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Lower School Newsletter for August 8, 2021

I hope that you are enjoying a fun, relaxing, and rejuvenating summer break!

It is hard to believe that the days of summer will soon draw to a close. While it is certainly bittersweet to say goodbye to summer, we are beginning to think about the crisp days of autumn and the beginning of another school year. We are delighted to welcome both new and returning families to our NYA community as we prepare for the new year ahead. We look forward to having our students, faculty, and staff back together on campus for the first days of school.

As we enjoy the remaining weeks of summer, this first monthly Panther Cubs newsletter provides some important back-to-school announcements and reminders as we all plan ahead for September. We will share additional updates, including the latest on COVID protocols, as the start of school approaches.

We are very much looking forward to the new school year ahead!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


An essential step in preparing for the school year ahead is to ensure that each family has completed all necessary Family Forms. This information is of critical importance and no students will be permitted on campus without the Annual Health Information and Authorization for Health Care Form. Please contact Ashley Moody with any questions regarding health forms.


We will send out classroom placement and schedules, along with welcome letters from your child’s teachers, to families this week. There will be two Toddler classrooms, two Primary classrooms, one Kindergarten classroom, one first grade classroom, one second grade classroom,  and two combined third and fourth grade classrooms this year.


The Lower School Family Picnic will take place on Friday, August 27 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity to meet other Lower School families and teachers, ask any questions that you might have, and most importantly, have fun! Due to COVID precautions, this year’s picnic will be BYOP (bring your own picnic), and we will provide dessert for everyone! Please bring a blanket to spread out on the lawn. We encourage you to bring your child’s change of clothes and items that will need to be left at school to the picnic. The teachers will make sure they are placed in their cubbies/lockers for the start of school. Please make sure these items are in a bag and labeled with your child’s name. In line with NYA’s COVID protocols, the Lower School buildings will not be open to families during this event. In the case of rain, the event will be cancelled. We hope to see you there!


To ease the students’ transition as we begin our new school year, we are again making some modifications to the first week of school. Tuesday, September 7 will be the first day of school for students in Kindergarten through grade four, and the first day of school for Toddler and Primary students will be Wednesday, September 8. In addition, Toddler and Primary students will have a later time slot for drop off on Wednesday, September 8. We hope that these adjustments allow for a more peaceful entry into school for our youngest students. Pick-up times will remain as usual.

Drop-off times for Toddler and Primary students on Wednesday, September 8 only:

  • Toddler: 8:30-8:45 a.m.
  • Primary: 8:45-9:00 a.m.


Students in grades one through four will begin their first day with Convocation at 7:45 a.m. on Denney Field behind Higgins Hall. Convocation is a special gathering for the members of the NYA community (students, parents, faculty, and staff) to start off the new school year. Elementary families should plan to arrive no later than 7:35 a.m. on the first day and head directly to Denney Field. Students should say goodbye to their families before the start of Convocation and then join their teacher and classmates for the event. Seating for students will be organized by grade.


Students will be met at the door each morning for drop-off. As a precaution, no one except students and staff may enter any school building.

For students in Primary through grade four, families will line up to enter on the ramp entrance to the Merrill Lower School front porch. A designated teacher or staff member will greet students at the door, and students will then enter the building and proceed to their classrooms. Younger students will be assisted by a staff member in dropping off items in their cubbies before heading to their classrooms. Parents and siblings will then exit down the front steps off the porch.

For students in the Toddler House, families will line up on the back deck to enter through one of the two doors depending upon the child’s classroom. Teachers will greet families at the door and will then escort the child into the classroom and help them settle in for the day.

Please make note of the drop off times for the different age groups:

  • Toddler: 7:40-7:55 a.m.
  • Primary: 7:55-8:10 a.m.
  • Kindergarten – Grade 4: 7:40-7:55 a.m.
  • Families who arrive after 8:10 a.m. will need to check in at the Middle School and pick up a blue slip before heading to their classrooms.


End of the day pick up will take place at the same location as morning drop off. A staff member will be waiting to greet parents at the porch door. When a parent arrives for pick up, a staff member will summon/escort the student to meet the parent at the door. Teachers will have the students already packed up and ready to go. Families will then exit down the front steps off the porch.

Please make note of the pickup times for the different age groups:

  • Toddler: 2:30-2:35 p.m.
  • Primary: 2:30-2:35 p.m.
  • Kindergarten: 2:40-2:45 p.m.
  • Grades 1 and 2: 2:50-2:55 p.m.
  • Grades 3 and 4: 3:00-3:05 p.m.


Drop-off and pickup parking for families is available along Main Street and the short-term parking spots along Curtis driveway designated for Lower School drop off and pick up. Please note that parking is not permitted along Storer Street, in the turn-around, in the spaces designated for Admission, or in the handicapped parking space without a permit.


Wednesday, September 8 is picture day for students in Primary – Grade 12. This is also a Dress-Up Day. Retakes and Toddler pictures will take place in October. Both class pictures and individual portraits will be taken, and the portraits will be used in the student directory. Families also will have the opportunity to purchase portraits. More information on ordering pictures will be sent out directly to parents.


