Lower School Newsletter for April 7, 2019

With spring finally trying to peek through, we have under two months until the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation. These months will be packed full of learning, exploration, and special events. As we enter the final stage of the year, I want to take the opportunity to remind families of the importance of attendance and arriving on time. Regular class attendance is essential to the learning process, and time away from class can be detrimental to a student’s learning. As late arrivals disrupt the flow of the class and may impact the student’s learning, we strongly encourage students to arrive on time each day. It is important for children to maintain a regular routine and to be present at school in order to learn and share with their teachers and peers. The Academy strongly discourages non-essential absences. If at all possible, family trips should be scheduled during school vacations. As noted in the Lower School Family Handbook, parents should note that excessive absences (more than 10 days) are of great concern and may require that the student repeat the grade. We so enjoy the opportunity to teach and learn with your children and value every moment that we have to spend with them. We appreciate your help and support in limiting absences throughout the year.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Lower School Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, April 16. This is a No School Day for students, but child care is available during your twenty-minute conference slot. Conferences allow parents and teachers the chance to connect and build a strong school-home partnership in support of each student. You will have the opportunity to ask questions about all aspects of your child’s school life and progress throughout the year, as well as to share your own insights. Teachers will send invitations for you to sign up for a conference slot and child care using Signup Genius this week. Sign-ups are on a first come, first served basis. If none of the available times work with your schedule, please contact the classroom teacher directly to arrange an alternate time to meet.


Special thanks to all those who supported the Show Your Love campaign. Together, we exceeded our goal and successfully unlocked $30,000 for NYA. During the last two weeks of March, 522 individuals made gifts; contributing over $59,000 to NYA. We are deeply grateful for your generosity!


Lower School Grandparents’ Day is coming up on Friday, May 10! This is a Dress Up Day. Invitations to grandparents will be coming soon. Please encourage grandparents or “grandfriends” to attend and RSVP online. Registration opens at 8:45 a.m. at the entrance to Curtis Gymnasium, followed by a student concert, a reception with the grandchildren, and visits to the classrooms. The event concludes at 10:30 a.m. with an optional campus tour. Contact Crystal Gordon with any questions.

There are several volunteer opportunities for parents on Thursday and Friday, May 9-10. This is a great way to meet other parents, see the performances, and help create a successful event. For information on volunteering, please contact Crystal.


Thank you and Congratulations to Mr. Jack Hardy who has announced he is retiring in July after 41 years in education, the last seven as Director of Athletics at NYA.


On Monday, April 22, Mrs. Gagne’s class will hold a bake sale in Safford Center during break and lunch for elementary, Middle, and Upper School students to raise funds toward purchasing pencils and notebooks for a village school in Malawi, Africa.  The students are learning about Malawi in class, examining the differences between their schools and ours, and reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.  They also are sponsoring a Dress Down Day on Tuesday, April 30 for this great cause.


You are cordially invited to the NYA Soirée on Friday, April 26 at Halo at the Point, Thompson’s Point. This will be a fun evening of camaraderie and support for NYA, including games and prizes, auction, dinner, a hosted bar, and live music by Wavelength! Learn more and RSVP at www.nya.org/soiree.  We hope you will join us for this fun, engaging evening to support NYA. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please note that After Care ends at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 26.


On Friday, May 3, Mr. Hopkins’ and Mrs. Gagne’s classes will head to Merrill Auditorium for the Portland Ovations production of Me…Jane: The Dreams and Adventures of Young Jane Goodall. This musical adaptation tells the story of Jane Goodall as a girl who “dreams of spending the rest of her life living with and helping animals.” This will be a dress up day. The students will also have the opportunity to join a live Skype with Jane Goodall this Tuesday!


Sophomore Alaina Rauf is organizing a book drive at NYA as part of a project to create mobile libraries for underprivileged children in the northern part of Pakistan. The project is called Aagahi, an Urdu word which means Awareness. Students can bring in books of any variety (old or new, picture books, children’s books, fiction, nonfiction, textbooks, etc.) for the book drive. Book donations will be collected in each classroom from now until May 1. The class with the most book donations will celebrate with a Dress Down Day and special baked treats!


And speaking of donations, NYA’s Key Club is working with Key Clubs across Maine to gather supplies for the Preble Street Shelter in Portland. They are collecting donations of all varieties for the shelter, including clothing, winter coats and accessories, school and art supplies, cards and games, laundry detergent, and personal hygiene products. They would especially appreciate donations of backpacks, duffle bags, and towels. There will be collection boxes in the Main Office in the Upper School and in the Middle and Lower School reception areas. If you have any of these items, or if you would like to make a cash donation, the Key Club would appreciate your support!


The morning drop-off is an especially busy and hectic time on campus. In addition to the short-term parking spots reserved for Lower School families, our Lower School teachers are now parking at different locations on campus to open up more spaces in the back lot. Parents are encouraged to drop off elementary students at the crosswalk in front of the Merrill Lower School building and to park on Portland Street or in the back lot for longer visits (e.g. meeting with a teacher). We are continuing to look at options for expanded spaces in the future. We appreciate your help in streamlining this busy time of day!


