The Unity Scoop – June 18
Dear Families of Unity,
I hope that the past week has been good to you and your loved ones. It is hard to believe that we have only one week of school remaining in the 2020-21 year. I want to commend our staff, students, and families for their commitment to finishing out the year strongly and to supporting one another in doing so. I look forward to honoring all that we have accomplished this year during our:
- end-of-year Reflections presentations at our middle school next week
- 8th grade graduation ceremony on June 28th
- 12th grade Class of 2021 graduation ceremony on June 26th
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, I bring to you several important updates and offerings that are available to families, including end-of-year events and a number of services that may be of interest to you and your family this summer.
I wish you a festive Juneteenth weekend. A number of the city’s cultural venues are holding in-person and/or virtual performances and parties to mark the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. In Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the Weeksville Heritage Center, and Herbert Von King Park are all hosting events to honor the holiday. For more details, see two resources here and here!
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of June 18, 2021:
1. New – Middle School End of Year Reflection Presentations: We are excited to have all students share their reflections about the 2020-21 school year with their families next week! Presentations are scheduled on Zoom, from Monday, June 21st through Thursday, June 24th in the morning at 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, and 11:30. Please reach out to your child’s advisor to schedule a time if you have not already done so.
2. New – Summer Reading Tutoring Available with Read 718!: Read 718 is a Brooklyn-based non-profit that offers low cost reading tutoring for students who will be entering grades 3-8 this fall. This summer, they are offering 10-weeks of tutoring over Zoom starting June 28th. Students will be paired with a tutor and meet twice a week for 45 minutes. Families can register at https://www.read718.org/
3. New – Primary Elections for New York City’s Next Mayor are Happening on Tuesday, June 22nd – Get Out the Vote! Our school community’s engagement in the presidential election last fall was inspiring. With the primary elections for our city’s next mayor happening this coming Tuesday, let’s continue to ensure that our community’s voices are heard by actively engaging in the process. Information on each candidate can be found here. Eight Democratic candidates debated on Wednesday evening – the footage is available here.
4. New – Upcoming Food Benefits from Federal Covid Relief: This article shares details about an upcoming benefit for all NYC families. Families will receive $132 for the months their child was out of school buildings for more than 12 days. That includes those who learned exclusively online, which makes up a majority of New York City students.
Families in charter schools and private schools who receive free meals through the federal school lunch program are also eligible. Families do not have to apply to receive the benefit. For those who already receive food assistance, the money will be automatically added to their benefit cards. Children enrolled in Medicaid, whose families successfully used their food benefits last year, will see the money once again added to Medicaid cards. For those who received the pandemic relief funds on food benefit cards last school year during the first round of federal food relief — when all families received about $420 per child — the money will be added to the same card. All others will receive a new benefit card in the mail.
To order a replacement card, call 1-888-328-6399. If the cardholder receives Medicaid through the state’s marketplace, order a replacement by calling 1-855-355-5777.
5. New – Technology Return for Students: For all students that are not enrolled in Summer Academy, we are asking that they return their technology, including their Unity laptop, chromebook, and/or hotspot (if applicable), following the schedule below:
- Unity Middle School Students: 3pm – 6pm on Friday June 25th
- Unity High School Students: 9am – 3pm anytime between Monday June 21 – Thursday June 24
6. Recap – An Important Update on School Programming in the 2021-22 School Year: As we begin to close out this school year and continue in our planning of the coming year, I have two important updates regarding our format of schooling for this summer and for the 2021-22 school year.
First, our Summer Academy classes in July and August will be facilitated remotely. We will continue to provide Panther Pods for select students who would especially benefit from such a setting.
Second, we intend to be full in-person for our entire school, grades 6-12, for the 2021-22 school year starting in September. Based on the guidance we have received from state and city officials, and from CDC, we are confident that we are able to provide a safe in-person setting this fall. We are encouraged by the current health climate in the state and city, and we are excited to welcome our students back to our campuses. While our remote program has had its successes, we, as a school and community, are at our best by serving your children when we are interacting in-person and alongside one another.
In July, we will provide details on the safety protocols that we will have in place as we return to in-person schooling. We plan to offer a series of informational sessions for families as well as offering in-person school tours of our campuses for interested families.
