Thursday, February 8, 2024

Letter from the Principal

 

Dear Great Falls Families,

February might be the shortest month of the year, but it's packed with exciting possibilities! February is also a great time to focus on kindness, empathy, and gratitude. Encourage your children to perform acts of service, express appreciation, and build positive relationships with friends and family.

Tonight!! Thursday, February 8th: This evening, witness the musical magic unfold as our talented Elementary Chorus students fill Great Falls with their beautiful voices. Their winter concert begins at 6:00 p.m., promising a heartwarming performance that will touch your soul. Come celebrate their dedication and talent!


Read-A-Thon: Wow! The Great Falls Read-A-Thon is a smashing success!  With over 40,000 minutes already devoured, those students are on fire!  They're well on their way to crushing their goal of 50,000 minutes, and we have no doubt they'll zoom right past it.  A huge shoutout to all the amazing readers who are participating – you're inspiring everyone with your dedication! Keep up the fantastic reading, everyone! We're all so incredibly proud of you!


Wednesday, February 14th: Please be advised that February 14th is an Early Release Day. Students will be dismissed at noon. Please ensure they have appropriate transportation arrangements made for pickup at that time.

Dress for Winter: Just a friendly reminder that with winter in full swing, all students should come to school bundled up and ready for outdoor playtime each day. Students without proper winter gear will have limited outdoor access during snowy periods. We want everyone to enjoy recess safely and comfortably!

Great Falls DECK Day: Friday, February 16th

Mark your calendars for a heart-warming day at Great Falls!  On February 16th, we're "dropping everything and celebrating kindness" in honor of National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Get ready for a day filled with positive vibes and acts of service. The Civil Rights Team will be facilitating a charming story walk, where kindness takes center stage! Our students will share smiles and stories with their book buddies and create lasting memories. Our students will express their artistic side and contribute to our giant heart-filled bulletin board. Each heart represents an act of kindness, no matter how small, reminding us that together we can make a difference.


Winter Vacation: February 19th - 23rd


Tuesday, February 27th at 5:30 p.m. in the Great Falls Library: Great Falls Rezoning Family Night

We understand that the recent rezoning decision may raise questions and concerns for some families. To help address these, we invite you to join an information session specifically for impacted families. Great Falls and Narragansett administrators will be present on Tuesday, February 27th at 5:30 p.m. to answer your questions about attendance shifts and offer support during this change.


The most important information regarding our school community can also be found in the Great Falls News from the Office which will be emailed to families every Thursday. We hope to keep families updated with the latest information and school events. 


If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at any time at becky.fortier@gorhamschools.org or deanna.etienne@gorhamschools.org. Wishing you all a year filled with the magic of learning, the strength of kindness, and the radiant glow of happiness. Happy New Year, everyone!


Kindly,

Becky Fortier and Deanna Etienne

Great Falls Administrators




Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Great Falls Read-A-Thon

Dear Great Falls Families,

Get ready to unleash the power of imagination and open the door to exciting adventures! This February, Great Falls Elementary will host a magical Read-A-Thon, where students will embark on a thrilling journey through the land of books. But this epic quest isn't just about conquering pages; it's about fueling a love of learning, enriching young minds, and creating unforgettable memories!

Why Read-A-Thon?

The Read-A-Thon is much more than just a fundraiser. It's a celebration of literacy that will directly benefit our amazing students at Great Falls Elementary. The donations we raise will allow us to:

  • Plan epic end-of-year celebrations: Imagine field days with giant inflatables and fun adventures! The possibilities are endless, and your support will make these dreams a reality.

  • Expand field experiences: From exploring museums and aquariums to visiting local farms, the Read-A-Thon will unlock incredible future field trips that spark curiosity and bring classrooms to life.

  • Go beyond the classroom walls: We believe learning extends far beyond the four walls of a classroom. Through the Read-A-Thon, we can fund guest speakers, author visits, innovative workshops, and much more, bringing the world into our school and igniting a passion for lifelong learning.

How You Can Join the Quest:

Every child at Great Falls is invited to become a Reading Champion! Here's how you can support their journey:

  • Encourage your child to set a reading goal: Whether it's conquering a chapter a day or exploring a favorite genre, help your child set a reading goal that excites them.

