Lower School Newsletter for October 15, 2017

The next few weeks mean some change in routine here at NYA. After the Halloween festivities, students will have shortened weeks and longer weekends for the next two weeks in a row. There is no school on November 2 and 3 for Parent-Teacher Conferences and no school on Friday, November 10 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 before the rush of the upcoming holidays.

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 come meet with us, and we look forward to collaborating with you.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


NYA is taking part in Socktober, a month long community sock drive started by Kid President with Brad Montague. Please bring in a pair of new socks between Monday, October 16 and Friday, October 27 and we will bring the donations to Preble Street Shelter.  More than 600,000 Americans are homeless and socks are one of the most requested items at homeless shelters. The Socktober campaign turns the month of October into Socktober – a reminder that “even a small act of love, such as donating a pair of socks, can make a big difference”.


As part of Fire Safety Month, the Yarmouth Fire Department will be visiting NYA on Thursday, October 19. The fire fighters will talk with the Primary and Elementary classes about fire prevention and awareness. The students will then have the chance to ask questions and explore one of the fire trucks. This annual event is an important safety reminder and loads of fun!


  • botantical-gardensOn October 18, students in grades one through four will spend the day at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. First and second graders will experience the Life Cycles of a Plant presentation, while third and fourth graders will learn all about decomposers. Students will get together for lunch and all groups will have time to explore the gardens and grounds.
  • Mrs. Gallagher’s class will attend I Love My Little Storybook and Guess How Much I Love You, presented by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, at Merrill Auditorium on October 27. Prior to the performance, staff from the Portland Ovations program will visit Mrs. Gallagher’s class at school to talk about theater etiquette and to present a creative workshop based on each story. Each student will also receive a book.



Nothing marks the fall season quite like the celebration of Halloween. 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. The classroom teachers have planned numerous activities, and we have special events planned specifically for our Lower School students. 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, we also request that families try to stay away from commercial (movie or TV) characters. Animals (e.g. cat, dog, lion), careers (e.g. chef, doctor, firefighter), book characters, Halloween classics, and silly creations are all great choices. We look forward to celebrating together!


Representatives from the Chewonki Foundation will be coming to NYA on Halloween to do several sessions on the characteristics, adaptations, and ecology of variety of insects for the Lower School classes and the fifth grade.  They will meet with student groups in the Middle School Community Room for an interactive presentation and chance to meet the animals. Special thanks to Karen Wentworth and Jen Elkins for spearheading this visit!


In addition to numerous classroom activities, the Lower School students will have a special costume parade through Curtis Building and Grizzy’s Quad. During the parade, they will receive cheers from some of the older students and pick up a few non-candy treats along the way. Later that afternoon at 2:00 p.m., the elementary students will join with the Middle and Upper School students for a parade and costume contest in the gym. While the younger students will not be attending as a class, parents of students in the Toddler and Primary programs are welcome to pick up their children early that day and join the festivities. This is a fun community event!


For the past several years, we have worked to support the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival by carving pumpkins for their display. On Friday, October 20, Lower School classes will have the opportunity for some pumpkin carving fun! We will then deliver the pumpkins to the L.L. Bean campus in Freeport. If you are planning to visit the Pumpkin Festival on October 21, keep an eye out for our NYA jack-o’-lanterns!


Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, November 2 from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Friday, November 3 from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  There will be no school on these two days. The conferences 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. Families seeking child care during their conference time slot will be able to sign up at Ms. Jen’s desk.

To make the most of these conferences, come in ready to ask questions about all aspects of your child’s involvement in the classroom: What areas and concepts seem to interest her most? What are some of her greatest strengths in the classroom? What areas are most challenging for her? How is his attention, ability to focus, perseverance, and effort? Is he 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 her mood appear to change consistently throughout the day or the week? Does he seem to enjoy his specials? Is there any activity which he finds especially pleasing? How does she do with snacks and lunch? Does she seem particularly tired or energetic at various times throughout the day? How does he interact with his peers? Does he appear comfortable with his 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!


University of Maine’s Men’s Ice Hockey Team will hold their annual “Skate with the Bears” at NYA’s Travis Roy Ice Arena this year. UMaine will be playing Boston University on Saturday, November 18 in Portland, and will come to NYA on Sunday, November 19 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. for this event. The team will be flying to Ireland for a tournament later Sunday afternoon. The event is open to the public and is a chance for kids and adults to skate, meet, and get autographs with the team. All players will be in attendance. We hope to see you there!


Each year, NYA works throughout the fall to help provide some wish-list items for local families in need. For the past several years, we have teamed up with Molly McMahon, NYA class of 1995 and daughter of Jack McMahon, Middle School English teacher, and sister of Tim McMahon, Middle School art teacher. Molly works with immigrant families seeking asylum in the United States. While many of their needs include the basics, such as warm clothes, shoes, boots, pots and pans, dishes, etc., we are sure to also include toys and special gifts. The entire school community joins together for this great cause. We will be holding our first Dress Down Day for Holiday Families on Thursday, October 26. Donations welcome.



