Panther Cubs – The Lower School Newsletter for April 9, 2017

Though last weekend’s storm makes it hard to imagine, 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. 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 absences in excess of 15 days 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


appleLower School Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences are coming up on Tuesday, April 18. This is a No School Day for students. Child care is available during your twenty 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 SignUpGenius 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.


In the Primary classrooms, children may bring one small “lovey” to have with them during rest time only. No blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, or other items from home are to be used during rest. NYA provides each child with his/her own cot and an NYA beach towel blanket. These items are kept at school and washed and sanitized regularly to help maintain a clean and healthy classroom environment.


Shannon Gallagher’s grade one-two class is sponsoring a Dress Down Day on Tuesday, April 11 to animal-refuge-league-2support the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. Students may donate $3 or make a donation of supplies from the League’s Pet Wish List.  Collection boxes will be placed at Lower and Middle School reception areas. 


teapotAs 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 teapots. Do you have a teapot you would like to donate for this special event? Please bring teapots to the Lower School reception area or contact Jen Elkins with any questions.


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.


The visit by renowned Tibetan Buddhist Monk Khen Rinpoche has been rescheduled to this Thursday, April 13. He is visiting NYA to officially present a Mani prayer wheel to the Academy. This traditional Buddhist wheel is filled with thousands of mantras  which are the universal mantra of compassion. When the wheel is turned (clockwise), it releases these mantras of compassion into the world. Angmo Stanzin ’16, who was a student of Khen Rinpoche in India, will accompany him for this blessing. This presentation will take place in the NYA Gym at 10:15 a.m. All are welcome to attend.


On Thursday, April 6, Mary Cerullo worked with students in Primary through sixth grade. She shared her passion for underwater science, research, and writing with students. Students heard a presentation in the morning on Mary’s work with underwater photographers and scientists, particularly on her favorite subjects of sharks, squid, and octopuses. In the afternoon, Mary visited all of the Lower School classes to answer questions. Our students enjoyed hearing about her dive with sharks, her love of clever octopuses, and her inspiration for writing nonfiction science books. Our students asked thoughtful questions and had a fun day thinking about ocean life and the power of books to bring these creatures to life. Thank you to the Onion Foundation for awarding us a grant to bring a Maine author to our classes.


march-of-dimesOn Wednesday, April 19, we are holding a Dress Down Day to support the March of Dimes. At the end of April, Middle School history teacher David Echeverria is walking with his family in 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. Please join us in supporting this great cause.


Every April, people throughout the United States celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day by selecting a poem, carrying it with them, and sharing it with others. Throughout the day, schools, libraries, parks, workplaces, and other venues ring loud with open readings of poems from pockets. This year, Poem in Your Pocket Day is Thursday, April 27. We encourage all NYA students to put a poem in their pocket and add their voices to the celebration. If you would like to share in this fun day of poetry, you can visit the Academy of American Poets’ website for more information and you can share your poem on Twitter #pocketpoem. NYA will also celebrate Poetry Month with a Poetry Exhibition on Friday, April 21 at 10:15 in the NYA gym.


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

  • Friday, April 21: Choral Concert, involving all choral groups grades 6-12. This concert will take place at the Yarmouth Performing Arts Center at Yarmouth High School. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 25: Strings Concert, featuring all NYA string players, grades 3-12. This concert will take place at the First Parish Church in Yarmouth. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m., and Lower School students should arrive no later than 6:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 27: 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 4: Fifth Grade Arts Night, featuring the entire fifth grade class! Fifth graders will take part in a Strings Concert on Tuesday, April 25, but 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 You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. The evening will wrap up with dessert for all performers and audience members.



