Lower School Newsletter for September 8, 2019

What a wonderful first week of school! Campus has been 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 be more consistent in structure, helping the students to adjust to classroom expectations and become comfortable with the schedule, their teachers, and their peers. 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


It is essential that we have current health forms on file for every student at NYA. If you have not already done so, please complete all necessary health forms and turn them in to the Health Office. Contact Ashley Moody with any questions.


A reminder to all families who wish to take advantage of our Before Care or After Care programs to please sign up immediately. Staffing is determined by sign-ups, and we do not want families who wait to be disappointed if they are unable to obtain a spot. Drop-in care is available, space permitting, and must be arranged in advance. The drop-in rate for Before Care is $15 (7:15-7:45 a.m.), for After Care with pick-up before 4:00 p.m. is $25, and for After Care with pick-up after 4:00 p.m. is $45. Drop-in care slips are available at Lower School reception and in the Toddler House.


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. Pick Up Permission Forms are available at Lower School reception and in the Toddler House. 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.


Additional forms, such as the Off-Campus Travel and Athletic Permission Forms, can be found in Family Forms under the Parents tab on the NYA website. Please be sure to complete and turn in all necessary forms as soon as possible.


The Lower School Drama Club will be presenting Disney’s Winnie the Pooh KIDS this fall! Linda Vaillancourt will direct, and Ellen Gagne will be the assistant director. All students in grades one through four will participate in the production. Elementary students interested in taking a larger role can participate in the after school Drama Club, which will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15-4:15 p.m., beginning on Tuesday, September 10. Students not in the after school club will fill the ensemble roles and will learn the songs, choreography, and staging as part of their fall music classes. The performance of Winnie the Pooh KIDS will be on Wednesday, November 20, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford Auditorium.

Interested students in grades one through four should sign up for Drama Club on the sign-up sheet on the reception desk in the Lower School. There will be a participation fee of $60 for Drama Club which will help with the costs of costumes, props, and royalties.


One of our very own fourth grade students at NYA made her voice heard in a big way. Kate Geary was concerned about the effects of smoking on the people of Maine. Over the summer, she wrote a letter addressing her concerns to Governor Janet Mills. Kate asked Governor Mills if she could please do something to try and stop people from using tobacco products. To Kate’s great surprise, Governor Mills wrote back to her detailing her plan to prevent and reduce tobacco use in Maine. Governor Mills’ last sentence to Kate was, “I commend your advocacy.” This is a true lesson that a voice is never too small to make a difference. We are proud of you, Kate!  ~ Ellen Gagne


Various classes are beginning to head off campus for some special class trips. Classroom teachers notify parents in advance of any trips via email or classroom update with specific details. See details on an upcoming elementary field trip below and stay tuned for information on additional trips.

Grades one through four will be heading to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester on Wednesday, September 25. We will begin our visit at the pumpkin patch where we will learn how pumpkins grow. Next, we will be challenged to find our way through a corn maze. Finally, we will take a guided tour of the farmyard and discover the important role that farms play in our lives. We will also learn how to interact safely with the farmyard animals and observe what their jobs are on the farm. It is sure to be an amazing, adventurous Maine fall day!  ~ Ellen Gagne


Picture Retakes and Toddler Picture Day are scheduled for Friday, October 18. Anyone who missed pictures on September 4 should plan on having photos taken. There is a $10 charge for those who would like to have a second sitting for photos on this day. Information on signing up for picture retakes is sent out directly to parents by Coffee Pond Photography. All Toddler photos (class and individual) will be taken on this day. Please be sure to let Heidi Lathrop and your child’s teacher know if your Primary or Elementary student plans to have his/her photo taken that day.

HOMECOMINGHomecoming 2017 NYA

Friday, September 27, is the start of homecoming at NYA. Students are encouraged to wear ORANGE and BLACK to show their Panther Pride (dress down attire is permitted). We dismiss all grades at 2:30 p.m., and the festivities begin. Our hope is that Lower School parents will pick up their child at 2:30 p.m. and join us in the homecoming fun. We understand that this may not be possible for some families, so if you still need after care, please let us know so we can plan accordingly. There are snacks, a bouncy house, face painting, sign painting, and other fun activities for the Lower School students to enjoy school spirit! The Parents’ Association class reps are sending out information via email to parents about volunteer opportunities. There is an all-school cookout to grab some dinner while enjoying the fun. The Parents’ Association will sell Panther logo wear by the turf field that afternoon from 2:30-4:30 p.m.  Accepting cash, check, and now credit cards!