  • Gather pledges: Ask friends, family, and neighbors to donate. Let your child track their progress and celebrate their achievements along the way!

  • Spread the word: Share the excitement of the Read-A-Thon with everyone you know! Post on social media, talk to your neighbors and let's make this adventure a community effort.

The Great Falls Read-A-Thon is more than just a fundraiser; it's an investment in our children's future. With your support, we can open doors to a world of wonder, ignite imaginations, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Let's turn the pages together and embark on an epic adventure!

Look for your child’s Read A Thon packet coming home soon, and get started now by registering here: https://www.read-a-thon.com/readers/r/323738333230 

Happy reading!

Monday, January 8, 2024

January Update

Dear Great Falls Families,

May this January be filled with warmth, love, new beginnings, and shared happiness. This first snowfall is just the beginning of winter's wonderful world. Let the snow-filled fun begin! 

Dress for Winter: This is a reminder that all students should come to school with appropriate clothing for spending time outside each day. We recommend that students in grades K-5 wear hats, gloves or mittens, boots, and a warm jacket to play outside. K-3 students should also pack snow pants if they plan on playing in the snow and the fields. Those without the proper winter gear will be limited to the blacktop areas when snow is present to keep our students warm and dry. 

School Calendar: 2023 - 2024 Calendar


Monday, January 15th: No School/ Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Wednesday, January 17th: Early Release Day/ Students are dismissed at noon.


Great Falls DECK Day: Thursday, January 18th

Great Falls will be collecting goods for the Maine Needs mini warmth kits. Each grade level will be asked to optionally donate a specific item. Items can be delivered to the main office beginning this week or brought to the GF Winter Family Fun Night on Thursday, January 18th.


Kindergarten: chapstick

Grade 1: hand warmers

Grade 2: mini tissues

Grade 3: mini hand lotion

Grade 4: Dunkin gift cards

Grade 5: bandaids


Thursday, January 18th: Great Falls Winter Family Fun Night 5:30-7:30 p.m. 

During this family and community event, our students will be able to pick up their clay projects. There will be fun activities for all to enjoy including a bouncy obstacle course, winter art projects, read-alouds, face painting, fitness breaks, and a bake sale. Please consider donating baked items for our sale by signing up HERE. We hope to see our Great Falls families at our family fun night!


“Kindness in Clay” Project

K-5 students completed a unique clay project during their art class with Mrs. Rimkunas and Mrs. Burton. Our “Kindness in Clay” project is based loosely on “The Empty Bowl Project” which is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger. The basic premise is simple: students create handcrafted pieces that they keep as a reminder of all the empty bowls and bellies in the world. The money raised is always donated to an organization working to end hunger and food insecurity. With that in mind, Great Falls will be donating 50% of donations to the Gorham Food Pantry and 50% of donations to future Great Falls projects of kindness within our school community. Please support our acts of kindness by donating any amount to purchase your student’s clay project.  The donation form is found HERE. All students will receive their projects to take, regardless of donation. Project pick-up will take place at the Great Falls Winter Family Fun Night on January 18th.


Winter NWEA Testing: NWEA-MAPS Tests (Northwest Educational Association - Measures of Academic Progress) is our district’s universal screening tool and recently adopted state-level assessment. The NWEA assessments will be conducted throughout the month of January in grades K-5. It is necessary for us to gather this data point to inform Response to Intervention supports and classroom instruction. The assessments are aligned to Maine Standards and allow us to collect longitudinal data. As always, your child’s classroom teacher is the best resource to keep you informed about how your child is progressing during this academic year. 


The most important information regarding our school community can also be found in the Great Falls News from the Office which will be emailed to families every Thursday. We hope to keep families updated with the latest information and school events. 


If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at any time at becky.fortier@gorhamschools.org or deanna.etienne@gorhamschools.org. Wishing you all a year filled with the magic of learning, the strength of kindness, and the radiant glow of happiness. Happy New Year, everyone!


Kindly,

Becky Fortier and Deanna Etienne

Great Falls Administrators