It is good to have everyone back in school. We are looking forward to a fantastic second semester. As I shared last week, I am very grateful for everyone’s flexibility and support during the pandemic especially over the last couple of weeks with the significant increase in positive cases. This is a time of significant spread in our community. We received 11 positive pools out of 30 on Friday and are working to identify positives throughout the weekend. We plan to complete this work by Monday morning. It is important we continue to work together to minimize spread to keep our students in school. It is also important we keep our faculty and staff healthy and in school to ensure we have enough personnel to maintain our daily operations. For the latest updates on FAQs and quarantine/isolation policies, please visit NYA’s COVID page. Our Health and Safety Committee has been meeting weekly or more since March 2020, and we continually make updates to our policies based on the most current guidance. We no longer plan to announce each positive case to the entire community as has been our past practice. However, we will keep the community updated on school wide spread of the virus and promptly reach out to close contacts as we have done in the past.
I am normally not opposed to a snow day. However, I very much wanted to avoid one on Friday to allow us all to reestablish routines. Alas, it was not meant to be. I do understand and appreciate how disruptive it can be for our families when school is delayed or cancelled. Please know we take any decision to postpone school very seriously and try to make these decisions in the best interests of the health and safety of our community.
While COVID-19 has dominated the conversation, it is important we all focus on what is most important, and that is our students getting back to class and involved in the activities they enjoy. It was great to see the Lower School students in class and all around campus and Middle and Upper School students in class and at athletics, drama, and studio band. Middle School and Upper School teams will be back in action starting this weekend with Upper School track and basketball in competition. Good luck to our student athletes as they resume competition.
The NYA Admission season is well underway for the 2022-2023 school year. We will hold our first edition of Experience NYA for prospective Middle and Upper School parents on Friday, January 14. Our current families are the school’s best admission ambassadors, so please encourage your friends and neighbors to attend an event or contact the admission office directly to learn more about what an NYA education could mean for their children. With an eye towards the 2022-2023 school year, we will be sending additional information on reenrollment in a few weeks.
Mr. Ramsey, Kauffmann Program Director and Upper School Music Instructor, recently announced the return of the Middle School Leadership Academy after a brief COVID break. The Middle School Leadership Program, facilitated by Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Barschdorf, consists of a summer backpacking trip into the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This is a transformational experience for Middle School students in the Presidential Range of NH. The Academy will focus on leadership, building self-confidence, and developing group dynamics. Many NYA Middle School students have participated in this program that builds life-long lessons for the students. The Leadership Academy is a component of NYA’s Kauffmann Program. The Kauffmann Program is aligned with NYA’s mission to develop a “concern for the larger community and appreciation for the natural environment.” The program seeks to preserve and extend the legacy of former NYA trustee, John M. Kauffmann, a neighbor and friend of NYA who had a lifelong passion for public lands and wilderness conservation. The Kauffmann Program seeks to foster a great appreciation of the wilderness and the world around us. The program grew out of the Glacier Bay Course, taught by Mr. Ramsey. Additional outdoor experiences, the Brain Training and Resilience course, the Diploma of Distinction in Outdoor Education and Environmental Leadership, the NYA Outing Club, and other experiences are included with this program.
The NYA College Counseling Office (CCO) remains very busy. Over break, many seniors submitted their final applications, and for some there is still work to be done. Ms. Bergill spent time over break reviewing each senior’s college list and reaching out with suggestions and encouragement. As seniors complete their final applications, they are also awaiting decisions from schools. Next week, once the updated transcripts have been created, the CCO will submit the required Midyear School Report to every college on each senior’s list. Students should keep an eye on their applicant portals to confirm that all other documents have been received – documents that might be needed include teacher recommendations, the FAFSA and CSS Profile for those applying for financial aid, and VISA, English Proficiency, and Family Finance information for international students. Students with questions or concerns are always welcome to drop into the CCO for help.
As seniors are trying to complete the process, juniors are just getting underway with their college decisions. On Thursday afternoon, the process formally began with the annual College Kickoff for the Class of 2023. Juniors are now connected to our new college counseling platform, Scoir, and their parents and guardians have been invited to activate their own parent access to the platform. Over the winter, each junior will meet with Ms. Bergill to begin their work together. Juniors may begin scheduling their appointments next week. By the time March Break arrives, they should have a preliminary list of colleges to explore in greater detail – hopefully in person – and a list of tasks to complete. College Night for students and families has moved to an online program. Next week, juniors and their parents will receive an invitation to participate in our January 18 event with Leigh Weisenburger from Bates. Additional upcoming student and parent workshops, include a mock admissions program, an athletic recruitment panel discussion, and application and essay writing support. Individual parent/counselor meetings will be scheduled in the spring, but parents with questions are always welcome to reach out.
Reminder, in recognition of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, there will be no school on Monday, January 17.
Have a great week!
Head of School
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