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Lower School Newsletter for September 12, 2021

What a wonderful first week of school! Campus is buzzing with activity, the children are eagerly engaging in class activities, and everyone is beginning to settle into the routines of school. The weeks ahead will become more consistent in structure, helping the students to adjust to classroom expectations and become comfortable with the schedule, their teachers, and their peers.

We want to thank all of the parents who were able to join us for the Lower School Virtual Parents’ Night on Thursday. It was our pleasure to tell you more about our Lower School program, introduce you to our amazing staff, and to show you around your children’s classrooms. We are delighted to have you as part of the NYA community and invite you to connect with us at any time.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


A reminder to parents about the importance of adhering to the drop-off and pick-up windows for each class. With over 120 children enrolled in our Lower School, these times help ensure a smoother flow of traffic and appropriate staffing at all levels. Children will not be released from class before the end of their academic day to allow them to take advantage of every bit of learning in the classroom. Thank you for your assistance!

Drop-Off Times:

  • 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.
  • Please note for families dropping off siblings, Primary classrooms will open at 7:45 a.m. to welcome children whose siblings have an earlier drop-off time.

Pick-Up Times:

  • Toddler & Primary Half Day: 11:35-11:40 a.m.
  • 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.


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. You can print off the Pick Up Permission Forms or pick up a hard copy at the Lower School. 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.


Cindy Hould is our school counselor and is available to provide support to students and families. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a clinical background working with adolescents in residential treatment, and was a Clinical Coordinator at the Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Adolescent Partial Hospital Program. Cindy has a strong background in trauma recovery, assisting clients in the military and survivors of a mass shooting. She works with students across all three divisions, assists with the sixth grade Life Skills class, and provides additional support to the ninth grade class as they transition to the Upper School. Cindy welcomes parents to contact her for a consultation or referrals in the community. She is on campus on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Please reach out via email at and by phone at 207-847-5499 (w) and 207-200-5143 (cell).


The Lower School Drama will present Disney’s The Aristocats KIDS in November! Our fall drama club will be open to all students in grades three and four, and will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15-4:15 p.m. Our first meeting will be on Tuesday, September 21, with a planned show date of Wednesday, November 17. Parents of interested third and fourth grade students can sign up by emailing Linda Vaillancourt.


Friday, September 17 is the start of Come Home to NYA Weekend at NYA. There are Upper School games scheduled throughout the afternoon and ample opportunity to cheer on NYA. We will have a table where students can stop by to get into the NYA spirit. Older students may want to take a turn in the Bounce Obstacle Course. There will be an all-school cookout for families beginning at 3:30 to enjoy a snack while watching the games and having fun. On Saturday, there will be another slate of Upper School games, and concessions will be sold throughout the day. The NYA Parents’ Association will also be selling logo wear by the turf field on Friday and Saturday if you are looking to add to your collection of NYA panther gear.

Please note that our After Care staff will not be able to supervise children at the Homecoming festivities. We encourage families to pick up children right at the end of the school day if they would like to join in the fun. Please email Leslie Durgin if you plan to utilize After Care this Friday so we can plan accordingly. We hope to see you there!


To gear up for Homecoming, the students in Primary through fourth grade will enjoy a full week of special dress days this week to get into the NYA spirit!

  • Monday:  Pajama Day
  • Tuesday:  Sports Day
  • Wednesday: Stripes and Polka Dot Day
  • Thursday:  Class Theme Day (classroom teachers will let you know the class theme)
  • Friday:  Orange & Black (show your Panther Pride!)

Toddler students may join in on the fun by wearing Orange & Black on Friday.


We are holding the Annual Steve Morris Golf Tournament on Saturday, September 18, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Now is your last chance to register! Join alumni, parents, friends, and families for a day of golf to benefit NYA students at Toddy Brook Golf Course. This fun, scramble-format tournament includes games and prizes, breakfast and lunch, and an opportunity to join the NYA community in supporting students and families. If you are interested in playing or putting together a foursome, please register here.


