Lower School Newsletter for April 8, 2018

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. Having entered the final stage of the year, I would like to take this 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 indicated 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

The donations collected by Project Purrrrpose are delivered to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.


Lower School Grandparents’ Day is Friday, May 11. This is a Dress Up Day. Invitations will be mailed 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 tea party 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 10-11. This is a great way to meet other parents, see the performances, and help to make for a successful event. For information on volunteering, please contact Amity Jackson.


As part of Lower School Grandparents’ Day each year, the students serve tea to their grandparents. We have been working to build a collection of tea pots for this event and are still in need of additional tea pots. Do you have a teapot you would like to donate for this special event? Please bring tea pots to the Lower School reception area or contact Jen Elkins with any questions.


Lower School Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, April 17. This is a No School Day for students. Child care is available during your fifteen-minute conference slot. Conferences allow parents and teachers 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 sent out invitations for you to sign up for a conference slot and child care using Signup Genius this past 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.


On Wednesday, April 18, author Josh Alves will be visiting NYA and doing presentations and workshops with students in grades K-6. Josh is an award-winning author/illustrator whose work includes Lilly Bristol, Dinosaur Wrangler; SURPRISE!; and the Zeke Meeks chapter book series. Josh will meet with students in the Community Room to read, sing songs, do drawing demonstrations, answer questions, and talk about topics such as Where do ideas come from? and Keys to Cultivating Creativity. Thanks to Angee Wayashe for seeking out Josh, Shannon Gallagher for organizing his visit, and the NYA Parents’ Association for supporting Josh’s visit to campus!


Don’t miss this opportunity to come together to enjoy delicious food, a live auction, music, and fun while supporting NYA. Join us at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27 at Brick South – Thompson’s Point in Portland, Maine. The evening includes a hosted cocktail reception; silent and live auctions; family-style dinner; games, raffles & more! Members of the NYA community and the public are encouraged to attend. Purchase your tickets now: nya.org/Soiree.  Please note that After Care ends at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 27.


Mad Science of Maine is offering a second class for students in kindergarten through fifth grade this spring. Engineering Mania begins on Tuesday, April 10. Register and find additional information here.


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, Poem in Your Pocket Day is Tuesday, April 24. 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 27 at 10:15 a.m. in the NYA gym.


On Tuesday, May 1, we are holding a Dress Down Day to support the March of Dimes. The Echeverria family is raising funds for the Portland, Maine March for Babies for their sons, Thomas and Raphael, who were born too early at 22 weeks on November 26, 2010. Premature birth affects approximately 380,000 babies in the United States each year. Together we can help the March of Dimes fight premature birth so more babies can go home with their parents. Many NYA students and teachers plan to take part in this walk on Sunday, May 6. Please join us in supporting this great cause.


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

  • Friday, April 20: 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 24: 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 26: 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 3: Fifth Grade Arts Night, featuring our entire fifth grade class! Fifth graders will take part in the Strings Concert on Tuesday, April 24, 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 Little Mermaid Jr. The evening will wrap up with dessert for all performers and audience members.


On Friday, May 4, the third and fourth grade class will join together with a group of eleventh grade students for an exciting trip to the New England Aquarium. Prior to the trip, the eleventh grade students will be giving interactive presentations to Mrs. Gagne’s class about some of the things they will see at the aquarium. On the morning of May 4, they will depart from the NYA ice arena at 7:50 a.m. and travel by coach bus to the museum (they will share the bus with the seventh grade students who are traveling to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston). They will have several hours to explore the exhibits, enjoy a scavenger hunt, watch the IMAX movie Pandas 3D, and have lunch before boarding the bus and heading back to NYA (expected return time of 5:00 p.m. at the ice arena). Students should dress in orange and black, wear comfortable shoes, bring a sweatshirt or light jacket, and pack a lunch, snack, and water bottle. It should be an amazing trip!


Wednesday, May 9 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 be reading 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 by Miss Jen’s desk to accept donations. If we are able to raise over $100 for MDA, we will celebrate with a Pajama Day for the entire Lower School on Tuesday, May 15. Thank you for your support!


On Friday, May 18, Primary students will celebrate Arbor Day! The classes will walk down to Royal River Park to take part in Yarmouth’s Arbor Day festivities. The Yarmouth Tree Committee, Librarian, and Tree Warden will be on hand, and the children will have the chance to visit various stations for activities such as painting plant pots, hearing stories, learning about composting, and planting a tree! Students should wear relaxed dress and comfortable shoes for this outing.


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.


A reminder to please drive slowly in the Curtis driveway and stop at the crosswalk in front of the Lower School. Our youngest students use this walkway daily, sometimes forgetting to stop and look both ways, and they are very hard to see because of their size! We appreciate your help in keeping our students safe.


Each year, the Chickadee Award Committee selects ten wonderful picture books for young readers. Our Lower School students have the opportunity to hear or read each of the selections before choosing their favorites. On Tuesday, March 27, Lower School students gathered together in the Middle School Community Room to hear book talks and discuss the nominees before voting. Many titles received votes, but Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems was the winner. The NYA votes will be included in the statewide tally to select the winning book!

EXPERIENCE SUMMER AT NYAsummer-programs2018

Registration for Experience Summer at NYA is now open. NYA offers a host of summer programs for toddlers to age 16. Camps include a variety of sports (tennis, lacrosse, field hockey, and soccer), art, theater, dance, circus, magic, and more! Register by April 15 to receive the early bird discount!


4/10Kindergarten River Walk12:45-2:00 p.m.
4/10Mad Science of Maine Engineering Mania begins
4/12Grades 3 & 4 Colonial Trade Presentations 2:15 p.m.
4/16Patriots’ DayNO SCHOOL
4/17Lower School Parent ConferencesNO SCHOOL
4/18Josh Alves Visit, MSCR 9:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
4/20Spring Choral Concert (grades 6-12), YPAC6:30 p.m.
4/24Poem in Your Pocket Day
4/24Kindergarten Poetry Walk and Share1:00 p.m.
4/24Spring Strings Concert (grades 3-12), Safford6:30 p.m.
4/26Spring Instrumental Concert (grades 6-12), NYA Gym6:30 p.m.
4/27Poetry Out Loud Presentations, NYA Gym 10:15 a.m.
4/27After Care ends at 4:00 p.m.
4/27NYA Soirée, Thompson’s Point, Portland5:30 p.m.
4/29Earth Day
5/1Dress Down Day for March of Dimes$3
5/3Fifth Grade Arts Night, Higgins Hall5:00 p.m.
5/4 Airplane Day
5/4Grades 3 & 4 Field Trip to the Boston Aquarium
5/6March for Babies, Portland
5/9Lower School Muscular Dystrophy Association Hop-A-Thon, Lewis Field10:00 a.m.
5/11Lower School Grandparents’ Day; Dress Up Day
5/15Lower School Pajama Day
5/16Popsicles on the Playground3:00-4:00 p.m.
5/18Primary Arbor Day Outing, Royal River Park 9:15 a.m.
5/25Primary Beach Trip
5/28Memorial DayNO SCHOOL
5/29Fourth Grade Camp Soci Outing, Cousins Island
5/30 Grades 2-4 Field Trip to Maine Wildlife Park
5/31Grades 1-4 Royal River Picnic Lunch
5/31Kindergarten “Graduation” Celebration 3:00 p.m.
6/1Last Day of School; Lower School Classes end at 10:30
6/1NYA Fun Day and Cookout10:30-1:00 p.m.
6/3Commencement, Curtis Lawn2:00 p.m.


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