The Unity Scoop – August 4th
Dear Families of Unity,
On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, I hope that the first half of summer has treated you and your loved ones well.
The month of July represents a sacred time each year to spend time with loved ones, engage in meaningful personal adventures, and recharge the mind and body. It provides time for our educators to appreciate and reflect on the past school year as well as plan forward for the coming year and all that we want to achieve in collaboration with you.
In addition, July also represents an opportunity to provide invaluable service to our students beyond the regular school year, through customized small-group interventions during Summer Academy. Finally, it represents an opportunity to expose our younger students to new passions or deepen their interests and skills through our summer enrichment programming. This past month, over 80 of our middle school students engaged in a number of free enrichment offerings, including basketball, dance, grappling, and track!
Our school leaders recently returned to school from a much deserved vacation to resume planning and preparation for the coming school year. As we near our eleventh year as a school, we are excited to put our best foot forward in building on our prior successes in making the 2023-24 school year our strongest year yet!
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, I bring to you a number of updates, initiatives, and resources both at Unity and beyond. We also highlight our students as they engage in summer fun and enrichment along with revisiting our graduation ceremonies from June.
The next edition of the Scoop will be disseminated on August 18th.
Best summer wishes,
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of August 4, 2023:
1. New – Updated Unity Calendar for the 2023-24 School Year: In response to the NYCDOE’s changes to their calendar in June, we have made three changes to Unity’s calendar that we believe are in the best interests of our community. Specifically, April 29th, April 30th, and June 17th are now days in which school will not be in session.
The table below reflects our key events and vacations calendar for the 2023-24 school year. In addition, here is the updated PDF version of the table for your convenience. Note the first day of school is Wednesday, September 6, 2023. In addition, virtual sessions to greet our newest families will take place during the week of August 21st. Exact dates and times for these sessions will be communicated to new families this coming week.
2. New – Summer Assignment Reminder for Grades 6-8: Here is a note from Ms. Shebroe, Assistant Principal of Teaching & Learning at Unity’s middle school, regarding summer assignments.
With summer comes fun, relaxation, and rejuvenation. While this time off is well deserved, we want to help support our scholars to keep their math and ELA skills sharp and prevent the “summer slide.” With this in mind, we want to remind you to check in with your child about their summer work for their math and ELA classes. These assignments include prerequisite knowledge that will build on what they already know from the prior grade and support their success in the next grade. Additionally, for math, each topic has a recommended tutorial video, which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/
Students should spend approximately 30 minutes to one hour each week working on each assignment. It is recommended that students spread out the work over the course of the summer in order to keep their skills sharp and avoid cramming at the last minute.
Assignments are due on the first day of school, Wednesday, September 6th. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Ms. Shebroe at email@example.com.
Math assignments: https://tinyurl.com/
ELA assignments: 6th, 7th and 8th Grade ELA Assignments
3. New – Regents Test Prep Sessions for Unity High Students this Coming Week!: Unity High is offering test prep sessions to support students taking Regents exams in August. The sessions will take place over five days from August 9th to August 15th. Each student that has been extended an invitation should have received a schedule that includes both their test prep courses and times, as well as their August Regents testing schedule. Participants have also received pre-work emails with assignments to begin practicing before the program begins. August regents exams will be administered August 16th and August 17th. If families or students have any questions or need support, they should reach out to Unity High’s Assistant Principals of Teaching & Learning, Ms. Herrand (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ms. Abawi (email@example.com).
4. New – Kudos to Unity’s Summer Campers!: Unity Middle hosted over 80 students during the last two weeks in July with summer offerings in basketball, dance, grappling, and track. Congratulations to our students who engaged in these camps and developed new skills and talents along the way!
5. New – AP scores from the 2022-23 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. Course selections for the 2023-24 school year, including AP courses, will be finalized in late August.
6. New – August Hours of Operation: Here is information on our hours of operation by site through August. The main office of both sites will be open based on the following schedules:
- 432 Monroe Street (grades 6-8): 718-455-5046
- August 1st – August 18th
- 9am – 3:00pm, M-Th
- 8:30am – 1:30pm, F
- August 21st – August 31st
- 8:30am – 3:00pm, M-F
- August 1st – August 18th
- 584 Driggs Avenue (grades 9-12): 718-682-3725
- August 1st – August 18th
- 8:30am – 3:30pm, M-F
- August 21st – August 31st
- 8:30am – 4:30pm, M-F
- August 1st – August 18th
7. New – Guidance on School Supplies: Guidance on school supplies will be provided by August 18th.
8. 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 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.
