The Unity Scoop – December 18
Dear Families of Unity,
With the first snowfall of the school year this week, it finally feels like winter. We are two school days away from a well-deserved break and approximately two weeks away from a glorious new year!
In this edition of the Scoop, I offer a few important updates on our school plans for the 2020-21 year, including up-to-date calendars through June and an update on a recent community service initiative. Due to the holiday, the next edition of the Scoop will be disseminated on Friday, January 8th.
On behalf of our faculty and staff, we wish you and your loved ones a most joyous holiday season.
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of December 18, 2020:
1. New – A Brief Update on School Programming for the 2020-21 School Year: As promised just over a month ago, I am writing today to provide a brief update on our school programming for the 2020-21 school year. At this time, given what we know and what new information we have gathered over the past month, there is no change to our existing plan. We will continue with our remote programming through at least February 28, 2021. Expect a new update during the week by January 29, 2021. We are still living in very uncertain times, but we hope to have additional information about the state of health and safety in New York by the end of January, to best inform our plans moving forward.
As I mentioned in my last note in November, we are at our best as a school when we are working fully in-person alongside one another, and alongside our students. My hope is that we experience this again as soon as possible. The safety and health of our entire community will drive this decision.
2. New – Unity’s School Calendar for Families through the End of June 2021: In the spirit of providing you with the information you need to best support your child with school at home, here are our updated middle and high school calendars through June 2021.
- Middle School Calendar for Families through June 2021
- High School Calendar for Families through June 2021
3. New – Unity Surpasses Goal of Raising $2021 for The Campaign Against Hunger: I am thrilled to report that we surpassed our goal of raising $2021 for The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH). As of today, $2,210 has been raised to support TCAH, increasing access to nutritious food, social services, and a wide range of programming to underserved and disenfranchised members of our community. The initiative was a full community effort with donations made by staff, families, and supporters of Unity. Be proud! Of course, feel free to continue to donate to the good cause through GoFundme if you are inclined to do so. The initiative officially concludes on Monday, December 21st. The good people of TCAH are grateful for our support, collaboration, and generosity.
4. Recap – Issue No. 2 of the Unity Review is Available for your Reading Pleasure! I am excited to share with you the second issue of the Unity Review literary magazine. The Unity Review team has been working incredibly hard to bring to you their second issue. Along the way, they continue to develop new skills as young writers and artists. Here is a quick note from Unity Review’s co-editors, Choe and Tatyana: This edition includes many essays and artworks from different scholars in the school, and we are so impressed with the work. They show us what magic means to them through their stories, poems, and art!
5. Recap – Unity High School Quarter 1 Report Cards: Report cards were emailed out to high school families on Monday, December 7th. If you did not receive a report card in your inbox, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to have one emailed to you.
6. Recap – Unity’s Panther Den is Open to Middle and High School Students who Demonstrate PRIDE!: The Panther Den is where students can redeem the Core Value (PRIDE) points that they’ve earned for prizes and gifts of their choice.
- Middle school students can submit their requests for the Panther Den prizes via the following link. Middle school students should reach out to their grade level dean with any questions.
- The High School Den is open to students on Wednesdays from 3:05-3:50pm and can be accessed using this link.
7. Recap – College Information for Students and Families of Unity High:
- College Counseling Office Hours with Mr. Gonzalez
- What and Why:
- If any senior has questions about any aspect of the college application process, Mr. G’s Office Hours are for YOU!
- Ask questions re: college lists, essay feedback, application process
- Ask questions about FAFSA
- Ask any other questions about the college application process
- E-mail Mr. G! No appointment necessary!
- If any senior has questions about any aspect of the college application process, Mr. G’s Office Hours are for YOU!
- Mr. G’s Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/7263050289
- Mondays (until December 18): 3:30pm – 4:30pm
- Tuesdays (until December 18): 3:30pm – 4:30pm
- Wednesdays (until December 18): 3:30pm – 4:30pm
- Thursdays (until December 18): 4:30pm – 5:00pm
- Fridays (until December 18): 3:30pm – 4:30pm
- What and Why:
- Senior To-Do List: We have officially moved into the second phase of the college application process! Seniors are now finishing their personal statements and creating their college lists. By the end of this month, all seniors can be finished with their college application process if they keep to the schedule set up by their college counselors. To ensure students are on schedule, seniors should have completed the following six steps already:
- Search for your desired CUNY majors here.
- Check for an academic (GPA) match at CUNY schools here.
- Find six (6) different programs/majors that interest you (these are the subject(s) you want to study in college).
- Email the list of six (6) colleges and programs to your counselor.
