Newsletter Header Panther Cubs 2020

Lower School Newsletter for March 8, 2020

This past week has been a whirlwind of special dress, trips, and events coupled with numerous projects and class activities. Students have worked hard and had some fun and laughs with their friends and teachers. Before we settle in for the final quarter of the year, we look forward to taking some time away to travel, to get busy with spring cleaning, and even just to spend a day in pajamas enjoying a good book. Wishing you all a very joyful break and wonderful time with friends and family! Let’s hope to return to a campus full of melting snow, sprouting leaves, and chirping birds.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Congratulations to all of our students on a fantastic Arts Celebration! It was a pleasure to see and hear their many talents as part of the fabulous show. Special thanks to Linda Vaillancourt, Christa Mecham, Marti Morton, and Leslie Durgin for all their efforts in putting together this special event. Take a look at this slideshow of the event, photos by Brian Beard, Creative Images Photography.


In preparation for the Arts Celebration, the students learned all about the geography, people, and culture of the Hawaiian islands. Mrs. Gallagher’s class had a great time learning about Hawaii and making leis with Mrs. Markonish, showing off their maps of the Hawaiian islands, and receiving special treats from Hawaii from their pen pals, Kim and Mike.


May 15 is the deadline for several forms required for the 2020-2021 school year, including health forms and athletic participation and off-campus travel release forms. All forms and instructions can be found at Family Forms on our website. You can also reach this page from the drop-down menu under the ‘Parents’ tab at the top of NYA’s homepage. Thank you for completing these forms by the due dates. It is a tremendous help to our faculty and staff!


NYA will host its seventh annual March Break Photo Reading Challenge. To celebrate the new Learning Commons, which will no doubt be a favorite spot for many students, this year’s Reading Challenge theme is “My Favorite Place to Read.” Grab your favorite book and go read in your favorite place – a comfy chair, a tree house, a ski lift, a beach chair, wherever you like best! Take a photo or a selfie; and email it to Eliot Grady. All photo entries must be received by noon on Wednesday, March 25 to be considered. The pictures will be judged by a panel of faculty and staff, and a winner for each Division (Lower, Middle, Upper, and Faculty/Staff) will be announced on Friday, March 27 at Friday Forum and via newsletters. Get creative, have fun, and READ!  ~ Eliot Grady


Spirit Week – Are You Smarter than a Lower Schooler?

We are just a few gifts away from unlocking an extra $30,000 for NYA! If just 32 more people make a gift by midnight tonight, we will hit our goal of 500 and receive $30,000 from Board President Allen Bornheimer ’60, GP’30. Please Show Your Love and make a gift today Thank you for your support!


Alex Kloza and the arena staff have arranged for a series of open skates for NYA families and alumni. You are welcome to bring friends and neighbors. Helmets are required for everyone on the ice. No sticks, please. There are several options during our March break from 2:00-3:00 p.m. (see For Your Planning below).


Lower School Grandparents' Day 2019

Lower School Grandparents’ Day 2019

Lower School Grandparents’ Day is coming up on Friday, May 1! This is a Dress Up Day. Invitations to grandparents 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 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.

Lower School Grandparents' Day 2019

Lower School Grandparents’ Day 2019

There are several volunteer opportunities for parents on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1. 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.


Our popular winter after school activities for students in Primary through fourth grade will be offered again this spring. Each activity takes place from 3:15-4:15 p.m. Parents may pick up directly from the activity, or students enrolled in After Care will be escorted back to the Lower School until pick-up. We ask that parents pack an extra snack for the children to eat before heading to their activities.

  • Brick By Brick Maine will offer LEGO Mythical Creatures for students in kindergarten through fourth grade on Thursday afternoons. The activity will run for five sessions from April 16 until May 21 (no class on May 7) and will meet in Room 62 in the Middle School. Registration will open on March 23. **Due to snow cancellations, there will be two additional sessions of LEGO Woodland Creatures after the break on March 26 and April 2.
  • Chickpea Yoga will offer yoga classes incorporating mindfulness and movement specifically designed for children. The classes are open to students in Primary 1 through fourth grade. The activity will meet Wednesdays from April 15 until May 13 in the Middle School Community Room. Contact Sarah McDarby to register.
  • Mad Science of Maine will offer a second class for students in kindergarten through fifth grade this spring. Energize It! begins on Tuesday, April 7 and runs through May 26 (no class on April 21). The class will meet in Mertz 611. Register and find additional information here.


