Lower School Newsletter for September 9, 2018

What a wonderful first week of school! There was a lot of activity this past week, and the children are eagerly engaging in class activities and 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. There are also some special events on the horizon, including several field trips and homecoming. 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


The Lower School Drama Club will be presenting Disney’s The Lion King 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 11. Sign up at the Lower School reception desk. There will be a participation fee of $60 for Drama Club which will help with the costs of costumes, props, and royalties. 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 The Lion King KIDS will be on Wednesday, November 14, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford.


We are reaching capacity in our Before and After Care programs. Any families wishing to take advantage of our Before Care or After Care programs should contact Leslie Durgin about availability.


We are delighted to be welcoming Dr. Ross Greene to NYA on Tuesday, September 18. Dr. Greene is a child psychologist and founder of the non-profit organization, Lives in the Balance, originator of the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach, and a best-selling author. During the afternoon, Dr. Greene will speak with students and present to faculty and staff. We hope that you will be able to join us at 5:00 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room for the parent session with Dr. Greene. A huge thank you to the NYA Parents’ Association for bringing Dr. Greene to campus.


Parents, please enjoy this letter of introduction from our new school counselor, Michelle Napoli.  We are delighted to welcome Michelle and counseling intern Emily Holden to NYA as part of our student wellness team.


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 the Lower School reception desk. We will also need to see a photo ID the first time the individual picks up a child from NYA.


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. Information on some upcoming trips is listed below:

  • Ms. Gallagher’s and Mr. Hopkins’ classes will participate in a service project as part of International Coastal Cleanup Week. This year, on Monday, September 17, students will travel to Bay View Beach in Saco (a favorite!) to gather trash and data. Students will track what is collected and report data back on official forms to the Maine Coastal Program, which forwards it to Ocean Conservancy. Students will leave school at 8:15, do the clean-up, have a little time to play, eat an early lunch, and return to school before noon. While the group is not swimming, parents should send in a change of clothes, just in case.
  • The three elementary classrooms will be heading up to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay on Thursday, September 20 for the Botany of Butterflies exhibit. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about migration vs. overwintering, life cycles, mimicry, pollinators, and much more.
  • On Tuesday, September 25, Ms. Gagne’s class is attending the Annual Fall Bay Day in Bowdoinham’s Merrymeeting Bay. This outdoor experiential education involves hands-on lessons in environmental education. Local experts teach students about such topics as beach seining, archaeology, watershed modeling, bird and plant identification, creating art, and more! Students will leave campus around 8:30 a.m. and return by 2:00 p.m.


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 is be happening 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.


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).


Ever wonder what your child should wear to an NYA event? Looking to carpool? Want to share photos, ask questions, learn about NYA activities, etc.? Look no further! We created a closed Facebook Group just for NYA parents.  In order to join, go to the NYA Community Network Group, and click on Join Group. We’ll confirm that you’re an NYA parent/guardian/host parent, and accept your request. If you have questions, contact Amity Jackson or Kristi Belesca.


Picture Retake Day is scheduled for Tuesday, October 23. Anyone who missed pictures on September 5 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. Please be sure to let Heidi Lathrop and your child’s teacher know if she/he plans to sit for a retake. Our Toddler classrooms will also have pictures taken on this day (no charge).


Friday, September 28, 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.


NYA is 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, October 10, November 14, and December 12. No experience necessary, and beginners are welcome and encouraged. NYA is providing 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!


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 is providing wine and other beverages. The first date and book selection is: Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone- on October 17. The group will meet in the Middle School Community Room at 6:30 p.m.


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 as soon as possible and turn them in to the Health Office. Contact Ashley Moody with any questions.


Additional forms can be found in New Family Forms and Returning 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.


Please be aware that the two spaces in Curtis driveway closest to Main Street are reserved for admission visitors and may not be used for drop-off or pick-up. We appreciate your help keeping these spaces available. Thank you!


Looking to bring more fresh, local, and mostly organic fruits and vegetables into your life? Well look no further! NYA is pleased to once again serve as a pick-up site for Fall & Winter Farm Shares from Wolf Pine Farms in Alfred, ME. A winter share is seven boxes delivered from October to March and generally includes storage vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.), fruits (apples), a dozen eggs, grains (oats, wheat flour), frozen berries (blueberries, cranberries), and a “special treat” (raw honey, Maine sea salt, mushrooms, or maple syrup). It is even possible to split a share with another family. Visit Wolf Pine Farms to learn more or sign up.


Each year, NYA invites the grandparents of our students to campus to experience a special day with their grandchildren. Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day will be on Friday, October 12, 2018 and Lower School Grandparents’ Day will be on Friday, May 10, 2019. To ensure that all grandparents and grandfriends are invited, please provide us with updated grandparent contact information.


Want to look, move, and feel better than you have in years? Come train with Shelby! Fall Bootcamp is being offered at NYA’s Travis Roy Ice Arena from September 5 through November 16 (11 weeks). For more information, contact Shelby via email.


9/11 Lower School Drama Club begins 3:15 p.m.
9/17 Gallagher and Hopkins Beach Clean-Up Trip 8:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
9/18 Dr. Ross Greene Parent Session, MSCR 5:00-6:30 p.m.
9/20 Elementary Trip to Coastal Botanical Garden
9/21 Sky Day and International Day of Peace
9/25 Mrs. Gagne’s Class Trip to Fall Bay Day
9/27-9/29 Come Home to NYA: Homecoming and Reunion
9/27 Head of School Circle Dinner 6:00 p.m.
9/28 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction, NYA Gym 10:15 a.m.
9/28 Homecoming Festivities and BBQ 2:30-7:30 p.m.
9/29 Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament, Falmouth Country Club 12:00 p.m.
10/8 Columbus Day NO SCHOOL
10/10 Guided Mindfulness Session, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
10/12 Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day; Dress Up Day
10/17 Wild Soul Words Book Group, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
10/23 Picture Retakes & Toddler Picture Day


Facebook – North Yarmouth Academy Page, NYA Parents’ Association Group
YouTube – North Yarmouth Academy
Twitter – @NYAToday
Flickr – nyatoday
Instagram – Ben Jackson HOS
Instagram – northyarmouthacademy