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The Unity Scoop – February 4

Dear Families of Unity,

Happy Lunar New Year to you and your loved ones!

I hope that the first week of February has been good to you.  As you well know, February is recognized nationally as Black History Month.  While we, as a school, take pride in honoring, celebrating, and learning about Black history every month and each day of the calendar year, we are excited to pay special tribute to Black history over the coming weeks through a host of events and festivities within our school community and beyond.

In this edition of The Unity Scoop, I highlight a number of upcoming events as well as some notable recent student achievements.

I would like to end my introductory note with special thank you to Unity’s academic counselors as a part of National School Counseling Appreciation Week coming up.  Unity is fortunate to have an extremely talented and dedicated team of academic counselors who play a central role in supporting our students in making the most of their educational experience at Unity.  On behalf of our entire community, I would like to thank Ms. Roth, Mr. Gonzalez, Ms. Eason, Ms. Ramjan, and Ms. Gutierrez for all that they do for our school and community.

Best regards,

Josh Beauregard

Head of School / Co-founder


Updates as of February 4, 2022:

1. New – Students and Teachers in Action this Week: We are thrilled to continue in honoring the hard work of our students as they engage in their learning each and every day.  This week, we feature our English Language Arts students in action in their 8th and 12th grade classrooms.  In the first photo below, Ms. Driscoll’s 8th grade class is using logic to explain exactly what their evidence means and why it is important in crafting a thematic essay.  In the second photo below, Ms. Bond’s 9th grade class is engrossed in their latest novel.

2. Updated – February 2022 Schoolwide 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/or new events could be added.  An up-to-date events calendar can always be accessed on our website.  Notable events this coming week include:

  • Middle school mock exams in ELA and math on Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Star reading and math assessments for all grades 9-12 students
  • Various athletic events
  • National School Counseling Appreciation Week

3. New – Kudos to our Middle School Students Who are Demonstrating our Core Values!:  We are excited to promote and celebrate moments when our students are demonstrating our P.R.I.D.E. values: Progress, Respect for All, Integrity, Discovery, and Empathy.  Below, we recognize our P.R.I.D.E. leaders for each grade level.  Kudos to these students!  Keep it up!



Total P.R.I.D.E. Shout-outs

Jamari P.



Steven T.



Dacota P.



London K.



Jason S.



Ester P.



Kylee A.



Loic L.



Brooke T.



Melody B.



Eliza C.



Valerie E.



Ali Q.



Emrick F.



Jassaun T.



Jeremiah D.



Kamariyah L.



Savion R.



Epiphany W.



Malcolm C.



Dmiyah W.



Kester F.



Tymir M.



Jerafrica T.



Mekaliah D.



Salematou B.



Xyonia G.



Wyatt T.



Kamari T.



Lanashia S.



4. New – Middle School Festivities for the Month of February!: We have many activities honoring Black History Month, spreading love for Valentine’s Day and launching Unity Middle School’s first Step Team.  We’re also hosting our monthly chat with Co-Principals Burns and Williams on Friday, February 18th at 2pm.  Please check Jupiter regularly for more details!

5. New – Upcoming Virtual Open House for Prospective Unity Families, Wednesday, 2/16, 6pm: Unity invites prospective families from elementary schools across Brooklyn to join us for an informative and engaging virtual event. Prospective families will get to hear from school leaders, staff, and stakeholders from Unity. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about all the amazing resources Unity has to offer.  Here is the RSVP form and the Zoom Meeting link.  Please take a moment and forward the RSVP to families of 5th grade students in your networks!
6. New – Upcoming Events of Interest to Unity Families!:  Brought to you by Mr. Beckford, we are happy to highlight a number of fun upcoming events across Brooklyn for our families.  Here are three!

  1. DTBK Presents: Lunar New Year Celebration, Saturday, 2/5, 2-5pm: Ring in the Lunar New Year at Albee Square with a celebration featuring traditional lion dance performances by the New York Choy Lay Fut Lion Dance Team and DJ KDOTLIM. Snap a social-distanced selfie with the lion dancers, and pick up a traditional red envelope which contains small prizes! A few lucky red envelopes include gift cards to spend at some of the Asian-owned businesses in Downtown Brooklyn.
  2. Money Heist: The Experience – NYC, Friday-Sunday, 2/4-2/6, Times Vary: The Money Heist immersive experience is here in NYC for an exhilarating challenge of a lifetime. Taking place at the landmarked skyscraper, Skylight One Hanson in Brooklyn, you’ll join the masked bandits in taking over the Big Apple! Are you up for the task?
  3. The Merchant of Venice (Play), See dates and times below: Shakespeare’s perennially contested play about corrosive bigotry and blinding vengeance is poised squarely at the radioactive intersection of race, class and religion in Arin Arbus’s production. John Douglas Thompson stars as the ill-used, vindictive money-lender Shylock in his fifth classical collaboration with Arbus. The show’s uniquely diverse company and creative team evoke a deeply stratified Venice suffused with racism, misogyny, classism and homophobia, its connections to our own grievously fractured world vivid, stark and startling.
    1. Event Dates:
      1. Sunday 2/6 at 7:30pm
      2. Tuesday 2/8 at 7:30pm
      3. Wednesday 2/9 at 7:30pm
    2. Event Location: Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center

7. Recap – Attention Senior and Families of Seniors: Information re: College Workshops and Scholarships from Mr. Gonzalez: See the updates below from our College & Career Readiness Team!

