Thornton Academy News

Information for incoming Freshmen

Students of the Class of 2027 and your families,

Welcome to the Upper School at Thornton Academy! Our faculty and staff look forward to working with you these next four years. We understand the importance of getting off to a good start and developing a strong, collaborative rapport with students and families. We want a smooth transition and a fulfilling high school experience for every student. We hope that you are looking forward to this new adventure because we are eager to assist you at every step of your journey.


Here is some helpful information to get your year off to a terrific start:

If you're looking for information such as the bell schedule or school calendar, visit MyTA on our website. You’ll also find news announcements, links to our cafeteria menu and student handbook, counseling resources, health and policy information, and much more.


Other useful resources include:

Contact information about departments and faculty/staff:                                                                                                             


Parent Newsletter
The Parent Newsletter is emailed every two weeks. Be sure to watch for it in your inbox so you can stay up-to-date with the latest important information for your student.  We will also post archived newsletters on the MyTA page.


Your Dean
Mr. Kevin Kezal will be the Dean for the Class of 2027. Students and parents may contact him regarding any issues concerning student conduct or attendance. Mr. Kezal can be reached at 282-3361 ext. 4420; or by email at:


School Counseling Department
The School Counseling Department encourages you to visit their link on the MyTA page.  There are resources for parents, information about academic planning, as well as a special letter for incoming 9th-grade students.  Parents may contact their student’s counselor by email or by calling the office at 282-3361 ext. 4002. 


School Start and End Time
There is no student supervision before 8:00 a.m. Students arriving between 8:00 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. must report to either the dining commons or the library. Classes will be in session from 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. each day. 


School Policies
Thornton Academy is required to share school policies around student records and privacy.  In addition, there are important school policies concerning topics such as cell phone use, school attire, daily attendance (including tardies, absences, & dismissals), and student behavior.  The Upper School Student Handbook can be found on our school’s website, under MyTA.


Classroom Textbooks and Other Materials
During the first few classes of the school year, your teachers will provide you with a textbook or other materials required for the course and/or a list of any needed school supplies.  All TA property must be returned when requested or the cost of replacement will be billed to your parent/guardian.

Calculators:  Students enrolled in Honors level math/science classes are advised to purchase a Texas Instruments TI-83, TI-83 Plus, TI-84, or TI-84 Plus graphing calculator. Students in Core level and Basic level classes are urged to purchase either a graphing or scientific calculator. Calculators are required during class and for homework, as well as for PSAT, SAT, and AP standardized tests. We have found that students who use their own calculator regularly in math and science classes will be more comfortable using that tool on those important national assessments.


Advisory Block
This academic year we will be sharing Advisory Block on Wednesdays.  There will be a 21-minute Advisory between blocks 2 & 3 when all students are expected to report for a variety of information and programming.  


Reading Block
Every Thursday we will have a 21-minute reading block embedded at the end of Block 2.  Students will remain with their Block 2 teacher. 


Lunch Accounts
Thornton Academy is a private school and does not receive subsidies from the federal free lunch program.  Lunch is available for sale to all students.  Students must use the cafeteria debit card program, called My School Bucks, for purchases.  See the attached letter with instructions for loading funds onto the card for ALL students.  The attachment also has information about Thornton’s Free & Reduced Meal program, if purchasing meals creates a hardship for your family.

Backpack Program:  Please see the attached letter regarding the TA backpack program,which provides additional food support for families in need of assistance.


Transportation to/from School
If you have questions about bus transportation, contact the Dispatcher for your sending community:

Saco Bus Dispatch (for Saco and Arundel students):       207-284-5959

Biddeford Bus Dispatch (for Dayton students):              207-282-0909


Buses drop off and pick up students from campus in the bus loop adjacent to the gymnasium and student parking lot. If a parent is dropping off a student, we recommend using the entrance on Route 1, across from Walgreens. Once on campus, veer left toward the Main Building. You can exit the campus onto Fairfield Street.


