NYA Middle School Newsletter Header 2020

Middle School Newsletter for August 9, 2020

Happy summer! I hope that you are all safe, happy, and healthy and looking forward to a wonderful school year ahead. We are delighted to be returning to campus and welcoming both new and returning families to NYA. Many things will be a little different this year, but our primary objectives will remain unchanged. NYA has always taken a holistic approach to education, and now more than ever we look to nurture the physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being of every student.

NYA’s Return to Campus Plan outlines the major elements for returning to campus in September. In this first monthly In the Middle newsletter, you will find more detailed information to help you prepare for the start of school. In addition, we are hosting a Middle School community meeting on Zoom this coming Wednesday, August 12, at 4:00 p.m. to review our reopening plans.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I look forward to an exciting year ahead!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


A reminder to all Middle School families that we are hosting a community Zoom meeting on Wednesday, August 12 at 4:00 p.m. to provide additional information and updates regarding the opening of the school year. You may register for the meeting here. The registration link also includes space for you to indicate any specific topics that you would like us to cover in the meeting.


New Middle and Upper School Student Orientation will be held on the morning of Wednesday, September 2. This is an opportunity for new sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students and for all students entering fifth grade to come to campus, meet their teachers, advisor, and some classmates, and learn more about the Middle School at NYA. Orientation will run from 8:15-9:30 a.m. for fifth grade students and from 9:45-11:30 a.m. for new students entering grades six, seven, and eight. This is a student-only event. Dress for students will be comfortable, casual, and masked. Additional information will be sent out prior to the event.


The first day of school, Tuesday, September 8, is a Dress-Up Day: dress pants (no shorts) with dress shirt and tie (blazer not required); dress (no more than 3 inches above the knee); or skirt (no more than 3 inches above the knee) or professional dress pants with blouse or dress top.

We will have a special schedule on the first day to help streamline the first full wellness check experience and to ease students’ transition into the new school year. More details will be sent out closer to the start of school.


An essential step in preparing for the new school year is to make sure that you have completed all necessary Family Forms. Health forms are of critical importance, especially now, and no students will be permitted on campus without the Annual Health Information and Authorization for Health Care Form. Please contact Ashley Moody with any questions regarding health forms.


Every student will undergo a quick wellness check before entering school each morning. The check will include a short series of questions (fever, symptoms, potential exposure) and a no-contact temperature screening (with a touchless forehead thermometer). Two staff members will be at each screening location to conduct the wellness checks. Staff will be wearing face masks and shields and may wear additional PPE. All family members over the age of two must wear approved face masks and maintain physical distancing during the wellness check and while waiting in line. We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we all become accustomed to this new process.


Drop off procedures each morning will include the wellness check (see above).

Wellness checks for Middle School students and students in grades nine and ten will take place in the quad between Savage Middle School and Mertz Science Center. Students will be dropped off in the Middle School parking lot turnaround and will walk around the Science Center to line up in Grizzy Quad. Middle School students will line up to the left and ninth and tenth grade students to the right. There will be markings to help maintain physical distancing while in line. After the wellness check, students will enter the Middle School building, make a quick stop at their lockers, and proceed directly to their advisor’s classroom.

To help streamline the drop off process, we are staggering drop-off times by grade:

  • Grade 8: 7:30-7:45 a.m.
  • Grade 7: 7:40-7:50 a.m.
  • Grade 6: 7:45-7:55 a.m.
  • Grade 5: 7:50-8:00 a.m.
  • Siblings may come in the time slot for either student.

Students who arrive late (after 8:00) should wait outside the Middle School entrance and notify Mrs. Goodrich at 846-9051. Mrs. Goodrich or another staff member will come outside to conduct the wellness check and then give the student a late slip for class.


Students should be picked up from school immediately following their last class or activity. Families should be sure to have a clear pick-up plan in place before the start of the school day. Students will wait for pick-up in an assigned study hall room and then head out to the Middle School parking lot turnaround at the prearranged time. If your student is not waiting in the turnaround, please pull into a parking space and wait for him or her there. A reminder that entrance to buildings on campus is limited to students and staff only.


Attendance will be taken daily during wellness checks. Parents should call 846-9051 or email attendance@nya.org by 8:15 a.m. if a student will be absent all day, will arrive late, or will be dismissed early. Because late arrivals can be disruptive to the student and the class, we ask that families make every effort to consistently arrive to school on time. Students who arrive late (after 8:00) should notify Mrs. Goodrich at 846-9051 and wait outside the Middle School entrance for their wellness check.


