The Unity Scoop – July 1
Dear Families of Unity,
It is with immense enthusiasm that I congratulate you on concluding the 2021-22 school year! While it has been a demanding year, there is much for which we, as a community, can be grateful for.
As I stated during our 8th grade graduation on Tuesday morning, our families and caregivers have been superheroes over the past year! I commend you for your adaptability, collaboration, and love and support of your children and their education through all that we experienced.
I would also like to convey a special congratulations to our graduating 8th graders and seniors of the Class of 2022 – your path has been truly unique and we look forward to you continuing to make us proud!
As summer begins, I bring to you in this edition of The Unity Scoop a host of highlights as we conclude the school year, including photos from our graduation festivities. Also provided is information on summer offerings, including summer academy and enrichment at Unity and beyond. Finally, a number of important announcements and some helpful guidance is provided on how to best collaborate with us in preparation for the coming school year. The next edition of the Scoop will be disseminated during the week of August 1st.
Enjoy your summer, be safe, and have a terrific 4th of July!
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of July 1, 2022:
1. New – Unity Celebrates our 8th Grade Graduates!: Congratulations to the families of our newest 8th grade graduates! Tuesday’s ceremony was a warm and festive event, and I am so excited for our graduates as they continue their academic pursuits in high school. I thank our families for their contributions to the ceremony. I also want to shout-out our team for organizing the event, including but not limited to: Mr. Burns, Ms. Williams, Ms. Charles and our operations team, Ms. McRae, Ms. Griffin, and a host of other dedicated staff members. Lastly, congrats to 8th grade valedictorian, Mi-Chai Lemmon, and our 8th grade salutatorian, Keianna McGan!
2. New – We Want to Hear from You! Please Complete this Important Survey this Week!: In the spirit of wanting to be the best school we can be for our families, we want to hear firsthand from you. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey by Friday, July 15th, so that we may have your ideas and preferences fully in mind when making important decisions that impact our experiences and collaboration as a community. We are aiming to have 100% of our families provide responses. Families who complete the survey by 5pm Friday, July 15th, and text the screenshot to 347-746-1575 will be entered into a contest for a $100 amazon.com gift certificate. Thanks in advance for helping us be the best school for your family!
3. New – Report Cards for the Spring Term and Year: Grades 6-12: Report card links will be sent out via email to families on July 1st.
4. New – Summer Assignment Information: Here are the descriptions for summer assignments for students by grade level:
- Grades 6-8: Summer assignments for all rising 6th – 8th grade middle school students were distributed at Roundtables and at the new families social over the past few weeks. Digital copies were also sent via email on June 30th. If you are a new family in need of pickup, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Grades 9-12: Students who are mandated to retake Regents examinations will receive summer prep work directions by the last week of July. Some summer school classes may have homework. There are no full-grade summer assignments.
5. New – Summer Academy Information: Here is information on Summer Academy by grade level:
- Grades 6-8: Letters were distributed to all families of students who are required and recommended to attend Summer Academy. Student schedules are now being created and will be shared soon. Please contact Ms.Gibson, the Middle School Summer Academy Director, with any questions.
- Grades 9-12: Letters and schedules were distributed to all families of students who are required to attend Summer Academy. Please contact Ms. Abawi, the High School Summer Academy Director, with any questions.
6. New – July Hours of Operation: Here is information on July office hours by site:
- 432 Monroe Street (grades 6-8): July 11th – July 29th; 9am – 3pm; 718-455-5046
- 584 Driggs Avenue (grades 9-12): July 11th – July 29th; 8:30am – 3:15pm; 718-682-3725
7. New – Unity’s Summer Math Challenge – Unity students are invited to engage in conceptual math thinking over the summer months to prepare them for success in the next school year. This program will post weekly challenges for students to participate in in July and August, where students can think outside the box, use their reasoning skills, and build conceptual understanding on mathematical relationships in a fun and engaging way. Students who participate each week will be invited to a pizza party at the start of the school year. The student who gets the most correct answers and the student with the most creative solutions will both receive a $50 giftcard to a restaurant or store of their choosing! Look out for more information via Jupiter in the next week and join Ms. West and Ms. Saint-Louis starting July 11th for Unity’s Summer Math Challenge and flex those math muscles!
8. Updated – Summer Enrichment to Return with New Offerings Starting July 11th!: Last summer, Unity scholars toured NYC, cooked new cuisines, participated in intramural sports, and much more. Summer Enrichment sign up information is available now! Please use the specific links to sign up: middle school or high school. Please reach out to Ms. Olivier if you have any questions: email@example.com. Enjoy the photo below of members of last summer’s rock climbing club as they take a moment to pose for the camera!
9. Updated – Unity Celebrates our Graduates of the Class of 2022!: We are so proud of our graduates and extremely excited about their college and career pursuits at Unity graduates. A special congrats to the graduates featured below for their academic achievements. Again, we are proud of you!
10. Recap – Voucher for Free Admission this Summer to NYC’s Science Cultural Institutions!: Congratulations! You are receiving this free voucher because your child is at an Urban Advantage School! This voucher is for free admission to New York City’s science cultural institutions. This voucher admits up to 4 visitors (a student with three guests). For more information and updates on how to use your voucher please visit: www.uanyc.science/vouchers. You can visit the following institutions: American Museum of Natural History, Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Queens Botanical Garden, New York Botanical Garden, New York Aquarium, New York Hall of Science, and Staten Island Zoo. The voucher can be reused and expires on 9/7/2022.
11. Recap – Unity Invites its New Families to our Middle School for Ice Cream!: This past Thursday afternoon, Unity’s newest families, our current families, and our staff bonded over ice cream. Thank you to the families who attended – we are thrilled to serve you in the coming year. And thank you, Mr. Beckford & team, for hosting the event!
