The Middle School Newsletter for October 30, 2016

Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday and Friday of this week. 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.

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 he take on a leadership role? Does he 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 she seem comfortable and confident with her peers? Is she sometimes too chatty, disruptive, or distracted? What goals would you suggest for her?

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 to 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.

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 collaborate with you at conferences.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools



Tomorrow is our Halloween celebration at NYA! 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).parade-mk-7-resize

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

Several classes have assessments on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, but no “regular homework” will be assigned tomorrow night to allow students some additional time to enjoy the Halloween festivities.


Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for this week, Thursday, November 3 from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Friday, November 4 from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. There is no school on these two days. Each conference will last ten minutes (fifteen 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. Detailed instructions on the sign-up process were sent out last week. Please remember that sign-ups for conferences are on a first come, first served basis and that the sign-up system will close at the end of the day on Tuesday, November 1. Teachers will update parents who are unable to attend conferences via email.


We are at that time of year where we transition into a new season of athletic and afternoon offerings. The winter season is a long one, and practice and rehearsal times vary as we share space on campus with other groups and teams. It is essential for students and families to plan carefully, to communicate frequently with coaches, and to reference the Schedule Star Athletic Calendar regularly. The student planners are a great tool for mapping out each week, marking in start and end times for practices or rehearsals and making note of any games or special events. Please read details about the upcoming season in the Middle School Winter Activities Update from Athletic Director Jack Hardy. Middle School Coed Hockey and Boys and Girls Basketball begin on Monday, November 7.  Middle School Winter Fitness Experience begins on Tuesday, November 15.  Drama begins on Monday, November 14. There are no sports or afternoon activities this Monday through Wednesday, October 31- November 2.


canned-goods-picEvery year, our NYA community supports the Preble Street Shelter by collecting donations of food to stock their shelves for the upcoming holidays. Seasonally, and especially with the early cold weather, they are in need of extra supplies to serve the individuals and families who rely on their help. Between Monday, November 7 and Monday, November 14, 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. In celebration of the spirit of giving, students will enjoy a Dress Down Day on Monday, November 14. Thank you for your generosity!


The NYA Annual Wreath + Poinsettia Sale is officially underway! Please support the NYA Parents’ Association and Project Graduation by ordering your holiday greenery from NYA. Bring the completed Wreath and/or Poinsettia forms to Lower School Reception, Middle School Reception, or the Main Office. Need assistance? Contact Katie Woods or Martha Barrett. Order today!


pumpkin-pieFrom Cathy Jakubowitch (Jack Kostelnik’17, Xander Kostelnik’19) Attention all bakers (and want-to-be-bakers) in the NYA community! Despite being the eve of Halloween, it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Here is an opportunity for NYA families to reach out and help others who may be experiencing difficult times…in the form of a pumpkin pie (or 2 or 3)! Each year, The Root Cellar collects pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving meal baskets that go to families in need in the Greater Portland area. This is a tough time for many families and there is an increased need for food this year. For the past eleven years, our family has donated pies to the Root Cellar as part of the Cumberland/North Yarmouth Family Network. This year, we decided to extend an invitation to all NYA students and families to join in on this simple, yet fulfilling activity. Additional information on how to join this effort is available here. ~ Cathy Jakubowitch (Jack Kostelnik’17, Xander Kostelnik’19)


The NYA Holiday Craft Fair is scheduled for Saturday, December 3 from 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. as part of Yarmouth’s Holiday in the Village. There will be numerous crafter tables in the gym and Safford center, delicious lunch items and snacks will be for sale, and holiday singers sponsored by the Drama Department will add to the festivities. Plan to spend Saturday, December 3 doing your holiday shopping at NYA!


The seventh grade has been studying the biodiversity and water quality of the Royal River over the last two months. On Wednesday, November 30 from 6:00-7:30 p.m., they will present their findings in engaging science sessions focused on the anatomy of fish, macroinvertebrates, and water quality. Additional information can be found here. It is sure to be an exciting night!royar-river-fishin-2016-26-resize

book-tree-ipod-2CALL FOR BOOKS

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.


On November 16, Jon Turk will give the first annual Kaffmann Lecture.  Jon is an author, scientist, and world-class expeditioner who has been a National Geographic “Explorer of the Year.”  He also has a PhD in Organic Chemistry and wrote the first environmental science textbook to be used in colleges, back in the 1970’s. Jon’s expeditions have included kayaking from Japan to Alaska, circumnavigating Ellesmere Island, paddling around Cape Horn, first ascents of big walls on Baffin Island, and first ski descents in Kyrgyzstan. He is the author of four books about his expeditions, in addition to the Environmental Science textbook.

Jon will be giving a presentation to the Upper School and Middle School during the day, and that evening, he will speak with the public at 7:00 in the Middle School Community Room

Here is an example of a Ted Talk by Jon about the evolution of the human brain.

Please join us on the 16th!


On Wednesday, November 2, we will have a Dress Down Day for our Thanksgiving Baskets and Holiday Families program ($3 donation).


10/31 Halloween Costume Day and Parade
11/1-11/2 No Middle School Sports
11/2 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families $3.00
11/3 Parent-Teacher Conferences, 12:00-8:00 p.m. No School
11/4 Parent-Teacher Conferences, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. No School
11/6 Middle and Upper School Open House 1:00-3:00 p.m.
11/7 Middle School Winter Sports Begin
11/9 Picture Retakes, MSCR 8:00-9:30 a.m.
11/9 Middle School Debate at Harrison Middle School, Yarmouth 2:30 p.m.
11/10 Veterans’ Day Flag Pole Ceremony 7:50 a.m.
11/11 Veterans’ Day No School
11/14 Dress Down Day for Preble Street Shelter Donate non-perishable foods.
11/16 Lower School Drama presents Willy Wonka KIDS, Safford 2:30 p.m.
11/18 Last Day of Classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/19-11/27 Thanksgiving Break No School
11/28 Classes Resume
11/30 Seventh Grade Royal River Presentations, MSCR 6:00-7:30 p.m.
12/1 Lower School Open House 4:00-5:30 p.m.
12/3 NYA Holiday Craft Fair, Curtis building 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
12/7 Middle School Evening with the Arts