergencies, the rescue department will be called.
Please notify the school office 222-1050 if your child is ill and will not be attending school. When you call the school office please state the child始s symptoms and whether or not there is a fever 100 degrees or higher. Students who become ill at school will be dismissed only to the specific people listed on the emergency card unless the school is instructed by the parent to make other arrangements. All students who are ill at school should be seen by the school nurse prior to dismissal so common illnesses at school can be followed. If your child has an injury requiring any change in the daily school routines please contact the school nurse (for example; a broken arm, crutches, or a concussion).

Our goal is to ensure that every student attends school regularly. Positive attendance is a key ingredient to keeping kids on track academically and in engaging them in all aspects of school life.
Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life. We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically. Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent—which means missing 18 or more days over the course of an entire school year. Absences can add up quickly. A child is chronically absent if he or she misses just two days every month!!
Research shows:
-Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
-Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.

-Absences can affect the whole classroom.
Please ensure that your child attends school every day and arrives on time. Please familiarize yourself with the school calendar when scheduling for vacations and medical appointments.
Thank you for ensuring that Every Day Counts!

Student Information

Toys From Home
Although we understand that children want to share their toys and new possessions with their friends, we ask that toys (cards, figures, electronics, stuffed animals, fidget spinners etc.) from home not be brought into school or on the bus. Staff will not accept responsibility for any personal toys that are broken, lost or damaged in any way. When toys are brought in from home, they cause a distraction for your child and others. Exceptions will be made for students that require objects as part of their learning plan.
Field Trips
All field trips outside of the district or off school campus will require a permission form signed by parents of students participating in that field trip. Parent Chaperones MUST be registered and go through the appropriate training through the Gorham Center for Volunteers and Community Education office.

Lost and Found
Great Falls has an area for Lost and Found. Please encourage your child to check here for any lost items. Please mark lunch boxes, book bags, clothing, boots, balls, gloves and toys are marked with your child始s name. Periodically, lost and found is cleaned out and items are given to Goodwill.

Extra Clothing
We advise that every student keep a spare set of clothes (shirt, pants, socks, and if available, shoes) in the classroom cubby, for the accidental spills at meal times, muddy or wet days on the playground, or bathroom accidents. Please plan ahead to avoid calling a parent for clothing needs during the school day.
Students Dress Code
Please make sure your child is properly dressed for school. If weather permits, all students go outside for recess. Students are asked not to wear hats inside the building during the school day or wear clothing that would be distracting to others in their work environment.

Examples of inappropriate clothing are as follows:
  • Clothing with reference to tobacco drugs or alcohol.
  • Clothing with suggestive language or graphics
  • See-through shirts or blouses
  • Clothing that exposes the student始s waist or midriff
  • Open toe “flip flop” types of sandals, or platform high-heeled shoes (these can be very dangerous while at recess) We encourage students to wear sneakers whenever possible. This ensures preparedness for PE and is the best choice for outdoor play.


Student Bus Procedures
The bus driver may assign seats. Students are expected to follow the school bus safety and awareness rules outlined by the Transportation Department. Our goal is to provide a safe bus ride for all students.
  • Board the bus in an orderly manner and listen to the driver at all times.
  • Take a seat and stay seated until the bus reaches your destination.
  • Talk in a normal tone so that you do not distract the driver.
  • Keep the aisle and the emergency exits clear of all belongings.      
  • Drinking and eating are not permitted on the bus.
  • Pointed or sharp objects such as pens, pencils, or scissors should be carried in a backpack.
  • Glass containers are not allowed on the bus.
  • Skateboards and other large sports equipment are not allowed on the bus.
  • Flammable materials, lighters, matches, and other such paraphernalia are not allowed on the bus.
  • Do not throw objects from the bus or put your head or hands out of the windows.
  • Do not deface, damage, or tamper with any of the bus equipment, including emergency exits. Anyone found doing so will not only lose transportation privileges, but will be required to pay for repairs.
  • Be courteous, use appropriate language.
  • Respect others' personal space and property.
  • Students are encourage to leave toys and valuables at home.
» 1st slip--written warning/detention/meet with administrator
» 2nd slip--suspended from bus privileges for two (2) days
» 3rd slip--suspended from bus privileges for five (5) days
» 4th slip--suspension to be determined from ten (10) days to remainder of school year.
» Serious safety infractions or unlawful acts may result in immediate loss of bus riding privileges at any time.
Bus regulations should be reviewed by parents and students together. Questions concerning transportation of students should be directed to the Director of Transportation, Norm Justice at 893-2547 or 893-2578.
Code of Conduct
With rights come responsibilities. Members of the school community are expected to demonstrate ethical and responsible behavior consistent with its core values. Such conduct is fundamental to a supportive, safe, and orderly school environment and a civil society.

