Upper School Newsletter for August 20, 2017

Dear Upper School Families,

I trust that you have all had a wonderful and relaxing summer so far! We are delighted to welcome both new and returning families to the NYA community as we begin the 2017-2018 school year at NYA. It is exciting to have most of our students on campus again as the fall preseason athletic practices commenced in earnest last week.

As we enjoy the remaining weeks of August and eagerly await the coming solar eclipse on Monday, this first monthly Panther Roar newsletter of the approaching school year provides some important back-to-school announcements and reminders as we all plan ahead for September.solar_eclipse_1999_4_nr

In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at any time via email, phone (846-9051), or by stopping in at the Main Office on the second floor of Curtis.

Eric Austin
Head of Upper School


To begin, we are excited to welcome the following new faculty and staff members to the Upper School:

  • Jacqueline Bromage joins the NYA community as our new School Counselor. Jackie earned her M.S.W. from the Hunter College School of Social Work and her B.A. from the University of Richmond. With over 20 years of experience providing counseling services to students of all ages, she will be available for all students at NYA. Her office is on the second floor of Curtis.
  • Mercedes Grandin joins our English department as a teacher of sophomore English. Mercedes earned her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her B.A. from Bates College. She has most recently been working as an ESL teacher with the Freeport Adult Education program, as well as an English Literacy Tutor with STARS Learning Cooperative in Freeport.
  • Mary Quinn rejoins our Modern and Classical Languages Department and will teach Spanish I and II. Mary earned her M.A. in Spanish from Bowling Green State University and her B.A. from St. Anselm College. Mary has extensive experience teaching Spanish at the high school and college level. Mary took a leave three years ago to care for her young children, and she is excited to return to NYA.


During Mike Gengras’s year-long sabbatical leave teaching English in Vienna, Austria, we are happy to have Lynn Sullivan serving as our Interim Dean of Students. Deb Adams will accompany Lynn in the office, serving as our Interim Assistant Dean of Students.


Additionally, we are pleased to have Reggie Hackleman (Mathematics) and Liz Smith (Science) serving as our newly-appointed Upper School Department Chairs.


The Upper School Dean structure is set for the upcoming year, with the following faculty members serving as Grade Deans (who remain at that grade level each year) and Class Deans (who advance each year with the class):

  • Freshmen: Grade Dean (Dave Gagne), Class Dean (Reggie Hackleman)
  • Sophomores: Grade Dean (Peter Sillin), Class Dean (Colby Myer)
  • Juniors: Grade Dean (Liz Smith), Class Dean (Andrea Lauerman)
  • Seniors: Grade Dean (Lynn Sullivan), Class Dean (Deb Adams)


While the Class Officers for the incoming freshman class will be determined in September, the following students were elected by their classmates last spring to serve in their respective roles for the coming year.  Congratulations to them all!

President of the Executive Council
Rick Hilscher

Senior Class
President: Charlotte Collins
Vice President: Kara Jensen
Secretary: Evan Davis

Junior Class
President: Xander Kostelnik
Vice President: Abram Buehner
Secretary: Hannah Gagne
Activities: Ryan Baker & Lody Lathrop

Sophomore Class
President: Ellie Hilscher
Vice President: Bronwen Ramsey-Brimberg
Secretary: Ben Frank
Activities: Linus Maurer

NEW: HYBRID LEARNING CONSORTIUMhlc_horizontal_color_192x40

NYA is now a member of the Hybrid Learning Consortium (HLC), a network of national and international independent schools that have partnered to bring online courses to their member schools. This consortium creates exciting opportunities for collaboration between NYA and other member schools. Courses are taught by independent school teachers with high standards and count equally for NYA credit. The course catalog greatly expands NYA’s Upper School course offerings, opening up new elective opportunities for students, accommodating prior scheduling conflicts, and offering professional development opportunities for teachers. It also provides some exposure to online learning, which is being utilized increasingly at the higher education level. A “lab” fee will be assessed to students choosing to take an elective through the HLC. At NYA’s discretion, the lab fee may be waived to accommodate required courses or scheduling conflicts that previously were unavoidable.


A great deal of organization and planning have been underway this summer to arrange for some exciting upcoming class trips. While the freshman and sophomore classes will both have time to discuss their own class’s ideas, the junior and senior classes already have the following events planned:

camp-beech-cliffOn Sunday, September 10, the senior class will be traveling to Camp Beech Cliff on Echo Lake on Mount Desert Island. The trip will include hiking in Acadia National Park, canoeing, a high ropes course, and rock climbing, among other activities. This experience is aimed to provide an opportunity for the class to gather as they begin their final year at NYA together. The seniors will return to campus on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 12.

9-11-memorial-new-yorkOn Sunday, September 24, the junior class will be traveling to New York City, for the second year in a row, to visit the 9-11 memorial site. The primary focus of the trip will be the study of that central event in 21st century American history. The juniors will return to campus on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 26.


Our annual New Student Orientation is this Friday, August 25 from 9:30am – 12:00pm. Morning activities, introductions, and information sessions will be followed by a picnic lunch on the front lawn of the Curtis building.


All rising freshmen will take part in an orientation program here on campus from 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. next Thursday, August 31. All parents and students are invited to first meet together in the Community Room at 8:00 a.m. (coffee will be provided) with some brief announcements and introductions following at 8:25. Parents will then depart, returning by 2:30 for pickup. Dress for students is comfortable and casual. Morning snacks and lunch will be provided. Freshmen will not be attending their preseason practices that day.


