Middle School Newsletter for November 12, 2017

Each year, the month of November 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.

Though it is hard to believe with recent days near sixty degrees, times of snow are 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. With thoughtful and thorough preparation, we will soon be able to shout with glee, “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


NYA will host a parent education seminar on digital citizenship on Thursday, November 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. Jennifer Hanson, Director of Library Services at Worcester Academy, will present on topics that include the benefits and challenges of social media: making positive choices in the digital world; handling challenges in the digital world (e.g. cyberbullying); online safety; resources for parents. Jennifer will present workshops to students in grades 5-12 during the school day.


pumpkin-pieAttention all bakers (and want-to-be-bakers) in the NYA community! With Thanksgiving just around the corner, here is an opportunity for NYA families to reach out and help others who may be experiencing difficult times…in the form of a pumpkin pie (or 2 or 3)! Each year, The Root Cellar collects pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving meal baskets that go to families in need in the Greater Portland area. This is a tough time for many families, and there is an ever-increasing need for food. For the past twelve years, our family has donated pies to the Root Cellar as part of the Cumberland/North Yarmouth Family Network. Again this year, we would like to extend an invitation to all NYA students and families to join in on this simple, yet fulfilling activity. Additional information on how to join this effort is available here.  ~ Cathy Jakubowitch (Jack Kostelnik’17, Xander Kostelnik’19)


The seventh grade has been studying the biodiversity and water quality of the Royal River over the last two months. On Thursday, November 30 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. Additional information can be found here.  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!


On November 28, NYA will welcome award-winning author Sy Montgomery. Sy’s books for both adults and children, including The Soul of an Octopus, The Good Good Pig, Spell of The Tiger, and Mother Bear Man, have garnered many honors. Sy will do presentations and workshops with Lower and Middle School students throughout the day. She will also do a parent presentation at 6:30 p.m. in Higgins Hall with a focus on her adventures throughout the world. The evening session is open to the public. Sy’s visit is part of the NYA Kauffmann Program lecture series.


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. 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. In celebration of the spirit of giving, students will enjoy a Dress Down Day on Tuesday, November 14. Thank you for your generosity!



  • Simplify your life! The NYA Parents’ Association is hosting a pizza dinner beginning at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6, 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 5 at 5:00 p.m. so we can be sure to order enough pizzas.

ART SHOW:nya-ms-evening-with-arts-2016-17-2656-resize

  • 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!


There will be a couple of changes to the music schedule in preparation for the concert on Wednesday, December 6. Students should make note of the changes below and plan accordingly. All other music classes will meet according to the usual schedule.

  • Tuesday, December 5, 11:20-12:05:  Band 6-8 and Chorus 5-8 (both boys and girls) will meet (band/chorus doublers go to chorus).
  • Wednesday, December 6, 11:10-11:55:  All MS student 5-8 in gym for dress rehearsal!

Students should see their advisor or music teacher with any questions.


makeawish-logoNYA’s Make-A-Wish Club will host a Choral Concert at 7:00 p.m. on November 16 at the First Universalist Church in Yarmouth. Singing groups from Bowdoin College, Freeport High School, Mt. Ararat High School, NYA, and more will perform, and representatives from Make-A-Wish of Maine will speak. The concert is free and donations are encouraged. Contact Heidi Grant with any questions.

The NYA Make-A-Wish Club will also host a Black [& Orange] Friday Hockey Clinic at Travis Roy Arena on November 24. The idea behind this fundraiser is parents can shop while kids get a few hours of ice time with NYA varsity hockey coaches and players. Check-in begins any time after 11:00 a.m., and the clinic will run from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. with a food break in between. Male and female skaters of all abilities from Mites to PeeWees are welcome! The cost of the clinic is $50, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish of Maine. Skates, stick, and helmet are required. Register here! Contact Liz Smith with any questions.


