Thursday, March 24, 2022

Letter from the Principal - March 24th


March 24, 2022

Dear Great Falls Families,

Happy Spring! It is hard to believe that we are heading into the end of March and beginning the last leg of the 2021-2022 school year. I want to start by thanking our parent and guardian community for your continued support. Our students are our number one priority and without the continued encouragement and kindness from our families, this school year would not have been possible. We must all continue to exemplify and reciprocate grace towards one another for it has not been an easy school year.  As a school community, we have remained committed to giving everything we have for our students and their success, and that is something we should all be proud of! To celebrate our students, we have started planning our end-of-year events here at Great Falls. Below are some celebratory end-of-year events to be sure to mark on your calendar.

Week of March 28 - April 1: American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge

The K-5 Elementary Schools are participating in the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge student exercise event! Throughout the years, our students have made tremendous donations supporting the American Heart Association. The donations can be made in the form of cash or checks made payable to Great Falls. 

Donations are due back by Friday, April 1st.

Week of April 18-22: Spring Vacation

This is the district Spring vacation week. Happy vacation!

Monday, May 2nd: “Step-Up” Presentations

On this day, families will receive a “Step-Up” presentation describing what the next grade for our students will be like. These grade-level presentations will highlight the academic and social aspects of next year. 

Monday, May 9th at 6pm: Parent Connection Meeting 

Following the sharing of the “Step-Up” presentations, a teacher representative from each grade level will be present at our Parent Connection meeting to answer any specific parent questions regarding next year. 

Wednesday, May 11th at 5pm: Great Falls Family Picnic

Join the Great Falls staff and families for a bring your own picnic event on the lawn behind the school!  

May 2nd - May 27th: Spring NWEA Testing

Wednesday, May 25th: Great Falls 10 Year Birthday Celebration 4-7pm

Join the Great Falls staff and students as we celebrate the 10 year "belated" birthday celebration IN PERSON on the Great Falls campus. Although we are still in the planning stages, we hope to include several family events, activities, and food! We hope everyone can join in the fun!

Monday, May 30th

Memorial Day - No School

Great Falls Field Days - May 26 - June 3rd

We are very excited to bring a field day opportunity to our students again this year! We will be hosting the events at the USM Field House. This event will encourage team building and fun as students celebrate the end of the year with their friends and teachers! 

Monday, June 6th - Grade 5 Step-Up Day                                                                                                                                                             On Monday, June 6th at 9:00am, an in-person step-up experience will take place for our current 5th graders with advisors at Gorham Middle School. The middle school will share materials with our students regarding classrooms, teachers, and the middle school experience!

Friday, June 10th - Grade K-4 Student Step-Up Day 

On June 10th, grades K-4 students will also participate in an in-person Step-Up Day. Students will meet their new teacher here at Great Falls and get to know and visit their classroom community for the 2022-2023 school year.

Monday, June 13th - Last Student Day of School

Students will be dismissed at 12:00pm.  Report cards will be emailed home on this day. 

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at any time with questions and feedback. Check out my blog at where I recently have highlighted my “Day in the Life” series. I am available through email at and by phone at 222-1050.

Take care and be well,

Becky Fortier

Great Falls Principal

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A Day in the Life of a Third Grade Student


of a Third Grade Student at Great Falls

I recently embarked on another special day shadowing a student at Great Falls! I enjoyed my time with Sophie and Miss Kein’s entire classroom community. Third graders are gregarious and easy-going. They were cheerful that I was joining them for the day and made me feel like a welcomed part of their classroom. Participation in their morning community circle and start-of-the-day activities reinforced the sunny outlook and excitement about learning these young students possess! 

I was struck by the students’ positive energy! Whether a math lesson or spelling activity, the students were enthusiastic about learning and eager to participate and take turns. Miss Kein did a fantastic job of keeping learning activities quick and engaging, a successful approach for these eager learners. It was important for the third graders to participate in movement breaks throughout the day to boost their concentration and productivity. 

