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Middle School Newsletter for October 17, 2021

It is hard to believe that we are almost one quarter of the way through the school year! It is such a joy to be together in school with your children and to be resuming more of a normal school routine. We are so appreciative of everyone’s continued efforts to keep our community safe and healthy.

Thank you to all the parents who were able to meet with advisors over the past few weeks. Parent-Teacher Conferences are now on the horizon (October 28 and 29), where parents have the opportunity to meet with each of their child’s teachers. These conferences provide an important opportunity for parents and teachers to connect and build a strong school-home partnership in support of each student. Perhaps more than at any other point in development, the Middle School years are a team effort as both teachers and parents help students become increasingly responsible, thoughtful, and self-reliant. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with your child’s teachers to both learn and share as much as you can.

Not only do these days provide this crucial time for parents and teachers to connect, they also provide some much needed downtime for the students after a busy fall and the chance for some quality family time. Students in grades six through eight will also switch gears as they leave fall sports behind and gear up for their winter activities.

Thank you for all you do to support your child and NYA!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


MIDDLE SCHOOL PARKING LOT REMINDERS

The Middle School parking lot is a very busy place at drop-off and pick-up each day. We want to ensure that the experience is as safe for students and as convenient for parents as possible. For drop-off in the morning, please pull ahead to the furthest point in the turn-around before stopping and have students exit the vehicle quickly. Time is of the essence! In the afternoon, timing is everything. If your child is not waiting outside for you, please pull into a parking spot and wait there. One car waiting for even a few minutes can throw off the whole flow and cause our own little traffic jam. We appreciate your help and patience with this process!

NYA GRANDPARENTS’ DAY

We have over 150 grandparents already registered for Grandparents’ Day on Friday, October 22! We encourage your child’s grandparent or grand-friend to join us and register to attend at nya.org/rsvp.

This special day for grandparents and grand-friends would not be possible without the assistance of parent volunteers. Please consider signing up to volunteer by adding your name to one or more of the times and tasks. Volunteering is a great way to help NYA, enjoy the student performances, and ensure grandparents have a great visit to campus. Thank you for your consideration. Please note that we are not able to accommodate parents at Grandparents’ Day unless they are volunteering.

SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22

We will have a special day in the Middle School on Friday, October 22. Not only is this Grandparents’ Day, but it also marks the end of the first quarter. Students will come to school in dress down clothes, but will bring dress up clothes and shoes to change into! (Don’t forget to bring instruments for the afternoon concert as well.) We will begin the day with study hall in advisory groups. All of the Middle School teachers will be available that period, and this will be a great chance to see a teacher for extra help, make up any missing work, and get ahead on assignments for the weekend. We will then take time out to complete an extensive locker cleanout and organization. This is the perfect opportunity to get organized and have a fresh start for the second half of the semester. From there, advisories will dive into our pumpkin carving challenge (see details below). The morning will also include break, senior speeches, announcing the challenge winners, changing into dress up clothes, and concert warm-ups before having lunch and heading to the event tent for the Grandparents’ Day festivities. All Middle School students will be ready for pickup when the event concludes at 2:30 p.m.

CAMP SUNSHINE PUMPKIN CARVING

Trucks will be coming to campus on Wednesday with a delivery of about 250 pumpkins! On Friday, October 22, students will carve the pumpkins in advisory groups for our first advisory challenge of the year. The advisory with the first place pumpkin design will lay claim to the coveted quadruped panthowl (our unique Middle School “trophy”). Later that afternoon, the jack-o-lanterns will be delivered to Freeport by student and faculty volunteers as part of their 2021 Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival. The pumpkins will be lit up in Freeport along with thousands of others in a spectacular display, and then sold to make money to support Camp Sunshine’s programs. The Upper School Executive Council has organized NYA’s support for this fundraiser for the past eight years!

HALLOWEEN

As I frequently have heard students say, “Halloween is kind of a big deal at NYA.” The full community gets into the spirit, and the vast majority of campus comes to school in costume. Students may wear their costumes (or portions of their costumes) throughout the school day. However, it is important that costumes still permit students to engage in the learning process (i.e. cumbersome masks or accessories should wait for the parade). Again this year, costumes must also include an approved face mask while indoors (Halloween masks cannot replace the approved masks typically required). All costumes should be school appropriate in nature. If students opt not to wear a costume, they must be in regular dress code for the day (and we remind students that dressing as a “public school student” is not a costume).

Students often team up with a few friends to plan a group costume theme. These can be a great deal of fun, but can sometimes lead to hurt feelings or tension between classmates if some students feel excluded. This is an ideal opportunity to talk with your children about kindness and inclusion and how to take advantage of this fun event to make sure that everyone feels welcome and accepted. Students begin to develop greater empathy when they put themselves in someone else’s shoes and imagine what it feels like in that situation. Let situations like these be teaching moments for all!

We will have a slightly abbreviated class schedule on Wednesday, October 27, and will end the day with an outdoor Halloween Parade where students can display their costumes and have the chance to win prizes in categories such as “Best Small Group,” “Scariest,” or “Most Original.” Parents are welcome to join us out on the turf field for the parade from 1:45-2:30 p.m. Lots of photos will also be taken to share with the community following the festivities. (See below for details on NYA’s SmugMug page.)

