Newsletter Header In the Middle 2020

Middle School Newsletter for May 10, 2020

It is hard to believe we have completed seven weeks of remote learning since our March break. I continue to be so impressed with the ingenuity of our teachers, the resiliency of our students, and the support of our families. In this newsletter, you will see a few examples of what students are doing in their remote classrooms and the fun activities sprinkled into our weeks. Though this is not at all what we had envisioned for this spring, life and school go on, and we are continuing to find the bright side and to make the most of every day. Without a doubt, it will be a year to remember! There are only four weeks left in the school year, and this will be the final In the Middle before we head off for the summer. The Middle School years are a time of tremendous change and growth, and, even in, or maybe especially in, these unusual times, the end of a school year highlights how much each student has progressed. It is an honor and a pleasure to teach your children and to take this journey together with them. We wish you all a safe, happy, and enjoyable summer and look forward to seeing you again for the new school year!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


While the structure and look of classes can be quite different in the remote learning process, the overarching goals remain the same – students actively engaged in learning, applying knowledge, and mastering skills. Many classes are continuing with planned assignments, but with a new twist, while other classes are incorporating some entirely new lessons and activities.

The fifth grade class is doing their annual Parade of States project, a multidisciplinary study of the culture, geography, traditions, and highlights of various states. Students created their own restaurants and developed menus incorporating local crops, foods, and recipes. They virtually “sampled” the specials off each other’s menus last week. They are now wrapping up the project by completing their state floats. In music, the students have been sharing their instrumental talents via Flipgrid video. Check out a few samples: one, two, three, and four.

The sixth grade geography class began with a study of pandemics and then moved on to Africa, welcoming guest speakers in remotely for each topic. They also have been cataloging their own acts of kindness as a way to focus on giving back in these challenging times. In science, the class has been observing what happens when eggs are placed in vinegar and food dye for a few days, and then switched to water and food dye. In performing these labs, students can see the effects of diffusion and osmosis in action.

In Civics, the seventh grade is working on a Supreme Court project, where students write trial briefs and re-argue famous cases dealing with students’ rights before a panel of peers, who then render written court decisions. This past week, they held oral arguments remotely and the students did a great job arguing their side of the case. In Earth Science, students came up with creative ways to dance in their seats to show the different types of seismic waves. Here, the class looked on as a couple of student volunteers did “The Worm” dance to demonstrate how it looks like a Surface Wave. (It was crazy hat and hair day!)

In Geometry, eighth grade students are looking at what shapes are created when you cut a sphere with a plane and are investigating chords and diameters. The Algebra classes played “Radical” Bingo where students had to simplify radical expressions to try and get five in a row on their bingo boards. Winners were granted an I.O.U. for candy prizes when we see each other in person again. In Latin B, students researched Roman monuments, creating their own brochures to encourage visitors to see what these sites once had to offer. Getting creative with how to construct and share a model of their monument, a couple of students utilized Minecraft.


May 15 is the deadline for several forms required for the 2020-2021 school year, including health forms and off-campus travel and athletic participation release forms. All forms and instructions can be found at Family Forms on our website. You can also reach this page from the drop-down menu under the ‘Parents’ tab at the top of NYA’s homepage. Thank you for completing these forms by the due dates. It is a tremendous help to our faculty and staff!


As one of the ways to keep the community connected, students have been collaborating on a weekly production of NYA News. The show, anchored by Executive Council President Mason Parks, incorporates many features, updates, and talents within our community. These include Cooking with Camille, Movie Reviews, the Faculty Favorite Song Challenge, Acts of Kindness, Weekly Wellness Tips, Riddle of the Week, and much more. It is a thoughtful and enjoyable weekly recap of the many things going on around “campus.” Check out episodes #1, #2, and #3.