A reminder to all parents to be sure that you have set up a parent account in Family Web. Family Web is a section of our website where announcements, directory information, calendars, lunch menus, and additional school information can be found. You can access Family Web under the Parents tab at the top of the NYA homepage. If you have not yet set up a parent account in Family Web, follow these instructions and then review the information on how to use Family Web. You will also want to check that your directory information is accurate and make any changes if needed. Contact Chris Mazzurco, Director of IT, with any questions.


Students in grades six through eight received draft schedules in the mid-summer update primarily intended for textbook purchasing. These academic schedules will have changes and additions including fourth period study halls, locker numbers, and enrichment courses. Some schedules may have class time and/or location changes as well. Students in grades six through eight are able to access schedules via Family Web. Fifth grade students will receive their schedules and class placement in mid-August.

Advisors will hand out complete, up-to-date schedules at advisory on the first day of school. Be sure to use only this new schedule. Students will receive three copies of their schedule at this time – one to keep at home, one to post in their lockers, and one to keep in their agenda (provided by NYA).


Students should come prepared on the first day with all textbooks and supplies. In the mid-summer update, families received a textbook information sheet and a list of supplies for grades fivesixseven, and eight to help with back-to-school preparations. Additional supplies may be needed later, but this list should get you well on your way. NYA’s virtual bookstore can be accessed at any time. For questions on textbooks, please contact Lisa Robbins. For questions on supplies, contact Marissa Markonish or the specific class teacher. NYA student agendas will be distributed on the first day.


As part of NYA’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Program, all students in grades seven and above are required to have their own laptop or similar device and to bring it to campus each day. You can find the minimum system requirements here (also posted in Technology under the Student and Parent tabs on the NYA homepage). Although BYOD does not officially begin until seventh grade, we strongly encourage fifth and sixth grade students to have laptops this year. Students will continue to be able to access the computer lab, but space will be more limited due to physical distancing, and students may find it much easier to check and turn in homework, conduct research, complete certain assignments, and connect with teachers using their own device. Contact Chris Mazzurco with any questions regarding technology or BYOD.


summer-reading-pic-2Please remember that the 2020 Summer Assignments must be completed for the first day of school. All students have summer reading assignments in English. In addition, eighth grade students who are continuing their language studies in French B, Latin B, or Spanish B have summer assignments to help keep up their knowledge of the language after time away.


Students in grades six through eight will have two lockers, a top and a bottom. We encourage students to use their lockers as an organizational tool – unpack book bags and leave them in the locker, bring specific supplies needed for each class; pack up everything needed for homework each night. Generally, students utilize the top locker for books and supplies and the bottom locker for athletic bags and equipment, coats, etc. Many families find the eighteen inch double locker shelf from www.lockershelfco.com to be a great tool for providing a place for all their supplies.

Fifth grade students, who have “super binders” and fewer textbooks, will have one locker. They will also have space to store items in their classroom and in areas as designated by their teacher.

Each locker is labeled with a magnetic name tag. These will help students find their locker during the first few weeks of school. In addition, the tags will help us return lost items to their owners throughout the year. Students may decorate the inside of their locker with any non-permanent and school-appropriate items. We have seen mirrors, bins, whiteboards, beads, shag rugs, and even chandeliers! Students may also hang pictures, schedules, etc. with magnets (not tape) inside their lockers, but nothing except the name tags should be on the outside of the lockers, and name tags should be kept on lockers throughout the school year. Locker doors should be kept closed and tidy with nothing protruding (hanging out) from the lockers, including straps from lunch boxes and backpacks. Be sure to check your locker and close it completely each day! While students should keep their lunch boxes in their lockers, no other food or drink should be stored in that space. Any leftover food should be removed by the end of each day. It is important to remember that, for safety reasons, nothing is permitted in the space above the lockers.

To help maintain physical distancing, lockers will be staggered by grade, and grades will have designated times to visit their lockers throughout the day.

Students will also be assigned an athletic locker in the locker rooms off the gym. These lockers are primarily used for storing students’ personal items during PE or while out at practice or a home game. Middle School students will not be using the locker rooms at this time, but will receive locker assignments for when we resume using that space.

Please note that instruments should be brought to the band room before school (not stored in the Middle School).