We hope all students are spending time looking through their schedules and securing the textbooks they will need for the year. Additionally, time is getting short on completing any remaining summer reading, along with all other summer assignments that are due before classes begin!

SEPTEMBER 5: FIRST DAY OF CLASSES!NYA-Convocation-2015-16---8297-

The opening Convocation will take place at 7:45 a.m. in Grizzy Quad (behind the Mertz Science Center). The rain location is the NYA gym. This is a dress-up day. All parents are encouraged to attend the Convocation and invited for coffee afterwards, hosted by the Parents’ Association. This first day will be an A-day on the schedule, with advisory meetings directly following the Convocation. Teachers will let students know of the materials needed for their courses. Students should bring summer reading and assignments along with a notebook of some kind for the first day.


The second day of school (Wednesday, September 6) is Picture Day. This is also a dress-up day. Both class pictures and individual portraits will be taken, and the portraits will be used in the student directory (distributed in late September or early October). Families also will have the opportunity to purchase portraits.


Please join Katherine and Steve Thomas for this nuts and bolts program that will focus on what to expect from the upcoming college application process.  We will gather in the Middle School Community Room on Friday morning September 8 at 7:00 a.m. and look forward to your participation.


On Wednesday night, September 13, from 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room, all ninth grade parents are invited to hear more about the ninth grade experience. The discussion will include such topics as academic expectations, daily and weekly routines, extracurricular opportunities, as well as ways to help support your child. There will be a short presentation and time for questions. This meeting is intended as a precursor to Upper School Parent Night, which follows directly afterwards, beginning at 6:45 p.m. in Safford Center.


Parents, please mark your calendars for Upper School Parent Night on Wednesday, September 13 at 6:45 p.m. Parents will first convene in Safford Center for a brief introduction and announcements, and will then have the opportunity to visit their student’s classes, meet their teachers, and learn about the curriculum. This event is just for parents. We look forward to seeing all of the Upper School parents for this informational evening!


Student drivers must register or re-register the vehicle(s) that they intend to drive to school with the Main Office by Monday, September 18. All student vehicles are required to have a numbered parking sticker. The form is attached here.


On the morning of the first day of classes, advisors will provide locker numbers to their advisees and allow time for students to begin organizing their lockers.

TEXTBOOK DONATIONSbook-supplies-pic

We are collecting any unneeded textbooks to use as classroom spares or to pass on to students in need. Any donated books may be dropped off in the Library at any time. This is a great time to clean out those backpacks and bookshelves. We appreciate your generosity!


There have been a few changes to the daily dress code for students in grades six through twelve:

  • Skirts, dresses, kilts (longer than mid-thigh; no more than 3 inches above the knee)
  • Dress pants/slacks/corduroys/khakis/chinos
  • Dress shorts (knee-length, Bermuda style)
  • Buttoned up, collared dress shirt (tucked in as appropriate) with/without a sweater
  • Dress blouse with/without a sweater
  • Footwear (clean, neat, & worn at all times)

Please see the full details of the dress code in the Upper School Student & Parent Handbook.


The NYA Parents’ Association is holding a sale of “gently used” dress code clothing in the gym hallway from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on August 23, 24, and 25.  Get some back-to-school shopping done and support the PA!  Contact Alexandra Maurer with any questions.


It is essential that we have health forms on file for every student at NYA. If you have not already done so, please complete all necessary health as soon as possible and turn them in to the Health Office. Contact Ashley Moody with any questions.


Additional forms, such as the Off-Campus Travel and Athletic Permission Forms, can be found under NEW FAMILY FORMS and RETURNING FAMILY FORMS under the Parents tab on the NYA website. Please be sure to complete and turn in all necessary forms as soon as possible.


Attendance is taken daily between 7:40 and 7:55 a.m. Parents should call the main number, 846-9051, or email Heidi Lathrop by 8:15 a.m. if a student will be absent all day, will arrive late, or will be dismissed early. It is our policy to call the parents of students who are not accounted for.


NYA will be offering a monthly guided mindfulness session open to everyone in the NYA community. The sessions will be led by Ian Ramsey, who has a 20-year meditation practice. The sessions will be held from 7:00-7:30 a.m. on September 13, October 11, November 8, and December 13. No experience necessary, and beginners are welcome and encouraged.  NYA will provide some meditation cushions, but participants are encouraged to bring a pillow to sit on if possible (or can sit on chairs if that is more comfortable). For more information, contact Ian Ramsey.


As part of the Kauffmann Program, NYA will be offering a monthly book group that focuses on nature and society’s relationship to it. The Wild Soul Words group is open to all adult members of the NYA and surrounding communities. Participants will gather in a casual environment to talk about a given book, drink wine (or beverage of choice), and examine how lessons from that book might apply to our community. The group will be hosted and facilitated by Ian Ramsey, and NYA will provide wine and other beverages. The meeting dates and book selections will include: The Only Kayak by Kim Heacox on September 28; Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv on October 26; and Tribe by Sebastian Junger on November 30.

MIDDLE AND UPPER SCHOOL GRANDPARENTS’ DAYGrandparents Day, North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth, Maine, Brian Beard - CIP

Please mark your calendars for Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day coming up on Friday, October 20. To add or update the contact information for any grandparents or “grand friends”, please contact Caroline Anson.



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