The Unity Scoop – February 11
Dear Families of Unity,
I hope that the week was good to you and your loved ones. I want to thank our families who participated in Thursday evening’s Family Ambassadors meeting. Your engagement has contributed to many of our successes this year, and we look forward to continuing in our collaboration during our meeting on March 9th.
As a school, we are excited to continue in our celebration of Black History this coming week. See the fliers below to appreciate the abundance of festivities we have scheduled. Note that families are invited to take part in various events. Contact Mr. Beckford at our middle school and Ms. Young at our high school if you would like to join us!
We have plenty to share with you in this week’s edition of The Unity Scoop, including athletic highlights, a spotlight on one of our alumni, and a 10th grade field trip to The Intrepid Museum.
Have a terrific weekend!
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of February 11, 2023:
1. New – February 2023 School-wide Calendar: For your family’s convenience, here is a schoolwide calendar of events for the month of February – 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. Note that this coming Friday, February 17th, is an asynchronous remote day of instruction for our students in grades 6-8 only. Students in grades 9-12 will experience a regular, in-person day of school.
2. New – Unity’s 10th Graders Visit the Intrepid Museum!: As a part of their study of World War II, Unity’s 10th graders took the opportunity today to visit the Intrepid Museum on the west side of Manhattan. Students were able to examine original artifacts, view historic video footage, and explore interactive exhibits. Enjoy the photos below!
3. New – Alumni Spotlight of the Month – Grace Ojatunwase, Unity’s Class of 2021: 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 Grace Ojatunwase, who is now in her 2nd year of college at SUNY Fredonia. Kudos to Grace in making the most of her college experience thus far!
Grace was named Ms. ASU (African Student Union) at Fredonia in 2022!
Grace Ojatunwase graduated from Unity in 2021 with a cumulative GPA of 3.73 and earned a Presidential Scholarship to SUNY. She is currently in her 3rd year at SUNY Fredonia majoring in medical technology. She is currently excited to master college Chemistry this semester as she embraces being an upperclassmen at Fredonia.
- College Acceptances after Unity: Ithaca College, Manhattanville College, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Geneseo, Wheaton College, Spelman College, CUNY BMCC, SUNY Albany, CUNY Medgar Evers, CUNY City Tech, SUNY University at Buffalo, SUNY Fredonia, Penn State University
- Grace has completed all of the SUNY general education requirements and is now focusing on her major classwork.
- Grace has maintained good academic standing through 4 semesters of college, earning 49 credits so far!
Advice for Unity Underclassmen (middle and high school):
Grace would advise new college students to get involved with student life and activities. She has found joy in participating in Fredonia’s dance team and that it enables her to feel connected on campus.
Expressions of Gratitude:
Grace is grateful to stay connected to her Unity community and appreciates the support she receives from her Alumni Success Counselor.
4. New – Athletic Spotlight: Unity Panthers in Full Action!: Our athletic teams represented Unity with full force this week. Panthers, we are proud of you!
Unity High’s Junior Varsity Basketball Team played solid team defense during their final home game of the season.
The team poses with their families and coaches following the game. Thank you, families, for coming out to support our team!
Unity’s Step Teams joined forces to take home 1st and 2nd place titles in a competition last weekend at Brooklyn Tech.
5. New – Unity’s Speech & Debate Team to Compete at the University of Pennsylvania this Weekend!: Members of Unity High’s Speech & Debate will compete in a major competition this weekend at the University of Pennsylvania. We are so proud of our team’s efforts this year – go Panthers!
6. New – Show Your Support for Unity to Open an Elementary School by Signing this Letter of Support: As we proceed in our aim of expanding our school to serve students in grades K-5, we kindly request that family members of our current students in grades 6-12 show your support for our expansion by taking a moment to sign a formal letter of support from Unity families. The letter is here. Simply enter your full name in the available space below the letter to actively show your support by March 1st. This letter will be shared with the New York State Board of Regents before they vote on our proposed expansion this spring. We thank you in advance for showing your support!
7. Updated – Unity Celebrates Black History this Month through a Host of Festivities!: Unity students on our middle school and high school campuses are in the midst of celebrating Black History Month with an array of events. This coming week our middle school community will engage in a Black History Film Festival on the morning of Wednesday, February 15th. The festival will be followed by a community celebration of Black History, including music, dance performances, and guest speakers. See the first two fliers below for more information.
At Unity High, the community is engaging in three major events: a Black History Spirit Week during the week of February 13th, live performances on February 8th and 15th (see the photo below of the award-winning theater troupe, LEAP Artists LIVE, performing in our gymnasium this past week), and a pop-up shop in honor of Black History that features designs from the local community and our talented student and alumni designers. See the last three fliers below for more information. And thank you to our leaders in student government for curating the festivities!
8. Updated – Thank you, Families, for Taking Part in this Week’s Family Ambassadors Meeting!: We are grateful to our families who participated in Thursday evening’s Family Ambassadors meeting on Zoom. Here are the slides from the meeting. Contact Mr. Beckford (grades 6-8) or Ms. Young (grades 9-12) with questions. Unity’s Family Ambassadors will meet again on Thursday, March 9th, at 6pm – all families are encouraged to attend.
9. Recap – Congrats to our Middle School’s Students of the Month!: Kudos to our Students of the Month from December for showing exemplary scholarship, citizenship, and growth – we are proud of you!
- 6th Grade:
- Scholarship: Amair Sloan
- Citizenship: Brook’Lynn Fields
- 7th Grade:
- Scholarship: Emrick Francois
- Citizenship: Anakin Dawkins
- Most Improved: Ahmed Alsheikh
- 8th Grade:
- Scholarship: Dacota Porter
- Citizenship: Jeremy Brown
10. Recap – Resources for Supporting Your Children through Traumatic Events: In light of the recent tragedies in the news, we are sharing resources with our families for talking to children and youth about traumatic events. Here is one resource from the U.S. Department of Mental Health Services. In addition, here a some questions for prompting healthy discussion following a violent incident featured in the news:
- What thoughts and feelings have you had?
- What thoughts might you want to share with the victims of the violence, their friends and families, and with others who are feeling vulnerable right now?
- What is one thing we could do – individually, as a group, or as a society – to show love for one another in the wake of this event?
- What do you want to say about [the issue]? What’s on your mind?
- What would you like to do for our community or the world to address [the issue or problem]?
11. Recap – Attention Middle School Families Who Are Interested in After-school Programming!: The partnership with our middle school and St. Nick’s Alliance continues this year. St. Nick’s offers a rich array of afterschool programming in academic enrichment, leadership development, and extracurricular activities for our middle school students. Programming kicks off on Monday, September 19th. Contact Luis Rodriguez with questions by email at email@example.com or by phone at 646-676-1309.
12. Recap – 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 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.
13. Recap – Important Information Regarding Vaccinations Requested: As we continue monitoring current health safety protocols, one significant factor in our planning is the extent to which our students are vaccinated. If you are a new Unity family, or have not yet provided your child’s vaccination status, please complete the COVID Vaccination Form at your earliest convenience. Note that we strongly encourage all of our families to take steps in getting their children vaccinated to best ensure that we are providing the highest level of safety for our community.
14. 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!
Day of Week
Applicable to Grade Levels
|Orientation Festival, 4-7pm
|First day of school for students
|9/21/22 (New date)
|MS Back to School Night, 6pm
|9/22/22 (New date)
|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
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
Our Community Pledge as a school outlines the actions our staff, families, and students are committed to taking. By following through on our commitments, we will undoubtedly have an enormously successful school year!
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.
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:
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.