NYA families are invited to Come Home to NYA activities on September 26-28. For a full schedule, visit www.nya.org/ComeHome. One opportunity that may be of interest is the Athletic Hall Of Fame Induction of Allie Tocci Hurley ’08, which will include special remarks by Travis Roy ’94. All are welcome to attend on Friday, September 27 at 10:00 a.m. in the NYA gymnasium. The annual NYA Steve Morris Golf Tournament will take place Saturday, September 28 at Falmouth Country Club. Many faculty, current parents, and alumni play in the tournament. Proceeds benefit the Steve Morris Scholarships Fund, which provides financial aid to current NYA students. The scramble format makes it a fun tournament for all abilities. Put together a team of four or sign up individually!


  • Guided Mindfulness Sessions: We are offering a monthly guided mindfulness session open to everyone in the NYA community. The sessions are led by Ian Ramsey, who has a 20-year meditation practice. The sessions are scheduled from 7:00-7:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, September 18, October 16, and November 13. No experience necessary, and beginners are welcome and encouraged. NYA will provide some meditation cushions, but participants are encouraged to bring a pillow to sit on if possible (or can sit on chairs if that is more comfortable). All are welcome!
  • The Brain Trust: Ian Ramsey will facilitate a monthly parent and community gathering called “The Brain Trust” to discuss health, emotional well-being, mindfulness, and human performance for our children and ourselves. The group is open to all and will include discussions, readings, mindfulness and movement practice, and possibly field trips! The group will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room on Wednesday, September 18; Wednesday, October 16; and Tuesday, November 12. 
  • Wild Soul Words Book Group: As part of the Kauffmann Program, NYA is offering a monthly book group that focuses on nature and society’s relationship to it. The Wild Soul Words group is open to all adult members of the NYA and surrounding communities. Participants gather in a casual environment to talk about a given book, drink wine (or beverage of choice), and examine how lessons from that book might apply to our community. The group is hosted and facilitated by Ian Ramsey, and NYA will provide wine and other beverages. The first date and book selection is: What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength by Scott Carney on Wednesday, October 9. The group will meet in the Middle School Community Room at 6:30 p.m.
  • Faculty TrainingDavid Bidler, owner of The Distance Project and founder of nonprofit Physiology First, will be working with faculty on September 17 discussing strategies to help with student anxiety and controlling physiology and emotional states.


This past Friday morning, we sent a test of our text alert system. If you did not receive a text message from NYA, and you would like to receive texts in the future, 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. We use text alerts mostly to communicate unexpected changes in the schedule or closures (i.e. snow days).


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.


On behalf of the NYA Community, thank you for making the first All-School Cookout last Thursday night such a huge success. The weather cooperated, and we all enjoyed an exciting afternoon of games on our fields, camaraderie, and food while celebrating the first week of school. The Parents’ Association would also like to thank the many  parents and alumni volunteers who helped set up, serve, and clean up including: Rich Brimberg, Debra Ramsey, Rhiannon Ramsey-Brimberg ’15, Nate Curtis, Jen Hemenway, Chris Hemenway, Linda Manchester, Scott Frank, and Robin Baron. This team served 300 hamburgers and poured a lot of lemonade. Thank you for all of your help. Thank you also to David Daigle and the kitchen staff for effortlessly preparing all of the food. A special thank you to all of the PA class representatives for hosting break-out sessions for parents, families, and host families. These gatherings providing the opportunity for families to meet each other and to learn more about their child at NYA. Have a wonderful school year, and I look forward to seeing everyone throughout the year. ~Tori Baron, NYA Parents’ Association President


Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day is coming up on Friday, October 11. Lower School Grandparents’ Day will be on May 1, 2020.  To ensure that all grandparents and grandfriends are invited, please provide us with updated grandparent contact information.


9/10 Lower School Drama Club begins 3:15 p.m.
9/11 Upper School Parents’ Night 6:45 p.m.
9/12 Middle School Parents’ Night, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
9/18 Guided Mindfulness, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
9/18 The Brain Trust, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
9/20 Sky Day and International Day of Peace
9/25 Elementary Field Trip to Pineland Farms
9/26-9/28 Come Home to NYA: Homecoming and Reunion
9/26 Head of School Dinner, Reunion Tent 6:00 p.m.
9/27 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction, NYA Gym 10:15 a.m.
9/27 Homecoming Festivities 2:30-7:30 p.m.
9/28 Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament, Falmouth Country Club 7:15 a.m.
9/28 Homecoming Festivities 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
9/28 All Alumni Reception, Reunion Tent 6:00 p.m.
10/11 Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day; Dress Up Day
10/14 Indigenous Peoples’ Day (formerly Columbus Day) NO SCHOOL
10/16 Guided Mindfulness, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
10/16 The Brain Trust, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
10/18 Picture Retakes & Toddler Picture Day


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