Wednesday, February 12, 2020

February Letter from the Principal

Hello, Great Falls Parents!

Happy winter vacation! Enjoy each and every moment with your family and friends. When we return, it will be 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 that 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 in the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, March 11th and on Friday, March 13th. 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, February 26th at

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
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 the school when you come in for your child’s conference!

Becky Fortier
Great Falls Principal

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Just a reminder with Valentine's Day coming up...

Dear Parents,

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.

We want our school to be a safe and comfortable environment for all students; and we do this for a number of reasons, which reflect our value of respect for all:
  • To minimize disruption to the teaching day. 
  • To support healthier nutrition choices as stated in the K-5 Maine Physical Education and Health State Standards.
  • To minimize non-nutritious foods being brought into school, allowing individual parents the opportunity to control how much and which foods their children eat during the school day.
  • To increase the sensitivity of our community to the needs of our students who have health issues that affect their food intake. As stated in our Gorham School Allergy Policy, our schools are committed to providing a safe environment for students who have an allergy history.
We understand that food is part of our culture and a means to celebrate special occasions of all kinds. This does not mean that our children will not have fun, class parties, or celebrations. Instead of food, students can participate in a variety of creative activities during holiday celebrations. Nonfood 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 must adhere to the Gorham Wellness and Allergy Policies for the safety and wellness of all students.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Becky Fortier
Great Falls Principal