Their excitement carried over to their creative arts session of the day, which was music. Sophie was a tremendous guide as she helped me to select an instrument and modeled how to participate in Ms. Doak’s lesson. The students were thrilled to be given the choice to select an instrument to play for the class period. I was shocked (and impressed!) at how proficient the students were with playing a variety of hand instruments! They were focused and had so much fun. Even when they didn’t play the instruments perfectly, they recovered and tried again. I, however, felt myself exerting lots of effort and realized I am certainly not as proficient as my 8-year-olds friends. 

Returning to the classroom and joining Miss Kein on the rug was such a treat. The students were preparing for their parent/teacher conferences and their excitement and enthusiasm were contagious. Miss Kein adjusted the groupings and work partners throughout the day. This strategy was helpful for these third graders who clearly enjoy a balance of socialization with their peers and work time. 

Lunchtime is a fun experience for students at Great Falls, as it is a special time to be social. During this particular lunch block, the students shared some kid slang with me such as the shortened word “sus” for suspicious. They are adorable and super funny. I was able to see that third graders enjoy being a part of larger friendship groups as the entire table was interacting and talkative throughout the lunch block. 

Once lunch concluded, we headed outside for recess. We participated in an old-fashioned game of “follow the leader” through the Great Falls playground. The students took me through twists and turns as we climbed, swung, ran, and balanced our way throughout the playground. The students love to be creative and adventurous. I certainly got a workout during this recess block! 

My greatest takeaways throughout the day were that third graders enjoy cooperation over competition. They like to be together and work collaboratively with peers. They reminded me that it is always important to balance fun with academic expectations. Keeping activities short and engaging creates the best opportunity for focus and learning. Offering lots of opportunities to move while incorporating times for read-aloud, energizers, and fun games is also important. Even though our third-grade friends are on the 2nd floor, they are still younger elementary students who need lots of guidance, love, and support from their teachers. What an amazing and fun grade! 

Special thank you to my lovely friend, Sophie! 

Much appreciation to Miss Kein and Mrs. Doak for sharing your classroom with me! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Kids Heart Challenge!


Dear Parents,

The K-5 Elementary Schools will, once again, participate in the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge student exercise event! Throughout the years, our students have made tremendous donations supporting the American Heart Association. 


Our school is proud to help the American Heart Association as they are supporting our community in many

ways during this pandemic.  In a normal year, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, but now

people who have had a stroke or live with heart disease make up more than 40% of those hospitalized for

COVID-19.  The AHA has already funded $2.5 Million in fast-response grants to study COVID-19’s effects on

heart disease patients, launched a COVID-19 Data Registry within the Get with the Guidelines registry that is

used by hundreds of hospitals nationwide.  This has made it possible to learn from COVID patients quickly

and improve treatments more rapidly.  The more that is discovered, the more research is needed.  

We understand that every family may not be able to donate, but all students will enjoy (and learn from) the

weekly missions and have the opportunity to share about heart disease in families and our community.

Before our students ask for donations for the American Heart Association, they will learn (or review) the components of heart health, which are diet and exercise. Diet and exercise are critical elements of both the Physical Education Standards and the Health Standards. This donation drive gives the K-5 Elementary Schools an opportunity to connect these concepts in a thoughtful way.  The students will also learn how the American Heart Association uses donations to help save lives through their education efforts and research.

In addition to providing money for the American Heart Association, this student exercise event provides funds that allow us to enhance learning beyond the classroom.  It is our goal to provide K-5 children with a fun and engaging field day in June where students participate in wellness experiences outside of their regular physical education classes.


March 7th -  March 11th  - American Heart Association information and collection envelopes will go home with the students.

March 7th- April 1st - Students will collect donations for the American Heart Association. The donations can be made in the form of cash or checks made payable to your child’s elementary school: Great Falls, Village, or Narragansett.

March 21st - 25th - Students will participate in the exercise challenge during physical education class.

Donations are due back by Friday, April 1st.

We recognize that each family’s ability to contribute at this time may be impacted and strained by a number of factors, notably those associated with the current pandemic we are experiencing.  Please know that a financial contribution of any amount is greatly appreciated, but not expected.  Thank you for supporting this amazing cause! 

Frank Defrancesco Michael Fortier Gary Speed

Great Falls PE Teacher Narragansett PE Teacher Village PE Teacher