Middle School Newsletter for October 15, 2017

Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for November 2 and 3. 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 are also switching gears as they leave fall sports behind and gear up for their winter activities. We look forward to this next phase of the school year and to having the opportunity to meet with each of you individually at conferences.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


There will be a dance for seventh and eighth graders on Friday, October 27 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 27 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 light-hearted 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.


NYA is taking part in Socktober, a month long community sock drive started by Kid President with Brad Montague. Please bring in a pair of new socks between Monday, October 16 and Friday, October 27, and we will bring the donations to Preble Street Shelter. More than 600,000 Americans are homeless, and socks are one of the most requested items at homeless shelters. The Socktober campaign turns the month of October into Socktober – a reminder that “even a small act of love, such as donating a pair of socks, can make a big difference”.


For the past several years, we have worked to support the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival by carving pumpkins for their display. On the afternoon of October 20 (after the grandparents and grandfriends depart), Middle School students will change into casual clothes and join their advisory groups for a pumpkin carving challenge! Judges (aka a few volunteers from NYA staff) will select the top three pumpkins. The winning advisory group will lay claim to the coveted quadruped panthowl (our unique Middle School “trophy”). We will then deliver the pumpkins to the L.L. Bean campus in Freeport. If you are planning to visit the Pumpkin Festival on October 21, keep an eye out for our NYA jack-o’-lanterns!

HALLOWEENHalloween, North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth, Maine, Brian Beard - CIP

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 student should 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).Halloween, North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth, Maine, Brian Beard - CIP

We will have a slightly abbreviated schedule on Halloween, followed by the Halloween Parade in the gym at 2:00 pm. 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.


There will be no sports for students in grades six, seven, and eight on Friday, October 27; Monday, October 30; Tuesday, October 31; and Wednesday, 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 will begin on Monday, November 6.


Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, November 2 from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Friday, November 3 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!


hlcNYA is now a member of the Hybrid Learning Consortium (HLC). “The Hybrid Learning Consortium creates a globalized learning community, providing students and faculty with a 21st Century digital learning community through online courses which offer freedom of content, collaboration and scheduling. The HLC brings together independent schools, teachers and students from around the world with the shared vision to provide best practices of diverse, in-depth and innovative learning. Partnering with HLC enables independent schools to offer variety in course offerings, broaden student and faculty connections and provide professional development — all in ways that are relational and responsive distinctly to each partner school.” As the only member school in Northern New England, we are excited to be able to offer these additional course offerings to students in the Upper School. Come meet Founding Director Sarah Hofstra at a Parent Information Session on Tuesday, October 17, 8:00-9:00 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room. Sarah will also be meeting with faculty and staff, the Upper School student body, and seventh and eighth graders to tell them more about HLC during her two-day visit at NYA.


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 and daughter of Jack McMahon, Middle School English teacher, and sister of Tim McMahon, 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 first Dress Down Day for Holiday Families on Thursday, October 26 ($3 donation).


NYA’s annual Middle and Upper School Open House will be held on Sunday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m. We are excited to welcome prospective families considering grades 5-12 to campus to interact with our faculty and students. If you have friends or family who are interested in receiving more information about the Open House and North Yarmouth Academy, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with the Admission Office. You can also direct them to our Open House event page.


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. Between Monday, October 30 and Tuesday, November 7, 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 2 and 3. In celebration of the spirit of giving, students will enjoy a Dress Down Day on Tuesday, November 7. Thank you for your generosity!


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 can 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!


The 2017-2018 Middle School Student & Parent Handbook is now posted on the NYA website under the Parents and Students tabs. The handbook is full of useful details, as well as outlining critical information on school rules and policies. Please take some time to read the handbook carefully as all members of the NYA community are expected to read and abide by the policies and protocols. Hard copies of the handbook are available on request.


Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day is this Friday, October 20. This is a Dress Up Day. Invitations have been mailed! Please encourage grandparents or “grandfriends” to attend and RSVP online. Registration opens at 9:00 a.m. at the entrance to Curtis Gymnasium, followed by a student concert, senior speeches, and classroom visits, and concludes with a luncheon with Head of School Ben Jackson at 12:00 p.m. Contact Caroline Anson with any questions.

There are many volunteer opportunities on Thursday and Friday. This is a great way to meet other parents, see the performances, and help to make for a successful event. For information, contact event chair, Debra Ramsey.  (Lower School Grandparents’ Day will take place on May 11, 2018.)


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!


As part of the Kauffmann Program, NYA is offering a monthly book group that focuses on nature and society’s relationship to it. The Wild Soul Words group is open to all adult members of the NYA and surrounding communities. Ian Ramsey will facilitate the discussion, and NYA will provide beverages. The next meeting will be Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv on October 26.


Our Picture Retake Day with Coffee Pond Photography is scheduled for Tuesday, October 24 from 8:00-9:30 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room.


10/16-10/27 Bring in donations of new socks for Socktober
10/17 Hybrid Learning Consortium Parent Information Session, MSCR 8:00 a.m.
10/19 District II Auditions, Edward Little High School
10/20 Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day; Dress Up Day
10/20 Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Carving
10/24 Picture Retake Day, MSCR  8:00 a.m.
10/25 Last Day of Middle School fall sports
10/26 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families $3
10/26 Middle School Fall Athletic Celebration, NYA gym 2:30 p.m.
10/26 Wild Soul Words Book Group, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
10/27 First quarter ends; No Middle School sports
10/27 Seventh and Eighth Grade Dance, Safford 6:00-8:00 p.m.
10/27 Fifth and Sixth grade Movie Night, MSCR 6:00-8:00 p.m.
10/30-11/1 No Middle School sports
10/30-11/7 Bring in food donations for Preble Street
11/2-11/3 Parent-Teacher Conferences NO SCHOOL
11/5 Middle and Upper School Open House 1:00-3:00 p.m.
11/6 Middle School Winter Sports begin
11/7 Dress Down Day for Preble Street
11/9 Veterans’ Day Flagpole Ceremony, front lawn 7:50 a.m.
11/10 Veterans’ Day NO SCHOOL
11/15 Lower School Drama Performance, Safford 2:30 p.m.
11/15 Upper School Athletic Recognition, NYA gym 6:00 p.m.
11/17 Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/18 Skate with the Bears, NYA’s Travis Roy Ice Arena 12:00-1:00 p.m.
11/20-11/24 Thanksgiving Break NO SCHOOL
11/27 Classes resume


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