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January 19, 2020

Dear Families,

I hope to see you at Tuesday’s Morning Forum hosted by the Parents’ Association at 8:00 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room. The topic of the forum will be Moving NYA Forward: The Strategic Plan. I will be joined by other members of the faculty and staff to share and discuss an overview of the strategic plan, recent progress, and key initiatives on the horizon. A discussion will follow. The PA will share some light refreshments. All families are invited and encouraged to attend.

Last Tuesday, NYA CivilTea held its second group discussion of the school year. The topic of this was the purposes, benefits, and pitfalls of social media. We invited an expert panel that consisted of Dana Anderson, Micky Bedell, Chris Kasprak, and Emma Collins, NYA Class of 2021. The goal of CivilTea is to facilitate open discussions on topics that are important to our students and the greater community. The process is also designed to teach our students strategies to articulate their viewpoints on an issue and to consider other perspectives. Twenty-four current NYA Upper School students are trained as facilitators. Thank you to Carly Downey ‘20 and Elias Eisenberg ’22 who led the panel, our guest panel, student CivilTea facilitators, and the Upper School students for their thoughtful participation in the discussion.

Construction on the Learning Commons is progressing well. Recent work includes framing, electrical, and plumbing. This phase is complete. On the exterior you may have noticed the newly installed windows, one of the key architectural features. Soon drywall will go up, followed by painting. During the month of December, students had the opportunity to test some potential furnishings for the space, and their comments were collected. The goal is to have a variety of work spaces in the commons to align with different learning styles. The student input was very influential in our ultimate decisions. The opening date is not yet final, but we are targeting the beginning of March.


Mission Spotlight

Last weekend, 15 students performed as part of the District II Instrumental Music Festival at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. District II is an annual honors music festival sponsored by the Maine Music Educators Association. NYA will also send 15 musicians to the District II Vocal Music Festival at Windham High School at the end of the month. Separating these two festivals allows students who both sing and play an instrument to audition for and participate in both festivals. This was a particular strength for NYA students this year, with one student in every grade level (two in seventh grade!) selected for both festivals. Congratulations to the of our musicians!


There are always a lot of fun activities happening in the Lower School! Children in Miss KB’s Primary B classroom read four versions of the tale of the gingerbread man. They read The Gingerbread Boy, The Gingerbread Man, The Gingerbread Baby, and The Gingerbread Girl. The repetitive nature of the story lends itself for doing many different story re-telling activities. Children not only had an opportunity to make puppets, but also bake their own gingerbread men and pretend to be the fox and eat the gingerbread up in big gobbles. Ms. Gagne’s adventurous class went snowshoeing on Friday at the Royal River, and they will go again on January 24. Lower School PE started their skating unit last week at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena, and everyone is loving it.

Polly Ward, member of the Maine League of Women’s Voters, visited Friday Forum on January 12. She spoke on the mission of the League of Women’s Voters, the importance of voting, and how to register to vote. Any of our students who will be 18 by Tuesday, November 3, 2020 (election day) are eligible to vote in the election and the primary on March 3, 2020. Polly will be here during lunch on Tuesday to help them register. All they need to do is bring an ID (driver’s license, state ID, or U.S. passport).

Alumni engagement is important to us at NYA. This March, we will host alumni events in Portland, Boston, and New York City. Please help spread the word to any alums you know and encourage them to attend. We’d love to see them there! For more information or to RSVP, please visit: www.nya.org/rsvp.

Save the Date for the annual NYA Soirée on Friday, May 15, 2020 at Portland’s Ocean Gateway. If you have event ideas, want to get involved in planning, or are able to offer any auction prizes, please be in touch with Crystal Gordon in the NYA Development Office. Let’s make this a fun, meaningful night for our community!

Our student athletes have been working hard and representing NYA well during the winter season. Come on out and support the Panthers at one of their upcoming contests. For a complete and up-to-date schedule of events, visit nyaathletics.com. The following are some upcoming home events:

  • Tuesday, January 21, 4:30, Coed MS Hockey v. Mt. Ararat
  • Wednesday, January 22, 4:50, Boys Varsity Hockey v. Holderness
  • Thursday, January 23, 3:30 and 4:30, Boys and Girls MS Basketball v. Durham
  • Friday, January 24, 3:00, Boys Varsity Hockey v. Hebron
  • Friday, January 24, 5:00, Boys JV Hockey v. Hebron
  • Friday, January 24, 3:45, Boys JV Basketball v. Freeport
  • Friday, January 24, 5:30, Girls Varsity Basketball v. Seacoast Christian
  • Friday, January 24, 7:00, Boys Varsity Basketball v. Seacoast Christian
  • The Indoor Track Team competes at USM, with meets generally held Friday evenings

Friday, February 7 is an early release day for faculty and staff professional development. There will be a special schedule with an 11:30 dismissal. All students should plan to be picked up by that time-buses will depart at 11:40. Safford will be open for morning snacks but closed for lunch. There will be no Middle School sports, but Upper School/Middle School drama will meet for lunch and a special rehearsal. There are some Upper School games and practices, and students should await details from their coaches. Finally, Middle School and Upper School students should confirm spring activity sign ups with advisors or Ms. Ross if they have not already done so.

Sincerely,

Ben Jackson
Head of School


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