The Unity Scoop – April 14
Dear Families of Unity,
It has been a short but productive week. Thank you to our high school families who participated in conferences last night and today. It was valuable to connect with family members and students to discuss progress this year and how we can best collaborate in closing out the school year as strongly as possible.
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, I offer a few student highlights from the past week. Please take five minutes to review and enjoy! The next edition of The Scoop will be disseminated on Friday, April 29th.
As you know, we are off tomorrow and next week. Have a terrific spring break and we look forward to reuniting on Monday, April 25th!
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of April 14, 2022:
1. Updated – April 2022 School-wide Calendar: For your family’s convenience, here is a schoolwide calendar of events for the month of April – print it out and throw it on the refrigerator door! It is possible that events could change and new events could be added. An up-to-date events calendar can always be accessed on our website. Notable upcoming events include:
- 4/15-4/22: No school for students (spring break)
- 4/25: Regular classes for all students resume
- 4/27-4/28: Mathematics state exams administered for all middle school students
2. New – Take Part in our Career Fair for Unity Middle School Students, Wednesday, May 25th, 11am-1pm!: We are excited for our middle school students to be inspired by the many career paths available to them in the not-so-distant future! We would love to have family members of our students participating as presenters (see the flyer below). Interested in learning more and potentially taking part? Contact Ms. Gillies (email@example.com).
3. New – Athletics Spotlight: The Unity Panther’s Middle School Volleyball Team!: In this edition of the Scoop, Mr. Coleman would like to spotlight the student-athletes of our middle school volleyball team. Represent our school with pride this season, team!
4. New – Unity Middle School Students Take Part is Sip & Paint with Ms. Griffin!: Students had the opportunity this past week to enjoy time with one another and teachers while letting their artistic talents shine!
5. Recap – Congratulations to our High School Semester 2 Awardees: Thank you to our families who attended last night’s Awards Ceremony. Over 100 middle school students were recognized for their achievements in Semester 2. In case you missed the event, here are the slides. Again, congrats to our awardees – we are proud of you!
6. Recap – New Student Welcome Reception – Earlier this month, Unity Middle School staff invited newly accepted students – our rising sixth graders – and their families to tour the building and learn more about all that Unity offers. Welcome Unity High School Class of 2029!
7. Recap – Helping Your Child to Continue their Learning This Summer: Ms. Eason, Academic Counselor, offers a presentation – Avoiding Summer Slide – that offers valuable links to paid internships, volunteer opportunities and other things your child can do over the summer to promote critical thinking and learning during the months of July and August. Click on the image below to see her presentation slides. Feel free to reach out to her with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Recap – Summer Opportunity for Girls in Grades 8 and 9 to Engage in Science!: The Intrepid Museum’s GOALS for Girls Summer Intensive 2022 is a FREE six-week summer program for 8th and 9th grade girls in New York City.
The program is designed to immerse participants in a variety of STEM topics over the six weeks as a way of combating the drop-off of females in STEM and provide STEM opportunities for the demographic populations that are most underrepresented in STEM fields (especially black and Latina girls). Over the six weeks, participants will learn about aviation, space science, marine/earth science, computer programming, engineering and many more topics. The web link to the online application is here. The application deadline is April 22nd.
9. Recap – Unity Middle Celebrates its Trimester 2 Honor Roll Students!: This past week, our middle school community recognized our students earning honor roll status based on their academic achievements in classes during Trimester 2. Congrats to our awardees and enjoy the photos below of students being celebrated during grade-level community meetings this past week!
10. Recap – Attention All High School Students: Updates from Mr. Gonzalez and Unity’s College & Career Readiness Team: It is a busy time in the exciting world of college & career readiness at Unity! As of this week, over 80% of our 12th graders have applied to college with a vast majority already earning administration to at least one of the colleges for which they applied. In addition, we have a number of students who are now in the process of applying for career training programs and jobs. It is exhilarating to collaborate with our seniors and their families in making concrete plans for the coming year! Here are few other updates from Mr. Gonzalez:
- College Application and Admissions Updates: Two exciting updates here!
- As of April, members of our senior class have been admitted to the following colleges and universities: CUNY Brooklyn College, CUNY Hunter College, CUNY Hostos Community College, CUNY Kingsborough Community College, CUNY Guttman Community College, CUNY LaGuardia Community College, CUNY College of Staten Island, CUNY John Jay College, CUNY City Tech, CUNY Queensborough Community College, CUNY Medgar Evers College, George Washington University, Skidmore College, SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo State College, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY University at Buffalo, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY New Paltz, Clark University, Penn State University, St. Francis College, Spelman College, Marist College, Hampton University, Howard University, Hofstra University, Ithaca College, Long Island University, Temple University, and Quinnipiac University.
