Middle School Newsletter for December 8, 2019

This is such a wonderful time of the year as it reminds us to take a moment and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives and to pay it forward. NYA has been full of such moments as we collected mounds of food to bring to Preble Street and prepared gifts and donations for our Holiday Families. At this time of year, we also need to be prepared for all that mother nature might bring. While the winter weather brings many joys (skiing, sledding, and hot chocolate among them!), it can present a few challenges. Students sometimes forget that a change in weather necessitates a change in attire. As we move about the campus throughout the day and spend recess outdoors, it is essential that everyone has the appropriate cold-weather gear to stay warm and dry. This is also the time to think about what happens when weather impacts our school day. Please take a moment to review the information on snow days which is outlined below. Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

With our winter break fast approaching, we hope that you have the opportunity to give thanks, delight in family and friends, and look forward to a bright new year ahead. We also wish to extend our thanks to you for entrusting your children to us and for offering us your support and collaboration.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a happy new year!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools



*Simplify your life! The NYA Parents’ Association is hosting a pizza dinner beginning at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11, before the Middle School Evening with the Arts. The dinner, set up in Safford, includes Pat’s Pizza, salad, drinks, and cookies at the very reasonable cost of $5 per person or $20 per family. Catch a quick bite and then enjoy the art and music events! There will be a registration table at the door to collect cash or checks. Payments sent in early can be delivered to the Middle School Office.

*Please RSVP to Heidi Lathrop by Tuesday, December 10 at 4:00 p.m. so we can be sure to order enough pizzas.


*From 5:25 until 5:55 p.m., families have the chance to come to the Middle School to view the art exhibit. Watch in admiration as you see the amazing works of art turned out by our talented students.

*While families are viewing the art exhibit, students will be warming up for the concert: 5:30 for Strings; 5:40 for Chorus, and 5:50 for Band.


*Families should report to the gym by 5:55 p.m. for the concert. Come and enjoy as every Middle School student performs! Dress code for the performers is Dress Up Day attire (long pants, ties, blazers or close-to-knee-length skirts/dresses or dressy, professional pants outfit).

*This is a very exciting and important, yet hectic day for all of our performers. Most sports practices will be held as usual on this day. Drama rehearsal will end at 4:30 p.m. Middle School staff will provide supervision for the students in the Middle School after practice until the pizza dinner at 4:45. Students will be assigned little or no homework on this night. We look forward to seeing you at this great event!


Report cards and comments for the Fall Semester will be sent out via email in early January. Report cards list each class with the teacher and letter grade. Comments written by each teacher accompany the report cards. These provide more detailed feedback on the student’s performance in class, highlighting strengths and offering suggestions about areas to work on.

Enrichment courses are graded on a 1-3 effort scale: 3 = does not meet expectations; 2 = fully meets expectations; 1 = goes above and beyond expectations. These effort grades can be found on the comment but will not appear on report cards.

If there are any questions about report cards or comments, please do not hesitate to contact the individual teacher, the advisor, or Marissa Markonish. Students have worked very hard this semester and have made significant progress since the beginning of the year. They should be proud of their success!


Thanks to donations and funds raised through our dress down days, we have been able to purchase household items, toys, gift cards, and more for our Holiday Families. We would welcome donations of gently used jackets, boots, snow gear, and warm clothes as well. Collection bins are located at the Main Office in the Upper School or at the reception desks in the Middle and Lower Schools. All items must be in by Wednesday, December 11. Thank you for your help in supporting this worthy cause!


There will be a special Middle School schedule on Thursday, December 19, allowing us to end the day with a special treat. After classes, students will  clean out and reorganize their lockers before the Winter Break. This will allow us to have a fresh and organized start to the new year!  Students will then have the choice of open ice (helmets required), gym games, or a holiday movie. The fifth grade class will be dismissed at 2:15 p.m.  There are no Middle School sports after school, and students can be picked up at 2:15 p.m.  Varsity sports and drama will meet.


Kiva is a non-profit organization that coordinates the giving of microloans to underserved entrepreneurs around the world. NYA’s Kiva Club is organizing a Change for Change fundraiser, running until Thursday, December 19. Each grade will have a class jar to collect change. The collection jars for the Middle School will be located on the table to the right of the Middle School reception desk. Quarters and Pennies are “positive” coins — add them to your grade’s jar to increase your total. Nickels and Dimes are “negative” coins — add them to other grades’ jars to lower their totals. $1 and $10 are positive, $5 and $20 are negative, $50 and $100 bills are positive. The grade with the highest total on December 19 will receive a free dress down day when we return from winter break. Thank you for your donations!


Each year, Mrs. Gallagher’s class participates in a special project for Camp Sunshine. They integrate the life cycle of plants into many of their fall studies, culminating with sunflowers. Students dissect sunflowers from the school garden and sort and count the seeds. After learning about “marketing” and making a product appealing for purchase, each student designs art for a seed packet and they use a blind vote to determine the art that will decorate the packages. The class then labels the packets, fills them with seeds, and sells them, with all proceeds donated to Camp Sunshine. They will sell packets for $1 each at Lower, Middle, and Upper School lunches on Thursday, December 12. Purchase Seeds of Sunshine and help support this worthy cause!


sick-childIf your child is sick, please have them STAY HOME for the benefit of their health and the health of the school community. Indicators for staying home: vomiting or being too nauseated to eat breakfast; a throat so sore it hurts to swallow; a temperature of 100° or higher; incessant coughing or nose blowing; a pounding, blinding headache; utter exhaustion or aching all over. To return to school, the symptoms listed should be significantly decreased, if not resolved, AND the child should be fever free without use of Advil/Tylenol for 24 hours. If you are wondering whether you have a cold or the flu, please check here for additional information. A reminder that students are not permitted to possess any medication, over-the-counter or prescription, at school. If a student requires medication during school hours, please contact the school nurse. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Ashley Moody.

