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Lower School Newsletter for October 17, 2021

It is hard to believe that we are almost one quarter of the way through the school year! It is such a joy to be together in school with your children and to be resuming more of a normal school routine. We are so appreciative of everyone’s continued efforts to keep our community safe and healthy.

The next few weeks will bring numerous special activities as well as some changes in routine at NYA. The entire campus will celebrate Halloween with parades and festivities. There is no school on October 28 and 29 for Parent-Teacher Conferences, and no school on Thursday, November 11 for Veterans Day. By this point in the year, students have settled nicely into the routine of the school day, and we will work together to maintain that consistent routine here at school. However, these days off provide time for parents and teachers to come together and for families to have some quality family time.

Parent-Teacher Conferences provide an important opportunity for parents and teachers to connect and build a strong school-home partnership in support of each student. Our youngest students may not yet be able to vocalize fully what is going on in the classroom each day, and parents often yearn to see and hear what is happening at school. These meetings allow for such insights. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher to learn and share as much as you can. We thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to meet with us, and we look forward to collaborating with you.

Thank you for all you do to support your child and NYA!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


We will have limited availability in After Care on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 19. We have a very important staff training that afternoon and hope to have as many staff in attendance as possible. If you are able to pick up your child earlier that afternoon, it would be much appreciated!


Drop-off and pickup parking for families is available along Main Street and in the short-term parking spots along Curtis driveway designated for Lower School drop off and pick up. If you will be staying for more than a few minutes, please park on Main Street and not in the short-term spots. Also, please remember 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.


Nothing marks the fall season quite like the celebration of Halloween, which will take place on Wednesday, October 27 at NYA. This holiday has always been near and dear to the NYA community (perhaps because our colors are orange and black!), and we do it up in grand style. From pumpkin carving to costume parades, NYA takes this opportunity to have a brief respite from our usual routines and engage in some seasonal fun. Primary and elementary students wear costumes as part of the celebration, but we ask that they stay in keeping with the dress code – nothing too scary, no weapons of any kind (swords, guns, light sabers, etc.), no masks, etc. For our Primary students, animals (e.g. cat, dog, lion), careers (e.g. chef, doctor, firefighter), book characters, Halloween classics, and silly creations are all great choices. The classroom teachers have planned numerous activities, and we have special events planned specifically for our Lower School students.

Each year on Halloween, representatives from the Chewonki Foundation’s Traveling Natural History Program come to NYA to present for the Lower School classes and the fifth grade. This year, the Toddlers will be learning about tidal pools while Primary through grade 5 will have a season-appropriate presentation about bats!

Students will participate in an outdoor costume parade in the morning where they will be cheered on and receive little treats from the Middle School students. At the end the day, students in grades 1-4 will join with Middle and Upper School students for an outdoor Halloween Parade where they can display their costumes and have the chance to win prizes in categories such as “Best Small Group,” “Scariest,” or “Most Original.” Parents and families are welcome to join us out on the turf field for the parade from 1:45-2:30 p.m. Lots of photos will also be taken to share with the community following the festivities. (See below for details on NYA’s SmugMug page.) We look forward to celebrating this community tradition together!


Trucks will come to campus on Wednesday with a delivery of about 250 pumpkins! Classes will have the opportunity to enjoy some pumpkin carving, and the jack-o-lanterns will be delivered to Freeport on Friday afternoon by student and faculty volunteers as part of their 2021 Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival. The pumpkins will be lit up in Freeport along with thousands of others in a spectacular display, and then sold to make money to support Camp Sunshine’s programs. The Upper School Executive Council has organized NYA’s support for this fundraiser for the past eight years!


Make-A-Wish is an organization that strives to spark joy and bring hope into the lives of children living with critical illnesses. NYA’s Make-A-Wish Club organizes a variety of events to raise funds with the goal of helping to grant as many wishes as possible. To help our community get into the Halloween spirit while doing something in service to others, the Make-A-Wish Club is putting on a Halloween movie “night” for all ages:

  • Lower School Family Screening: 4:00-5:00 p.m.
  • Middle School Student Screening: 5:15-6:45 p.m.
  • Upper School Student Screening: 7:00-9:00 p.m.

*Movie titles are to be determined. All titles will be age-appropriate.

The movies will be shown under the event tent on Denney Field on Friday, October 22. Families, grab a blanket and come watch a movie with your child’s classmates! There is no charge for admission, but donations are encouraged ($5 suggested donation). Snacks, drinks, and pizza will also be available for purchase. All proceeds will go towards granting the wishes of children in Maine. 


NYA Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, October 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday, October 29 from 8:00 a.m. to  3:00 p.m.  There is no school for students on these two days. The conference slots will be scheduled on the half hour and will run for approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes. This is a chance for parents to speak in depth with the classroom teachers about the start of the year and setting goals for the months ahead. Instructions for the sign-up process will be sent out soon. Please remember that sign-ups for conferences are on a first come, first served basis.