Thornton Academy also provides bike racks to lock bicycles during the school day.  They are located on the lawn in front of the Main Building.  


Students - Thornton Academy uses PowerSchool to manage grades, attendance, and scheduling for all students. Instructions along with usernames and passwords are included with the iPad for all 9th-grade and new students. 


Parents - All parents will receive an email on August 16 containing setup instructions and an access code for PowerSchool parent access. A separate email will be sent to each student. Parent access allows parents to set up and view all their student’s classes under one account. If you also install the PowerSchool smartphone app you will receive notifications when your student’s grades change. Grades for both yearlong and semester classes are updated periodically and at a minimum of twice a month to ensure student progress and learning.


Google Classroom
Students - All classroom learning materials for Thornton Academy classes are made available via Google Classroom. Login instructions for students are included with your iPad. Classes will be set up at your first meeting with the teacher. 


Parents:  Parents can access a weekly summary of their student’s work by asking one of their student’s teachers to add them as a parent in Google Classroom. This will then give you a weekly summary of all their classes. 


It is important that all 9th-grade students bring their iPad to school with them on Wednesday, August 30, for Freshman Orientation.  


iPad pickup for all students is on August 23.  More information will be sent to parents from the technology office.


Students are strongly encouraged to pick up their iPad on August 23 so that they will have time to set up the device, solve any issues, and become acclimated to the device and software. On August 17, all students/parents will receive information and a unique access code regarding iPad pickup. If you do not receive this information on August 17,  please email so that we may send that to you. 


Information Update
All parents must complete our Information Update process. The Information Update process ensures we have accurate contact and medical information regarding your student and also serves as a legal sign-off on school policies. It is very important that TA has accurate email addresses of parents so that school information is received in a timely manner.  


All parents were sent a link to this process during the first week of August.  If you have not received our Information Update email please send us an email at so that we can get that to you. 


Student Schedule
Students will be able to view their class schedules when they receive their iPad. Look for login information with your iPad instructions. In the Navigation Bar, choose “My Schedule” and select Matrix View.  During the first week of school, a form for schedule change requests will be emailed to students and parents.  All requests must be received by Friday, September 9. Schedule changes will be considered but not guaranteed based on availability. Counselors have worked hard to place students in classes that align with their academic needs.


It will be important for every student to bring his/her assigned iPad to school on Freshman Orientation Day, so they are able to access their schedule for the day’s activities.


Some important dates for the start of school are listed below.   Please do not hesitate to contact the school if you have questions or concerns about anything, at any time.  Enjoy the rest of your summer.  We look forward to working with you to make this a very successful school year.



Carol Taranko, Associate Head of School

Ben Grasso, Assistant Head for Faculty & Academic Affairs

Nick Tabor,  Assistant Head for Student Affairs


Important Dates for Start of School

August 30  - First Day for Thornton Academy Middle School and for freshmen at the Upper School. All ninth-graders should report to the gym at 8:30 a.m. for a special orientation day. The schedule will include school pictures. No purchase is required; all students must have their photo taken for their TA ID card. You will receive a separate mailing from the photographer with details if you wish to make an order.   You MUST bring your iPad to school on this day to be able to access your schedule.  Dismissal will be at 2:45 p.m. All buses will run.


August 31  - All Upper School (grades 9-12) students report to the gym at 8:30 a.m. We will follow a Gold Day schedule.  Dismissal will be at 2:45 p.m. All buses will run.


NO SCHOOL September 1 and September  4  – Labor Day Weekend


September 5 - All Upper School (Grades 9-12) students report to their classes before 8:30 a.m. Regular bell schedule.  All buses will run. (Maroon Day)


September 7 – “Meet the Faculty” Open House at 6:00 p.m. Detailed information will be provided on our website and social media once school begins. This is a chance for parents to get more information about classes, content, curriculum, or class expectations.  Parent-teacher conferences will be held later in the academic year for a more comprehensive update on individual student progress.