- Three Seniors Make Trip to SUNY Fredonia: Over the weekend of March 25th, three Unity seniors (Kenny Ramos, Shanice McBean, and Jonathan Belton) who earned admission to SUNY Fredonia traveled upstate to take part in the school’s Mutli-Cultural Student Weekend (see attached photo). They observed classes, took part in on-campus events, and met current Fredonia students. This visit is helping them, just like many other seniors, get ready to decide where they will ultimately enroll. As always, Mr. Gonzalez and Ms. Ramjan want to help seniors and their families make this decision – please contact them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Personal Statement Writing Workshop Series: Ten juniors demonstrated amazing initiative during March by joining a workshop series led by Mr. Gonzalez. The three-part series was designed to help them get a head start on their personal statements, the most important part of their college applications. Please join us in congratulating Antonie Robinson, Maya Moore, Mamadou Diop, Kevin Jimbo, Dominiq Small, Nnaemeka Omeruo, Giuliano Saico-Falconi, Danille Howard, Ashlee Deslandes, and Mekhi Herring! Keep up the great work!
- Attention all Seniors: College Financial Aid Comparison Sheet: By now, you should have received financial aid packages from all the colleges that have accepted you. If you have not received aid packages yet, please see me immediately! You have approximately two-three weeks to decide the college in which you will enroll. To help you make this decision, please use this Financial Aid Comparison Tool. Follow these instructions to use the tool, take the following three steps:
- Make a copy (“File -> Make a Copy”)
- Enter information for each financial aid package into the “Net Cost” sheet.
- Make an appointment with Mr. Gonzalez to review your aid packages: calendly.com/mr-gonzalez
11. Recap – Upcoming Events of Interest to Unity Families!: Brought to you by Mr. Beckford, we are happy to highlight upcoming events across Brooklyn for our families. Here is one!
- DTBK Presents: BAMkids SpringFest, Saturday, 4/23, 10:30-4pm: Take part in a day of performances, interactive activities, and showcases of local talent, celebrating the spirit of spring and themes related to environmental advocacy and care. Co-curated by the BAMkids Parent Advisory Circle.
12. Recap – Free Resources for Unity Families: Unity’s social work team is always looking for resources that may be helpful and of interest to our families. Three such resources are provided below. Reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio, Unity’s Director of Social Work, with questions.
- New – The Child Mind Institute offers great (free & remote) caregiver workshops on a seasonal basis! Take a moment to visit their site and appreciate their offerings.
- The recent events in Ukraine may be a source of stress and anxiety for some children. Below are four resources that may be helpful for families:
- Helping Kids Cope with Frightening News from Child Mind Institute
- How to Talk to Kids About War from verywellfamily.com
- How to Navigate Difficult Conversations with Children from The Relation Station
- How to Talk to Children about War: An Age-by-Age Guide from Today.com
- Below are flyers for lists of low-cost dental providers in each borough:
- Free Child Nutrition Webinar Series: Register for the “An Alarming Rise in Excess Weight and Diabetes in Children: Strategies and Solutions” webinar on Monday, March 7th. The webinar is presented by French-American Aid for Children as part of the new Child Nutrition Webinar series. Parents and educators will learn about practical nutrition tips and accessible information to encourage children to adopt good eating habits in school—and at home—through an interactive dialogue between Dr. Juliana Cohen, nutrition epidemiologist and associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Ileana Vargas-Rodriguez, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Children’s Hospital of New York. A Q&A session will follow the webinar. Check out previous recordings of past webinars, including:
- Engaging Children in their own Nutritional Journey
- Smart Summer Shopping and Cooking
- Nutrition’s Powerful Impact on Children’s Physical and Mental Health
13. Recap – Update to Unity’s Mask Policy: Per a letter that was sent out to families today, we will move to adopting the NYCDOE policy of having masks be optional inside our building (the full letter is here). As you know, we decided to continue to require all community members to wear masks inside our school building in March. During this time, we said that we would review data from the city schools that removed the mask requirement and share an update by month’s end.
Having taken this prudent step, we now believe that we can safely move forward with adopting the NYCDOE policy of having masks be optional inside our building. This step aligns with CDC guidance, which we have adhered to throughout the pandemic. This April, both sites will transition to all students and staff having the option of wearing a mask over the course of the school day.
- The change in policy took effect on Monday, April 4th at our high school with students learning about the reasons that community members may choose to continue wearing a mask versus not continuing to wear a mask.