Think to yourself, when was the last time that you had your annual physical exam? Then think about the last time you had your dental exam. Now think about the last time was that you had a mental health check-up…or a relationship check-up. We routinely take care of our bodies and teeth without giving it a second thought. When it comes to our own mental health and relationships, it is not typically part of our health routine. Yet, more frequently than not, people identify valuing their family above anything else. What would be more valuable than making sure that we are healthy, positive members of our family? Our society has done a better job of reducing the stigma of seeking mental health treatment, but it has not been abolished. Seasonal wellness check-ups would offer all of us a quarterly opportunity to maintain balance, grounding, and introspection. This could be individual, couple, or family therapy. You can find a local therapist here, or try a support group such as NAMIThe Maine Crisis Hotline (1-888-568-1112) is another service to seek support and referrals 24/7.  ~ Cindy Hould, NYA Counselor


One thing which is vital to not only academic success, but also general health and well-being is getting enough sleep. In these unique circumstances, many of our Middle School students seem to no longer be following their usual sleep schedules and routines, and they are not getting anywhere near enough sleep each night. Several are coming to their first classes (although they begin an hour later and there is no commute to school) yawning and bleary-eyed, and some are not completing assignments because they are up well past midnight each night texting, watching Netflix or TikTok, or playing video games. More than ever, with so much change in our lives, it is essential for our students to keep a consistent routine and to recharge with sufficient sleep each night. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 9-12 hours of sleep per night for ages 6-12 and 8-10 hours per night for ages 13-18. To set an appropriate sleep schedule, determine the wake-up time (which will likely fall somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30 with our current school schedule) and count back from there. For example, for an 11 year old student who wakes up at 7:30, bedtime will fall between 7:30 and 10:30; for a 14 year old who wakes up at 8:30, bedtime will fall between 10:30 and 12:30. Parents may need to establish and enforce these routines to ensure that your children are getting enough sleep to maintain healthy and active lives. Keeping phones, computers, and other electronics out of the bedroom at night and establishing no screens for at least 60 minutes before bed will help to promote healthy sleep patterns as well.


With the help of advisors and current teachers, all students have now completed the course registration process for next year. This annual process enables us to prioritize their class selections in designing the rubric for student schedules which will be created early this summer.


NYA’s Bicentennial Learning Commons is looking terrific! The furniture has been put into place, the offices and work rooms are ready, and the volumes are currently being positioned on the shelves in preparation for our students’ return. It will surely be a wonderful new space for our entire community to enjoy and will make a lasting impact on our beautiful campus. Take a tour here.


Middle School Recognition Evening is one of our major events of the year. This evening is designed to highlight the many achievements of all of our Middle School students and to celebrate the eighth grade students as they conclude their NYA Middle School years. The event typically includes an art show, musical performances by every Middle School student, Community Awards, the eighth grade speech, presentation of certificates to eighth grade students, the eighth grade class video, and a short reception. Since this event means so much to us, especially our eighth grade families, and the current circumstances prevent us from gathering all together, we have decided to postpone this event until sometime in August. Our hope is that we will be able to come together for a streamlined, in-person event at that time and that we will be able to give a proper send-off to the eighth grade students as they leave the Middle School. If a live event on campus is not possible at that time, we will move ahead with a virtual event. Stay tuned for more information in the weeks ahead.


While June 3 is our last day of classes, our school year concludes on Thursday, June 4. Typically, this day includes an Awards Day Ceremony in the morning, handing out yearbooks, a cookout lunch, and activities including yearbook-signing, music, assorted games, and fun with friends. This year, we will be taking a different approach, but hope to capture as much of the spirit of the day as we can.

  • For the various awards typically given out at Middle School Recognition Evening and the Awards Day Ceremony, we will be sending special, personalized emails to each student (and will Cc their parents) on the morning of June 4. Awards will be given to recipients at the pick-up later in the afternoon (see below), and the list of award recipients will be included in Ben’s letter on Sunday, June 7. Next fall, we will recognize these award winners at a Friday Forum assembly with the entire Middle and Upper Schools.
  • At 10:00 a.m. on June 4, we will hold a special Middle School virtual assembly in Teams. This assembly will incorporate recognition of the hard work of all of our students; a special spotlight on the eighth grade class; the grand reveal of our spring Advisory Challenge winner (complete with a virtual hand-off of the quadruped panthowl trophy!); and a fun final wrap-up of the year.
  • Beginning at 1:00 p.m., we will have a drop-off/pick-up scheduled in the Middle School parking lot turnaround. Families will drive up during their assigned time slot, pop their trunks, and let volunteers know the student’s name and grade. Families will also bring with them any NYA textbooks, instruments, and uniforms that they need to return, and volunteers will retrieve these from your trunk. The volunteers will then deliver to you all items remaining from the student’s locker (or found on campus), any awards, yearbooks, and a small treat! You may also see some familiar faces on site to wish you warm summer greetings.