9. New – Interested in Free Bussing Services to and from School for your Child (Grades 6-8 only)? Complete this Middle School Bus Request Form: Unity offers bussing services to a limited number of students in grades 6-8 (priority will be given to our youngest students). If you are interested in learning more about this service, complete this request form. Mr. Beckford will be in contact with interested families.
10. Updated – New Students for Fall 2023 – Unity middle school has a few seats available for rising sixth graders for the 2023-24 school year. Finding the right middle school can be tough, and our current families (you!) are the best advocates. If you know of any interested families, please reach out to Mr. Beckford via email or cell (862-294-0219). For any families that refer a new family, both will be given a free uniform shirt.
11. Recap – Unity Celebrates our Graduates of the Class of 2023!: We are so proud of our graduates and extremely excited about their college and career pursuits as Unity graduates. A special congrats to the graduates featured below for their academic achievements. Again, we are proud of you!
12. Recap – Unity Celebrates our 8th Grade Graduates!: Congratulations to the families of our newest 8th grade graduates! Today’s ceremony was a warm and festive event, and I am so excited for our graduates as they continue their academic pursuits in high school. I thank our families for their contributions to the ceremony. Congrats to 8th grade valedictorian, Dacota Porter, and our 8th grade salutatorian, Jayden Collins!
13. Recap – Report Cards for all Unity Students for the 2022-23 Spring Term and Year:
- Grades 6-8: Middle School report cards were distributed during Roundtables. Report cards that were not picked up were mailed in early July 1st in addition to students’ Star assessment reports, summer assignment packets, and any awards students may have received.
- Grades 9-12: Report card links were sent out via email to families by June 27th.
14. Recap – Unity Celebrates the 5th-Year Anniversary for 11 Educators and 10-Year Anniversary for 6 Educators!: This past week, we honored 11 Unity staff members who are celebrating their 5th year at Unity, along with 6 founding Unity staff members who are celebrating their 10th year at Unity. As a young school, these teammates have contributed mightily to our programming, our curriculum, and most importantly, the learning experiences of our students. They are pillars within our community and we thank them wholeheartedly to all that they have brought and continue to bring to our school. Here they are – feel free to send them a note of congrats!
- Platinum Apple Awards – 10 Years at Unity!
- Golden Apple Awards – 5 Years at Unity!
- Christelle Boadu, Middle School Math Teacher
- Clarissa Brookins, Middle School Social Worker
- Melissa Duphiney, Chief Academic Officer
- Louise Eason, Director of Academic Counseling
- Sophie Glickman, High School Art Teacher
- Christopher Harvey, High School Science Teacher
- Ingrid Jaquez, High School Senior Dean of Students
- Jacob Lazar, High School ELA Teacher & Associate Instructional Coach
- Jillian McPherson, Middle School Science Teacher
- Maria Turner, Middle School History Department Chair
- Jamal Welch, High School Math Teacher
15. Recap – Unity Middle’s Track Teams Take 1st and 2nd Place at City Track Championship!: Congratulations to members of Unity’s boys track team, who placed 1st overall. And congratulations to members of the girls team who, overall, placed 2nd. What an impressive showing – keep training this summer!
16. Recap – Unity 8th Graders Celebrate their Prom in Style!: Our 8th graders recently had fun as they celebrated their last year in middle school together during their prom. The party took place at Chelsea Piers with iconic NYC views and, of course, great company. Thank you to our families and staff who organized and chaperoned the event!
17. Recap – Helping Your Child to Continue their Learning This Summer: Ms. Eason, Unity High’s Director of Academic Counselor, offered a presentation – Avoiding Summer Slide – to families last year. The presentation is still relevant this year and provides 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.
18. Recap – Unity Middle’s End of Year Awards Ceremony!: Unity’s middle school community took a special moment recently to celebrate the impressive accomplishments of students this year, including Honor Roll, Department Awards, Perfect Attendance, and Citizenship. Congratulations to all awardees!
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
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. A host of resources are provided below. Reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio, Unity’s Director of Social Work, with questions.
- 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.
- 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