- Due to state exams being administered at our middle school this past week, the policy change at our middle school will take effect on Monday, April 11th, in order to effectively prepare for the transition.
Note that we will not hesitate to reactivate our mask requirement if conditions change such that safety is at risk if masks are not worn. As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will follow the guidance of health experts when making decisions here.
With this change in policy, I am cautiously optimistic as we move into the spring season and look forward to continuing in our path to engaging with one another as a community as we did prior to the pandemic. At the same time (and also in line with the guidance of health experts and CDC), I continue to strongly encourage you to have your child fully vaccinated if you have not already done so. This is the best step you can take in preventing COVID-19 from negatively impacting your child’s ability to experience school in the best and safest way possible.
14. Recap – Full Calendar for the Remainder of the 2022-23 School Year: Here is a schoolwide calendar for March through June. As with the March calendar above, print it out and throw it on the refrigerator door! An up-to-date events calendar can always be accessed on our website. We are now working on our calendar for the 2022-23 school year and plan to share it in late April.
15. Recap – Congratulations to our Middle School Trimester 2 Awardees: Thank you to our families who attended last night’s Awards Ceremony. Over 100 middle school students were recognized for their achievements in Trimester 2. In case you missed the event, here is the recording. We look forward to celebrating our students’ accomplishments in Trimester 3 with you in the coming months!
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
2021-22 School Year Vacation Calendar for Students and other Key Dates: So that you may make plans for the year, with our school schedule in mind, the table below provides the vacation dates for students and families for the 2021-22 school year. Students will not report to school on these dates. Moreover, here are a few important notes regarding next year’s calendar:
Day of Week
|First day of school for students
|Indigenous People’s Day, school closed
|Election day, remote school day
|Veteran’s Day, school closed
|November 24 – 26
|Wednesday – Friday
|Thanksgiving Recess, school closed
|December 24 – January 3
|Friday – Monday
|Winter Recess, school closed
|Monday Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, school closed
|February 21 – 25
|Monday – Friday
|Midwinter Recess, school closed
|April 15 – 22
|Spring Recess, school closed
|Memorial Day, school closed
|Juneteenth (observed), school closed
|Last day of school for students
COVID-19 Vaccines: Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines: the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines. The vaccine can prevent COVID-19 symptoms and severe COVID-19 illness. People 5 and older are eligible for the vaccine. Those who are fully vaccinated can more safely gather with friends and enjoy other benefits of vaccination. Many vaccination sites in the city no longer require appointments.
- See a list of sites where you can get a walk-up vaccination today. To find a vaccination site near you, including those that take appointments, use the City’s Vaccine Finder.
- Note, people who are 12 to 17 years old can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Mental Health Counseling and Social Work Services at Unity: If you would like to speak to a social worker about your child’s mental health or if you would like your child to receive support from a social worker in school, please reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio via phone or text (347-688-9107) or email (email@example.com)
Unity social workers can also be of assistance in providing information regarding social services (for example: housing, immigration, access to community mental health services & referrals to mental health providers, food security / access to food, public assistance, crisis intervention, etc.).
If your child or family member is experiencing a mental health crisis, NYC Well is available 24 hours a day and can be accessed by phone (1-888-NYC-WELL) or text (text WELL to 65173) or by internet chat via their website: https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.
Update on P-EBT Benefits for Families: New York State is providing Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) food benefits to all households with children who are eligible to receive free school lunch under the National School Lunch Act and whose school was closed or operating with reduced in-school attendance due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 academic year. Issuance of the food benefit will continue for several months, due to the large number of eligible children and schools participating in the National School Lunch Program across the state. For additional information visit NYSOTDA P-EBT Benefits Information Page.
- If your child(ren) is eligible and has not received P-EBT benefit by November 2021, you may fill out the P-EBT Information Form.
- If you have misplaced a P-EBT Food Benefit card issued to your child[ren), you may order a replacement card by calling 1-888-328-6399. If your child(ren) received P-EBT benefits on a Medicaid card and you need to order a replacement NYS Medicaid card or select a PIN, go to otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/P-
EBT-Medicaid-Card-PIN- Instructions.asp for more information.
- Once you have set up a PIN to access your P-EBT food benefits, you can check your family’s P-EBT food benefits balance by visiting www.connectebt.com or by calling 1-888-328-6399.
Discounts on Home Internet Services Available: If your household is struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a monthly service discount through the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Please visit this information page or call 833-511-0311 for more information.
NYC Rental Assistance Program – The New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is a new program that will provide significant economic relief to help low and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability by providing rental arrears, temporary rental assistance and utility arrears assistance. If you know of somebody who might be eligible for the program, please encourage them to learn more or apply here.