Upper School Newsletter for September 8, 2019

Dear Upper School Families,

Following an opening of school filled with annual orientations, new schedules, excited faces, and fresh notebooks, we are all now immersed in prepping for the second week of school – the indisputable beginning of “the rest of the year.” We have enjoyed a terrific start to the new school year, beginning with opening Convocation, a successful picture day, two successive Dress-Up Days, and all athletic teams in full swing. Most students have now finalized any necessary schedule changes and are establishing a rhythm to their academic schedules, meeting with their advisors, and participating in their respective athletics and activities each afternoon. Though September can certainly be a tiring month for students and parents alike, a new school year inevitably elicits newfound energy in us all.

I know that I speak for the entire faculty and staff of NYA in saying that we thoroughly enjoy the return of students to the hallways, classrooms, studios, and fields!

Your student’s teachers and I look forward to seeing you all at Upper School Parent Night coming right up this Wednesday, September 11, beginning at 6:45 p.m. in Safford Center (all ninth grade parents will begin in the Community Room a bit earlier at 6:00). All schedules for the evening will be provided for you when you arrive. This event is an excellent opportunity to meet the teachers and experience your child’s academic schedule. And not to worry – there are no tests!

Happy September,

Eric Austin
Head of Upper School


The technology department worked with students last week to discuss setting up email addresses, working with the cloud-based platform, and logging in to FamilyWeb. If you have any questions about the software or experience any technical issues, please feel free to reach out to Chris Mazzurco, our Director of IT.


It is essential that we have current health forms on file for every student at NYA. If you have not already done so, please complete all necessary health forms 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 in 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 for whom we cannot account.


The Upper School Student & Parent Handbook is now posted on the NYA website under the Parents and Students tabs. The handbook is full of useful details, as well as outlining critical information on school rules and policies. Please take some time to read the handbook carefully as all members of the NYA community are expected to read and abide by the policies and protocols.


A home-stay family is needed as soon as possible for an international student (male). A monthly stipend is available to defray costs for the family. If this sounds interesting, please contact Sagaree Sengupta, the International Student Coordinator, for more information and an application form.


On Wednesday night, September 11, from 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room, all ninth grade parents are invited to come early for Upper School Parent Night to hear more about the ninth grade experience. The discussion includes such topics as academic expectations, daily and weekly routines, extracurricular opportunities, and the Freshman Seminar, 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 this Wednesday, September 11 at 6:45 p.m. Parents will convene in Safford Center for a brief introduction and announcements, and 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!


This past Friday morning, we sent a test of our text alert system. If you did not receive a text message from NYA, and you would like to receive texts in the future, please text START to 22383 and add 22383 as a contact in your phone’s address book. In addition, please update your information in Family Web using the Custodial Parent Information Form to ensure that your cell phone number is correct and your Parent Alert settings are set to receive text messages. Instructions on using this form can be found here. We use text alerts mostly to communicate unexpected changes in the schedule or closures (i.e. snow days).


All students enrolled in a mathematics class in the Upper School must own (and begin the school year with) a Texas Instruments TI-84 graphing calculator. These calculators can be purchased either online or in local stores, and they operate on four AAA batteries. Students only need to purchase this calculator once, as it is the calculator used for all levels of mathematics at NYA throughout the students’ high school years.


Student drivers must annually register the vehicle(s) they intend to drive to school with Mrs. Johnson in the Main Office by Monday, September 16. All student vehicles are required to have a numbered parking sticker. Please complete this registration form and give it to Mrs. Johnson in the Main Office. A sticker will be assigned at that time.


Organization and planning is currently taking place among Ian Ramsey (Kauffmann Program Director) and the class deans for some upcoming class experiences which will occur on September 16-17. To accommodate these experiences, there will be no Upper School athletics on the afternoon of Monday, September 16.

The Freshman Class will be spending two days kayaking, climbing, and hiking. The students will hike Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton, kayak in Casco Bay, and climb at NYA’s climbing wall. Each day, the kids will meet at NYA at 8:00 a.m., and they will be back by 2:30 p.m. More information will be sent soon, and for any questions, please contact Kauffmann Director Ian Ramsey, or the Class Deans: Haver Markham and Dave Gagne.

The Sophomore Class will hike to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Mizpah Springs Hut in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where they will spend the night. The students will hike in the White Mountains and sleep indoors in bunk rooms in the hut. All food will be provided by NYA and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Please inform the class deans if there are any medical concerns or if accommodations need to be made for any food allergies/preferences. More information will be sent soon, and for any questions, please contact Kauffmann Director Ian Ramsey, or the Class Deans: Mike Gengras and Peter Sillin.

The purpose of these trips is for each class to spend time together to share an adventure, learn more about their backyard in New England, and for each student (and the class) to reflect on their goals for the year and beyond. It’s a great way to start the year!

The Junior and Senior Classes will go to New York City for an urban experience largely revolving around the 9/11 Museum and Memorial later in the school year (Juniors in November and Seniors in March). (More on the itinerary for these trips to come). On September 16 and 17, the students will meet with a firefighter who was at Ground Zero and spend time preparing for the upcoming school year, bonding as a class, and beginning the initial planning for their NYC trips. These class days will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 2:00 p.m. before athletic practices resume on Tuesday afternoon. More information will be forthcoming. For any questions, please contact Junior Class Dean Liz Smith or Senior Class Dean Lynn Sullivan.

HOMECOMINGNYA Athletics Slider 2018

Friday, September 27 is the start of Homecoming at NYA. This is an ORANGE & BLACK Dress Down Day for students to show their Panther Pride. Once classes finish, the Homecoming fun begins! Students head out to get ready for their games or prepare to cheer on the teams. There are games scheduled throughout the afternoon and ample opportunity to cheer on NYA. Students may also volunteer for a shift at one of the Lower School stations (crafts, tattoos, or face-painting). There is an all-school cookout to grab some dinner while enjoying the fun. The Parents’ Association will be selling panther logo wear by the turf field that afternoon from 2:30-4:30 p.m.  Accepting cash, check, and now credit cards!


