Friday, December 13, 2019

December Letter from the Principal

December 13, 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians of Great Falls Students,

As we enter December, we would like to first take this opportunity to wish each of you and your families, a most happy, healthy holiday season! As always, we are 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 we 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 with 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 food, 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.

7th 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 Jessica Burton. 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 will be distributed at the Empty Bowl Project K-5 Art Showcase on December 13th. Great Falls will be donating all proceeds 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.

Friday, December 20th - Full day of school
December 23rd - January 1st - Holiday Break
Thursday, January 2nd - Return from the holiday break
Monday, January 6th - Grades 3-5 Chorus Begins
Tuesday, January 7th - Parent Connection Meeting with the SC 6pm
Thursday, January 9th - Gorham Elementary Night at the Red Claws
Friday, January 10th - 2nd Annual GF Variety Show Auditions
Wednesday, January 15th - Early Release Day
Friday, January 17th - Great Falls Variety Show 5:30-7:30pm

As always, please feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions and feedback. Please follow our Twitter pages, which can be found at and and our school Instagram page at

Kindly yours,

Becky Fortier
Great Falls Principal

Stacey Sawyer
Great Falls Assistant Principal


Monday, September 30, 2019

Letter from the Principal - Fall Conferences 2019

Hello, Great Falls Parents!

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

WHAT: The general purpose of conferences is to connect in a one-on-one setting with your child’s teacher, as well as obtain 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. The way in which we conduct conferences allows your child the unique opportunity to share with loved ones critical aspects of their learning and a chance to bolster their confidence with their presentation skills.

WHEN: Conferences are held the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, October 23rd and the full day of Friday, October 25th. 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 9th.

HOW: 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 date and/or time, you simply return to the site and do so, unless it is beyond the cutoff time selected by the classroom teacher.

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

Step 2: Enter the class code your child’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 child’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 very much look forward to seeing you around school when you come in for your child’s conference!


Becky Fortier
Great Falls Principal

Monday, August 19, 2019

Dear Great Falls Families,

I am excited to welcome you to the start of the 2019-2020 school year. At this point, you should have received communication from your child’s teacher along with their school supply list. If for any reason you have not received communication from your child’s teacher, feel free to email our staff directly.

The Great Falls office is officially open full-time. Do not hesitate to call with any questions you may have. The official start of our school day is 8:50 AM and the official end of our school day is at 3:10 PM. Drop off time is still 8:30 AM but students being picked up by their parents or guardians will now be dismissed at 3:05 PM in the cafeteria.  

Our staff is very excited about the start of our new school year! They have been in the school building, setting up their classrooms, and preparing for the arrival of your children. We are greatly looking forward to our annual Open House. This event will take place on Wednesday, August 28 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM for all students in grades 1-5. This is a wonderful time to bring in your child’s school supplies and leave them in the classroom or in your child’s desk. 

Kindergarten orientation will take place on Wednesday, August 28 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM. During this event, kindergarten parents will arrive at Great Falls with their child. Upon arrival, you will report directly to your child’s classroom for further information. We have a morning planned that will include a welcome from the teacher, a classroom tour, information from administrators, orientation to our cafeteria, and a practice bus ride. 

Students in grades K through 5 will attend their first full day of school on Thursday, August 29. The bus routes will run as scheduled and your child will arrive at school as they would on any other day. Please be sure to update your transportation information by completing the survey found on our website. You may also call our secretary, Julie Murray if there is any information we need to have. Your child will be sent home at the end of the day with the information we have in our system.

Here are a few important dates you should know for the start of the school year:

Tuesday, August 27 - ALICE Parent Meeting at Gorham Middle School 6:00pm
Wednesday, August 28 - Kindergarten Orientation 9:30-11:30am
Wednesday, August 28 - Grades 1-5 Open House 5:30-6:30pm
Thursday, August 29 - First full day of school for grades K-5 from 5:30-6:30pm
Friday, August 30 - No School
Monday, September 2 - Labor Day - No School

Please know that our assistant principal, Mrs. Sawyer, and I are always interested in talking with you. Give us a call or email if you have any questions or concerns. Great Falls is ready for another positive, successful year! 

Becky Fortier
Becky Fortier
Great Falls Principal