The Unity Scoop – June 18
Dear Families of Unity,
There is much to look forward to this weekend and this coming week.
First, I wish you and your loved ones a joyful and festive Juneteenth. There are a number of fun events taking place here in Brooklyn to celebrate African-American history, culture, and progress over the coming days, including the 13th annual Juneteenth NY Festival, which is happening in various locations throughout Brooklyn (see below for details).
Second, I wish all of the dads of our school community a fantastic Father’s Day filled with warmth, appreciation, and an abundance of quality time with your kids and loved ones.
Finally, the week ahead brings a number of meaningful milestones for our students, families, and school community. One such milestone is our middle school Roundtable presentations, which always prove to be powerful experiences for our students and participating family members. In addition, our high school students are completing their Regents exams, during which they will show off all that they have learned over the course of the year under the support of their teachers. Finally, we look forward to celebrating the graduation of our 8th graders and 12th graders later this month. As we all know and appreciate, graduations represent once-in-lifetime achievements that stay with us forever.
We are honored to share in each of these events as a community alongside you. Let the celebration begin!
This edition of The Unity Scoop features: our student-artists bringing art to the world, notes on key events in the coming week, middle school prom photos, updates on services and resources available to families this summer, colorful photos from a recent field trip, and other relevant updates from last week’s edition.
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of June 18, 2022:
1. New – Students of our Middle School and PS44 Team Up to Create a Community Mural!: This week, 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!
2. Updated – June 2022 School-wide Calendar: For your family’s convenience, here is a schoolwide calendar of events for the month of June – 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. Notable upcoming events include:
- 6/20 – No school – Juneteenth observed
- 6/21-6/23: Roundtable presentations in grades 6-8
- 6/21-6/22: Select Regents exams for students in grades 9-12
- 6/24: 12th Grade Graduation
- 6/24: Field trips in grades 6-8
3. New – Unity 8th Graders Celebrate their Prom in Style!: Our 8th graders had fun together as they celebrated their last year in middle school last week during their prom. The party took place on a boat with iconic NYC views and, of course, great company. Thank you to our families and staff who organized and chaperoned the event!
4. Updated – Upcoming Events of Interest to Unity Families!: Brought to you by Mr. Beckford, we are happy to highlight upcoming events across Brooklyn for our families. Here are two!
The 13th Annual Juneteenth NY Festival 2022
Date: Friday, June 17th– Sunday June 19th
Location: Linden Park, Gershwin Park, & Prospect Park
Description: The 13th Annual Juneteenth NY Festival is one of New York’s biggest and longest-running annual events commemorating America’s newest federal holiday. The three-day celebration kicks off virtually on Friday, June 17th followed by in-person gatherings in Brooklyn on Saturday, June 18th and Sunday, June 19th. The Juneteenth NY Festival was created in an effort to advance the economic and cultural arts in underserved communities and in support of small, Black-owned businesses. The weekend will feature the best in Black culture and will include an array of live performances, exhibitions, authentic local cuisine, wellness and other family fun activities.
Brown Sugar Bounce @ the BK Museum w/ The Culture LP
Date: Sunday, June 19th
Location: Brooklyn Museum
Description: Come bounce with us in the backyard as we sing and dance to our favorite songs, fellowship with our loved ones, and celebrate all in the name of Black liberation. There will be food trucks/drinks and games on hand (obviously card decks for spades). @Soulsinfocus will also have photo stations set up around the museum!
5. New – Unity Students Learn about the Magic of Color at the Color Factory!: Students from our middle and high school had an opportunity to visit the Color Factory in Manhattan last week. Through the experience, they learned about the meaning and vastness of color while having fun in an interactive way (yes, there was even a ball pit featuring the color baby-blue!). Thanks to Mr. Coleman for making the experience possible!
