Middle School Newsletter for December 4, 2016

One of the most remarkable things about living in Maine is how quickly the weather changes. While the winter weather brings many joys (skiing, sledding, snow shoeing, and hot chocolate among them!), it also presents a few challenges at times. Sometimes students forget that this change in weather necessitates a change in attire. As we move about the campus throughout the day and spend recess outdoors, it is essential that everyone has the appropriate cold weather gear to stay warm and dry. This is also the time to think about what happens when weather impacts our school day. Please review the information on snow days below which is also included in the Middle School Student & Parent Handbook. With thoughtful and thorough preparation, we can all shout with glee, “Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!”

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Pizza Dinner:

Simplify your life!  The NYA Parents’ Association is hosting a pizza dinner beginning at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, before the Middle School Evening with the Arts. The dinner, set up in Safford, includes Pat’s pizza, salad, drinks, and cookies at the very reasonable cost of $5 per person or $20 per family. Catch a quick bite and then enjoy the art and music events!  There will be a registration table at the door to collect cash or checks. Payments sent in early can be delivered to the Middle School Office.

Please RSVP to Heidi Lathrop by TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 at 5:00 p.m. so we can be sure to order enough pizzas.

Art Show:

From 5:25 until 5:55 p.m., families have the chance to come to the Middle School to view the art exhibit. Watch in admiration as you see the amazing works of art turned out by our talented students.

While families are viewing the art exhibit, students will be warming up for the concert: 5:30 for Chorus; 5:40 for Band, and 5:50 for Strings.


Families should report to the gym by 5:55 for the concert.  Come and enjoy as every Middle School student performs!  Dress code for the performers is Dress Up Day attire (long pants, ties, blazers for boys and knee-length skirts/dresses for girls).

This is a very exciting and important, yet hectic day for all of our performers. Most sports practices will be held as usual on this day. Drama rehearsal will end at 4:30.  Middle School staff will provide supervision for the students in the Middle School after practice until the pizza dinner @ 4:45.  Students will be assigned little or no homework on this night. We look forward to seeing you at this great event!


There are some changes to this week’s music schedule in preparation for the concert on Wednesday. Students received this information last week. Please make note of the changes below and help students to plan accordingly. All other music classes will meet according to the usual schedule.

  • Tuesday, December 6, 11:20-12:05:  All MS student 5-8 have music – Band 6-8 and Chorus 5-8 (band/chorus doublers go to chorus)
  • Wednesday, December 7, 11:20-12:05:  All MS student 5-8 in Gym for Dress Rehearsal!
  • Friday, December 9:  NO Band 6

Students are encouraged to see their advisor or music teacher with any questions.


snowflakeBecause it is sometimes necessary to cancel or delay the start of a school day due to stormy conditions, we urge families to listen for reports on the local radio and television stations or check the NYA website from 6:00 a.m. during times of bad weather. Due to the variety of weather patterns, from Boothbay to Biddeford and from Bridgton to Freeport, it may look like clear going in one town while another is “snowed under.” The administration makes cancellation/late start decisions with student safety as a top consideration. If school is not cancelled, and a parent feels it is too dangerous for their student to be on the road, they may simply call the Main Office. On days when road conditions require slower speeds, families should plan to leave early enough to allow for the extra driving time that is needed, though we will certainly be understanding of late arrivals.img_4205

If it has already or will soon stop snowing but the road crews have not been able to clear the streets, the administration may decide to delay the start of the school day. If this is the case, it will be announced on local radio and television stations and the NYA website. Buses will be delayed two hours in this instance.

In the event that snow arrives unexpectedly or earlier and/or heavier than predicted, the administration may decide to call for an early release from school. If this is the case, we will make every attempt to contact parents. The early release will be announced on local radio and television stations (if possible) and will be posted on the NYA website. The school will remain open until all children can be safely picked up by parents or other authorized individuals.

As noted in Ben’s letter last Sunday, we will be testing our text message alert system soon. You will receive a separate email outlining the details. We look forward to sending out snow delays and cancellations (and emergency alerts) via text message. Ben will also announce snow delays or cancellations on his Instagram account.


It is that time of year to think about our Middle School weekend trips to Sunday River! These tripssunday-river allow students to enjoy great skiing and snowboarding as well as valuable social opportunities on the weekends at a highly discounted price. This year, Sunday River is offering three trips on January 8, January 22, and February 5, with February 12 as a make-up date. On each of the three Sundays, students leave NYA at 7:00 a.m. and return by approximately 5:15 p.m. We have announced these dates to the students and offered an initial form to those interested with information about the different lift packages and transportation prices. The initial form and payment need to be returned to Mr. Smith by December 7.  We hope to see you on the slopes!   ~ Nate Smith


We have two additional Dress Down Days coming in December:

  • Wednesday, December 7, Holiday Families, $3 (Students need to bring DRESS UP ATTIRE for the Evening with the Arts concert that evening.)
  • Thursday, December 15, Preble Street Teen Center, $3


On Thursday, December 8, seventh graders will travel to The Public Theater in Lewiston for a special presentation of A Christmas Carol.  In advance of the field trip, students will learn a bit about Dickens and the ways in which his writing reflected the social and economic issues of Victorian England. Students also will “set the stage” by doing readers’ theater in class. This is a Dress Up Day for the seventh grade! Seventh graders should bring a packed lunch from home on this day. We are looking forward to this holiday tradition!


