|Dear Students and Families of Unity,
We have now experienced over one month of remote learning and, together, we have accomplished so much given the challenges. On behalf of Unity’s faculty and staff, we thank you for your ongoing collaboration.
At this point in time, it is very possible that we will continue with remote learning for the remainder of the school year. If this is the case, our goal is to provide the best remote education possible, so that all of our students are prepared to succeed in their future educational endeavors, whether that be promotion to the next grade level or the transition to college. Your feedback and insights on how to improve our remote learning is therefore incredibly valuable.
Please take 10 minutes between now and this Friday, May 1st, to complete our Unity Remote Learning Survey. As a small token of our appreciation, all responders will be entered into a raffle to obtain a $50 Seamless gift card. We thank you for your thoughtful feedback in advance!
Moving forward, The Unity Scoop will be sent out weekly on Wednesday afternoons only. The next edition will be disseminated on Wednesday, May 6th.
Have a wonderful evening.
Updates as of April 29, 2020
1. Reminder – Remote HS Caregiver Conferences: The high school will hold remote caregiver conferences on Thursday, April 30th, and Friday, May 1st. Conferences will be conducted in 30-minute sessions with the student’s advisor or teacher. We will begin outreach to schedule conferences within the next few days. Be on the lookout for an email and Jupiter message. Promotion-in-Doubt and Graduation-in-Doubt notifications are also being shared by email this week. Academic counselors will be holding caregiver conferences for students whose grade-level promotion, including graduation, are in doubt.
2. Reminder – A Brief Note on PE and Dance Classes at our Middle School: Ms. McRae and Mr. Coleman look forward to continuing to teach students to lead and maintain healthy lifestyles through exercise and fun this coming week. The schedule for classes is below. Zoom links for all classes can be found here. If you have any questions please reach out to Ms. McRae (Cmcrae@unityprep.org) or Mr. Coleman (Acoleman@unityprep.org).
- 6th grade: 1 – 1:50 PM Monday / Thursday
- 7th grade: 1 – 1:50 PM Tuesday / Friday
- 8th grade: 2 – 2:50 PM Monday / Thursday
3. Reminder – Updated Middle School Zoom Expectations: Students are expected to adhere to the following updated guidelines when participating in remote classes via Zoom:
- All students must use their names (not nicknames) on Zoom:
- All students must be on camera for Zoom classes
- Appropriate Zoom backgrounds are acceptable
- Students must dress appropriately for school – clothing should be appropriate for a dress down day at school
- Communicate with teachers if there are technical issues with the camera or other concerns
4. Reminder – Decisions to Frequently Asked Questions: A number of frequently asked questions, such as those listed below, have recently come up. We are still seeking guidance on these important topics from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). For other school-based questions, we will be in touch with families as soon as decisions are made. As always, our decisions are guided by our school mission and what is best for the safety and well-being of our school community.
- When will we be returning to school for live instruction?
Unity will extend its suspension of all onsite educational programming, including extra-curricular events, through May 15th. This timeline and plan aligns with the NYC Department of Education’s plan, as announced by Governor Cuomo. Students will not report to our middle and high school sites for instruction during this time.
- Are Regents exams being administered in June?
No. Regents Exams are canceled this year. Unity’s academic counselors will be providing more information soon.
- What is the plan for Roundtables?
We are now considering how Roundtables can be modified if the school building remains closed past May 15th and will let you know as soon as a decision is made.
- What is the plan for middle school graduation, senior activities, and high school graduation?
We are waiting for additional guidance from Governor Cuomo and the NYSED regarding the ability to hold end-of-year events, and will let you know as soon as a decision is made.
5. Reminder – Resources Regarding Unemployment Due to COVID-19: NYC has developed a list of resources for those who may be unemployed due to COVID-19 or are seeking additional assistance. The website will be updated frequently and includes information on employment/unemployment, food assistance, financial assistance, rent arrears, health and medical assistance, and so forth.
6. Reminder – Free Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner available for Students and Adults: Any New Yorker, child or adult, has access to three free meals a day at more than 400 Meal Hubs across the city (including PS44), between 7:30am – 11:30am for children and families and from 11:30am to 1:30pm for adults. More details, including a search tool, is available by clicking here.
7. Reminder – Resources for Mental Health and Talking to Young People About COVID-19: The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has provided this guide for self-care and strategies for talking about COVID-19 honestly and effectively with young people. In addition, here is a link for webinars for “Parenting During COVID-19” through the Weil Cornell Psychiatry Department. 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 (1888-NYC-WELL) or text (text WELL to 65173) or by internet chat via their website: https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/. In addition, a mental health hotline has been established in New York City that will provide FREE emotional support, consultation, and referral to a provider. The hotline number is: 1-844-863-9314.
8. Reminder – Mental Health Counseling and Social Work Services Available to Unity Students who Receive Counseling: Social workers will continue to hold remote counseling sessions for all students who receive counseling throughout this week. Please reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio via phone or text (347-688-9107) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about the continuation of counseling services or if you are concerned about your child’s mental health. Unity social workers can also be of assistance in providing information regarding social services (for example: housing, access to food, access to community mental health services, referrals to mental health providers, crisis intervention, etc.).
9. Reminder – Helpful Guidance on Obtaining the Perfect Book for Your Child: With the Unity Library closed for the time being, our public libraries in Brooklyn offer a vast majority of their books and resources online. Additionally, many private companies are stepping up and offering their services for free. Check out this helpful guide to gain access to ebooks or audiobooks from the Brooklyn Public Library. In addition, see the list of resources below:
- Do you have dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, or other reading barriers? Access Bookshare’s free online ebooks.
- Are you an English Language Learner (ELL) and interested in practicing your English? Are you looking to learn a new language? Rosetta Stone is being offered free for three months to all students.
- Are you finding it difficult to spend all day looking at a computer screen? Download BeeLine reader for free, which uses color gradients to make reading just a little bit easier.
- Worried that by spending so much time alone your vocabulary is growing more and more limited by the day? Dictionary.com has free daily activities such as puzzles, quizzes, and a word of the day to keep your vocabulary skills sharp.
- Want to practice your reading and thinking skills? Scholastic has a remote learning program where you can play games and participate in activities.
- Try using Newsela, which is an online news-as-literacy platform that features high-interest articles on everything from current events to myths and legends and from literature to science. Follow this link to create an account.
- Audible is offering free audio books for students. Click here to access a huge selection of audiobooks.
10. Reminder – Supplemental Resources to Continue Your Child’s Learning at Home: Between now and the launch of remoting learning, we encourage you to support your child at home in keeping their academic skills fresh. The NYCDOE’s Learn at Home site provides learning resources to students to complete while they are receiving instruction. It is important that students continue to read, write, complete social studies and science activities, and work on math problems. The materials are organized by grade level and include the following:
- Suggested daily study schedules
- Guides and materials for instructional activities
- Recommended educational television shows
- Links to a variety of books, magazines, and websites on a wide range of topics that appeal to children at all ages
11. Reminder – Free Internet at Home: A variety of internet providers are offering free internet access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have an internet subscription. Internet access at home will be critical for students to complete their remote learning assignments To enroll, call
- 1-844-579-3743 for Spectrum
- 1-844-488-8395 for Charter Communications
- 1- 866-200-9522 for Optimum
Note that Installation fees will be waived for new households.