The Unity Scoop – August 26
Dear Families of Unity,
Our full team returned to school this past week to plan and prepare for the 2022-23 school year (see the photo below of our high school team in action). Prior to the first day of school (September 7th), we are so excited to celebrate the start of the school year with you and children this coming Wednesday for our Orientation Festival!
If you have not already done so, please RSVP for the festival as soon as possible. You may do so here. As detailed below, the event promises to be a festive affair as we showcase and bring awareness to the wide array of programming offered by our school, and to engage in valuable orientation sessions such that all families are fully informed on how we best work together. Our collective mission is for all of our students experiencing an exceptional education in the coming year.
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, we provide an abundance of information on our orientation festival, health and safety policies, student schedules over the first three days of school, dress code, and school supplies. We also provide recaps on a number of valuable resources, including information on our Advanced Placement workshops for high school students, which are happening this week.
Wishing you a delightful weekend!
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of August 26, 2022:
1. New – Unity’s Orientation Festival is Approaching! August 31st, 2022, 4-7pm at 431 Madison Street: We are excited to come together as a full school community for family orientation and for some fun! On Wednesday, August 31st, from 4-7pm, we will kick off the school year in style with music, FREE food and a complementary Unity water bottle, games, events, informational booths, a raffle, and even some Unity trivia! Unity teachers and staff will be present and are excited to connect, reconnect, and share information on the host of services provided in the coming year.
As a key feature of the event, we will be holding required orientation meetings for all middle school and high school families. While families are not required to stay for the entire festival, they are required to attend orientation meetings scheduled for your child’s grade level. Participating in these meetings is essential to best supporting your children’s education at school and at home as we embark on the year. Orientation meetings will be brief in length and will occur on a rotating basis. The orientation meeting schedule is below:
- 6th grade, 9th grade, and all new students and families orientation | 5:00pm-5:30pm
- All returning students and families orientation | 5:45pm-6:15pm
- Orientation for any remaining students & families | 6:30pm-7:00pm
During meetings, we will share and discuss our Shared Commitments as a school. All families are required to sign off on these commitments before Day 1 of school. In the event that a family is not able to attend the orientation, a make-up session will be required before the first day of school.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to Unity’s Family Enrichment Coordinators, Mr. Beckford (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the MS and Ms. Young (email@example.com) at the HS, with any questions. We look forward to the festivities! Please don’t forget to RSVP here.
2. New – Unity’s Health Policies and Protocols in 2022-23: Unity will follow guidance provided by the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) as of the start of the 2022-23 school year. The NYCDOE’s guidance aligns with the CDC’s current guidance, which we have consistently followed over the past 2.5 years. By adhering to the NYCDOE’s guidance, we believe that we are taking the proper approach to best ensure the health and safety of our community. Details on our policies are provided on the NYCDOE’s website.
Per the recommendation of the NYCDOE and CDC, we strongly encourage all of our families to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccinations are now available at select school sites across the city. Visit www.schools.nyc.gov for information on sites and available dates.
3. New – Student Orientation Schedule by Site and Grade Level: To ensure that all of our students are given the attention they deserve in meeting their teachers and classmates and in knowing what is expected of them and what resources are available to them, we are holding student orientations by grade level and, in the case of the high school, on a staggered basis. Note that our student orientation is separate from our Orientation Festival for family members on August 31st. The schedule below outlines when students of different grade levels will experience orientation.
- Grades 6-8: All middle school students in grades 6-8 will experience orientation over the course of the first three days of school – from September 7th to September 9th. During these days, students will experience full days of school.
- Grades 9-12: All high school students will be required to attend their mandatory orientation session to ensure they have received their class schedules and understand all schoolwide expectations. We have scheduled orientation sessions by grade level – see the schedule below. Note that students are not required to be in school at times in which their grade level does not have orientation. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
- 9th Grade: Wednesday, September 7, 2022 (9:00 AM-11:27 AM; Doors open at 8:50 AM)
- 10th Grade: Wednesday, September 7, 2022 (12:30 PM – 2:57 PM; Doors open at 12:20 PM)
- 11th Grade: Thursday, September 8, 2022 (9:00 AM-11:27 AM; Doors open at 8:50AM)
- 12th Grade: Thursday, September 8, 2022 (12:30 PM – 2:57 PM; Doors open at 12:20 PM)
- All students will begin regular classes on Friday, September 9, 2022. Doors will open at 7:55 AM.
4. New – Summer Assignments in Grades 6-8: We congratulate all of our students for keeping their skills fresh over the summer by completing their ELA and Math summer assignments. All assignments are due Wednesday, September 7th. Students have three ways to submit their assignments:
- Google Classroom: 6th, 7th, 8th
- Email: Math – email@example.com / ELA – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Be sure to include your scholar’s first and last name and rising grade level in the subject line.
- In-person – Assignments will be collected in class on the first day of school – September 7th.