  • College Application Update: As of January 28th, 76% of seniors have applied to college.  Congrats to the following students for recently submitting their applications!
    • Ryan Parker
    • Zaveion Hoyte
    • Joshua Lewis
  • College Acceptances: As of January 28th, 43% of the Class of 2022 have been offered admission to at least one college!  We are still very early in the admissions process – typically, colleges offer admission during the early spring months (March, April), so this is truly special.  Congratulations to the following students on their recent acceptances!
    • Jasmin Quamina (SUNY Brockport) with a $8,000 Scholarship
    • Antwon Dacosta (SUNY University at Buffalo’s engineering program)
    • Melody Roy (SUNY Oneonta) with a FULL RIDE!
    • Julius Cabrera (SUNY Potsdam)
    • Marquis Greene St. Louis (SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Morrisville, and SUNY Buffalo State College)
    • Cierra Newkirk (SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY University at Buffalo, SUNY Albany, and St. Francis College)
    • Jennifer Smith (Clark University) with a $20,000 scholarship
    • Shanice McBean (SUNY Purchase)
    • Sincere Baptiste (SUNY Oneonta)
    • Joel Watson (SUNY New Paltz)
    • Aisha Blades (SUNY Oswego)
    • Malika Saphy-Perret (SUNY Oneonta and SUNY University at Buffalo)
    • Zavieon Hoyte (Alfred State College)
  • College/Career Application Information: FAFSA/TAP – These two applications for financial aid can earn students almost $12,000 in free money for college!  Please contact Mr. Gonzalez immediately to get support in submitting either of them.  The State University of New York (SUNY) is also conducting free online workshops to help families submit their aid applications.  Sign up here.

8. Recap – Unity Day Festivities at our Middle School!: Staff and students engaged in an afternoon of community-building festivities this last month, including a door decorating contest among Advisories and a range of games and fun events.  Enjoy the photos below!

9. Recap – An Advisory Outing at our High School!: As a part of our Advisory events last Friday, our 9th grade class took part in the seasonally festive event of ice-skating at Prospect Park.  Of course, hot chocolate was also in the mix!  Thank you to Ms. Eason, Ms. Terry, and others for making the event possible.

10Recap – Free Resources for Unity Families: Unity’s social work team is always looking for opportunities that may be helpful and of interest to our families.  Two such opportunities are provided below.  Reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio, Unity’s Director of Social Work, with questions.

  • Free Parenting Classes and Resources: The Parenting Resource Center at Catholic Guardian Services offers a free 4-week class for expectant parents and those with children aged 0-3 months. Classes are offered in English and Spanish, and cover topics including self care, breastfeeding, safe sleep, and more. All participants are eligible to receive a free crib. The Parent Resource Center also offers support with immigration, housing, childcare support services, and more. Learn more here.
  • Get Covered – Apply for Health Insurance for 2022: Visit NY State of Health or call (855) 355-5777 to get free, one-on-one help enrolling in health insurance plans including Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and more. Open enrollment continues through January 31, 2022. Learn more here.

11. Recap – Footage from our Zoom Session on January 12th regarding our Revised Safety Protocols: Thank you to our families who participated in our recent Zoom session regarding our revised safety protocols. This includes our moves to provide increased testing and our adoption of the NYCDOE’s test-to-stay policy.  If you missed Wednesday’s session, here is a recording and here are the informational slides.  Any questions regarding our revised protocols may be directed to covid@unityprep.org.

12. Recap – How to Obtain Free COVID Home Tests:  Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at-home tests from USPS.com. The website is here:  https://special.usps.com/testkits.  Here’s what you need to know about your order:

  • Limit of one order per residential address
  • One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
  • Orders will ship free starting in late January

Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:

2021-22 School Year Vacation Calendar for Students and other Key Dates: So that you may make plans for the year, with our school schedule in mind, the table below provides the vacation dates for students and families for the 2021-22 school year.  Students will not report to school on these dates.  Moreover, here are a few important notes regarding next year’s calendar:


Day of Week


September 8


Wednesday First day of school for students
October 11


Monday Indigenous People’s Day, school closed
November 2 Tuesday Election day, remote school day
November 11


Thursday Veteran’s Day, school closed
November 24 – 26 Wednesday – Friday Thanksgiving Recess, school closed
December 24 – January 3 Friday – Monday


Winter Recess, school closed
January 17


Monday Monday Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, school closed
February 21 – 25 Monday – Friday Midwinter Recess, school closed
April 15 – 22 Friday –


Spring Recess, school closed
May 30 Monday


Memorial Day, school closed
June 20 Monday Juneteenth (observed), school closed
June 27 Monday Last day of school for students

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.

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 (tdelpurgatorio@unityprep.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.us/en/.

Update on P-EBT Benefits for Families:  New York State is providing Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) food benefits to all households with children who are eligible to receive free school lunch under the National School Lunch Act and whose school was closed or operating with reduced in-school attendance due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 academic year. Issuance of the food benefit will continue for several months, due to the large number of eligible children and schools participating in the National School Lunch Program across the state. For additional information visit NYSOTDA P-EBT Benefits Information Page.

  • If your child(ren) is eligible and has not received P-EBT benefit by November 2021, you may fill out the P-EBT Information Form.
  • If you have misplaced a P-EBT Food Benefit card issued to your child[ren), you may order a replacement card by calling 1-888-328-6399.  If your child(ren) received P-EBT benefits on a Medicaid card and you need to order a replacement NYS Medicaid card or select a PIN, go to otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/P-EBT-Medicaid-Card-PIN-Instructions.asp for more information.
  • Once you have set up a PIN to access your P-EBT food benefits, you can check your family’s P-EBT food benefits balance by visiting www.connectebt.com or by calling 1-888-328-6399.

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.

NYC Rental Assistance Program – The New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is a new program that will provide significant economic relief to help low and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability by providing rental arrears, temporary rental assistance and utility arrears assistance. If you know of somebody who might be eligible for the program, please encourage them to learn more or apply here.

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