If you have questions or concerns regarding our plans to return to in-person learning this fall, please contact Chris Doscher, Unity’s Director of Administration, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 347-746-1575.
7. Recap – 2021-22 School Year Vacation Calendar for Students and other Key Dates: So that you may begin making plans for next 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:
- In addition to the dates listed below, there will be at least three additional days during the year in which students will not have in-person learning. During these days, students will participate asynchronously from home as our staff participate in training. These additional dates will be announced in late July.
- We will follow suit with the New York City Department of Education next year in providing remote classes on days in which in-person learning is cancelled due to inclement weather. Additional details on how these days will be structured will be provided this fall.
- We will hold Information sessions, orientation for families and students, and other fun events as we kick off the 2021-22 school year. The dates for these events will be announced in late July.
Day of Week
|First day of school for students
|Indigenous People’s Day, school closed
|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 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, school closed
|February 21 – 25
|Monday – Friday
|Midwinter Recess, school closed
|April 15 – 22
|Spring Recess, school closed
|Memorial Day, school closed
|Juneteenth (observed), school closed
|Last day of school for students
8. Recap – Milestone Dates and Events in June: In the spirit of concluding our school year as successfully as possible, here are some key dates for you to have on your radar. One important date to note is Friday, June 18th – Unity will be closed on June 18th in honor of Juneteenth and the ending of slavery in the United States and to celebrate Black history and culture.
- 6/18: Juneteenth – no school
- 6/21-6/24: MS End-of-Year Reflection Presentations
- 6/25: MS Block Party, 3pm
- 6/26: 12th grade graduation, 10am
- 6/28: 8th grade graduation, 10am
9. Recap – The Celebration Continues: We Salute the Recent Accomplishments of our Middle School Students: It is with pride and joy that we celebrate the recent successes of so many of our middle school students. Congratulations to each and every student featured below – we are proud of you!
Student of the Week: Math (Shah-Taylor)
Student of the Week: Math (Gibson)
Abilene Brown, Tygene Wright
Student of the Week: Science (LaPlaca)
Student of the Week: Science (Diaz)
Student of the Week: Enrichment (Warlick)
Student of the Week: Math (Louirentus)
Student of the Week: ELA (Stagliano)
Michayla Phillips, Jazel Johannes
Student of the Week: ELA (Ayoub)
Reginald Faulkner, Sean Dankwah
Student of the Week: ELA (Knuckle)
Ibrahima Barry, Jonathan Conley
Student of the Week: Science (McPherson)
Student of the Week: Science (Teixeira)
Student of the Week: History (Pierce)
Stephen Pendarvis, Adrianna Pollard
Student of the Week: Math (Saint-Louis)
Student of the Week: Math (Shebroe)
Jasmine Joseph Philip
Student of the Week: ELA (Bourdierd)
Shammah Johnson, Gabrielle Smith
Student of the Week: History (Griffin)
Student of the Week: History (Pierce)
Ajani Dorsey, Gabrielle Smith
Student of the Week: Science (Bond)
Student of the Week: Science (Teixeira)
Student of the Week: Science (McPherson)
10. Recap – 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.
11. Recap – Issue No. 7 of the Unity Review is Available for your Reading Pleasure!: I am excited to share with you the seventh issue of the Unity Review literary magazine. The Unity Review team continues to work incredibly hard to bring to you the ideas and talents of our young writers and artists. This edition’s theme is Fame and includes a number of powerful submissions created by our students and staff. Enjoy!
12. Recap – College Information for Students and Families of Unity High School: See the updates below from our College & Career Readiness Team!
- Summer Job Alert! – St. Nick’s Alliance is hiring for summer jobs! Positions pay at least $15/hour. Seniors and Unity alumni are strongly encouraged to apply. See the job description attached to this message for more information. Students who are interested must sign up for an interview by emailing Mr. Gonzalez at email@example.com. Interviews will be held in-person at our high school location on Tuesday June 8th, between 11am and 3pm. Seniors and Unity alumni should sign up immediately for an interview!
- College Scholarships! – SUNY has just announced that students who get vaccinated may be eligible for full-tuition scholarships! 12- to 17-year-olds are eligible to participate in the ‘Get a Shot to Make Your Future‘ COVID-19 vaccine incentive program. Participants can enter into a random prize drawing to potentially receive a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY college beginning May 27. New York State will administer the random drawings and select 10 winners a week over five weeks for a total of 50 winners.