12. Recap – Unity Celebrates the 5th-Year Anniversary of 11 Educators!: This past week, we honored 11 Unity staff members who are celebrating their 5th year at Unity. As a young school, these teammates have contributed mightily to our programming, our curriculum, and most importantly, the learning experiences of our students. They are pillars with our community and we thank them wholeheartedly to all that they have brought and continue to bring to our school. Here they are – feel free to send them a note of congrats!
- Shir Caspi, HS Science
- Abigail Cirelli, HS ELA
- Elena Diaz, MS Science
- Kate Malinowski, MS Literacy
- Clarke McRae, MS Dance & PE
- Alley Olivier, HS ELA
- Allie Reinmann, ESL
- Otilia Rivera, Social Work
- Laura Shebroe, MS Math
- Tanisha Smith, MS Support Services
- Ariel Terry, HS Math
13. Recap – Two Long-Time Unity Coaches Honored by Unity’s Athletics Department!: Coach Patrick and Coach McRae, both veteran Unity coaches of five years, were honored by their fellow coaches this month for their contributions to our athletic program and student-athletes.
- Coach Patrick has served as volleyball coach for our past five years. Under his coaching and mentorship, scores of students have learned how to play the game, developed their technique and skills as players and teammates, and had fun while doing so. Congrats Coach Patrick and thank you!
- Coach McRae has been responsible for building and expanding our dance program at the middle school and high school. Through Coach McCrae’s hard work and dedication to our students, Unity’s dance program has grown steadily and become a source of pride for our school. Most importantly, literally hundreds of students have been able to learn about dance, experience dance, and build their skills and confidence as dancers and performers.
Enjoy the photo of both coaches being presented with Golden Whistles to commemorate their dedication to our school and students!
14. Recap – Students of our Middle School and PS44 Team Up to Create a Community Mural!: Earlier this month, students of Mr. Franklin’s art class alongside students of PS 44 created a wonderful mural for the Bed-Stuy community to take in and appreciate as they walk down Monroe Street and pass by our school building. Congrats (and thank you!) to Mr. Franklin and his students!
15. Recap – 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. Three such resources are provided below. Reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio, Unity’s Director of Social Work, with questions.
- 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
16. 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 PDF version of the table for your convenience. We look forward to meeting our newest families at New Family Orientation during the last week in August and seeing all of our families at the Kick-off event on September 1st!
Day of Week
Applicable to Grade Levels
|Week of August 29th
|To be determined
|New Family Orientation
|All new families, 6-12
|Family Kick-off-the-Year Festival, 2-4:30pm
|First day of school for students
|MS Back to School Night, 6pm
|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
17. Recap – Updates from Mr. Gonzalez and Unity High’s College & Career Readiness Team: This time of year is typically marked by excitement – college admissions and career-training programs usually notify students in the spring and families then get to make some big decisions. Each week for the past few months, our students have received wonderful news about their college and career aspirations – they have been admitted to incredible schools and programs. Please join us in celebrating the impressive resilience and strength of our young people. It is truly inspirational. Here are few other updates from Mr. Gonzalez:
- College Application and Admissions Updates: As of June, members of our senior class have been admitted to the following colleges and universities with scholarships totalling over $400,000: Adelphi University, Clark University, CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY Bronx Community College, CUNY Brooklyn College, CUNY City Tech, CUNY College of Staten Island, CUNY Guttman Community College, CUNY Hostos Community College, CUNY Hunter College, CUNY John Jay College, CUNY Kingsborough Community College, CUNY LaGuardia Community College, CUNY Lehman College, CUNY Medgar Evers College, CUNY Queens College, CUNY Queensborough Community College, CUNY York College, George Washington University, Hampton University, Hofstra University, Howard University, Ithaca College, Long Island University, Marist College, Marymount Manhattan College, Penn State University, Quinnipiac University, San Jacinto College, Siena College, Spelman College, St. Francis College, SUNY Albany, SUNY Alfred State College, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Buffalo State College, SUNY Canton, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Delhi, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Old Westbury, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Purchase, SUNY University at Buffalo, SUNY University of Albany, Temple University, Vassar College, and Virginia State University.
- Unity High Celebrates College Signing Day in Style: To celebrate our seniors making decisions to continue their formal education and training after high school graduation, Unity took part in College Signing Day, a tradition started by Former First Lady Michelle Obama. Caregivers, Unity staff, and students attended the ceremony on April 29th at our school. Check out highlights from the event in this video.
- Co-op Tech Applications: NYC’s premier career-training program, Co-op Tech, has begin accepting applications for students who are interested in entering the building trades (carpenters, plumbers, HVAC, etc.), service industries (automotive repair, culinary arts, and cosmetology), IT (web design, computer networking, and advertising), and health careers (medical health careers, nurse assistants, and vision technology). In addition to having top-notch programs, Co-op Tech is free! Students who are interested in applying to Co-op Tech should make an appointment with Mr. Gonzalez immediately using this link.
- Brooklyn District Attorney Summer Internship – Apply Now: A Unity family member recently brought this opportunity to our attention. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office offers high school, college, and legal internships throughout the year. These highly competitive internships offer students a unique opportunity to be part of a district attorney’s office. An intern’s duties may include assisting in investigations, attending trials, preparing and compiling documents and financial data, conducting and analyzing legal research, and supporting community outreach programs.
18. Recap – Helping Your Child to Continue their Learning This Summer: Ms. Eason, Academic Counselor, offers a presentation – Avoiding Summer Slide – that offers valuable links to paid internships, volunteer opportunities and other things your child can do over the summer to promote critical thinking and learning during the months of July and August. Click on the image below to see her presentation slides. Feel free to reach out to her with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
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 (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.
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.