NYA LS Colonial Presentation

Colonial Presentation in Mrs. Gagne’s class

Lower School Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, April 21. 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 a couple of weeks ahead. 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.


Summer 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, art, theater, dance, circus, magic, and more! Register for camps by April 15 to receive the early bird discount!

CHICKADEE AWARDthe-chickadee-award-2

After break, Lower School students will listen to books from the Chickadee Award list. The Chickadee Award is a picture book award program for children in kindergarten through fourth grade. This award is in its thirteenth year and is given annually to one of ten picture books nominated by a committee of teachers, librarians, and early literacy professionals. The winner is chosen by Maine school children. The purpose of this award is to encourage children to develop an appreciation for excellence in writing and illustration that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. The evaluation process helps children to understand and interpret books as well as to express and support their judgment about text and pictures with convincing evidence. Our students will listen to book talks from their classmates and then vote for their favorite book at our Chickadee Voting Event on Tuesday, March 24 in the Middle School Community Room. Their votes will be included in the statewide tally to select the winning book!


For morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up, there are short-term parking spots reserved for Lower School families on the right-hand side as you head back toward Main Street and in the first few spots in the back lot. This is a busy area. Please use caution! Parents may drop off elementary students in front of the Merrill Lower School building, but parking is not permitted in the turn-around. Please remember not to idle in the drop-off area or to park in the spaces designated for cars with handicapped tags or the spaces marked for Admission visitors. When staying for more than a few minutes (e.g. meeting with a teacher or heading to the playground), please park on Main Street, Portland Street, or the back lot and not in the drop-off spaces. We realize that space is tight and are looking at expanding options in the future. We appreciate your help in keeping our students safe!


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.


We had so much fun at Big 20 Bowling in Scarborough last Thursday! Students were mingled into groups of all ages from different classes. We had a wonderful time keeping score and bowling “the old-fashioned way.” It was a refreshing way to spend time together after a lot of serious practice leading up to the arts celebration.  ~ Shannon Gallagher


Project Graduation Raffle ButtonThe senior class is selling raffle tickets for 31 different prizes, including cash, tickets to Chicago at Merrill Auditorium, and gift cards to local artisans. Tickets are $5 each or you can buy 5 tickets for $20. Prizes will be drawn each day during the month of April! You can purchase tickets from any senior or their family! 


NYA is always recruiting new families for its Homestay Program. If you are interested in hosting a student or learning more about the program, please contact Here is a link to additional information about the program.


3/9-3/20March Break 
3/10, 12, 17, & 19NYA Open Skate, NYA Travis Roy Ice Arena2:00-3:00 p.m.
3/23Classes resume 
3/25Deadline to submit photos for March Break Reading Challenge 
3/27End of third quarter 
4/1Dress Down Day for the Headway Foundation$3
4/3Experience NYA Admission Event 
4/7Mad Science Energize It! begins, Mertz 6113:15-4:15 p.m.
4/8Dress Down Day for Tri for A Cure$3
4/9Lower School Live Admission Event 
4/14Spring Strings Concert (grades 3-12), Safford6:00 p.m.
4/15Chickpea Yoga begins, MSCR3:15-4:15 p.m.
4/17Sixth Grade Geography Expo, MSCR12:00-2:00 p.m.
4/20Patriots’ DayNO SCHOOL
4/21Lower School Parent Conferences/Spring In-ServiceNO SCHOOL
4/19Spring Choral Concert (grades 6-12), Greely Center for the Arts6:30 p.m.
4/23Poem in Your Pocket Day 
4/24Poetry Out Loud Presentations, NYA gym10:15 a.m.
4/28Spring Instrumental Concert (grades 6-12), NYA Gym6:30 p.m.


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