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September 20, 2020

Dear Families,

It has been another great week on campus as we just completed our first full, five-day week. Thank you to everyone for your support and flexibility as we begin this school year. This includes our families, students, faculty, and staff. The last six months represented great change for all of us, and we have all made many adjustments. There is still a lot to learn, but I commend everyone for your efforts adhering to this year’s new guidelines. While some things are different, the important elements of NYA remain the same. We are here at school, along with a great deal of innovation and creativity that is happening in our classrooms and around campus.

After many weeks of deliberation by the state and MPA (Maine Principal’s Association), athletics were officially underway as of Monday, September 14. Middle School students are practicing Monday through Thursday. Area middle schools will not be competing against other schools for the fall season, but NYA students will practice and compete against one another. It is great to see them out on the fields and on the Poulin Family Tennis Courts. Upper School students will compete with an interscholastic schedule in soccer, field hockey, golf, and cross-country. Thank you to Ms. Ross, Mrs. Michaeles, coaches, and the entire athletic department.

NYA occasionally uses text messaging to notify families of important information such as delays, closures (snow days!), and other time sensitive information. Please take a few moments to make sure we have your most up-to-date cell phone number and other contact information in our system. You can do this by logging into your Family Web account. Text messages from NYA will come from this number: 23383. To insure that you receive our text messages, please text START to 22383 and also add 22383 as a contact for NYA in your phone’s address book. Please contact if you have any questions about this system. We try not to send text messages too often.

Our homecoming weekend was scheduled to begin this Friday, September 25. While COVID has changed these plans, we will still host the dedication of the new Bicentennial Learning Commons. Many generous donors helped make this project a reality, and we will recognize them at this event. Unfortunately, due to size restrictions, this will be a small, invitation-only gathering. The entire space is already getting a lot of great use by our students and faculty. The BCL Terrace is almost complete and will be ready to use in the very near future.

Lower School Parents’ Night was held the first week of school. Upper School and Middle School Parents’ Nights were held respectively last Wednesday and Thursday. NYA Parents’ Night events provide an opportunity to learn about the overall academic, and extra-curricular opportunities, along with the specific goals and objectives in each of your child’s courses. I hope you were able to gain a good idea of what is happening with your child’s classes this year. Parent-teacher conferences, scheduled for later this fall, are an opportunity to learn more about your child’s individual progress. You will receive more information about these conferences in the coming weeks. In the interim, always feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher or advisor with any questions.

A lot going on around school:

As you may have learned through the videos and Zooms during the various parents’ night events, there is a great deal going on around campus. The toddler and primary students are anxiously waiting for caterpillars to turn into chrysalises; kindergarteners are learning all about their names; second graders did some fun Dot Day activities; and the third grade class is getting right into a lot of reading and writing. Mrs. Barschdorf’s Middle School students are learning about biodiversity using rainbow colored goldfish. Music classes look a little different in all grades in the age of COVID-19. However, the music department is doing a great job taking advantage of the outdoors. In short, there are a lot of hands-on, exciting activities going on throughout the classrooms and beyond. I will share details of many of these activities in Sunday letters to come.

Please don’t forget that Monday is NYA Picture Day for Middle and Upper School students, and Wednesday is NYA Picture Day for the Lower School. These are not dress up days. For safety, this year our school photographer, Brian Beard, will take the photos instead of an outside vendor. The photos will be used for our school directory and the yearbook. Parents and friends may purchase them from our Smug Mug website: This is a bit different than previous years because Smug Mug does not offer photo packages to purchase. To order prints, once you find your student’s photo, click Buy Photo at the lower right of the screen. Select paper prints. You’ll find various sizes under Standard Sizes. Wallet sizes are located in the Other Sizes selection. We hope to take class (group) photos later in the year. If you have any questions, please contact Kristi Belesca in the marketing and communications office.

Remote learning is available for those students who need to do so in the interests of their health, safety, or well-being for COVID related reasons. As much as possible, it should be scheduled in advance. It is not designed for convenience (i.e. sleeping-in, traveling) or even for regular absences due to illness. If your child is sick, they should stay home, get better, and not worry about school. Students will be able to make up their work. Approval for remote learning should be made through Mr. Austin and Mrs. Markonish. They will make decisions on remote learning in conjunction with Mrs. Moody, Health Services Coordinator.

Virtual Upper and Middle School Grandparents’ Day 2020

To celebrate Grandparents’ Day this year, we will compile a video of musical performances, artwork, and classroom accomplishments from this fall. If you haven’t already, please fill out the grandparent information form so that we can share this with your family.

18th Annual Steve Morris Golf Tournament
Every year, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, and friends come together for the annual Steve Morris Golf Tournament, which honors late faculty member Steve “Mo” Morris by raising funds for need-based financial aid for talented NYA students. This fun scramble-format tournament at Falmouth Country Club on Saturday, September 26 will include games and prizes, breakfast and lunch, and an opportunity to join the NYA community to support students and families. We invite you to click here to register as a single, twosome, or foursome. Contact Crystal Gordon for more information or for sponsorship and prize opportunities. Space is limited. Sign up now!

Thank you to Gingham, on Main Street in Yarmouth, for donating beautiful masks to our faculty and staff at the beginning of the school year.

Have a great week!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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