Middle School Newsletter for October 20, 2019

Thank you to all the parents who were able to meet with advisors over the past few weeks. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules to come meet with us! Parent-Teacher Conferences are now on the horizon (November 7 and 8) 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 before the rush of the upcoming holidays. 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


There will be a dance for seventh and eighth graders on Friday, October 25 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. The dance will be in Safford Center (the cafeteria in Curtis, the main building on campus). There will be a DJ, snacks, and decorations to add to the fun. The cost is $5. Dress is casual – dress down, but school appropriate.

Parents: Students and chaperones will remain in Safford for student pick-up. Please arrive by 8:00 p.m., park, and come in to pick up your student. Also, please let us know (note, email, or phone call) if your child will be picked up by someone else.


There will be a movie night for fifth and sixth graders on Friday, October 25 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. The movie will be shown in the Middle School Community Room. The cost is $3. The movie will be lighthearted and age appropriate. Dress is casual – pajamas are welcome! Students are encouraged to bring pillows and blankets or sleeping bags. Snacks (popcorn, candy, water) will be served. Students with allergies or dietary restrictions may bring additional snacks as well.

Parents: As with the dance, students and chaperones will remain in the community room for student pick-up. Please arrive by 8:00 p.m., park, and come in to pick up your student. Also, please let us know (note, email, or phone call) if your child will be picked up by someone else.


Starting on Monday, work will begin on a new water line to the Curtis Building. This work will require digging up portions of Main Street and the driveway to the Lower School and the Curtis parking lot. As a result, please plan on traffic delays. We apologize for any inconvenience. The work is expected to be completed by Friday.


NYA will host a Flu Shot Clinic on Wednesday, October 23 from 12:00-4:00 p.m. in the Savage Middle School.  Lower School students (ages 7 and up) must be accompanied by a parent.  See Announcements in Family Web for the screening questionnaire and consent form.


I will once again offer an educational program to Philadelphia & Washington, D.C. from June 15-20, 2020. The trip is open to all students currently in seventh and eighth grade. The deadline to sign up for the trip has been extended to Friday, November 22. Currently, we have 38 students signed up. If you are interested in the trip, but are unsure if you will be able to make a decision by the November 22 deadline, please let me know. There are three ways to sign your child up:

  1. Online – go to https://worldstrides.com/signup Use Trip ID #173978
  2. By phone – contact WorldStrides’ Customer Service team at 1-800-468-5899.
  3. By mail – send in the Registration Form using the envelope in your child’s Invitation

If you have any questions or would like more information,please email or call 846-9051 ext.435. ~ David Echeverria


District II auditions will take place on Thursday, October 24. Students will be leaving from the arena at 3:00 p.m. to head to Windham Middle School for the auditions. Parents may pick up their students directly from the audition or students may take the bus back to NYA. The bus will return to the arena at approximately 8:00 p.m. Students may want to bring a snack or money to purchase snacks at the auditions. The District II Music Festivals will be on January 10 and 11 at Oxford Hills High School (Instrumental) and January 31 and February 1 at Windham High School (Vocal).


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). All costumes should be school appropriate in nature. If a students opt not to wear a costume, s/he must be in regular dress code for the day (and we remind students that dressing down as a “public school student” is not a costume).

We will have a slightly abbreviated schedule on Halloween, followed by the Halloween Parade in the gym at 2:00 p.m. The parade is an all school event in which students share their costumes with the school and have the chance to win prizes in categories such as “Best Small Group,” “Scariest,” or “Most Original.” Parents are welcome to come and check out all of the fun.  Students will be ready for pick-up at 3:00 p.m.


The entire Middle School will gather in the NYA gym at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, October 28 to celebrate the hard work, growth, joy, and accomplishments of the student athletes. The fifth grade will be dismissed from class at 2:20 p.m. in order to attend this event. Parents and families are welcome! We ask that all students plan to attend and get picked up following the celebration (approximately 3:20 p.m.). The buses will depart at the usual time that afternoon.


There will be no sports for students in grades six, seven, and eight on Tuesday, October 29 through Friday, November 1.  Students will be ready for pick-up at 2:20 p.m., except on October 31, when they will be ready for pick-up at 3:00 p.m. Students on campus after 2:20 p.m. will attend an after school study hall. Middle School winter sports and drama will begin on Monday, November 4.


Be on the lookout for a letter coming out soon from Athletic Director Kelsy Ross delineating important information and checklists regarding student participation during the upcoming winter athletics and activities season.


The Thirst Project is one of the Key Club International Service Projects that we are sponsoring this year. It is a nonprofit organization started by college students. Their goal is to educate students about the global water crisis and provide safe drinking water to communities around the world that do not have the same immediate and easy access that we have. Since the Thirst Project is Key Club’s main project, we wanted to share their inspiring message with everyone so that, during future fundraisers, they know what organization they are donating to and why donating is so important and impactful (it only costs $25 to provide safe drinking water to one person for life). Representatives from the Thirst Project will be presenting to students in grades five through 12 on Tuesday, October 22 and we will be sponsoring a Dress Down Day to support the project on Wednesday, October 23 ($3).  ~Ellie Hilscher, Class of 2020, NYA Key Club President


Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, November 7 from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Friday, November 8 from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. There is no school on these two days. Each conference will last ten minutes (15 minutes for fifth grade conferences with Michele Buehner). 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 soon. Please remember that sign-ups for conferences are on a first come, first served basis.