To make the most of these conferences, be ready to ask questions about all aspects of your child’s involvement in the classroom: What areas and concepts seem to interest him most? What are some of his greatest strengths in the classroom? What areas are most challenging for him? How is her attention, ability to focus, perseverance, and effort? Is she able to follow directions independently? Does she appear to be meeting developmental milestones? Are there any areas of concern or potential concern that should be monitored or assessed? Does he seem to enjoy his specials? Is there any activity which he finds especially pleasing? How does he do with snacks and lunch? Does he seem particularly tired or energetic at various times throughout the day? How does she interact with her peers? Does she appear comfortable with her classmates? What goals would you suggest for her?

At the same time, come in ready to share your insights on what you see, hear, and observe about your child in relation to the class, NYA, and her world in general. Share any strategies that have been helpful to your child and let teachers know your insights on what might work best for him. Ask what you can do better support your child in her learning. Ask if there are things that you should not be doing. Approach these conferences as a team supporting one another and working toward the common goal of meeting the needs of your child. We look forward to meeting with you!


Whitney Wreath 2021While it seems impossible that holiday decorations could be on anyone’s mind, it is on ours. The Parents’ Association is once again kicking off our Annual Wreath Sale. As you may know, the PA’s mission is to promote school spirit, foster community, and support and strengthen NYA through programming and volunteer participation. Fundraising is a crucial part of this, and as our top fundraiser, the Wreath Sale will enable us to continue to award grants to faculty and students, host speakers, support faculty & staff appreciation and school programming efforts, and much more. Watch your inbox for more information and the link to order starting next week – we’re adding some amazing new products that can be shipped directly to you or the recipient of your choice!


With the change in seasons, it is time to be thinking about re-stocking the extra clothing bins with long pants and shirts. A reminder to parents to please label your child’s clothing and outerwear. This becomes especially important as the children have additional layers for chillier temperatures. Clothing without a label frequently lands in the Lost and Found.


From 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 7, we will welcome prospective middle and upper school families to campus for an Open House. It is a terrific look into the NYA community, and we encourage you to share the news with friends, family, and neighbors. If you have questions or would like some material to share with friends, please contact the Admission Office.


  • NYA’s Make-A-Wish Club is sponsoring a Dress Down Day on Tuesday, October 19 and asking for donations of three dollars or more. We appreciate the contributions you make, but not nearly as much as those who will benefit from the joy a wish brings! 
  • The Middle School Civil Rights Team is sponsoring a Dress Down Day on Wednesday, November 3 to benefit The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.
  • Each year, NYA works throughout the fall to help provide some wish-list items for local families in need. While many of their needs include the basics, such as warm clothes, shoes, boots, pots and pans, dishes, etc., we also make sure to include toys and special gifts. The entire school community joins together for this great cause. We will be holding Dress Down Days for Holiday Families on November 10 and December 1 ($3 donation). We will also be collecting food and donations for the Yarmouth Food Pantry in November. Stay tuned for more details in next month’s newsletters.


Enjoy this update on Hunting for the Good Stuff  from Cindy Hould, NYA School Counselor.


World Kindness Day is celebrated each year on November 13 as a global day to “promote the importance of being kind to each other, to yourself, and to the world.” Individuals and groups are encouraged to celebrate the day by pledging to do one intentional act of kindness to benefit someone else. Classes may take this opportunity to show appreciation for the acts of kindness we see every day, to share kind notes, and to plan our own intentional acts of kindness.


Due to current restrictions in place, NYA will not host a flu shot clinic this year. However, the CDC highly recommends flu shots, now more than ever. Below are some options for flu shots this year:

  • Your doctor’s office – Call to set up an appointment and to confirm availability.
  • Pharmacies – Maine pharmacies offer flu shots to ages 7 and up. Some are available for drop-in visits, but many require booking appointments in advance.
  • Urgent Care – Many urgent care offices throughout the state are offering free flu shots (e.g. Convenient MD is offering free flu shots for those 6 months and older, 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.). Call or check websites to determine options in your area.


Are you interested in becoming a homestay family for an NYA student from away? As many of you know, NYA has a homestay program for Upper School students who live out of the state or country. In recent years, NYA has hosted students from many different countries, such as Canada, China, Austria, Spain, India, Germany, and more. We are always looking for potential homestay families to host these students. You don’t have to be a current NYA family to host a student. A monthly stipend is provided to each homestay family. The school will facilitate COVID screening on the student’s arrival to Maine. Please see our webpage for more information or email us (Sagaree Sengupta and Eliot Grady) at for specific details.


NYA shares photos with our families through SmugMug. Go to and use the password NYApanthers to see photos of school events, athletics, and student life. The site offers a wide variety of print options and custom items for purchase. If you have questions, please contact Kristi Belesca. Please note that the password is case sensitive.


10/19Dress Down Day for Make-A-Wish
10/22End of First Quarter
10/22Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day
10/22Make-A-Wish Halloween Movie4:00-5:00 p.m.
10/27NYA Halloween Festivities
10/28-10/29Parent Teacher Conferences via ZoomNO CLASSES
11/3Dress Down Day for The Trevor Project
11/7NYA Open House for Middle & Upper School1:00-3:00 p.m.
11/10Dress Down Day for Holiday Families
11/11Veterans DayNO SCHOOL
11/13World Kindness Day
11/15Picture Retake Day
11/19Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/22-11/26Thanksgiving BreakNO SCHOOL
11/29Classes resume
12/16Fall Semester Ends


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