- Celebrate The Seniors! – So far, 80% of the Class of 2021 has committed to a college or career training program for next year! Despite the pandemic, remote learning, and all of the other challenges presented by this year, the senior class has persevered. We are so proud of the resilience this class has demonstrated – please join us in celebrating them!
- Financial Aid Workshops – Beginning June 1st, SUNY will host Financial Aid Events for the Class of 2021. Students and parents/caregivers can attend a FAFSA Completion Workshop in English or Spanish.
13. Recap – 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 12 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.
1. Parent/guardian completes section I of this form: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/sss/
(Form can be typed directly into and saved.)
2. Email the form to Ms. Kim: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Ms. Kim must also see the student’s birth certificate and a completed physical from the student’s doctor dated within one year OR a letter from the doctor stating the student is physically fit to work also dated within one year. These documents can be emailed to email@example.com OR a Zoom call can be scheduled where the documents can be presented.
4. After these steps are complete, the working papers will be mailed to your home.
If there are any questions about this process, please email Ms. Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
Unity’s School Calendar for Families through the End of June 2021: In the spirit of providing you with the information you need to best support your child with school at home, here are our updated middle and high school calendars through June 2021.
- Middle School Calendar for Families through June 2021
- High School Calendar for Families through June 2021
Requests for a Laptop and Support with Technology or Internet Access: Unity will provide a laptop to all students who need one. If you still need a Unity laptop OR do not have internet access at home, please complete the following form: https://bit.ly/Unitylaptops. After completing this form, somebody from the school will reach out to you. Our goal is for 100% of students to have access to the technology they need to fully engage in their studies.
Creating the Perfect Workspace for your Child at Home: Virtual learning can be challenging, but with a welcoming, comfortable learning environment, students are more likely to engage fully in their studies without distraction. Here are three simple best practices to turn a corner of your home into a workspace:
- Find a spot that has lighting: whether it’s natural sunlight from a window or light from an overhead lamp, it’s important that your workspace has enough light so that your student won’t need to strain to see.
- Make sure the table and chair are comfortable: working while sitting in a chair at a table increases productivity and focus, but it’s just as crucial that students are comfortable, since they’ll likely be sitting for long periods of time.
- Ensure that the workspace is free of distractions, noise, and clutter: games, toys, phones, laptops – they’re all fun, but they can be distracting to students while they try to learn. Therefore, the workspace should be spacious, quiet, clean, and clear of distractions.
Free Breakfast & Lunch are available for Students – Any student has access to free meals a day at more than 400 Meal Hubs across the city. More details, including a search tool, is available by clicking here.
Helpful Guidance on Obtaining the Perfect Book for Your Child – With the Unity Library closed for the time being, our public libraries in Brooklyn offer a vast majority of their books and resources online. Additionally, many private companies are stepping up and offering their services for free. Check out this helpful guide to gain access to ebooks or audiobooks from the Brooklyn Public Library. In addition, see the list of resources below:
- Do you have dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, or other reading barriers? Access Bookshare’s free online ebooks.
- Are you an English Language Learner (ELL) and interested in practicing your English? Are you looking to learn a new language? Rosetta Stone is being offered free for three months to all students.
- Are you finding it difficult to spend all day looking at a computer screen? Download BeeLine reader for free, which uses color gradients to make reading just a little bit easier.
- Worried that by spending so much time alone your vocabulary is growing more and more limited by the day? Dictionary.com has free daily activities such as puzzles, quizzes, and a word of the day to keep your vocabulary skills sharp.
- Want to practice your reading and thinking skills? Scholastic has a remote learning program where you can play games and participate in activities.
- Try using Newsela, which is an online news-as-literacy platform that features high-interest articles on everything from current events to myths and legends and from literature to science. Follow this link to create an account.
- Audible is offering free audio books for students. Click here to access a huge selection of audiobooks.
Resources Regarding Unemployment Due to COVID-19 – NYC has developed a list of resources for those who may be unemployed due to COVID-19 or are seeking additional assistance. The website will be updated frequently and includes information on employment/unemployment, food assistance, financial assistance, rent arrears, health and medical assistance, and so forth.