MAKE-A-WISH HALLOWEEN MOVIE NIGHT ON OCTOBER 22

Make-A-Wish is an organization that strives to spark joy and bring hope into the lives of children living with critical illnesses. NYA’s Make-A-Wish Club organizes a variety of events to raise funds with the goal of helping to grant as many wishes as possible. To help our community get into the Halloween spirit while doing something in service to others, the Make-A-Wish Club is putting on a Halloween movie “night” for NYA students of all ages:

  • Lower School Family Screening: 4:00-5:00 p.m.
  • Middle School Student Screening: 5:15-6:45 p.m.
  • Upper School Student Screening: 7:00-9:00 p.m.

*Movie titles are to be determined. All titles will be age-appropriate.

The movies will be shown under the event tent on Denney Field on Friday, October 22. Grab a blanket and come watch a movie with your NYA friends! There is no charge for admission, but donations are encouraged ($5 suggested donation). Snacks, drinks, and pizza will also be available for purchase. All proceeds will go towards granting the wishes of children in Maine. 

PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES

NYA Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, October 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday, October 29 from 8:00 a.m. to  3:00 p.m. There is no school for students on these two days. Conferences will be held on Zoom, and each conference slot will be for ten minutes. This is a chance for parents to talk with individual teachers about the progress of their child in that class. Instructions for the sign-up process will be sent out early this week. Please remember that sign-ups for conferences are on a first come, first served basis. We look forward to meeting all of the parents over the course of these two days, but if your schedule prevents a meeting during those times, please contact a teacher directly to either meet at a different time or to request a summary email from the teacher.

Conferences provide the opportunity to know more than just “the grade,” as they offer the chance for you to understand more fully the complete picture of your child in each class. To make the most out of the conferences, come in ready to ask questions about all aspects of your child’s involvement in the class: How is her effort? Her comprehension of the concepts? Her homework? Her performance on quizzes? on tests? on papers? on labs? What are his greatest strengths in the class? What areas are most challenging for him? What seems to interest him most? How is her focus? Is she able to follow directions independently? Does he participate voluntarily or only when called upon? How does he handle group work? Is he able to work effectively with all members of the class? Does she take on a leadership role? Does she let others do most of the work? Does she come to class prepared with everything she needs each day? Does she use her agenda book appropriately and effectively? Does he seem comfortable and confident with his peers? Is he sometimes too chatty, disruptive, or distracted? What goals would you suggest for him?

At the same time, come in ready to share your insights on what you see, hear, and observe about your child in relation to the class, NYA, and her world in general. Share any strategies that have been helpful to your child and let teachers know your insights on what might work best for him. Talk about what you see in terms of homework and class preparation – the time of day, location, length of time, strategies, challenges, etc. Ask what you can do to better support your child in her learning. Ask if there are things that you should not be doing. Approach these conferences as a team supporting one another and working toward the common goal of meeting the needs of your child. We look forward to meeting with you!

ANNUAL WREATH SALE

Whitney Wreath 2021While it seems impossible that holiday decorations could be on anyone’s mind, it is on ours. The Parents’ Association is once again kicking off our Annual Wreath Sale. As you may know, the PA’s mission is to promote school spirit, foster community, and support and strengthen NYA through programming and volunteer participation. Fundraising is a crucial part of this, and as our top fundraiser, the Wreath Sale will enable us to continue to award grants to faculty and students, host speakers, support faculty & staff appreciation and school programming efforts, and much more. Watch your inbox for more information and the link to order starting next week – we’re adding some amazing new products that can be shipped directly to you or the recipient of your choice!

FALL ATHLETICS UPDATE

It has been so nice to have our Middle School teams competing again this fall. Thanks to all the sideline supporters! Be on the lookout for coach emails regarding end-of-season celebrations taking place on Tuesday, October 26 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. This will be the final day for Middle School fall sports.

The end of the fall season means the start of winter seasons! Team meetings will take place on Monday, November 8 and the first day of practice will be Tuesday, November 9. Be sure to confirm your activity with Ms. Ross or Mr. Poulin in the Athletics Office before then.

Need to update your mask wardrobe? Swing by the Athletics Office for a NYA Panther mask! $7.00/mask or three for $18. Go Panthers!  ~ Kelsy Ross

AFTERNOONS OF NOVEMBER 1-5

As mentioned above, the last day of the Middle School fall sports season is Tuesday, October 26 and the winter season begin on Monday, November 8. There is a one week break from after school activities, and students in grades six, seven, and eight will be ready for pick-up at 2:20 p.m. from Monday, November 1 through Friday, November 5. Students on campus after 2:20 p.m. will attend an after school study hall.

To break up the week for a bit of fun, we will offer special fall cabin fever reliever activities on Monday, November 1 and Wednesday, November 3. Students can opt to play bombardment in the gym (Monday for grades five and six and Wednesday for grades seven and eight) or choose from a variety of games in the Middle School. Fifth grade classes will end at 2:15 p.m. on those two afternoons so they can join in on the fun! Students may also opt to be picked up at 2:20 p.m. on those days.