6. New – Unity High’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Leads the Way during Pride Month!: Members of Unity High’s GSA continue to lead the way as we honor LGBTQ Pride Month as a school. As featured in the photos below, members participated in last weekend’s Brooklyn Pride Parade in partnership with the Brooklyn Community Pride Center. Thank you to Ms. Marron for supporting our GSA and thank you GSA members for your leadership!
7. Updated – 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.
- New – 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.
- New – 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
8. 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|
|9/1/22||Thursday||Family Kick-off-the-Year Festival, 2-4:30pm||6-12|
|9/7/22||Wednesday||First day of school for students||6-12|
|9/14/22||Wednesday||MS Back to School Night, 6pm||6-8|
|9/15/22||Thursday||HS Back to School Night, 6pm||9-12|
|10/10/22||Monday||Indigenous People’s Day, school closed||6-12|
|11/8/22||Tuesday||Election Day, In-service day for all staff / remote asynchronous day for all students||6-12|
|11/11/22||Friday||Veteran’s Day, school closed||6-12|
|11/21/22 – 11/22/22||Monday – Tuesday||MS & HS Family Conferences (11/21 – 5-8pm; 11/22 – 9am-1pm||6-12|
|11/23/22 – 11/25/22||Wednesday – Friday||Thanksgiving Recess, school closed||6-12|
|12/22/22||Thursday||Early dismissal (1:15pm for MS; 2:30pm for HS)||6-12|
|12/23/22 – 1/3/23||Friday – Tuesday||Winter Recess, school closed||6-12|
|1/16/23||Monday||Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, school closed||6-12|
|2/17/23||Friday||Remote asynchronous day for MS students only||6-8|
|2/20/23 – 2/24/23||Monday – Friday||Midwinter Recess, school closed||6-12|
|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||6-12|
|4/19/23 – 4/21/23||Wednesday – Friday||MS ELA state exam window||6-8|
|4/19/23 – 4/20/23||Wednesday – Thursday||HS Family Conferences (4/19 – 5-8pm;
4/20 – 9am-1pm)
|4/21/23||Friday||Remote asynchronous day for HS students||9-12|
|5/1/23 – 5/12/23||Monday – Friday||Advanced Placement exam window||9-12|
|5/2/23 – 5/4/23||Tuesday – Thursday||MS math state exam window||6-8|
|5/12/23||Friday||College Signing Day event||6-12|
|5/29/23||Monday||Memorial Day, school closed||6-12|
|6/14/23 – 6/20/23||Wednesday – Tuesday||MS Roundtable presentations||6-8|
|6/14/23 – 6/23/23||Wednesday – Friday||Regents exam window||8-12|
|6/19/23||Monday||Juneteenth, school closed||6-12|
|6/23/23||Friday||Last day of school for students||6-12|
|6/23/23||Friday||8th grade & 12th grade graduation ceremonies||8 & 12|
9. Recap – Middle School Families – RSVP for Your Child’s Roundtable Presentation Now!: We are excited for our students’ Roundtable presentations, which will take place over three days: June 21st through June 23rd. Take a moment to RSVP for your child’s Roundtable presentation by completing this survey if you have not already done so!
10. Recap – Regents Information for High School Students: A customized letter providing details on Regents exams, including student schedules went out earlier this month. Contact Ms. Cunningham with any questions.
11. Recap – 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!
12. Recap – Safety Update: Mask Requirement Extended through the End of the School Year: As you know, we moved to reinstate our requirement that all staff, students, and visitors wear a mask when in our building and classrooms due to an increase in case throughout the city and at Unity over the last month. We have since closely followed city-wide trends and the guidance put forth by city officials. Currently, the Covid-19 Alert Level for New York City is at a high alert level; the NYC Health Commissioner advisies all New Yorkers to wear a mask in any public indoor setting. Based on this guidance, we will continue to require mask wearing when in our building and classrooms through the end of the school year.
13. 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.
14. 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:
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
|Wednesday||First day of school for students|
|Monday||Indigenous People’s Day, school closed|
|November 2||Tuesday||Election day, remote school day|
|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|
|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|
|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.
- 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.