The Unity Scoop – December 1
Dear Families of Unity,
I hope that you and your loved ones enjoyed a delightful Thanksgiving holiday! And I hope that the start of the new month has been good to you. I also want to thank all of our families who participated in conferences just before the holiday. We hope that the experience was helpful as well as informative, and you appreciated your communication with our faculty and staff.
We have three weeks of school until our winter break. This stretch of the year tends to be both busy and festive, as we continue to engage fully in classes and extra-curricular activities while also embracing an abundance of festivities that highlight our students and enrich our community.
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, I offer our December calendar, which outlines the events and initiatives we have planned over the coming three weeks. This includes an art exhibition on Thursday, December 7th, featuring our middle school students’ recent artwork. In addition, we spotlight our middle school students earning a place on our Trimester I Honor Roll!
Well wishes to you and your family.
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of December 1, 2023:
1. New – December 2023 School-wide Calendar: For your family’s convenience, here is a schoolwide calendar of events for the month of December – 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.
10.17.23 Board Meeting Minutes
2. New – Congratulations to our Middle School Honor Roll Students for the First Trimester of 2023! Congrats to our students in grades 6-8 who earned Honor Roll status in the first trimester of the school year! Your consistent hard work, organization, and eagerness to learn things and develop new skills is paying off. Be proud of your accomplishments and stay the course!
Trimester I High Honor Roll
Grade 6 Students
Grade 7 Students
Grade 8 Students
Trimester I Honor Roll
Grade 6 Students
Grade 7 Students
Grade 8 Students
|Jason Solomon Jr.
|Ava Mare Sutton
|Taribbi Hosten Jr.
3. New – Unity’s Middle School Second Annual Fall Art Exhibition, Thursday, December 7th, 5-6:30pm!: Under the guidance of their Art & Design Teacher, Mr. Berkeley, Unity’s middle school art students will proudly exhibit their latest artwork this coming Thursday evening. All art students are required to participate, and we welcome all of our students and families to attend and celebrate our young artists and latest creations!
4. New – Recent Highlights from Unity’s Athletic’s Program: There have been many recent highlights for Unity’s athletic teams this fall. Here are a few new additions!
For the second consecutive year, the New York Islanders have sponsored Unity through their Floor Ball Initiative Program. This includes the donation of equipment to Unity’s physical education (PE) program. This week, middle school students were introduced to the sport in their PE classes. Six Unity scholars who mastered the skills earned a free Islanders athletic jersey.
As a member of the Step Team, Acai Carrington is our Middle School Student-Athlete of the Month for November. Acai currently has a 4.0 grade-point average. According to Coach Martino’ 20, “While all the members of The Rising Royals fall into the category of amazing scholar athletes, Acai Carrington makes it her number one goal to exceed the standards of what it means to be a great student! She embodies intelligence, character, and passion! Acai constantly pushes herself out of her comfort zone to help teach those around her. Her growth in patience and leadership shows her dedication to her team.” In response to being honored, Acai expressed surprise as well as gratitude: “I didn’t know I had a 4.0 for Trimester 1. I am really happy to receive this award. This year I have worked really hard and I am thankful that it paid off.”
5. Recap – Congrats to our Middle School’s Students of the Month from October!: Kudos to our Students of Month for showing exemplary scholarship, citizenship, and growth – we are proud of you!
Arsenal Dutchin, 6th grade
Edwin Coronado, 6th grade
Seneca George, 7th grade
Nevaeh Rodriguez, 7th grade
Michael Birgan, 8th grade
Nicholas Thomas, 8th grade
6. Recap – Congrats to our Recent Panther Spotlight Awardees!: Each month, select Unity High students are recognized by our staff and faculty for their academic achievement and positive contributions to our community. Congratulations to the recipients below who were spotlighted in September and October!
● Adriana Pollard (10)
● Ahkeelah Witty (11)
● Aleia Brooks (11)
● Antonio Echeverria Espinal (12)
● Ashley Estevez (12)
● Chase Grimes (12)
● Damani Green (10)
● Daniel Martinez (10)
● Destin Mattey (11)
● Evan Ramos (10)
● Iliana Laverpool (11)
● Isaiah Bovell (12)
● Jade Guallpa (12)
● Jaheem Auguste Jr (12)
● Jamari Edmonds (12)
● Jayda Wellington (9)
● Jean Alomia (10)
● Kayla Wright-Martin (12)
● Kevin Rivera (11)
● Kimberley Valdez (11)
● Kira Preudhomme (10)
● Leslie Paredes Tigsi (9)
● Leyah Mendez (11)
● Mariah Horsford (12)
● Melani Paucar Siguencia (12)
● Oswaldo Calixto (9)
● R J (RJ) Mark (12)
● Sanah Thompson (10)
● Shirley Longmire (9)
● Tamese Pratt (12)
● Terrell Gibbs (9)
● Vondell Hankies (11)
● Zion Charles (10)
7. Recap – Unity High’s Debate Team off to a Promising Start in Year 2!: Unity High’s debate team continues to make strides in its second year. Check out the photos below of our talented debaters in a recent competition at the Brooklyn Public Library.
8. Recap – Alumni Spotlight of the Month – Zaniah Jenkins, Unity’s Class of 2020: We are thrilled to share with our entire community the accomplishments of our alumni whenever we can. This month, we proudly provide an update on the postsecondary success of Zaniah Jenkins, who is now in her fourth year at CUNY Medgar Evers College. Kudos to Zaniah in making the most of her college experience!
Who: Zaniah Jenkins graduated from Unity in 2020. She is currently a full-time student at CUNY Medgar Evers College, majoring in Psychology. Zaniah has completed all of her CUNY general education requirements and is now taking high-level psychology courses that challenge her to think and learn in new ways! She is currently enjoying the smaller class sizes that come with being a 4th year student and is learning a great deal from discussions and relationships with her psychology professors.
Accomplishments: During the summer of 2022, Zaniah Jenkins got a virtual job working for Techie Youth, a worldwide organization that trains students for future technology careers. During her time working there, Zaniah learned about music production, web development, coding, app development, fundraising, and her personal favorite: 3D printing.
Fun Fact: Zaniah is on track to graduate with her Bachelors degree in Psychology in May 2024.
9. Recap – Attention Unity students in Grades 8-11 – Apply Now for a Paid Internship with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden: The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is now recruiting students in grades 8–11 for the 2024 Garden Apprentice Program (GAP) at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. GAP is a great way for teens to get paid to learn about urban agriculture, science, and the environment while working in one of the most exciting public gardens in the world!
More information is available online at bbg.org/gap.. Additional details include:
BBG Garden Apprentices:
• Earn a monetary award at the end of the apprenticeship (Tier 1: $600, Tier 2: $700, Tier 3: $800).
• Work their way up the program to become paid staff as a Tier 4.
• Learn about botany and environmentalism through hands-on lessons.
• Grow and harvest fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the Children’s Garden.
• Facilitate lessons to teach children about plants.
• Explore Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s amazing plant collections.
• Develop job skills, including teamwork, communication, and leadership.
Apprentices make a nine-month commitment to GAP, from March to November, which includes spring training, summer programming, and a weekly commitment after school or on weekends throughout the academic year.
10. Recap – Unity Calendar for the 2023-24 School Year: 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.
11. Recap – 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.
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