5. New – Information and Guidance on Unity’s Dress Codes for the 2022-23 School Year: Unity’s dress codes by grade level are provided below.
- Grades 6-8: Here is a link to all things dress code for all middle school students.
- Grades 9-12: Unity High’s dress code is outlined below:
- It is strongly encouraged that an official Unity top is worn in the spirit of school pride and in being united in our collective focus on learning. “Official” is defined as a top (T-Shirt or Polos) purchased from an approved vendor.
- In cases where students do not take our recommendation, students can wear tops of their choice so long as the top covers their entire torso and shoulders.
- Tops must not bear any offensive and/or inappropriate language and/or images and may not be crop tops, tube tops, halter tops or tank tops.
- Student bottoms must be long enough that the hem hits the top of the knee, shin, or ankle.
- Bottoms must properly fit and be worn at the waist. A belt must be worn if bottoms are unable to fit at the waist without sagging.
- Bottoms may have rips or tears.
- Bottoms may not be leggings, tights, catsuits/bodysuits, basketball shorts or display undergarments.
- All shoes must have backs, be closed-toed, and low heeled.
- Sandals, flip-flops, and athletic slides ARE NOT permitted (worn with or without socks).
- Crocs ARE permitted so long as the backstrap is raised behind the ankle at all times.
- For reasons related to safety, the policy for shoes will apply for all dress down days and spirit days.
6. New – Updates on School Supply Guidance: Having all of our students equipped with the supplies they need is essential to getting off to a strong start to the school year. We offer guidance below on school supplies by grade level:
7. New – Student Weekly Class Schedules: Information on when weekly class schedules will be disseminated to students is offered below by site:
- Grades 6-8: Middle school students will receive their weekly schedules on the first day of school – September 7th.
- Grades 6-8: High school students will receive their weekly schedules during their required orientation session on September 7th or September 8th, depending on their grade level.
8. New – Unity Applied for its Charter Renewal in August: As a charter school, Unity must apply to reauthorize its charter at the end of each term. We opened our doors in 2013, and earned a full 5-year renewal (the longest possible term) in 2018. We are now in our last year of that term and submitted our application to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for renewal in August with the goal of earning another 5-year term. There will be site visits from state officials and public hearings before the Board of Regents votes on our term in the spring. We will be sharing updates from our renewal and soliciting feedback from our families in the coming weeks!
9. Recap – Advanced Placement Updates: Scores, Workshops, and Resources!: Ms. Marron, Unity High School History Chairperson, is also leading Advanced Placement programming this year. She has a number of important updates for our high school students who completed AP courses this past year and for those who are gearing up to take AP courses this coming school year. Congrats to our students who earned college credit in their AP courses this past year!
- AP scores from the 2021-22 school year are now available!: Students who completed their AP exams in May can sign into their College Board accounts and use this website to obtain their scores. In addition, students can also see notes on the scoring here.
- Save-the-Date: Mandatory AP August Prep Workshops for ALL students taking an AP Courses in 2022-23, August 30th-September 1st, 2-4pm: During these workshops, which are required, students who are taking AP courses this coming year will receive additional preparation to ensure that they get off to a strong start in their courses. Contact Ms. Marron with any questions.
10. Recap – 2022-23 School Calendar of Key Events and Vacations: The table below reflects our key events and vacations calendar for the 2022-23 school year, including key events we ask for your collaboration with caregiver involvement. In addition, here is the updated PDF version of the table for your convenience. We look forward to meeting our newest families and reconnecting with our returning families at Family Kick-off-the-Year Festival & Family Orientation on August 31st! Details on the event will be provided in the next edition of the Scoop during the week of August 15th.
