Thursday, November 1, 2018

November Letter from the Principal

November 1, 2018

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 shared her September blog post regarding this very topic at 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 grade book, to track student progress to the performance indicators. To learn more about Jump Rope, check out the online resource found at K-5 Parent Jumprope Video. The 1st-trimester report cards are scheduled to be emailed to parents on Friday, December 7th.

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 and by phone at 222-1050.  

Kind regards,
Becky Fortier, Great Falls Principal