Friday, July 17, 2020

Kindergarten Summer Update

Dear Incoming Kindergarten Families,

We recognize that the transition into Kindergarten, during a “normal year,” is one filled with questions of the unknown. We know that your questions and feelings of uncertainty have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please know that the administrative team has been working very hard, behind the scenes, to ensure that our schools will be able to meet the academic, social-emotional, and safety needs of your children during their very important Kindergarten year.

As you have likely read in the Superintendent’s Blog posts, the Gorham Schools will begin the year in one of three levels of operation based on future guidance from the Maine Department of Education. While we have not yet received guidance from the State on what the opening of school will look like in the fall, we would like to offer some additional transitional support to our incoming families that may help to ease the level of uncertainty and keep you connected to your neighborhood school.

During your child’s Kindergarten screening appointment on August 31st, we would like to invite you to our school cafeteria for a Virtual Parent Orientation. While your child is off with one of our kindergarten teachers, you will have the opportunity to watch a presentation that will answer many of the questions commonly asked by incoming K families, and usually discussed in a large group, face-to-face “orientation.” Our school’s Secretary, Julie Murray, will be available to answer any questions you may have regarding transportation. Our school nurse, Melissa Ransom, will also be on-site to discuss any medical or dietary concerns you may have. In addition, our building administrators, Principal Becky Fortier and Assistant Principal Deanna Etienne will also be available to answer any additional questions you may have.

Once all students have been screened, school-based staff will use this information to place students into one of five classrooms. These classrooms will be “balanced” by gender, academic profile, social-emotional profile, and A/B schedule designation. Parents will be informed of their child’s classroom placement on Sept. 3rd through email. On this day, parents can expect to receive a Welcome Letter from your child’s teacher with very important information regarding the start of school, including the schedule rotation for Creative Arts blocks, the time students will have lunch and recess, and the date of the Playground Meet and Greet. Most importantly, you will receive the teacher’s email contact, so you can begin to have direct communication with your child’s kindergarten teacher.

During the weeks of Sept. 7th and 14th, each Kindergarten teacher will be offering a Playground Meet and Greet at a select date and time (communicated to you on Sept. 3rd). During this time, families from your child’s class will gather on the playground. You will have an opportunity to meet the teacher and network with other family members. Most importantly, the children will have the opportunity to play with one another and develop important friendships with each other.

August 31 (Mon.): Kindergarten Screening and Parent “Virtual Orientation”

September 3 (Thurs.): Welcome Letters will be mailed to all K families from the child’s teacher

September 8 (Tues.) First Day of School for Kindergarten

Sept. 8 - 17 Each Kindergarten Teacher will host a Playground “Meet and Greet” on a given day

Please reach out with any questions or concerns. We can not wait to see you on August 31st!


Becky Fortier, Great Falls Principal
Deanna Etienne, Great Falls Assistant Principal