Thank you to all of the parents who were able to come in for conferences on November 2 and 3. It was wonderful to touch base and share about each student’s progress. Please feel free to reach out to your child’s advisor or teachers at any time. We are here to help!


The Lower School Drama Club is presenting Jungle Book KIDS on Wednesday, November 15, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford.  Lower School students have been hard at work since September bringing the story of Mowgli, Baloo, and all the jungle animals to life.  The play is free and open to the public.


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 Freeport, 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 the NYA website. The school will remain open until all children can be safely picked up by parents or other authorized individuals.


It is that time of year to think about our Middle School weekend trips to Sunday River! These trips allow students to enjoy great skiing and snowboarding as well as valuable social opportunities on the weekends at a highly discounted price. This year, Sunday River is offering three trips on January 7, January 21, and February 4, with February 11 as a make-up date. On each of the three Sundays, students will leave NYA at 7:00 a.m. and return by approximately 5:15 p.m. We have announced these dates to the students. Please read this form with information about the different lift packages and transportation prices. This initial form and payment need to be returned to Mr. Smith by December 6. We hope to see many of you on the slopes!  ~ Nate Smith


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 15. 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 15 will receive a free dress down day when we return from winter break. Thank you for your donations!


Mark your calendars! The NYA Parents’ Association will host the Annual Holiday Craft Fair and Book Sale on Saturday, December 2, 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. Enjoy a sit-down lunch at the NYA Café and listen to holiday music by the NYA Chorus. A special raffle table filled with vendor’s goodies will benefit Project Graduation, and of course the PA will have a table selling all the NYA Gear you need!

The Holiday Craft Fair is a substantial fundraiser for the Parents’ Association. Money raised from booth rental fees helps support NYA teacher grant requests. But, it’s your participation that makes these vendors want to return year after year. As always, we are looking for a few volunteers to help set up on Friday, move vendors in, and take down after the event on Saturday. Please sign up for a shift if you are able to volunteer. Help out & feel good!


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 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!


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!


The NYA Parents’ Association’s Wreath Sale and Project Graduation’s Poinsettia Sale are underway. Order Forms are combined this year, and are available at each of the three school offices and on the NYA website. These fundraisers are an easy way to support the PA’s grants and programming as well as the graduating Class of 2018. 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 15, and orders will be available for pick up at NYA on November 30 and December 1. If you have any questions, please contact Corinne Larson.


11/14 Dress Down Day for Preble Street food donations
11/15 Lower School Drama Performance, Jungle Book KIDS, Safford 2:30 p.m.
11/15 Upper School Athletic Recognition, NYA gym 6:00 p.m.
11/15 Deadline for Wreath and Poinsettia Orders
11/16 Digital Citizenship Workshop for Parents, MSCR 5:30 p.m.
11/16 NYA Make-A-Wish Choral Concert, First Universalist Church 7:00 p.m.
11/17 Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/17 Pumpkin Pie Donations Due, Middle School 7:30-8:30 a.m.
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
11/24 NYA Make-A-Wish Black (and Orange) Friday Skate, NYA’s Travis Roy Arena 12:00-2:00 p.m.
11/27 Classes resume
11/28 Visit from author Sy Montgomery
11/29 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families gift item or $3
11/30 Seventh Grade Royal River Presentations, MSCR and Mertz 612 6:00-7:30 p.m.
11/30-12/1 Wreath and Poinsettia Pick-Up, MSCR
12/2 NYA Craft Fair, Curtis 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
12/5 RSVP for Pizza Dinner 5:00 p.m.
12/6 Sunday River forms and payment due to Mr. Smith
12/6 Middle School Evening with the Arts, NYA Gym (pizza dinner at 4:45 in Safford and art show at 5:25 in Middle School) 6:00 p.m.
12/7 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families gift item or $3
12/15 Last day of classes before Winter Break
12/18-1/1 Winter Break
1/2 Classes resume; Second Semester begins


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