Panther Cubs Newsletter Header 2020

Lower School Newsletter for September 13, 2020

What a fabulous first week! In some ways, this was a week unlike any other in my many years at NYA, but in the end, it still feels like the NYA that I know and love. The students and teachers are getting acclimated to the new traffic patterns on campus; we are adjusting to wearing masks, distancing, and practicing hand hygiene; and we are loving snack, lunch, and class time outside. In the classroom, things feel surprisingly and pleasantly normal. I have enjoyed getting some small glimpses into different classrooms, chatting with a couple of students in second grade about what makes them wilt and bloom and sitting down to read books with a small group of Primary students. We are just so happy to be together on campus again, to have welcomed so many new students to our community, and to be settling into our new year of learning, exploring, and growing together.

Here is a selection of photos from the first week of school.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Picture day will be held on Wednesday, September 23 for Lower School students. This is a modified version of our usual picture day. Our school photographer, Brian Beard, will take a photo of each student for our school directory. Class (group) photos will be taken later in the year. This is not a dress up day; however, students may dress up if they wish. The photos will be taken from the shoulders up. If you have any questions, please contact Kristi Belesca in the marketing and communications office.


Thank you to students and families for the amazing job that you have done with the morning wellness checks. In just a few short days, students and staff have begun to hone the process, allowing students to move quickly through. A reminder to be sure to complete the pre-screening process at home each morning. If families travel to a non-exempt state (any state other than NH, VT, CT, NY, and NJ), students must be cleared by the Health Office prior to returning to school (current guidelines require a negative COVID test or 14 day quarantine). Wellness checks will be conducted at the Lower School between 7:30 and 8:30 each morning. If Toddler families arrive a little late, they may report to the Lower School porch for screening. If any families arrive on campus after 8:30 when wellness checks have ended, they should go to the Middle School building, ring the doorbell (on the left door near the handle), wait outside to be screened, and bring a blue late slip to class.


Welcome back to NYA! The start of every school year can be an exhausting experience. Things on campus were a little different this week. At times, even I was confused on which way to walk in a building, and facial recognition with masks was challenging. This heightened awareness required additional energy, and so it makes sense if your child felt quite depleted by the end of the week. One of our wellness themes from last spring was REFLECTION. I encourage you to talk through with your child how the week went, identifying what went well and where they might need additional supports. Make a plan to ask for help and put those additional supports in place. Shift any worries to a problem-solving approach. Help your children identify what they can control and what is out of their hands. We all need to look out for one another and that is what it means to belong to the NYA community. I am available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Please feel free to contact me via email or on my cell phone, 207-200-5143. ~ Cindy Hould, NYA School Counselor


On Tuesday September 15, some of our Lower School classes will celebrate International Dot Day where students make a mark on the world. Inspired by The Dot by Peter Reynolds, students celebrate courage and creativity as they learn that their small mark can make a big difference! Have a little extra fun by wearing polka dots to symbolize the day.


Enjoy this update from Heather Dean, NYA’s athletic trainer and K-5 PE teacher.

SKY DAYone-sky

Friday, September 18 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. Classes will head outside on September 18 and take a look at the sky above campus. Teachers may take photos and upload them with a special hashtag assigned to NYA to then become part of a photo collage of our school, state, country, and the world. The collages appear in the Sky Day Project Gallery on-line and as part of special exhibits in museums and planetariums around the world.


Lower School students will celebrate the International Day of Peace on Monday, 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.

Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who were art teachers at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for their students to express their feelings about the world and in their lives. The project was embraced by their entire school and subsequently by millions of teachers, parents, children, and adults who desire peace in our world.” Today, millions of pinwheels spin on September 21 in countries across the globe.


The annual Steve Morris Golf Tournament will take place Saturday, September 26, at Falmouth Country Club. Every year, parents, alumni, faculty, trustees, and friends come together for the annual tournament, which honors late faculty member Steve “Mo” Morris by raising funds for need-based financial aid for talented NYA students. 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. We invite you to click here to register as a single, twosome, or foursome. Contact Crystal Gordon for more information or for sponsorship and prize opportunities.


As part of appropriate safety and preparedness as well as meeting state mandates, NYA holds both fire and crisis drills throughout the year. In the Lower School, we have a “soft entry” into the drills. We will soon visit each classroom to explain the purpose of fire drills, go over the procedures, and answer any questions. Next, we will practice exiting according to the procedures, with the alarm sounded only after the children have left the building. We keep things age-appropriate, 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.



9/15International Dot Day
9/16Upper School Virtual Parent Night6:45 p.m.
9/17Middle School Virtual Parent Night6:30 p.m.
9/18Sky Day Project
9/21International Day of Peace
9/21Middle and Upper School Picture Day
9/23Lower School Picture Day
9/26Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament, Falmouth Country Club7:15 a.m.
10/1Parent-Advisor Conferences begin
10/12Indigenous Peoples’ Day (formerly Columbus Day)NO SCHOOL


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