On Tuesday, September 21, we are holding a New Parent Welcome Reception under an event tent on the Curtis lawn. The event runs from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., and you are welcome to drop in anytime. With over fifty guests already registered, we hope you will join us for this event designed to welcome new parents to the NYA community. We encourage all NYA parents/guardians to attend to welcome our newest families to the school. Stop by and meet other NYA parents and learn how to get involved while enjoying appetizers and cocktails. Please register here.


Lower School students will celebrate the International Day of Peace on Tuesday, September 21, by visiting NYA’s Peace Poles, creating and planting Pinwheels for Peace, and enjoying the song Sing Peace Around the World.

A Peace Pole is a hand-crafted monument that displays the message and prayer “May Peace Prevail on Earth” on each of its sides. Shannon Gallagher and Ellen Gagne brought the idea to campus after they stumbled upon a few while traveling through Oregon in the summer of 2016. “We fell in love with them and instantly knew we wanted to bring these to NYA,” said Gagne. The goal of the Peace Pole project was not only to create a visual reminder to think, speak, and act in the spirit of peace and harmony, but to build community and school spirit through a cooperative activity. Originating in Japan in 1955, there are now tens of thousands of Peace Poles on every continent.



Friday, September 24 is Sky Day, “a global citizen art initiative designed to bring us together and promote a new level of ecological citizenship around the world from Only One Sky.” Around the globe, people take photos of “their” sky. Advisory groups will head outside on September 24 and take a photo of the sky above campus. These photos are uploaded with a special hashtag assigned to NYA and become part of a photo collage of our school, state, country, and the world. The collages appear in the Sky Day Project Gallery online and as part of special exhibits in museums and planetariums around the world.


Picture Day has been rescheduled for Friday, October 8. This is also a Dress-Up Day. Both class pictures and individual portraits will be taken, and the portraits will be used in our directory and yearbook. Families will have the opportunity to purchase portraits and will receive additional information on ordering directly from Lifetouch Photography.


To communicate unexpected changes in the schedule or closures (i.e. snow days) and other important or time sensitive information, we use our text alert system to message participating families. If you would like to receive texts from NYA, please text START to 22383 and add 22383 as a contact in your phone’s address book. In addition, please update your information in Family Web using the Custodial Parent Information Form to ensure that your cell phone number is correct and your Parent Alert settings are set to receive text messages. Instructions on using this form can be found here. (If you received text messages from NYA last year, you are likely all set, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure.)


As part of appropriate safety and preparedness as well as meeting state mandates, NYA holds both fire and crisis drills throughout the year. The first of these drills will happen soon. In the Lower School, we have a “soft entry” into the drills, e.g. having the first fire drill without the alarm. We also present them in a very age-appropriate manner, discussing how we practice both leaving the Lower School building as quickly as possible and staying inside the building as quietly as possible. Every effort is made to avoid making these anxiety-producing for the children, but a few may still become a bit fearful or nervous on these occasions. Please feel free to contact Marissa Markonish or your child’s classroom teacher with any questions or concerns.


While Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day is coming up on Friday, October 22, Lower School Grandparents’ Day will be held in the spring. This fun, memorable gathering is scheduled for May 13, 2022. Please help us ensure your child’s grandparent or grandfriend is invited by completing the grandparent information form here. Thank you!


9/13-9/17Spirit Week
9/14Middle School Parents’ Night, Zoom6:30 p.m.
9/14Upper School Parents’ Night, Zoom7:00 p.m.
9/17-9/28Come Home to NYA: Homecoming and Reunion
9/17Edgar F. White ’38 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction
9/17Homecoming Festivities2:30-7:30 p.m.
9/18Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament, Toddy Brook Golf Course7:15 a.m.
9/18Homecoming Festivities10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
9/21International Day of Peace
9/21New Parent Welcome Reception, Event Tent4:00-6:00 p.m.
9/24Sky Day Project
10/8Picture Day, Dress Up Day
10/11Indigenous Peoples’ DayNO SCHOOL
10/22Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day; Dress Up Day
10/27Halloween Festivities
10/28 & 10/29Parent-Teacher ConferencesNO SCHOOL


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