Day of Week
Applicable to Grade Levels
|Orientation Festival, 4-7pm
|First day of school for students
|MS Back to School Night, 6pm
|HS Back to School Night, 6pm
|Indigenous People’s Day, school closed
|Election Day, In-service day for all staff / remote asynchronous day for all students
|Veteran’s Day, school closed
|11/21/22 – 11/22/22
|Monday – Tuesday
|MS & HS Family Conferences (11/21 – 5-8pm; 11/22 – 9am-1pm
|11/23/22 – 11/25/22
|Wednesday – Friday
|Thanksgiving Recess, school closed
|Early dismissal (1:15pm for MS; 2:30pm for HS)
|12/23/22 – 1/3/23
|Friday – Tuesday
|Winter Recess, school closed
|Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, school closed
|Remote asynchronous day for MS students only
|2/20/23 – 2/24/23
|Monday – Friday
|Midwinter Recess, school closed
|3/16/23 – 3/17/23
|Thursday – Friday
|MS Family Conferences (3/16 – 5-8pm;
3/17 – 9am-1pm)
|4/6/23 – 4/14/23
|Thursday – Friday
|Spring Recess, school closed
|4/19/23 – 4/21/23
|Wednesday – Friday
|MS ELA state exam window
|4/19/23 – 4/20/23
|Wednesday – Thursday
|HS Family Conferences (4/19 – 5-8pm;
4/20 – 9am-1pm)
|Remote asynchronous day for HS students
|5/1/23 – 5/12/23
|Monday – Friday
|Advanced Placement exam window
|5/2/23 – 5/4/23
|Tuesday – Thursday
|MS math state exam window
|College Signing Day event
|Memorial Day, school closed
|6/14/23 – 6/20/23
|Wednesday – Tuesday
|MS Roundtable presentations
|6/14/23 – 6/23/23
|Wednesday – Friday
|Regents exam window
|Juneteenth, school closed
|Last day of school for students
|8th grade & 12th grade graduation ceremonies
|8 & 12
11. Recap – Congrats to All Unity Students who Participated in our Summer Math Challenge!: We salute all of our students who engaged in our Summer Math Challenge. I hope that the experience was valuable to you in keeping your critical thinking skills sharp during the summer and perhaps even transforming the way you see math applied in everyday life. Ms. St. Louis and Ms. West were incredibly impressed with the thinking students demonstrated in the solutions they submitted. They would especially like to shout-out the following students, including Sariyah Gordon for consistency, accuracy, and impressive thinking demonstrated over the summer and Kevin Gaskin for the creativity he demonstrated with each solution he provided. Both students will be awarded with a $50 gift card. Moreover, the students listed below will take part in a Math Challenge VIP party in September. The final standing and final solutions for the Challenge can be the Summer Math Challenge website. Congrats again!
Summer Math Challenge Star Participants:
12. Recap – Upcoming Events of Interest to Unity Families!: Brought to you by Mr. Beckford, we are happy to highlight upcoming summer events across Brooklyn for our families. Here are two!
Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”
Date: Open through January 29, 2023, 11-4:30pm daily
Location: Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy
Description: Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, is the first museum exhibition devoted to Abloh’s work and spans two decades of his practice, including collaborations with artist Takashi Murakami, musician Kanye West, and architect Rem Koolhaas, among others; material from his fashion label Off-White; and items from Louis Vuitton, where he served as the first Black menswear artistic director
13. Recap – – Unity High School’s Step Team Go on a Summer Camp Tour: Earlier this month, Unity’s talented Step Team spent four days visiting 11 different summer camps around the state to teach campers the basics of step and have fun while doing so. In total, the team worked with over 2000 campers! Kudos, team – continue to make us proud!
14. Recap – Voucher for Free Admission this Summer to NYC’s Science Cultural Institutions!: Congratulations! You are receiving this free voucher because your child is at an Urban Advantage School! This voucher is for free admission to New York City’s science cultural institutions. This voucher admits up to 4 visitors (a student with three guests). For more information and updates on how to use your voucher please visit: www.uanyc.science/vouchers. You can visit the following institutions: American Museum of Natural History, Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Queens Botanical Garden, New York Botanical Garden, New York Aquarium, New York Hall of Science, and Staten Island Zoo. The voucher can be reused and expires on 9/7/2022.
15. Recap – – Unity Students Engage in Summer Enrichment!: Summer Enrichment has provided students the opportunity to meet with prospective teachers, make new friends and explore interests. This summer our students have kayaked, tried new foods, got active, and even began preparing for upcoming college applications.
16. 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 – Introducing 988, The New Mental Health Hotline: The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which launched last week, is a new way for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis to quickly reach out for help. Anyone in the US can now call or text 9-8-8 to be connected to a trained mental health professional at one of more than 200 local crisis call centers around the country. Learn more here.
- New – INCLUDEnyc Presents: How to Talk to Your Children about Sexuality: This webinar will help parents and guardians of children with disabilities become more comfortable discussing sexuality and relationships, and cover some of the most effective ways to talk about this sensitive topic. Learn more and register here.
- Free Summer Meals for Students – begins Tuesday, June 28th: NYC’s Summer Meals program offers free breakfast and lunch throughout NYC for anyone age 18 and under. No registration, documentation, or ID is required. Visit here for details on time, locations, menus and other helpful information.
- Free Book Giveaway for Kids and Teens: As part of our largest summer program ever, The New York Public Library is giving away 500,000 books for kids and teens to take home and keep. Drop by one of our neighborhood branches to choose yours—plus, explore free events, our summer writing contest for kids, the opportunity for teens to contribute to a new magazine, and more with Summer at the Library. Visit here for more information.
- DOE’s Beyond Access Series Presents Self-Regulation Techniques: This workshop will provide parents, caregivers and students strategies for reducing stress and improving the ability to self-regulate, with simple routines and activities that reduce anxiety and reactivity and promote calm and happy students and families. Spanish and Mandarin interpretation available. Learn more and register here.
- DOE’s Beyond Access Series Presents How to Access Supports for Students with Behavioral Challenges: This workshop covers the educational rights of students who face behavioral challenges in school, including different kinds of behavioral supports and interventions , along with the opportunity to share advocacy tips. Learn more and register here.
- 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
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
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.
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.