As we look ahead to spring, we are beginning to prepare for Lower School Grandparents’ Day. This special event is scheduled for Friday, May 12. In order to be sure that all grandparents and grand-friends are invited, we ask that you complete the Grandparent Information Form. Contact Leslie Durgin or Marissa Markonish with any questions. 


chickadee-17-hippos-are-hugeThe Chickadee Award is a picture book award program in the state of Maine. Each year, the Chickadee Award Committee selects ten wonderful picture books for young readers to listen to and read. This year, the entire Lower School and the fifth grade heard or read all ten titles. On Tuesday, March 28, they gathered together in the Middle School Community Room to hear book talks on each book presented by students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students were then given a sunflower seed and encouraged to vote for their favorite book from the list. Many titles received votes, but Hippos are Huge by Jonathan London and illustrated by Matthew Trueman blew away the competition. Mrs. O’Connor submitted the NYA votes to the Chickadee Committee. The state-wide voting closed on April 3, and Mrs. O’Connor will announce the winning title to students during Library

SAVE THE DATE!soiree2017

NYA Soiree: Fundraiser to support the students and programs at NYA. Friday, May 5 at Thompson’s Point. Thank you to event chairs Jen Edwards and Josie Griffin. We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information visit our website. Click here to get tickets.

Auction item sneak preview: Custom Winterstick Snowboard or Skis signed by Seth Wescott, donated by Christopher & Mary Beth Lorenz P’28, ‘30, and valued at $2,000. Work with the designers at Winterstick at their factory at Sugarloaf and get the snowboard or pair of skis of your dreams!


Box TopsThe NYA Lower School is collecting box tops. If you would like to clip them, bring them in, and we’ll submit them! The collection box will be on the small table in the Lower School lobby. Thank you! “Box Tops is one of America’s largest school earnings loyalty programs and the money can be used to purchase anything the school needs. Over 80,000 K-8 schools participate and you can send Box Tops to school anytime. Each Box Top is worth 10¢ and the earnings are sent out to schools twice a year, in December and in April.”


The NYA community is supporting NYA Project Graduation by collecting and redeeming returnable bottles and cans through the CLYNK program at Hannaford. In the coming months, there is a special opportunity for us to earn bonus funds for each bag returned. From February 17 – April 24, Hannaford will add 50 cents to each dollar of returnables labeled with the ‘NYA PROJECT GRAD’ sticker. Labeled CLYNK bags are available (free!) at the NYA Lower, Middle, and Upper School Offices. Please take a few to your home or office, fill them, and return to ANY Hannaford. Thank you for supporting our fundraising efforts!  ~ Joanna See and Martha Barrett, Project Graduation Committee

EXPERIENCE SUMMER AT NYANYA_3x3_summer2016_sticky

Registration for Experience Summer at NYA is 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 and more. New offerings this year include Wizard Magic Camp, Mad Science, Girls on the Run, Counselor In Training program (earn Safe Sitter babysitting certificate), and two levels of dance with Brio. Additional information on camps and registration can be found on our website. Early bird pricing ends on April 15, so be sure to sign up soon!


The final Parents’ Night Out of the year is coming up this Thursday, April 13 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Dockside Grill in Falmouth. The Upper School Make-A-Wish and Key Clubs will provide child care in the Lower School (suggested donation of $10/hour). We hope to see you there!



4/11Dress Down Day for the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland$3 or donation
4/13Assembly with Khen Rinpoche, NYA Gym10:15 a.m.
4/13Parents’ Night Out, Dockside, Falmouth5:00-7:00 p.m.
4/14Spring Bring A Friend To School Day, grades 4-12
4/17Patriots’ DayNO SCHOOL
4/18Lower School Conferences/Faculty In-ServiceNO SCHOOL
4/19Dress Down Day for March of Dimes$3
4/21Poetry Exhibition, NYA Gym10:15 a.m.
4/21Spring Choral Concert, Grades 6-12, Yarmouth Performing Arts Center6:30 p.m.
4/25Spring Strings Concert, Grades 3-12, First Parish Church, Yarmouth6:30 p.m.
4/27National Poem in Your Pocket Day
4/27Spring Instrumental Concert, Grades 6-12, NYA Gym6:30 p.m.
5/4Fifth Grade Arts Night, Higgins6:00 p.m.
5/5NYA Soirée, Thompson’s Point, Portland5:00 p.m.
5/10Dress Down Day for American Lung Association$3
5/10Middle School Special Olympics, NYA Ice Arena
5/10Lower School Muscular Dystrophy Association Hopathon, Lewis Field
5/12Lower School Grandparents’ Day