NYA families are invited to Come Home to NYA activities on September 26-28. For a full schedule, visit www.nya.org/ComeHome. One opportunity that may be of interest is the Athletic Hall Of Fame Induction of Allie Tocci Hurley ’08, which will include special remarks by Travis Roy ’94. All are welcome to attend on Friday, September 27 at 10:00 a.m. in the NYA gymnasium. The annual NYA Steve Morris Golf Tournament will take place Saturday, September 28 at Falmouth Country Club. Many faculty, current parents, and alumni play in the tournament. Proceeds benefit the Steve Morris Scholarships Fund, which provides financial aid to current NYA students. The scramble format makes it a fun tournament for all abilities. Put together a team of four or sign up individually!


The first parent/advisor meetings of the year are coming up during the first two weeks of October. These meetings are a chance for parents and advisors to meet early on in the year; to check in about all aspects of the student’s life, including academics, extra-curriculars, social matters, goals, concerns, etc.; and to begin to forge that partnership of support for each student. Advisors will contact parents to schedule meeting times.


Picture Retakes  are scheduled for Friday, October 18. Anyone who missed pictures on September 4 should plan on having photos taken. There is a $10 charge for those who would like to have a second sitting for photos on this day. Information on signing up for picture retakes is sent out directly to parents by Coffee Pond Photography. Please be sure to let Heidi Lathrop know if your student plans to have his/her photo taken that day.


  • Guided Mindfulness Sessions: NYA is offering a monthly guided mindfulness session open to everyone in the NYA community. The sessions are led by Ian Ramsey, who has a 20-year meditation practice. The sessions are scheduled from 7:00-7:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, September 18, October 16, and November 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). All are welcome!
  • The Brain Trust: Ian Ramsey will facilitate a monthly parent and community gathering called “The Brain Trust” to discuss health, emotional well-being, mindfulness, and human performance for our children and ourselves. The group is open to all and will include discussions, readings, mindfulness and movement practice, and possibly field trips! The group will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room on Wednesday, September 18; Wednesday, October 16; and Tuesday, November 12. 
  • Wild Soul Words Book Group: As part of the Kauffmann Program, NYA is 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 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 is hosted and facilitated by Ian Ramsey, and NYA will provide wine and other beverages. The first date and book selection is: What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength by Scott Carney on Wednesday, October 9. The group will meet in the Middle School Community Room at 6:30 p.m.
  • Faculty TrainingDavid Bidler, owner of The Distance Project and founder of nonprofit Physiology First, will work with faculty on September 17 to discuss strategies to help with student anxiety and controlling physiology and emotional states.


As part of appropriate safety and preparedness as well as meeting state mandates, NYA holds both fire and crisis drills throughout the year. The first of these drills is happening soon. Every effort is made to avoid making these anxiety-producing for the students. Please feel free to contact Eric Austin or your child’s advisor with any questions or concerns.


Save the date, Friday, October 11, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day.  We welcome grandparents and grand-friends to campus for musical performances, senior speeches, classroom visits, and lunch. If you have not already done so, please fill out the grandparent information form. We are also looking for a volunteer co-chair to assist Debra Ramsey P’15, P’20 and the Development Office in planning this year’s event. Please reach out to Crystal Gordon if you are interested in this opportunity or need more information on Grandparents’ Day.


On behalf of the NYA Community, thank you for making the first All-School Cookout last Thursday night such a huge success. The weather cooperated, and we all enjoyed an exciting afternoon of games on our fields, camaraderie, and food while celebrating the first week of school. The Parents’ Association would also like to thank the many  parents and alumni volunteers who helped set up, serve, and clean up including: Rich Brimberg, Debra Ramsey, Rhiannon Ramsey-Brimberg ’15, Nate Curtis, Jen Hemenway, Chris Hemenway, Linda Manchester, Scott Frank, and Robin Baron. This team served 300 hamburgers and poured a lot of lemonade. Thank you for all of your help. Thank you also to David Daigle and the kitchen staff for effortlessly preparing all of the food. A special thank you to all of the PA class representatives for hosting break-out sessions for parents, families, and host families. These gatherings providing the opportunity for families to meet each other and to learn more about their child at NYA. Have a wonderful school year, and I look forward to seeing everyone throughout the year. ~Tori Baron, NYA Parents’ Association President


9/11Freshman Parent Gathering, MSCR6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
9/11Upper School Parents’ Night, Safford Center6:45 p.m.
9/12Middle School Parents’ Night, MSCR6:30 p.m.
9/16No Athletics: Kauffmann Class Experiences
9/18Guided Mindfulness, MSCR7:00-7:30 a.m.
9/18The Brain Trust, MSCR6:30 p.m.
9/26-9/28Come Home to NYA: Homecoming and Reunion
9/26Head of School Dinner, Reunion Tent6:00 p.m.
9/27Athletic Hall of Fame Induction, NYA Gym10:15 a.m.
9/27Homecoming Festivities2:30-7:30 p.m.
9/28Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament, Falmouth Country Club7:15 a.m.
9/28Homecoming Festivities10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
9/28All Alumni Reception, Reunion Tent6:00 p.m.
10/3Parent-Advisor Conferences begin
10/11Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day; Dress Up Day
10/14Indigenous Peoples’ Day (formerly Columbus Day)NO SCHOOL
10/16Guided Mindfulness, MSCR7:00-7:30 a.m.
10/16The Brain Trust, MSCR6:30 p.m.
10/18 Picture Retakes


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