The Lower School Newsletter for October 16, 2016

This week marks a milestone for NYA as we welcome our New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) visiting team as part of our reaccreditation. Every ten years, NEASC member schools undergo an intensive accreditation process to ensure that each school is meeting exceptionally high standards. The process extends for nearly a year and a half from start to finish. After an initial orientation, the school undertakes a review of all major programs and then begins to work on the Self Study. Insights from the entire school community are gathered through surveys and interviews. NEASC utilizes fifteen standards with over one hundred indicators to guide schools through the process. Over the course of last year, in numerous meetings both large and small, we examined, scrutinized, dreamed, and reflected upon every aspect of NYA and channeled these thoughts into our Self Study. This is particularly exciting for our Lower School as this will be the first accreditation process since the founding of this division. We now look forward to welcoming this team of education professionals from across New England onto our campus and into our classrooms. This is the final step in the accreditation process, but just another step in our ongoing efforts to enhance and refine our programs and student experience.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Nothing marks the fall season quite like the celebration of Halloween. This holiday has always been near and dear to the NYA community (perhaps because our colors are orange and black!), and we do it up in grand style. From pumpkin carving to costume parades, NYA takes this opportunity to have a brief respite from our usual routines and engage in some seasonal fun. The classroom teachers have planned numerous activities and we have special events planned specifically for our Lower School students. Students wear costumes as part of the celebration, but we ask that they stay in keeping with the dress code – nothing too scary, no weapons of any kind (swords, guns, light sabers, etc.), no masks, etc. For our Primary students, we also request that families try to stay away from commercial (movie or TV) characters. Animals (e.g. cat, dog, lion), careers (e.g. chef, doctor, firefighter), book characters, Halloween classics, and silly creations are all great choices. We look forward to celebrating together!


Representatives from the Chewonki foundation will be coming to NYA on Halloween to do several sessions on the characteristics, adaptations, and ecology of reptiles for the Lower School classes and the fifth grade. They will meet with student groups in the Middle School Community Room for an interactive presentation and chance to meet the animals. Special thanks to Karen Wentworth and Jen Elkins for spearheading this visit!

HALLOWEEN PARADESparade-mk-16-resize

In addition to numerous classroom activities, the Lower School students will have a special costume parade through Curtis Hall and Grizzy’s Quad  During the parade, they will receive cheers from some of the older students and pick up a few non-candy treats along the way. This costume parade will begin at 10:45 a.m. Later that afternoon at 2:00 p.m., the elementary students will join with the Middle and Upper School students for a parade and costume contest in the gym. While the younger students will not be attending as a class, parents of students in the Toddler and Primary programs are welcome to pick up their children early that day and join the festivities. This is a fun community event!


Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, November 3 from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Friday, November 4 from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  There will be no school on these two days. The conferences will be scheduled on the half hour and will run for approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes. This is a chance for parents to speak in depth with the classroom teachers about the start of the year and setting goals for the months ahead. 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. Families seeking child care during their conference time slot will be able to sign up at Ms. Jen’s desk.


The Community Directory, sometimes known as the “face book”, will be coming out this week. Copies will be sent home with students on Friday. If you need an additional copy, please stop by Lower School reception next week to pick one up.


dsc_6199Join us on Thursday, October 27 from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room for this year’s first Morning Forum with Head of School Ben Jackson. The Forum will include informal conversation about NYA current events, as well as a tour of NYA’s Innovation Lab.  Come with questions, comments, or just to listen. Coffee and snacks will be provided. The Morning Forum series is sponsored by the NYA Parents’ Association.


To help meet the needs of our families, we will offer the option of care from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on select days during our school vacations. This will be available to all Lower School students on a first-come, first-served basis, and will run only if a minimum number of students enroll. This coverage will be offered for the Monday-Wednesday before Thanksgiving, three days during Christmas week, three days during New Year’s week, two weeks at spring break, and one week at the end of school before summer programs begin. Rates for this care will be $400/week or $80/day.  If you anticipate utilizing this service for Thanksgiving week or any of the other time periods, please contact Leslie Durgin. The deadline to sign up for the Thanksgiving week is Friday, November 4.

EXPERIENCE NYAexperiencenyabox

Do you know a family who might be interested in NYA?  Prospective parents can attend one of our upcoming EXPERIENCE NYA events to learn more about our school. EXPERIENCE NYA includes coffee with Ben, followed by senior speeches and an optional campus tour. It’s a great way to get to know what NYA is all about. Visit the Admission Events page on our website or contact the admission office for information. Ask your friends to RSVP for the October 21 event today.

CALL FOR BOOKSbook-tree-ipod-2

The NYA Library is once again holding its Book Sale at this year’s Holiday Craft Fair, and we would like your gently used, saleable books. We 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. Please contact Librarian Jill O’Connor with any questions.


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


Thank you to our parent volunteers for welcoming more than 200 grandparents to campus during Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day!  The weather was perfect, and the musical performances and senior speeches were impressive. The grandparents enjoyed their visit to campus, spending time in classes, and having lunch with their grandchildren. We appreciate the efforts of the many folks who helped put together this special event!


10/16-10/19 NEASC Accreditation Team Visit
10/27Morning Forum with Ben Jackson, MSCR8:00 a.m.
10/28End of Quarter
10/31Chewonki Scales and Tails Campus Visit
10/31Halloween Costume Day and Parade
11/3Parent-Teacher Conferences, 12:00-8:00 p.m.No School
11/4Parent-Teacher Conferences, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.No School
11/11Veterans’ DayNo School
11/16Lower School Drama presents Willy Wonka KIDS