Is the thought of bringing all of your textbooks, supplies, and gear on the first day of school a bit daunting? No worries! You can bring it all in on Wednesday, September 2. Students can swing by the Middle School building during their designated time slot, drop off some of their textbooks and supplies, and begin to set up their lockers.

Students attending the New Student Orientation will be able to set up their lockers during the orientation.

Returning students have designated time slots for locker setup to help maintain physical distancing. As part of our health and safety protocols, only students will be allowed inside the building. Students will have a wellness check before entering and must wear a mask at all times. Find your time slot below:

  • 11:30 a.m.:  Last name beginning with A-D
  • 11:45 a.m.:  Last name beginning with E-J
  • 12:00 p.m.:  Last name beginning with K-M
  • 12:15 p.m.:  Last name beginning with N-Z


We are collecting any unneeded textbooks to use as classroom spares or to pass on to students in need. We will have a box outside during the Middle School Locker Setup for any donations. This is a great time to clean out those backpacks and bookshelves. We appreciate your generosity!


NYA has long had an active and vibrant music program. With ongoing study regarding the spread of COVID-19 through aerosol droplets produced by singing or playing wind instruments, however, we will need to adjust how we manage music rehearsals this fall. All music classes will meet, but many groups are being split into two sections to allow for smaller numbers and greater social distancing. Strings will start off with instruments, but will need to follow new precautions, such as not sharing sheet music. Chorus and Band, which are currently deemed higher risk, will be able to practice outdoors, and will also explore different music activities such as percussion, composition, critical listening, ear training, audiation, ukulele, music theory, and music history.


Guidance from the Cumberland County Conference (CCC), Maine Principals’ Association (MPA), and New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) will shape our decisions around competition schedules, transportation, and offerings this fall. There will undoubtedly be significant changes to our fall sports, and we will provide updates as they become available. We remain committed to our tradition of after school activities and are looking at how to best provide these opportunities safely to our students. Middle School Athletic Team Meetings are tentatively scheduled for Thursday, September 10 at 2:30 p.m., and the first practices are tentatively scheduled for Monday, September 14 at 2:30 p.m.


Some reminders about the daily dress code:

  • Skirts, dresses, kilts (longer than mid-thigh; no more than three inches above the knee)
  • Dress pants/slacks/corduroys/khakis/chinos
  • Dress shorts (knee-length, Bermuda style)
  • Buttoned up, collared dress shirt (tucked in as appropriate) with/without a sweater
  • Dress blouse with/without a sweater
  • Footwear (clean, neat, & worn at all times)

In addition to the regular dress code, fifth grade boys and girls are allowed to wear polo shirts.

Please see the full details of the dress code in the Middle School Student & Parent Handbook.


We are revamping campus dining procedures to ensure student safety and limit large gatherings. Students may continue to bring food and drink from home for break and lunch or purchase them from NYA Dining Services. All campus meals will be pre-order or in grab-and-go format in disposable containers. We have designated a streamlined route through Safford Center for students to pick up and go, and students will be masked and maintain physical distancing during pick-up. Rather than eating as a large group in the cafeteria, we will eat in classrooms or outside.

Families may set up dining accounts through “myschoolaccount.com.” Student IDs, which are used for setting up dining accounts, will be available for new students at New Middle and Upper School Orientation. Please note that there is not the option for cash sales this year. Contact Lisa McGlinn in the Business Office with any questions. Lunch menus are available on Family Web.


Mark your calendars for Middle School Parent Night on Thursday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. This year’s Parent Night will be virtual! The evening will begin with an information session for all Middle School parents as well as the opportunity to meet our staff and learn about our visual and performing arts classes. Parents will then follow a virtual progression through your student’s schedule with individual classroom teachers.


8/11Lower School Community Zoom Meeting4:00 p.m.
8/12Middle School Community Zoom Meeting4:00 p.m.
8/13Upper School Community Zoom Meeting4:00 p.m.
8/28Lower School Classroom Meetings via Zoom
9/2New Middle & Upper School Student OrientationGrade 5: 8:15-9:30 a.m. Grades 6-8: 9:45-11:30 a.m.
9/8First Day of School for Kindergarten-Grade 12; Dress-Up Day
9/8-9/11Fifth & Sixth Grade Orientation
9/9First Day of School for Toddler and Primary
9/9Lower School Virtual Parent Night6:30 p.m.
9/10Middle School Fall Athletic Team Meetings – Tentative2:30 p.m.
9/14First Day of Middle School Fall Athletic Practice – Tentative2:30-3:30 p.m.
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
9/26Steve 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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