We are collecting any unneeded textbooks to use as classroom spares or to pass on to students in need. Families may drop off books at the Yearbook and Materials Pick-Up or bring them by the Middle School before the start of school in September. We appreciate your generosity! You also have the option of selling your used textbooks back to MBS, our textbook service. If you want to pursue this option, just follow up with the Online Buyback.


The fifth grade class had two very special events scheduled for late this spring. Fifth Grade Arts Night is when students usually share their Parade of States floats; perform solo, small group, and full class instrumental music pieces; and present their fifth grade play. Although we were not able to host this event last week, we are pleased to announce that students will present their play next fall! The second big event of the spring is the fifth grade overnight aboard the Schooner Stephen Taber. We are looking into the possibility of rescheduling the trip for the fall, but are not yet able to confirm. We will update families on both events over the summer.


For the second consecutive year, NYA has received a gift of $100,000 for student financial aid. The gift will be used to support both current-use financial aid ($25,000) and the North Yarmouth Academy Endowed Fund for Scholarship Assistance ($75,000), which provides need-based aid to deserving students. Read full details here.

NYA Soiree 2020NYA SOIRÉE 

The Academy will commit all proceeds from the Soirée to meet current and incoming families’ need for financial aid and to ensure faculty have the resources they need to be successful today and into the coming academic year. The 36th Annual Soirée will take place virtually on Friday, May 15. Please join us!


All students should check their summer reading assignments for English class. The book lists will be posted on the NYA website after June 1. In addition, rising eighth and ninth grade students continuing on in language will have a summer assignment for their language class. These assignments will also be available on the website.


Student schedules, textbook order information, supply lists, and advisor assignments will be sent out in July. Be on the lookout for these important items to prepare for next fall.


NYA’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program begins in seventh grade. From grades 7-12, students need to bring a laptop, Chromebook, or tablet with keyboard meeting the minimum requirements outlined here. Basic laptops with an up-to-date web browser and decent battery life are fully adequate for a student’s needs. NYA provides the Microsoft Office suite for students to download on up to five devices. Contact Chris Mazzurco, Director of Information Technology, with any questions.


Have you ever thought about hosting an NYA student from abroad or out of state in your home? Though there is much uncertainty in the world right now, this might be a great time to consider hosting a student in the future. The NYA Homestay Program invites interested families to contact Sagaree Sengupta and Eliot Grady at for more information.


The Middle School Locker Open House will be on Wednesday, September 2 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., immediately following the New Student Orientation. Families can swing by the Middle School, drop off some of their textbooks and supplies, and begin to set up their lockers. This is a great time to get a head start on preparations for the first week, to scope out how other students might be organizing or decorating their lockers, and to get to see some new and familiar faces. We hope to see you there!


During the summer, administrative office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. In addition to admission activity, we will be preparing for the upcoming school year. We will continue to send information and updates via email throughout the summer.


The NYA Parents’ Association is looking for a few people to round out our board for the 2020-2021 school year. We need a parent representative for Primary/Kindergarten in the Lower School as well as for grade 5 and grade 6 in the Middle School. This position does not require attendance at the monthly meetings and can be done on your own time. The position primarily entails pushing out email communications provided by the school rep. These communications come 1-2 times/month and revolve around school activities, fundraisers, sporting events, etc. Everything can be done from the comfort of your own home and when it is convenient for you. If you have additional questions or are interested, please contact Patrick Cannon (Noah ’22).


5/15Returning Family Forms Due
5/25Memorial DayNO CLASSES
6/1Summer Assignments Posted
6/3Last Day of Classes
6/4Middle School Assembly10:00 a.m.
6/4Yearbook and Supplies Drop-Off/Pick-Up1:00-1:50 p.m.
9/2Middle School Locker Open House11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
9/8First Day of School!


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