Lower School Newsletter for August 15, 2019

It is hard to believe that the days of summer will soon be drawing to a close. While it is certainly bittersweet to say goodbye to summer, we are beginning to look forward to the crisp days of autumn and the beginning of another school year. We are delighted to welcome you all, whether back or for the first time, to the NYA community. Our Lower School electronic newsletter, Panther Cubs, will come to you once each month and is a vital means of sharing important information with you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions by email, phone, or stopping by the office in the Middle or Lower Schools. We look forward to an exciting year together!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


The Lower School Family Picnic and Parent Information Session will take place on Thursday, August 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity to meet other Lower School families and teachers, ask questions, and most importantly, to have fun! Registration will be in Griswold Quad near the Middle School and the picnic will be out on Denney Field (the grass field near Higgins Hall). You will begin by enjoying a picnic lunch provided by NYA. Please bring a blanket to spread out on the lawn if you would like. After lunch, parents will gather in the Middle School Community Room to meet our teachers and learn more about the upcoming school year. You will then head over to the classrooms to meet with your child’s teacher for a brief information session. At this time, you will receive a welcome packet with your child’s schedule, class list, and information about the class. You will also have the opportunity to find your child’s cubby or locker and bring in a change of clothes and any other items before the first day. While parents attend these sessions, NYA staff and student helpers will supervise the children for play time on the field and playground.

Please RSVP before Friday, August 16 to let us know if you can or cannot attend and about any dietary restrictions in your family. We look forward to seeing you very soon!


A reminder to all families who wish to take advantage of our Before Care or After Care programs to please sign up as soon as possible. We plan our staffing based on current sign-ups and do not want families who wait to be disappointed if they are unable to obtain a spot.


Half day Primary students have the option to join their friends for lunch by signing up for Lunch Bunch. Families are asked to sign up for this option before the first day of school.


Our first day of school, Tuesday, September 3, begins with Convocation. Convocation is a special gathering for all members of the NYA community (students, parents, faculty, and staff) to start off the new school year. You should plan to arrive around 7:30 a.m. as you will want extra time to get to Convocation on the front lawn by 7:45 a.m. Students in grades one through four will be seated by classroom, beginning with Mrs. Gallagher’s class. Primary and Toddler students will stay with their parents (and have plenty of wiggle room and space to play!).

After Convocation, Lower School students and teachers will be dismissed by class. Parents of elementary students should say their goodbyes at that time. Parents of Toddler and Primary students should accompany them to the Toddler House and Lower School building to say their goodbyes. All parents are invited to a short coffee social with the NYA Parents’ Association following Convocation.

The first day of school is a Dress-Up Day: dress; skirt or dress pants with blouse or dress top; dress pants with collared shirts, plus ties for grades one through four.


It is essential that we have current health forms on file for every student at NYA. If you have not already done so, please complete all necessary health forms as soon as possible and turn them in to the Health Office. Contact Ashley Moody with any questions.


Additional forms, such as the Off-Campus Travel and Athletic Permission Forms, can be found in Family Forms under the Parents tab on the NYA website. Please be sure to complete and turn in all necessary forms as soon as possible.


We are excited to welcome the following new faculty and staff members to NYA:

