NYA Parents’ Association Awards Grants

The North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) Parents’ Association (PA) announced their grant awards for the 2017-2018 early winter teachers’ cycle. This year, the PA received a total of five grant proposals and were able to fund four of them completely and one partially. “The grants committee was thrilled to be able to fund all of these requests,” said Jennifer Brown-Strabley, chair of the PA grants committee. “We are excited to check in later this semester to hear about how our grant awards have enhanced programming at the school,” she said.

The grants are as follows:

  • Lower and Middle School Music and String Ensemble Teacher, Linda Vaillancourt requested $750 to use towards the purchase of a glockenspiel primarily for the Middle School band.  “Thanks to a grant from the Parents’ Association, the music department was able to purchase a new 2.6 octave Wang glockenspiel with case and stand. The glockenspiel is the highest pitched member of the mallet percussion family. Previously, the students were making do with ‘practice glockenspiels,’ smaller, lighter instruments that are much more portable, but also considerably inferior in sound. The new instrument will add volume as well as a much prettier tone to the section,” reported Vaillancourt.
  • First grade teacher, Shannon Gallagher, proposed spending $650 to bring local author and illustrator Josh Alves to the Lower School for a full day of workshops and presentations for students from kindergarten through the fourth grade. “The Lower School tries to bring an author to campus each year to encourage creativity and a love of reading, writing, and art in our students,” explained Gallagher. “Alves has an interactive approach to get students fully engaged in the process,” she said.
  • Anne Powell requested $750 to bring the Directors Lab at Portland Stage Company to NYA for a day to work with the eighth grade class. On February 7, the eighth graders will attend an on campus Shakespeare performance of Julius Caesar and an acting/directing workshop with Portland Stage Company’s Director’s Lab. The production chooses texts that inspire and incite conversation among students. Afterwards, students will have the opportunity to “direct” those scenes in a workshop with the actors, who are professionally trained teaching artists. “One of the most important ways to understand Shakespeare is to see it firsthand. This will invite students to both hear and see the language, which can otherwise feel completely foreign to students (particularly younger students). Moreover, both seeing the play and interpreting the language in workshops with trained actors encourages students to experience multiple ways of interpreting the same material, and they can then see how interpretation can affect perception and meaning,” explained Powell. “Students get to work with the text as actors, encouraging stronger personal, emotional, and thoughtful connection to classic literature.”
  • Michele Buehner proposed spending $200 for a set of Rubik’s cubes for her fifth grade classroom. “Rubik’s cubes help students follow directions and problem solve. They can be used as hands-on manipulatives and to practice perseverance and patience all while having some fun,” said Buehner. She borrowed a set two years ago, and her class loved them. She will be able to loan them to other classes when they’re not in use.
  • Finally, the music and drama department will receive $1,000 for the construction of shelving for the wall closets in the band room in Higgins Hall. Currently, instrument storage and space in the band room is limited due to the size of the instruments and the space needs of the program. Shelving for the wall closets will benefit all instrumental students and studio band participants by freeing up much-needed rehearsal space and allowing easier access to instruments and better organization of the room.

The PA is comprised of parent volunteers who raise funds in support of school and parent programing. Current fundraisers include a booth at the Yarmouth Clam Festival, the annual NYA Holiday Craft Fair, and the Holiday Wreath Sale. In addition to the faculty grants, proceeds from these fundraisers help to pay for special events at the school, social events, and other general programming in support of NYA, its students, faculty, staff, and parents.

“Each year, the Parents’ Association grants are instrumental in allowing teachers to pursue new initiatives and take advantage of opportunities to further our curriculum. Through these grants, teachers are able to take field trips, bring in authors and presenters, and purchase materials which enhance our programs and enrich the student experience. We so appreciate the support of the PA in providing meaningful and engaging learning opportunities for our students,” explained Marissa Markonish, Head of Lower and Middle Schools.

North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school for toddlers to students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character, and intellect in its students. For information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at nya.org.