NYA’s annual Middle and Upper School Open House will be held on Sunday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m. We are excited to welcome prospective families considering grades 5-12 to campus to interact with our faculty and students.  If you have friends or family who are interested in receiving more information about the Open House and North Yarmouth Academy, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with the Admission Office.  You can also direct them to our Open House event page.


The NYA community is working to support the Preble Street Shelter by collecting donations of food to stock their shelves for the upcoming holidays. Seasonally, and especially with the start of the cold weather, they are in need of extra supplies to serve the individuals and families who rely on their help. Between Monday, October 30 and Tuesday, November 7, students are asked to bring donations of the following items to the Middle School: Stuffing Mix; Rice; Pasta; Gravy; Canned Fruit and Vegetables; Coffee; Canned Soup; Canned Beans; and Cooking Oils. Parents may also drop off donations when they come in for conferences on November 2 and 3. In celebration of the spirit of giving, students will enjoy a Dress Down Day on Tuesday, November 7. Thank you for your generosity!


To contact the Lower School during the school day, please use the direct lines for Ms. Jen (847-5487) or Leslie (847-5462). You may also contact JenMarissa, or Leslie via email at any time.


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


NYA has multiple Lost and Found collection areas. If you are missing any items, please first check the Lost and Found cubby at the Lower School. If the item is not there, it may have been turned in to the Upper School bin (in the hallway on the way to the gym) or the Middle School bin (located in the hallway between reception and the Health Services’ office).


Once again, the NYA library will be holding a used book sale at the NYA Craft Fair on Saturday, December 2. We would like your gently used books, and will accept books for ANY age, young children through adults. You can drop off your books in the NYA library or at the reception desks in the Lower and Middle Schools. Contact NYA librarian Eliot Grady with any questions. Thank you for your support!


The 2017-2018 Lower School Family Handbook is now posted on the NYA website under the Parents and Students tabs. The handbook is full of useful details, as well as outlining critical information on school rules and policies. Please take some time to read the handbook carefully as all members of the NYA community are expected to read and abide by the policies and protocols. Hard copies of the handbook are available on request.


Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day is this Friday, October 20. Parents can help make this day a success by volunteering to help with the event. There are many volunteer opportunities starting Thursday, October 19 through lunch on Friday. Volunteering is also a great way to meet other parents. For information, contact event chair, Debra Ramsey. Thank you to Deb for organizing this event. (Lower School Grandparents’ Day will take place on May 11, 2018.)  Contact Caroline Anson with any questions.


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. Ian Ramsey will facilitate the discussion, and NYA will provide beverages. The next meeting will be Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv on October 26.


Our Picture Retake Day with Coffee Pond Photography is scheduled for Tuesday, October 24 from 8:00-9:30 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room.  Please be sure to let your child’s teacher know if you are planning on having pictures taken on this day.


hlcNYA is now a member of the Hybrid Learning Consortium (HLC). “The Hybrid Learning Consortium creates a globalized learning community, providing students and faculty with a 21st century digital learning community through online courses which offer freedom of content, collaboration and scheduling. The HLC brings together independent schools, teachers and students from around the world with the shared vision to provide best practices of diverse, in-depth and innovative learning. Partnering with HLC enables independent schools to offer variety in course offerings, broaden student and faculty connections and provide professional development — all in ways that are relational and responsive distinctly to each partner school.” As the only member school in Northern New England, we are excited to be able to offer these additional course offerings to students in the Upper School.  Come meet Founding Director Sarah Hofstra at a Parent Information Session on Tuesday, October 17, 8:00-9:00 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room. Sarah will also be meeting with faculty and staff, the Upper School student body, and seventh and eighth graders to tell them more about HLC during her two-day visit at NYA.



Kindergarten students enjoying their gardening lessons!


10/16-10/27 Bring in donations of new socks for Socktober
10/17 Hybrid Learning Consortium Parent Information Session, MSCR  8:00 a.m.
10/18 Grades 1-4 Field Trip to Maine Botanical Gardens
10/20 Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Carving
10/20 Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day
10/24 Picture Retake Day, MSCR 8:00 a.m.
10/25 Grade 2 Field Trip to Maine Audubon
10/26 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families
10/26 Wild Soul Words Book Group, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
10/27 Grade 1 Field Trip to Portland Ovations, Merrill Auditorium 10:00 a.m.
10/27 First quarter ends
10/30-11/7 Bring in food donations for Preble Street
10/31 Halloween festivities; Chewonki Bug-mobile
11/2-11/3 Parent-Teacher Conferences NO SCHOOL
11/7 Dress Down Day for Preble Street
11/10 Veterans’ Day NO SCHOOL
11/15 Lower School Drama Performance, Safford 2:30 p.m.
11/17 Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/19 Skate with the Bears, NYA’s Travis Roy Ice Arena 12:00-1:00 p.m.
11/20-11/24 Thanksgiving Break NO SCHOOL
11/27 Classes resume


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