MIDDLE AND UPPER SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE

From 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 7, we will welcome prospective middle and upper school families to campus for an Open House. It is a terrific look into the NYA community, and we encourage you to share the news with friends, family, and neighbors. If you have questions or would like some material to share with friends, please contact the Admission Office.

UPCOMING DRESS DOWN DAYS

  • NYA’s Make-A-Wish Club is sponsoring a Dress Down Day on Tuesday, October 19 and asking for donations of three dollars or more. We appreciate the contributions you make, but not nearly as much as those who will benefit from the joy a wish brings!
  • The Middle School Civil Rights Team is sponsoring a Dress Down Day on Wednesday, November 3 to benefit The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.
  • Each year, NYA works throughout the fall to help provide some wish-list items for local families in need. While many of their needs include the basics, such as warm clothes, shoes, boots, pots and pans, dishes, etc., we also make sure to include toys and special gifts. The entire school community joins together for this great cause. We will be holding Dress Down Days for Holiday Families on November 10 and December 1 ($3 donation). We will also be collecting food and donations for the Yarmouth Food Pantry in November. Stay tuned for more details in next month’s newsletters.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR SCHOOL COUNSELOR

Enjoy this update on Hunting for the Good Stuff  from Cindy Hould, NYA School Counselor.

WORLD KINDNESS DAY

World Kindness Day is celebrated each year on November 13 as a global day to “promote the importance of being kind to each other, to yourself, and to the world.” Individuals and groups are encouraged to celebrate the day by pledging to do one intentional act of kindness to benefit someone else. We will take time in advisory on Friday, November 12 to appreciate the acts of kindness we see every day, share kind notes, and plan our own intentional acts of kindness.

SEVENTH & EIGHTH GRADE EXPERIENTIAL TRIPS

The seventh and eighth grade experiential trips on October 4 and 5 were a big success! The eighth grade visited Cow Island with Rippleffect while the seventh grade took part in the Leadership School at Camp Wavus in Jefferson. The weather was gorgeous, and we all enjoyed the opportunity to be active outside together. The students had the opportunity to take on personal challenges while forming stronger bonds with their classmates. A big thank you to all the teacher chaperones and congratulations to the students!

FLU SHOTS

Due to current restrictions in place, NYA will not host a flu shot clinic this year. However, the CDC highly recommends flu shots, now more than ever. Below are some options for flu shots this year:

  • Your doctor’s office – Call to set up an appointment and to confirm availability.
  • Pharmacies – Maine pharmacies offer flu shots to ages 7 and up. Some are available for drop-in visits, but many require booking appointments in advance.
  • Urgent Care – Many urgent care offices throughout the state are offering free flu shots (e.g. Convenient MD is offering free flu shots for those 6 months and older, 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.). Call or check websites to determine options in your area.

HOMESTAY FAMILIES NEEDEDNYA Homestay Button

Are you interested in becoming a homestay family for an NYA student from away? As many of you know, NYA has a homestay program for Upper School students who live out of the state or country. In recent years, NYA has hosted students from many different countries, such as Canada, China, Austria, Spain, India, Germany, and more. We are always looking for potential homestay families to host these students. You don’t have to be a current NYA family to host a student. A monthly stipend is provided to each homestay family. The school will facilitate COVID screening on the student’s arrival to Maine. Please see our webpage for more information or email us (Sagaree Sengupta and Eliot Grady) at homestay@nya.org for specific details.

NYA PHOTOS

NYA shares photos with our families through Smug Mug. Go to nyaphotos.smugmug.com and use the password NYApanthers to see photos of school events, athletics, and student life. The site offers a wide variety of print options and custom items for purchase. If you have questions, please contact Kristi Belesca. Please note that the password is case sensitive.

FOR YOUR PLANNING:

10/19Dress Down Day for Make-A-Wish$3
10/22Wear dress down and bring dress up clothes
10/22Pumpkin Carving for Camp Sunshine
10/22End of First Quarter; Special Schedule
10/22Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day2:30 pickup
10/22Make-A-Wish Halloween Movie5:15-6:45 p.m.
10/26MS Fall Team Celebrations2:30-3:30 p.m.
10/27NYA Halloween Festivities2:40 pickup
10/28-10/29Parent Teacher Conferences via ZoomNO CLASSES
11/1 & 11/3Cabin Fever Reliever Activities
11/2, 11/4, &  11/5No after school activities for grades 6, 7, and 8; Pickup at 2:20 p.m. or after school study hall
11/3Dress Down Day for The Trevor Project$3
11/7NYA Open House for Middle & Upper School1:00-3:00 p.m.
11/8MS Winter Athletic Team Meetings3:00 pickup
11/10Dress Down Day for Holiday Families$3
11/10Veterans Day Flagpole Ceremony7:50 a.m.
11/11Veterans DayNO SCHOOL
11/13World Kindness Day
11/15Picture Retake Day
11/19Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/22-11/26Thanksgiving BreakNO SCHOOL
11/29Classes resume
12/16Fall Semester Ends

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