  • Zoe Adams is NYA’s new Athletic Trainer and PE Teacher for grades two through five. She graduated from UNE with a BA in Athletic Training. Zoe completed fieldwork at UNE, Westbrook High School, Thornton Academy, Biddeford High School, and Yarmouth High School
  • Theresa Bartick joins us as our new STEM Coordinator at NYA. Terry earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and her MS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Connecticut. She also completed the Extended Teacher Education Program at USM. For the last five years, Terry was a science teacher, STEM Coordinator, and math interventionist at Gorham High School. Prior to teaching, Terry had thirteen years of experience in the engineering field.
  • Margery Condon will serve as the Lower School Literacy Specialist. Margery earned her MEd from Cambridge College. She has extensive experience as a Language Arts Learning Support Specialist and Literacy Consultant. Most recently, she was a Literacy Support teacher at the Fenn School in Boston. She has many years of classroom experience, specializing in language arts, in grades K-5. She also held several administrative positions including Assistant Principal at the Henry Warren Elementary School in Ashland, MA. Additional administrative positions include RTI Facilitator.
  • Kassi Michaud will be the Assistant Toddler Teacher in Ms. Kathi Hardy’s classroom. Kassi earned a BA and MBA from Husson University. She worked in NYA Summer Programs this summer and has been a frequent substitute teacher in NYA’s Lower School. Kassi has also taught at Tiny Seedlings Daycare.
  • Kelsy Ross joined NYA on July 1 as our new Athletic Director. She holds a BA from Roanoke College and is completing her MA in Physical Education, Athletic Administration, from Springfield College. For the past nine years, she has held multiple positions in the Bates College Athletic Department. Kelsy served as the Bates head women’s soccer coach, was a lecturer in the Physical Education Department, ran the Bates intramural program and multiple youth camps, and served as the assistant women’s basketball coach. She has also worked for the Maine Olympic Development Program, Maine AAU Basketball, and in athletic facilities management.
  • Molly Rucker will be the Assistant Primary Teacher in Ms. Jennifer Johnston’s classroom. Molly earned a BS in Child Development & Family Relations from the University of Maine at Orono. Molly has experience teaching at the YMCA Child Care in Old Town and Toddle Inn Child Care Center in Scarborough. For the past three years, Molly has been a co-teacher in the preschool and preK classrooms at Creative Beginnings Child Care Center in Scarborough.
  • Morgan Vigue will serve as the Primary and Late Day Assistant. Morgan attended the University of Maine at Augusta. Morgan has experience in in-home health care and working with children in a variety of capacities. Most recently, Morgan served as a substitute teacher in NYA’s Lower School.


The second day of school (Wednesday, September 4) is picture day for students in Primary through Grade 12. This is a Dress-Up Day. Both class pictures and individual portraits will be taken, and the portraits will be used in the student directory (distributed later in the fall). Families will have the opportunity to purchase portraits. Information on ordering pictures will be sent directly to parents from Coffee Pond Photography. Toddler pictures and retakes will be taken on Friday, October 18.


Together with the Parents’ Association, we will host a new event for our families and students. The All Family Cookout will be on Thursday, September 5 at 5:00 p.m. and will include a cookout, lawn games, and class meetings. This is an opportunity for new families to get to know our community and for returning families to reconnect and meet new friends. Families will also learn more about how they can become involved with the Academy and Parents’ Association. Additional details coming soon. We look forward to seeing you there!


The Lower School Drama Club will be presenting Disney’s Winnie the Pooh KIDS this fall! Linda Vaillancourt will direct and Ellen Gagne will be the assistant director. All students in grades one through four will participate in the production. Elementary students interested in taking a larger role can participate in the after school Drama Club, which will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15-4:15 p.m., beginning on Tuesday, September 10. Students not in the after school club will fill the ensemble roles and will learn the songs, choreography, and staging as part of their fall music classes. The performance of Winnie the Pooh KIDS will be on Wednesday, November 20, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford Auditorium.

Interested students in grades one through four should sign up for Drama Club on the sign-up sheet on the reception desk in the Lower School. There will be a participation fee of $60 for Drama Club which will help with the costs of costumes, props, and royalties.


fruitToddler and Primary: Families do not need to provide school supplies for students to bring to class. NYA will provide all basic classroom supplies. The teachers will also have individual supply packages for each student, including a container to store their change of clothes. Each family will be asked for their assistance in taking turns with the weekly grocery shopping for classroom snacks. Families will be assigned approximately two to four weeks over the course of the year to bring in the groceries and supplies that the class will use to make snacks. Food is generally limited to fruits, vegetables, whole grain crackers and breads, and dairy products like cheese and yogurt. Teachers will provide assistance with a shopping list.

school-suppliesElementary: Families do not need to provide supplies for students to bring to class. Instead, Mrs. Gallagher, Mr. Hopkins, and Mrs. Gagne are putting together supply packages for students including notebooks, folders, pencils, erasers, and assorted other supplies. Items will be replenished as needed by NYA throughout the year.


Attendance is taken daily between 7:55 and 8:05 a.m. Students should be in class, ready to learn, by 8:00 a.m. Parents should call 846-9051 or email Heidi Lathrop by 8:15 a.m. if a student will be absent all day, will arrive late, or will be dismissed early. Because late arrivals can be disruptive to the student and the class, we ask that families make every effort to consistently arrive before 8:00 a.m.