UPDATED DATE: We have changed the date of the new parent welcome reception. Please join us on Tuesday, September 21 for the New Parent Welcome Reception from 4:00-6:00 p.m. under the event tent on Curtis Lawn. This event to welcome new parents provides an opportunity to meet members of the school community and learn how to get involved with the Academy. Drop in anytime between 4:00-6:00 pm “under the tent” for this reception. Register here.


A reminder to all parents to be sure that you have set up a parent account in Family Web. Family Web is a section of our website where announcements, directory information, calendars, lunch menus, and additional school information can be found. You can access Family Web under the Parents tab at the top of the NYA homepage. If you have not yet set up a parent account in Family Web, follow these instructions and then review the information on how to use Family Web. You will also want to check that your directory information is accurate and make any changes if needed. Contact Chris Mazzurco, Director of IT, with any questions.


Parents, mark your calendars now. We will host our Lower School Virtual Parent Night on Thursday, September 9 at 6:30 p.m. The evening will begin with an information session for all Lower School parents as well as the opportunity to meet our staff. Parents will then participate in breakout sessions with individual classroom teachers to receive additional information about your child’s class and have the opportunity to ask questions.


Attendance will be taken daily at drop-off. Parents should call 846-9051 or email 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 to school on time. Families arriving after 8:10 will report to the Middle School building to check in and pick up a blue slip before joining their class.


Our Before and After Care programs are almost fully enrolled. We will begin After Care each afternoon with children in groupings of Toddler, Primary/Kindergarten, and Elementary, and the groups will combine at approximately 4:00 p.m. as the number of attendees begins to decrease. Students staying for After Care should pack an additional snack, as no snacks will be provided. We will utilize a walkie-talkie system for pick up from After Care. Please contact Leslie Durgin with any questions.


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. Please complete this Pick-Up Permission Form for our records. 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.


Food and dining play an important role in the child’s school experience and provide an opportunity to nourish both body and mind. Again this year, everyone will bring snacks from home in lieu of a communal classroom snack. We encourage families to pack a healthy lunch and snacks for children and to include ample variety and quantity. Many children will eat a morning snack and an afternoon snack in addition to a full lunch. Busy days promote busy appetites! Everything that the child needs for his or her lunch and snacks must be sent from home, including utensils and a water bottle. As we will often be eating outside, we suggest sandwiches and cold finger foods. Please use a thermos for warm items as we will not have ready access for heating up lunches.

Students in grades one through four will also have the option of purchasing lunch through NYA Dining Services. Lunches will be packed to go and delivered to the Merrill Lower School building. Parents will pre-order lunch through our online ordering system in your MySchool dining account. Instructions on how to pre-order may be found on the MySchoolAccount website. You may pre-order up until 4:00 a.m. on the day the lunch will be served. Your MySchool dining account will be charged after you complete your order, and we are not able to provide a refund if you do not pick up your lunch. Please note that there is not an option for cash sales. If you are new to NYA, you will find instructions on how to set up your MySchool dining account on the Student Dining Services Accounts tab on our website. By separate email, you will receive your MySchoolAccount ID number. You will need the ID number to complete the set-up of your account. Contact Lisa McGlinn in the Business Office with any questions.

A reminder that all Lower School classrooms are entirely nut-free. No peanut butter, peanut, or nut products of any kind should be brought to school. Other food allergies will be addressed on an as-needed basis.

This is a great time to review guidelines and suggestions for food and dining in the Toddler, Primary, and Kindergarten and Elementary programs.


Tuesday, September 7 and Wednesday, September 8 are Dress-Up Days: dress; skirt or dress pants with blouse or dress top; dress pants with collared shirts, plus ties for grades one through four. Please be sure to review and follow all aspects of the student dress code (Toddler, Primary, and Kindergarten and Elementary), which can be found in the Lower School Family Handbook on the NYA website. We appreciate your support!


The Lower School Drama Club performance has been a highlight for Lower School families for many years. It is our plan to be able to offer this experience in some format for our elementary students this year. More information will be coming soon.


Please mark your calendars for Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day coming up on Friday, October 22. Lower School Grandparents’ Day will be on May 13, 2022.  To ensure that all grandparents and grandfriends receive the information, please provide us with updated grandparent contact information.


8/27Lower School Family Picnic11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
9/7Convocation7:45 a.m.
9/7First Day of School for K-12; Dress-Up Day
9/8First Day for Toddler & Primary Students (with special arrival times); Dress-Up DayToddler: 8:30-8:45 a.m.

Primary: 8:45-9:00 a.m.

9/8Picture Day for Primary-12; Dress-Up Day
9/9Lower School (Virtual) Parent Night6:30 p.m.
9/17Edgar F. White Athletic Hall of Fame Induction, NYA Gym10:00 a.m.
9/17-9/18Come Home to NYA: Homecoming and Reunion Events
9/18Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament, Toddy Brook Gold Course7:30 a.m.
9/21International Day of Peace
9/21New Parents’ Welcome Reception, Denney Field4:00-6:00 p.m.
9/22Head of School Dinner, Reunion Tent6:00 p.m.
9/24Sky Day Project
10/11Indigenous Peoples’ DayNO SCHOOL
10/22Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day; Dress-Up Day
10/22End of First Quarter


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