Middle School Newsletter for November 11, 2018

November is one of my favorite months of the year as it reminds us to take a moment and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. NYA is full of such moments as we collect mounds of food to bring to Preble Street, bake pies for The Root Cellar, and prepare for our Holiday Families. With the Thanksgiving break coming soon, we hope you have the opportunity to give thanks, delight in family and friends, and bring renewed optimism and positive energy to your lives. We also wish to extend our thanks to you for entrusting your children to us and for offering us your support and collaboration.

At this time of year, we also need to remember that snow is likely just around the corner. 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!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


On Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room, NYA looks forward to welcoming author and educator David Sobel for the third annual Kauffmann Lecture. David Sobel is a leading thinker and writer about place-based education and will be giving a dynamic talk about the importance of wild play in the great outdoors for children and for families. The event is free and open to the public. David will also give a workshop on place-based educational strategies and ideas to faculty to NYA and area schools earlier that afternoon.


You are invited to the Seventh Grade Royal River Presentations. The seventh grade has been studying the biodiversity and water quality of the Royal River over the last two months. On Thursday, November 29 from 6:00-7:30 p.m., they will present their findings in engaging science sessions focused on the anatomy of fish, macroinvertebrates, and water quality.  If you are interested in bringing in any light snacks or treats for parents and students, please sign up here. It is sure to be an exciting night!



  • Simplify your life! The NYA Parents’ Association is hosting a pizza dinner beginning at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5, 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 4 at 5:00 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 Chorus; 5:40 for Band, and 5:50 for Strings.


  • 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. 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!


Lower School Drama is presenting Disney’s The Lion King KIDS. The students have been hard at work since September bringing the story of Simba, Scar, and all the animals to life. All students in grades one through four will participate in the production. The performance  is on Wednesday, November 14, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford. It is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!


Kiva is a non-profit organization that coordinates the giving of microloans to under-served entrepreneurs around the world. NYA’s Kiva club is organizing a Change for Change fundraiser beginning after Thanksgiving break and running until Friday, December 14. 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 14 will receive a free dress down day when we return from winter break. Thank you for your donations!

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.


Mark your calendars! The NYA Parents’ Association will host the Annual Holiday Craft Fair and Book Sale on Saturday, December 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in the gymnasium and Safford Center. This annual event is held in conjunction with a town-wide holiday celebration. Get a jump on your holiday shopping while browsing over seventy talented and unique vendors from across the state. Take a break from your shopping to enjoy a sit-down lunch at the NYA Café and listen to holiday music by the NYA Chorus!


Once again, the NYA library will be holding a used book sale at the NYA Craft Fair on Saturday, December 1. We would like your gently used books, and will accept books for ANY age, young children through adults. You may 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!


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 Braden Heal 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 at the following times for holiday sales:

  • November 14, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Curtis front hall (Lower School Drama performance)
  • November 29, 7:30-9:30 a.m., Middle School (wreath and poinsettia pickup)
  • November 30, 2:15-6:15 p.m., Middle School (wreath and poinsettia pickup)
  • December 14, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Middle School (last day before winter break)

Free gift wrapping will be available at all events. Parents 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!


NYA students are encouraged to send in audition materials for the seventh annual Maine Acoustic Festival. The festival, co-hosted by NYA and 317 Main Street, will be held April 5-7, 2019. The festival is focused on traditional roots music and is open by audition to students from around New England. For more information, contact Ian Ramsey.


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, daughter of Jack McMahon, former Middle School English teacher, and sister of Tim McMahon ’93, 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 hold our final Dress Down Day for Holiday Families on Tuesday, November 27 ($3 donation).


The athletic department is pleased to announce a new feature on our website that will allow you to download your child’s team schedules directly into your personal calendar. Visit the NYA Athletics Teams page to subscribe to the schedule of your choice, and see these instructions for help getting started.


Project Graduation’s Poinsettia Sale is now underway. Poinsettia Order Forms are available at each of the three school offices and on the NYA website. This fundraiser is an easy way to support the graduating Class of 2019! Please take a minute to place your order and help spread the word to friends, family, and local businesses. The deadline for orders is November 16, and poinsettias will be available for pick-up in the Middle School Community Room at NYA on November 29 and 30. If you have any questions, please contact Corinne Larson.


The NYA Parents’ Association Wreath Sale is the PA’s top fundraiser. Wreath Order Forms are available at each of the three school offices and on the NYA website. The mission of the Parents’ Association is to promote school spirit, foster community, and support and strengthen NYA through programming and volunteer participation. Proceeds from this sale will enable us to continue to award grants to faculty and students, host speakers, support faculty & staff appreciation, programming, and other division specific events, and much more. The deadline for orders is November 16, and wreaths will be available for pick-up in the Middle School Community Room at NYA on November 29 and 30.


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,  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 participants may sit on chairs if that is more comfortable). All are welcome!


11/12 Veterans Day NO SCHOOL
11/13 David Sobel Lecture, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
11/14 Guided Mindfulness, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
11/14 Lower School Drama Performance, Safford 2:30 p.m.
11/14 NYA Gear Sale, Curtis front hall 2:00-4:00 p.m.
11/16 Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/16 Deadline for Poinsettia and Wreath Orders
11/19-11/23 Thanksgiving Break
11/26 Classes resume
11/26-12/14 KIVA’s Change for Change Fundraiser
11/27 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families $3
11/29 Seventh Grade Royal River Presentations 6:00-7:30 p.m.
11/29-11/30 Poinsettia and Wreath Pick-Up, MSCR
11/29-11/30 NYA Gear Sale, PSMS
12/1 NYA Holiday Craft Fair
12/5 Middle School Evening with the Arts
12/6 Lower School Live 9:00-11:00 a.m.
12/11 Upper School Winter Concert, NYA Gym 6:30 p.m.
12/12 Guided Mindfulness, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
12/14 Last day of Classes before Winter Break
12/14 NYA Gear Sale, PSMS 1:30-3:30 p.m.
12/14 End of First Semester
12/17-1/1 Winter Break NO SCHOOL
1/2 Classes resume; Second Semester begins


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