On Thursday, December 15, eighth graders will travel to the Portland Museum of Art for a special exhibit of the Art Books of Henry Matisse. This collection of books includes some of his most important works, including Jazz, created shortly after the conclusion of WWII. While at the museum, the students will also be looking at the sculptures of Maine artist, Bernard Langlais. After our time at the museum, the students will have an opportunity to have lunch in town. Students may bring a packed lunch or bring money to buy lunch at Otto’s, Subway, or the Public Market.

LOCKER CLEAN OUTms-locker-set-up-10-resize

Students will be cleaning out their lockers for the winter break. This will help the maintenance staff do a thorough cleaning and allow us to have a fresh and organized start to the new year!


danielson_kateJoin us on Friday, December 9 from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room for the Morning Forum with Head of School, Ben Jackson. Come meet NYA’s School Counselor, Kate Danielson, and learn about what she does on campus. Kate and Ben will also discuss ongoing health and wellness initiatives. Come with questions, comments, or just to listen. Coffee and refreshments will be provided.


Thank you to everyone who has supported the Academy Fund thus far. Click this link to learn about the Academy Fund in 100 words. Our goal for the year is to raise $282,000 with 100% parent participation. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact Randall Thomas, Annual Giving Officer.


kiva-change-picKiva is a non-profit organization that coordinates the giving of microloans to underserved entrepreneurs around the world. NYA’s Kiva club is organizing a Change for Change fundraiser running until Friday, December 16. Each grade has a class jar to collect change. The collection jars for the Middle School are located on the table to the right of the Middle School reception desk. Quarters and Pennies are “positive” coins — add them to your grade’s jar to increase your total. Nickels and Dimes are “negative” coins — add them to other grades’ jars to lower their totals. The grade with the highest total on December 16 will receive a free dress down day on the day we return from winter break (Tuesday, January 3). Thank you for your donations!

FAMILY OPEN SKATEskates-image-pic

Alex Kloza (Ice Arena Manager) and Caroline Anson (Alumni Relations) have arranged for a series of open skates for alumni and families. Families are welcome to bring friends and neighbors. HELMETS ARE REQUIRED  FOR EVERYONE. No sticks, please. Open skate dates are coming up on Saturday, December 17, 2016, 3:20–4:20 p.m.; Saturday, January 14, 2017, 5:30–6:30 p.m.; and Saturday, February 25, 2017, 5:30–6:30 p.m. Following the open skate on December 17, everyone is invited to stay and watch the Alumni Winter Sports Day Hockey game. For more information, please contact Caroline Anson.


We are pleased to offer a wide selection of enrichment courses in the Middle School for the Spring Semester.  These courses allow students the opportunity to enhance their current program with additional coursework in a variety of areas.  Students will be signing up for their new spring courses this week.


We have begun planning for the Eighth Grade Class Whitewater Rafting Trip. This overnight trip gives the entire eighth grade the opportunity to come together and celebrate their time in the Middle School. Several Middle School faculty members will be chaperoning this trip. The cost for families will be approximately $135.  Financial assistance is available; please contact Marissa Markonish for more information.  We will depart after the All School Outing on Friday, June 2 and return late afternoon on Saturday, June 3.  We hope that the entire class of 2021 will be able to join us on this exciting trip!


12/7Dress Down Day for Holiday Families$3
12/7Middle School Evening with the Arts– Pizza Dinner, Safford, 4:45; Art Show, Middle School, 5:25; Concert, Gym, 6:00
12/8Seventh Grade Field Trip to A Christmas Carol; Dress Up Day for seventh grade
12/9Morning Forum with Ben Jackson, MSCR8:00 a.m.
12/14Middle School Debate at Cape Elizabeth
12/15Dress Down Day for Preble Street Teen Center$3
12/15Eighth Grade Field Trip to Portland Museum of Art for Matisse exhibit
12/16Final Day for Kiva’s Change for Change
12/16Last Day of classes before Winter Break; Last day of first semester
12/17-1/2Winter Break NO SCHOOL
12/17Family Open Skate; Alumni Winter Sports Day
1/3Classes resume on Tuesday, January 3; Second Semester begins