Wednesday, May 8 will be a special day at NYA. While the Middle School is hosting the Special Olympics of Maine Motor Activities at the ice arena, the Lower School will take part in a Hop-A-Thon in support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Lower School students and teachers will gather on the turf field to hop, skip, jump, and play! We hope to raise awareness about others who may not have the same capabilities and also raise funds to donate to MDA. Teachers will read various books about children with disabilities to begin the conversation and explain the purpose of the Hop-A-Thon. We will have a collection jar on the Lower School reception desk and in the Toddler House to accept donations. We are hoping to raise over $100 for MDA, and will celebrate with a Pajama Day for the entire Lower School on Tuesday, May 14. Thank you for your support!


The Spring Concerts are coming! The NYA Music Department will present four concerts over the next several weeks.

  • Friday, April 19: Choral Concert, involving all choral groups grades 6-12. This concert takes place at the Yarmouth Performing Arts Center at Yarmouth High School and begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 23: Strings Concert, featuring all NYA string players, grades 3-12. This concert takes place in Safford Center and begins at 6:30 p.m. Lower school performers should arrive no later than 6:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 25: Instrumental Concert, featuring an array of NYA instrumental groups. This concert takes place in the NYA Gym, and begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 2: Fifth Grade Arts Night, featuring our entire fifth grade class! Fifth graders will take part in the Strings Concert and will share their artistic, band, singing, and acting talents at the Fifth Grade Arts Night. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., students will present their band concert featuring small group, solo, and full band performances in the Higgins Black Box Theater. Next, the audience will be treated to the fifth graders’ singing and acting talents in their production of The Phantom Tollbooth. The evening will wrap up with dessert for all performers and audience members.

Poem in My Pocket textile muralPOETRY FUN!

Each April, people throughout the United States celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day by selecting a poem to carry and share throughout the day at schools, libraries, parks, workplaces, and various venues. This year, NYA will celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day on Tuesday, April 23. All students are encouraged to put a poem in their pocket and add their voices to the celebration. NYA will also celebrate Poetry Month with a Poetry Exhibition on Friday, April 26 at 10:15 a.m. in the NYA gym.

EXPERIENCE SUMMER AT NYASummer Programs Button 2019

Registration for Experience Summer at NYA is now open. NYA offers a host of summer programs for toddlers to age 15. Camps include a variety of sports (tennis, lacrosse, and soccer), art, theater, dance, circus, science, magic, and more! Register by April 15 to receive the early bird discount!


Weather at this time of year can change frequently and without warning. Students are outside every day, and it is important that they have the necessary layers to be safe and comfortable both inside and out. The melting snow brings lots of mud which is so tempting to our children and sometimes results in the need to change. It is always a good idea to have spare clothing at the ready. The change in seasons is a great time for Toddler and Primary Classroom parents to check the clothing bins to make sure that they have plenty of items of the correct size and appropriate to the season.


Looking to get involved with your child’s school, meet other parents and families, and have some summer fun? The NYA Parents’ Association is looking for a few committed volunteers to help organize and manage the NYA booth at the Yarmouth Clam Festival taking place this July. This is a major fundraiser for the PA, with all proceeds going right back to NYA. If you are interested, please contact Scott Frank, Laura Bergeron, or Tori Baron for further information.


In addition to the events listed below, there will be many special events throughout the end of May. Classroom teachers will be reaching out with information on additional class trips and activities. Popsicles on the Playground, a fun event for both new and current families, will take place on the afternoon of Thursday, May 16 from 2:30-4:00 p.m. There is no school on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. Our school year ends on Friday, May 31. Classes end at 10:30 a.m. on this day. Families are then invited to stay and enjoy a cookout and festivities on campus to celebrate our school year. Stay tuned and keep marking those calendars!


4/9 Mad Science Radical Robotics Begins
4/10 Morning Mindfulness with Ian Ramsey, MSCR 7:00 a.m.
4/10 Pierce Manchester Recital, Higgins Hall 6:30 p.m.
4/10 Mr. Hopkins’ Class Field Trip to Maine Audubon
4/11 Lower School Live Admission Event
4/15 Patriots’ Day NO SCHOOL
4/16 Lower School Parent Conferences NO SCHOOL
4/17 Dress Down Day for Safe Passage
4/19 Spring Choral Concert (grades 6-12), YPAC 6:30 p.m.
4/22 Baked Sale for Malawi
4/23 Poem in Your Pocket Day
4/23 Spring Strings Concert (grades 3-12), Safford 6:30 p.m.
4/25 Spring Instrumental Concert (grades 6-12), NYA Gym 6:30 p.m.
4/26 Poetry Out Loud Presentations
4/26 After Care ends at 4:00 p.m.
4/26 NYA Soirée, Halo on the Point, Thompson’s Point, Portland 5:00 p.m.
4/30 Dress Down Day for Malawi
5/1 Last Day for Book Donations
5/2 Fifth Grade Arts Night, Higgins Hall 6:00 p.m.
5/3 Grades 2-4 Field Trip to Me…Jane, Merrill Auditorium 10:00 a.m.
5/8 Lower School Muscular Dystrophy Association Hop-A-Thon, Lewis Field 10:00 a.m.
5/10 Lower School Grandparents’ Day; Dress Up Day 9:00 a.m.


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