Unless enrolled in Before Care, all Lower School students should arrive between 7:45 and 8:00 a.m. In the Toddler House and Learning Cottage, parents will accompany students into the building, sign in, greet the teacher, and say a quick goodbye. Swift drop-offs tend to be most effective in helping children transition into the school day. Parents should accompany all Primary students into the Lower School, sign students in at the reception desk, and help at their cubbies if needed (e.g. hanging coats, changing into inside footwear, etc.). Teachers will greet Primary students at the door and welcome them into the classroom beginning at 7:45 a.m. each morning. Parents should say their goodbyes in the reception area before students enter the classroom. Mrs. Gallagher’s students should sign in at the reception desk between 7:45 and 8:00 a.m., and then proceed directly upstairs, hang up coats and drop off bags, and get settled for the day. Mr. Hopkins’ and Mrs. Gagne’s students should sign in between 7:45 and 8:00 a.m., go to their lockers, and then proceed to their classrooms.


All Lower School parents will drive up the Curtis driveway for morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. Parents may drop off elementary students at the crosswalk as they head back toward Main Street. There are short-term parking spots reserved for Lower School families only on the right-hand side as you head back toward Main Street and in the Curtis parking lot. Please note that parking is not permitted in the turn-around, in the spaces designated for Admissions, or in the handicapped parking space without a permit. Parents may not utilize Storer Street for drop-off or pick-up.


For half-day students, pick-up is at 11:40 a.m. Parents should pick up children first and then gather belongings and sign students out at the reception desk. Unless a student is enrolled in After Care, afternoon pick-up is at 2:30 p.m. for Toddler and Primary 1 & 2, at 2:45 p.m. for Primary 3/Kindergarten, at 2:50 p.m. for Mrs. Gallagher’s class, and at 3:00 p.m. for Mr. Hopkins’ and Mrs. Gagne’s classes. Unlike morning sign-in, parents of all students must enter the building at the end of the day to pick up their children. Parents will pick up their children at the classroom door, gather any belongings, and then sign out. If families have children in both the Toddler House and the Lower School, please pick up toddlers first.

Students in After Care may be picked up between 2:45 and 5:00 p.m. Parents should pick up students directly from the After Care activity (the group may be outdoors, in the classroom, or in the Great Room depending on the activity) and then gather belongings and sign students out at the reception desk.


As part of our ongoing efforts to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for our students, we have a combination lock installed on the door at the entrance to the Lower School and the Toddler House and Learning Cottage. The combination lock only provides access during the school day. All other entrances are locked from the outside and are utilized as exits only. The code to the combination lock will be given to parents/guardians and staff only. You may share the code with a grandparent, relative, nanny, or friend who will regularly pick up your child from school. Please do not share the code with anyone else.

If anyone other than a parent will be picking up a child from school, it is imperative that we have a signed permission slip on file. Pick-Up Permission Forms are available at Lower School reception and in the Toddler House. Forms must be completed annually. We will also need to see a photo ID the first time the individual picks up a child from NYA.


Please be sure to follow all aspects of the student dress code as outlined in your welcome packets and in the Lower School Family Handbook on the NYA website. We appreciate your support!


Each year, NYA invites the grandparents of our students to campus to experience a special day with their grandchildren. Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day will be on Friday, October 11, 2019 and Lower School Grandparents’ Day will be on Friday, May 1, 2020. To ensure that all grandparents and grandfriends are invited, please provide us with updated grandparent contact information.


8/22 Lower School Family Picnic 11:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
8/28 New Middle & Upper School Student Orientation 9:30 a.m – 12:00 p.m.
9/3 Convocation 7:45 a.m.
9/3 First Day of School; Dress-Up Day
9/4 Primary-Grade 12 Picture Day; Dress-Up Day
9/5 All Family Cookout sponsored by PA 5:00 p.m.
9/10 Lower School Drama Club begins 3:15-4:15 p.m.
9/11 Upper School Parent Night 6:45 p.m.
9/12 Middle School Parent Night, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
9/26-9/28 Come Home to NYA: Homecoming and Reunion
9/26 Head of School Dinner, Reunion Tent 6:00 p.m.
9/27 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction, NYA Gym 10:15 a.m.
9/27 Homecoming Festivities 2:30-7:30 p.m.
9/28 Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament, Falmouth Country Club 7:15 a.m.
9/28 Homecoming Festivities 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
9/28 All Alumni Reception, Reunion Tent 6:00 p.m.
10/11 Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day; Dress Up Day
10/14 Indigenous Peoples’ Day (formerly Columbus Day) NO SCHOOL
10/18 Toddler and Retake Picture Day; Dress Up Day


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