SNOW DAYSmiddle-school-march-snow-2017

Because it is sometimes necessary to cancel or delay the start of a school day due to stormy conditions, we reach out to families in numerous ways during times of bad weather. Due to the variety of weather patterns, from Boothbay to Biddeford and from Bridgton to Brunswick, it may look like clear going in one town while another is “snowed under.”

The administration makes cancellation/late start decisions with student safety as a top consideration. If it has already or will soon stop snowing but the road crews have not been able to clear the streets, the administration may decide to delay the start of the school day. Buses will be delayed two hours in this instance. Cancellations or delays are posted first on Ben Jackson’s “Head of School” Instagram account– bjacksonnya_hos. A text alert and email notification are then sent out, and the information is posted on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, cancellations are reported to channels 6, 8, 13, and NECN. At times, power outages can interfere with some of these methods of notification, so if you are uncertain, please check multiple sites.

In the event that snow arrives unexpectedly or earlier and/or heavier than predicted, the administration may decide to call for an early release from school. If this is the case, we will make every attempt to contact parents. The early release will be announced on local radio and television stations (if possible), will be sent out via text alert and email notification, and will be posted on social media. The school will remain open until all children can be safely picked up by parents or other authorized individuals.


Congratulations to our students who auditioned in late October for the District II Music Festivals! These students competed against roughly 1,000 students from all over this area for spots in the festivals this winter. We are thrilled to announce the following students have been accepted into District II this year:

HIGH SCHOOL BAND: Laini Frager, bass clarinet

HIGH SCHOOL MIXED CHORUS: Py Morin, soprano; Afton Morton, alto; Darby Mutagoma, alto; Madeleine Vaillancourt, alto; Rogers Crowley, tenor; Matt McGrath, tenor; Jack Curtis, bass; Pierce Manchester, bass

HIGH SCHOOL ORCHESTRA: Ashley Ren, violin; Emily Greene, violin; Emma Collins, violin; Sally Stronge, violin; Madeleine Vaillancourt, cello; Matt McGrath, string bass

HIGH SCHOOL TREBLE CHORUS: Elyse Baron, soprano; Emily Greene, soprano; Jackie Ellsworth, alto; Laini Frager, alto

MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND: Eben Weislogel, baritone

MIDDLE SCHOOL CHORUS: Caitlin Michaelis, soprano; Genevieve Vaillancourt, soprano; Caleb King, baritone

MIDDLE SCHOOL ORCHESTRA: Lauryn Casey, violin; Lyla Casey, violin; Caleb King, violin; Caitlin Michaelis, violin; Genevieve Vaillancourt, viola; Liam Devine, viola; Fynn MacCarthy, string bass

The District II Instrumental Festival (band and orchestra) will be held January 10-11, with the concert at 3:00 on January 11 at Oxford Hills CHS in South Paris. The District II Vocal Festival (choruses) will be held January 31-February 1, with the concerts at 2:30 (middle school) and 4:00 (high school) at Windham HS. Cool Fact: NYA has at least one student in each grade (7-12) accepted to both festivals!


Do you have any old or outgrown snowshoes collecting dust somewhere? If so, pass them on to NYA! We are looking for snowshoes of all sizes to add to our current set for PE classes and other groups to utilize in exploring the great, wintry outdoors. We’d also love ice skates and helmets! Donated items can be dropped off at the Main Office in the Upper School or at the reception desks in the Middle and Lower Schools.


With the approach of winter, students in Kindergarten through fifth grade will soon begin the ice skating unit as part of their Physical Education class. It is such a treat for students to be able take advantage of NYA’s Travis Roy Ice Arena. See this informational letter from Zoe Adams and Marti Morton for additional information.

NYA GEAR SALENYA Sea Bag and other accessories

Looking to purchase some NYA logo gear for holiday gifts or to round out your wardrobe? You’re in luck! The NYA Parents’ Association will set up the school store in the Middle School Community Room on Friday, December 13 and Thursday, December 19 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. for holiday sales. You may also contact the store at NYAstore@nya.org to set up an appointment (drop off and pickup times work best). Items ordered online can take up to 2 weeks so please plan ahead!

FROM IAN RAMSEYMeditation Image

On Tuesday, January 14, Ian will host a meeting of the “Brain Trust” parents group at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. The group is a forum to discuss emerging brain and health science and its significance for children and adults. Upcoming Brain Trust meeting are February 19, March 25: Field Trip to Float Harder, and April 15. All are welcome.

On Wednesday, January 15, Ian will lead the monthly mindfulness session at 7:00 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room. No experience is necessary.  Upcoming mindfulness dates are February 12, April 15, and May 13.

Check out Ian’s most recent Brian Tips for Teens video. A new installment comes out next week.


12/11Dress Down Day for Animal Refuge League$3
12/11Middle School Evening with the Arts 5:30 p.m.
12/12Seeds of Sunshine sold during lunch$1
12/13NYA Gear Sale, PSMS2:00-4:00 p.m.
12/15Student Performance, Maine Roasters Coffee, Yarmouth8:00 a.m.
12/17Upper School Winter Concert, NYA Gym6:30 p.m.
12/19Last day of Classes before Winter Break
12/19NYA Gear Sale, PSMS2:00-4:00 p.m.
12/19End of First Semester
12/20-1/3Winter BreakNO SCHOOL
1/6Classes resume; Second Semester begins


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