The Unity Scoop – February 4
Dear Families of Unity,
Congratulations to our middle school students and educators for a strong and successful administration of math mock exams this past week. Moreover, congratulations to our high school students and staff for recently completing the first semester of the school year. As always, thank you, families, for your showing of support and encouragement at home.
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, we bring to you our full February calendar. For the coming week, we invite our middle school families to participate in this month’s Family Ambassador meeting this Thursday. In addition to the calendar, we spotlight our students with stellar attendance in the month of January. We also highlight one of our dedicated family ambassadors.
As you review the calendar, note that we, as a community, are honoring Black History through a host of meaningful festivities and events over the coming few weeks. As a school, we take pride in honoring, celebrating, and learning about Black History every day of every month. We are especially excited to pay special tribute to Black History in February through a host of events and festivities within our school community and beyond.
Best wishes in the week ahead.
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of February 4, 2024:
1. Updated – Full February 2024 School-wide Calendar: For your family’s convenience, here is a complete school-wide 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.
2. New – Stellar Attendance in January – 95% and Above!: The following lengthy list of students demonstrated a strong and consistent dedication to their education by showing stellar attendance in January. Kudos to these students – we love seeing you each and every day! And, of course, we look forward to celebrating additional students at the end of this month!
3. New – Unity Family Ambassador Spotlight of the Month!: We are thrilled to resume an exciting feature to the Unity Scoop, a monthly profile of our amazing Unity Family Ambassadors. The Unity Family Ambassadors are a group of caregivers who meet monthly and serve as thought partners for many of our school’s initiatives. If you are interested in learning more about or joining the Unity Family Ambassadors, please reach out to Mr. Beckford.
Casandra Lewis (Mother of Jassaun Thompson, Unity 8th grader)
This month, we are thrilled to profile Casandra Lewis, the mother of Unity 8th grade scholar, Jassaun Thompson.
Ms. Lewis works as a Therapist.
Favorite Restaurant in Brooklyn?
Crabhouse (in Coney Island)
Your favorite self-care activity?
Sleep and meditation
Why did you choose to send your child to Unity?
It was a new opportunity for my family.
What is the best advice you could provide for an incoming caregiver?
Stay in communication with staff and educators.
What is your favorite aspect of Unity?
My favorite aspect is the sense of community.
What inspired you to ‘give back’ to our community by joining the Unity Family Ambassadors this year?
Today’s society, and our children.
4. Updated – Help Shape Your Child’s Experience in School by Taking Part in our Next Middle School Family Ambassadors Meeting, Thursday, February 8th, 6pm!: The next Family Ambassadors of Unity meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, February 8th, at 6pm on Zoom. Contact Mr. Beckford with questions – all families or middle school students are encouraged to attend!
5. Updated – Unity Wear Red in Support of Heart Health Awareness!: This past Thursday, Unity staff and students wore red in showing their support for the heart health awareness and the fight against heart disease. Kudos to all who took part! Learn more about this annual event as well as heart disease and how to reduce risks here.
6. Updated – Unity’s Student-Athletes Continue to Shine in the Winter Season!: There have been a number of recent highlights worth sharing with Unity’s athletic teams this winter season. Here are a few!
Unity’s Queen Steppers and Royals took 1st and 2nd place in their competition in Bentwood, NY last weekend. Congrats to both teams and congrats to Coach Olivier, Coach West, and Coach Martino ‘20!
We congratulate Unity High’s most recent Student-Athletes of the Month!
Members of Unity High’s Weight Lifting Club get pumped at the Metropolitan Recreation Center!
The nonprofit, New York Road Runners (NYRR), recently donated new sneakers to members of our Fall Cross Country season. We thank you for your support and partnership, NYRR!
Our Hoops teams are fully in season and representing Unity with pride!
7. Recap – Alumni Spotlight of the Month – Nayeli Pena, 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 Nayeli Pena, who recently earned certifications in Google Analytics, Meta Cert Digital Marketing and Adobe Professional and is now working as a Media Designer at York College’s Learning Center. Kudos to Nayeli in her recent achievements!
Who: Nayeli Pena is a proud member of Unity’s first graduating class in 2020. She completed college courses at SUNY Oneonta and before returning home to seek employment. Nayeli loves art, music, graphic design, and all things beauty. Nayeli frequently returns to Unity for alumni events and helps out her middle and high school community whenever she can.
Accomplishments: Nayeli recently completed a Digital Marketing course from an organization called Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow where she earned certifications in Google Analytics, Meta Cert Digital Marketing and Adobe Professional. The program led to an internship at York College as a graphic designer. She is now an official employee at York College as a Media Designer for their Learning Center! Nayeli loves the supportive and fun work environment so far and looks forward to other opportunities that may come her way.
8. Recap – Unity High’s Advanced Placement (AP) Art & Design Students Visit the Whitney Museum: Unity High’s AP Art & Design students recently took the opportunity to deepen their study of American art, as well as gain inspiration by visiting the Whitney Museum. Thank you to Ms. Glickman for organizing the trip and making it possible!
9. Recap – Save the Date! Unity’s Middle School Dance Recital is on February 15th, 5:30pm!: Please support the middle school scholars by attending our Winter Dance Recital on Thursday, February 15th in our middle school auditorium (432 Monroe Street). See the flier below for additional details!
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 2023-24 school year – 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