The Gorham School Committee has established five core values.

A person who is respectful of oneself, others and the environment

A person who is honest in all endeavors

A person who is courageous in the face of ethical challenges

A person who is compassionate

A person who is responsible as an individual and as a member of a community

Great Falls Behavior Framework
At Great Falls Elementary School our goal is to provide our students with an environment conducive to learning; therefore, it is expected our students will display appropriate behavior on a daily basis. We strive to create and reach high expectations for all of our students’ behavior and academic progress. Family involvement in this process will play an integral part in our students’ overall success. Please take the time to discuss the components of this plan with your child. Teachers will keep families abreast of students’ inappropriate behaviors.

Individual teachers implement a variety of approaches and systems that best suit the needs of  their classrooms. In addition, Great Falls utilizes school-wide complementary processes.  Every instructional space has a “Solving Problems” poster in clear view of students outlining the general process that we want students to use when avoiding conflict or reflecting upon conflict. This provides a common language and way of thinking for every adult to access when working with students. The ideas are reviewed with students early in the school year, and revisited often.
Whenever appropriate, the processes and ideas of Restorative Justice are implemented. We ask our students to do their best to practice the ideals of the Code of Conduct in word and in action. If a student’s behavior impacts another member of our school community, they will be asked to Stop and Think, and are counseled to accept responsibility for their mistake and make amends. This process helps to build strong relationships and fosters a feeling of emotional safety at our school.

Bullying Prohibited
Bullying as defined in this policy is not acceptable conduct in Gorham Schools and is prohibited. Any student, parent, or school staff member may report a concern using the Gorham Schools Bullying Report Form, located here and in the Great Falls front office. Student bullying behavior may be addressed through behavioral interventions and social emotional supports. Any student who engages in conduct that constitutes bullying shall also be subject to disciplinary consequences up to and including suspension.

Fire Drills
Fire Drills will be done 10 times throughout the school year. The first few times will be announced to all staff and students ahead of of time.

Lockdown Drills
There will be two announced lockdown drills (Winter/Spring) with students during the school year.

We support and value parent involvement and communication. We encourage you to regularly (both formally through conferences and informally through email and phone calls) communicate with your child’s classroom teacher. If a question or concern arises, please call or email to discuss the issue with your child’s teacher as a first step.

Great Falls staff members can be contacted by email at any time or by phone during non instructional hours. Classroom teachers also have a website, blog, or wiki page that will list important information such as daily schedule, homework, and instructional links. Great Falls publishes a monthly school newsletter, The Great Falls Chatter, that will be posted to the school website at http://greatfalls.gorhamschools.org/. An automatic large group communication system, Blackboard, is used to send out emails and/or voice messages as necessary with important information. A monthly calendar is available online to keep you informed of the many Great Falls activities.

Parent Volunteers
Great Falls strives to improve and maintain community relations. Our goal is to broaden communication and interactions across our parent community and community at large. We encourage parents to volunteer in many capacities at our school. Whether you can assist in the classroom, chaperone a field trip, complete a project at home, participate in our Career Fair, or facilitate a Kids’ Club, we are always looking for parents to be involved in our school community.

Please complete the volunteer information found at http://www.gorhamschools.org/Volunteer/ as soon as possible, this needs to be filled out every year. You will also need to attend a volunteer orientation session if you have not done so. The first Great Falls volunteer orientation is scheduled for September 14th at 9am in the Great Falls cafeteria.

Great Falls will continue to host monthly parent meetings for parents that want to be involved in some way with the activities and events at the school. The meetings are called “The Parent Connection” and attendance is encouraged at any time. Attend a few times a year, once, or every month! Your ideas and contributions are always welcome. Look for more information about the “The Parent Connection” coming home with your child. The meetings will be held from 7-8pm in the Great Falls library. https://www.facebook.com/greatfallsparentconnection