The Unity Scoop – August 26
Dear Families of Unity,
I hope that the summer has continued to bring you and your loved ones an abundance of joy and well-being. As we move into the tail end of August, we are increasingly excited to begin the 2020-21 school year!
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, I highlight a number of items that are important to you in supporting your children for a strong start in September. Please review the updates below and reach out with any follow-up questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, we look forward to kicking off the school year in just over two weeks!
Head of School
Updates as of August 26, 2020:
1. Key Features of our Reopening Model for the Fall 2020: Here the key features of our model for the fall of 2020. If you would like more details, here is the recording and here are the slides from the Family Forum we conducted in late July.
2. Sample Schedules for Middle School and High School Students: Here are sample weekly schedules for what your children’s school week will generally look like:
3. Key Dates at Unity for September:
- September 3rd, 10am-12pm – Remote student orientation for middle school
- September 9th – Remote student orientation for high school (start times will vary by grade and be messaged next week)
- September 9th – First day of remote school at Unity
- September 17th – Middle School Remote Family Orientation Night
- September 24th – High School School Remote Family Orientation Night
4. Unity’s School Calendar through December 31st: In the spirit of providing you with the information you need to best support your child with school at home, here are our middle and high school calendars through December 31, 2020. Full school calendars through June of 2021 will be provided early this fall after the New York City Department of Education releases their calendar.
5. Parent Checklist: To help you in taking the appropriate steps to best support your child to get off to a strong start for the 2020-21 school year, here are the things you should be doing over the coming few weeks:
- Complete Summer Assignments
- Secure a functioning laptop and reliable internet service (we can help here – #6 below)
- Arrange your child’s workspace (see #7 below for tips here)
- Obtain school supplies (see #8 below)
- Purchase Unity school attire – parents and families are encouraged to purchase the Unity uniform now as uniforms will be required whenever the school returns to in-person instruction. During remote learning, students are encouraged but not mandated to wear school uniform.
- Plan your child’s daily routine and schedule to accommodate their class schedule (see #2 above for sample schedules)
6. Requests for Laptop and Support with Internet Access: Unity will provide a laptop to all students who need one. If you are new to Unity and need to reserve a Unity laptop OR do not have internet access at home, please complete the following form: https://bit.ly/Unitylaptops. If you are returning to Unity, you can continue using the laptop that was provided last year. Students are also welcome to use their personal laptop or computer at home. Our goal is for 100% of students to have access to the technology they need to fully engage in their studies, regardless of whether classes are conducted in-person or remotely.
7. Creating a Workspace for your Child at Home: Virtual learning can be challenging, but with a welcoming, comfortable learning environment, students are more likely to engage fully in their studies without distraction. Here are three simple best practices to turn a corner of your home into a workspace:
- Find a spot that has lighting: whether it’s natural sunlight from a window or light from an overhead lamp, it’s important that your workspace has enough light so that your student won’t need to strain to see.
- Make sure the table and chair are comfortable: working while sitting in a chair at a table increases productivity and focus, but it’s just as crucial that students are comfortable, since they’ll likely be sitting for long periods of time.
- Ensure that the workspace is free of distractions, noise, and clutter: games, toys, phones, laptops – they’re all fun, but they can be distracting to students while they try to learn. Therefore, the workspace should be spacious, quiet, clean, and clear of distractions.
8. School Supply List: For remote learning, the supply list may appear different than previous years.. Please see the Unity Prep Supply List below:
- Middle School Students:
- 5 composition notebooks
- 10+ pencils
- 10+ pens
- Ruler with centimeters (science only)
- Blank white paper
- Colored pencils
- New York City Public Library Card
- High School Students: the high school supply list for students will be messaged early this coming week. We are now in the process of finalizing student schedules, which inform student supply needs.
9. Uniforms Update: Students are not required to wear uniforms during virtual learning. However, uniforms and school attire may be purchased by visiting the following links below. Our guidelines for attire during remote learning will be provided during student orientations.
10. Reminder – Support our Graduates as they Transition to College!: Our academic counselors recently created a GoFundMe campaign that has raised over $30,000 since June 15th! Donations will support students in need of financial support as they transition to college. Our fundraising goal is $50,000. We aspire to the community school model, in which a school and the community it serves band together to support young people. Please join us in our efforts by donating whatever you can to support our inaugural graduating class of students.
11. Reminder – An Important Message from Community Board 3 (CB3): The Black Lives Matter Mural on Fulton Street is a source of great community pride and has become, in little over a month, an iconic tribute to Black Lives. CB3 recently launched the roadway with local artists showcasing themselves through the arts. If you would like to host a workshop or activity, click here to register. All activities are free to families, so feel free to bring your folding chair and enjoy the vibes.
Also, starting August 1st and every Saturday through August, CB3 will have a full day of activities for all ages. Dance, roller skating, Yoga, Jam sessions and much, much more. Schedule will be posted on IG.
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
Air Conditioning to Select Households in NYC this Summer: If you live with any family members 60 years or older and do not already have an air conditioner, the city is providing free air conditioners. Contact New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) using the information below to find out more:
- Division: Maintenance Hotline
- Phone Number: (718) 707-7771
- Business Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
- Staff is available at all times to handle emergencies and schedule routine maintenance repairs for Mon – Fri: 6:00 AM – midnight. Automated assistance is also available in Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish.
Emergency Respite Reimbursement – Funding is available to help families pay for respite services in an emergency situation. Covered emergencies can include:
- medical hospitalization and recuperation
- attending a funeral
- family member sickness
- assistance with challenging behaviors
For more information including eligibility requirements, please email: email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.