- Continue entering your FAFSA information with your parent/caregiver (see the Financial Aid Resources, included below!).
- Make an appointment with Mr. G or Ms. Roth to discuss questions:
- Financial Aid Resources: In case you were not able to attend the recent financial aid workshop, here are two resources from that session. These resources will help students and parents/caregivers complete 70% of the financial aid application process:
- PSAT and SAT Updates: The College Board has not yet clarified testing options for students, but we want to enable students in different grade levels to take either the SAT or PSAT this fall or winter.
- 11th Graders: We are assessing the possibility of administering the PSAT to juniors in January. More information will be provided as we get closer to the testing dates. Please note that in addition to the PSAT, 11th graders should strongly consider taking the SAT twice this spring (in March and either April or May). More information will be provided later in the school year. Until then, students may join Khan Academy to prepare for the PSAT in the event that it is offered in January.
8. Recap – Income Inquiry & Housing Status Form! We are asking for your help by completing the questions on the form below so we can best assist you and your family during this school year. Your participation in completing this form allows Unity to receive grant money from the state and federal government. The information will be kept confidential.
9. Recap – 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.
10. Recap – Unity Middle School has 6th Grade Seats Available!: Unity’s 6th grade still has a few remaining seats available. Please spread the word throughout your respected networks! If you know a family looking for an amazing middle school, please encourage them to apply today, or complete the following form: Unity Prep Interest Form. Key features in our 2020-21 program include:
- Each scholar will receive a laptop
- Engage in classes from the safety of home
- Five days of virtual, live instruction each week
Any questions? Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Recap – A Website Resource High School Caregivers: The Unity Prep High School Parent Corner is here to assist you with the tools and resources necessary to make your role as a Panther Parent easier. At UPHS, we see you as our partner in education and understand the crucial role you play in the lives of our students. There is no doubt you will have questions and concerns as your student journeys through high school; this page will help to serve as a resource to support you.
Please review the information provided on this page – from calendars to quick navigation to helpful webpages, ways to stay connected, and of course, a place to call or email when you need it. The site is updated weekly, so bookmark it and check it frequently for new information.
12. Recap – Requests for a Laptop and Support with Technology or Internet Access: Unity will provide a laptop to all students who need one. If you still need a Unity laptop OR do not have internet access at home, please complete the following form: https://bit.ly/Unitylaptops. After completing this form, somebody from the school will reach out to you. Our goal is for 100% of students to have access to the technology they need to fully engage in their studies.
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
Unity Caregiver Checklist: Now that we are a full week into the school year, you have likely checked a number of the items below off the list. Again, kudos to you – these are challenging times for families in balancing school from home along with all of the other commitments we are juggling in our lives. To help you in best supporting your child to get off to a strong start this school year, here is a list of important things that you should be doing:
- Secure a functioning laptop and reliable internet service (we can help here – #10 below)
- Arrange your child’s workspace (see #11 below for tips here)
- Obtain school supplies (see #12 below)
- Purchase Unity school attire – parents and families are encouraged to purchase the Unity uniform now, as uniforms will be required whenever we return to in-person instruction. During remote learning, students are encouraged, but not mandated, to wear a school uniform (see #13 below)
- Plan your child’s daily routine and schedule to accommodate their class schedule.
- Attend Unity’s Family Orientation Night on September 24th and/or watch the recording of the event (see #14 above for more information).
Creating the Perfect 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.
For additional tips on making an ideal, remote workspace for your child, check out this guide and these suggestions.
School Supply List for New Students: For remote learning, the supply list may appear different than previous years. Please refer to the two supply lists below:
- Middle School Students: All students are expected to have the following school supplies:
- 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: High school supplies are organized by course and can be found here. Students are expected to have the supplies listed for each of the courses they are taking. In addition, we thank all of the families that picked up their class resource bags today. Members of our high school operations team have been contacting students and families who were unable to pick up their bags to coordinate alternative pick up times and will continue to do so this coming week.
Information on Uniforms: Students are not required to wear uniforms during virtual learning. However, uniforms and school attire may be purchased by visiting the following links below.
- Flynn O’Hara for middle school students or high school
- Unityprepuniforms.com for high school only
Recordings of Unity’s Annual Back to School Night: Recording of last night’s Back to School Night can be accessed with the links below. If you were unable to participate in last night’s festivities, we strongly encourage you to watch the recording to be fully abreast of all supporting your child’s education in the 2020-21 school year.
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.
Free Breakfast & Lunch are available for Students – Any student has access to free meals a day at more than 400 Meal Hubs across the city. More details, including a search tool, is available by clicking here.
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.
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.