To make the most out of the conferences, come in ready to ask questions about all aspects of your child’s involvement in each 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 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!


From 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 3, 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.


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, former 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 be holding Dress Down Days for Holiday Families on Tuesday, October 29 and Wednesday, December 12 ($3 donation).


Under the leadership of Eliot Grady’s advisory group, we are holding a Dress Down Day  on Wednesday, November 6 to sponsor a student who hopes to attend the Siddhartha School in Ladakh, India. As little as $360 will pay for a student’s tuition, books, and other school expenses. NYA has a special relationship with the Siddhartha School. Khen Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist Monk and founder of the Siddhartha School, is a frequent visitor to NYA and presented the Academy with our prayer wheel in the spring of 2017. In addition, Stanzin Angmo, NYA Class of 2016, attended Siddhartha prior to coming to NYA in her junior year. Stanzin Angmo is currently a senior at Bennington College in Vermont and returns to Ladakh each summer to help educate the community on women’s and children’s health issues. $3 Donation


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 colder weather, they are in need of extra supplies to serve the individuals and families who rely on their help. Between Wednesday, November 6 and Friday, November 15, 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. Parents may also drop off donations when they come in for conferences on November 7 and 8. In celebration of the spirit of giving, students will enjoy a Dress Down Day on Friday, November 15. Thank you for your generosity!


The seventh and eighth grade experiential overnight trips on October 15 and 16 were very successful. The eighth grade visited Cow Island with Rippleffect while the seventh grade took part in the Leadership School at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro. The weather was a bit chilly, but sunny and bright. 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!


Lower School Drama is presenting Disney’s Winnie the Pooh KIDS next month. All students in grades one through four will participate in the production. Toddler, Primary, and fifth grade students will have the opportunity to watch the dress rehearsal on Tuesday, November 19. Lower School students have been hard at work since September bringing the story of Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, Roo, Christopher Robin, and all their friends to life. The performance of Winnie the Pooh KIDS is on Wednesday, November 20, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford. It is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!


While it seems impossible that holiday decorations could be on anyone’s mind, it is on ours! The NYA 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 programming and other division specific events, and much more. We are combining efforts with Project Graduation’s Poinsettia Sale, a fundraiser organized by parents of seniors to help pay for a fun and safe post-graduation party for NYA’s class of 2020. Click Here To Order Your Wreaths And Poinsettias. Please spread the word to family, friends, neighbors, and local businesses.  Your involvement makes all the difference!  ~ Stacey Schuler-Cannon, Wreath Sale Chair and Corinne Larson, Poinsettia Sale Chair


  • Guided Mindfulness Sessions: Ian Ramsey will host his monthly guided mindfulness session from 7:00-7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 13 in the Middle School Community Room. No experience necessary, and beginners are welcome and encouraged. NYA will provide some meditation cushions, but participants are encouraged to bring a pillow to sit on if possible (or can sit on chairs if that is more comfortable). All are welcome!
  • The Brain Trust: The third meeting of the “Brain Trust” parents group will be on Tuesday, November 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. The group, facilitated by Ian Ramsey, is a forum to discuss emerging brain and health science and its significance for children and adults. The event is open to NYA parents and the general public.


10/22 Thirst Project Presentation, NYA Gym 10:00 a.m.
10/23 Dress Down Day for Thirst Project $3
10/24 District II Music Festival Auditions, Windham Middle School
10/25 End of First Quarter
10/25 Last day of Middle School Fall Athletics
10/25 Fifth & Sixth Grade Movie Night, MSCR 6:00-8:00 p.m.
10/25 Seventh & Eighth Grade Movie Night, Safford 6:00-8:00 p.m.
10/28 Middle School Fall Athletic Celebration, NYA Gym 2:30 p.m.
10/29 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families $3
10/29-11/1 No Middle School Sports/Afternoon Activities
10/31 Halloween Festivities and Parade; Special Schedule  2:00-3:00 p.m.
11/3 Middle and Upper School Open House 1:00-3:00 p.m.
11/4 Middle School Winter Sports and Drama begin
11/6 Veterans Day Flagpole Ceremony, Front Lawn  7:50 a.m.
11/6 Dress Down Day for Siddhartha School $3
11/6-11/15 Bring in Donations for Preble Street
11/7-11/8 Parent-Teacher Conferences NO SCHOOL
11/11 Veterans Day NO SCHOOL
11/11 Deadline for Wreath and Poinsettia Orders
11/12 Brain Trust Parents Group, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
11/13 Guided Mindfulness, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
11/15 Dress Down Day for Preble Street
11/20 Lower School Drama Performance, Safford 2:30 p.m.
11/22 Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/22 Final day to sign up for History Trip
11/25-11/29 Thanksgiving Break
12/2 Classes resume
12/5 Seventh Grade Royal River Presentations
12/7 NYA Holiday Craft Fair
12/11 Middle School Evening with the Arts



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