The Unity Scoop – March 14
Dear Families of Unity,
In President Biden’s evening address on Thursday, he offered hope for a return to normalcy in the coming months with the rollout of the vaccine. He also highlighted the historic legislation passed this week that will greatly benefit the well-being of our community. One additional and poignant point made by the President during his speech was condemning acts of hate against Asian-Americans in our country and bringing awareness to a recent increase in such shameful acts.
At Unity, we share the President’s denunciation of hate crimes, stand strongly alongside the Asian-American community, and commit to combating anti-Asian racism. I am sharing an article that was written by a friend of a Unity colleague. The article provides important information on the extent of this concern in our society right now and offers ways in which we, as active members of our community, can stand against anti-Asian discrimination and violence. I thank you for continuing to join us in our work to make our school, our city, and our world safer and more just places for all.
It is a busy and festive time for our school. Last month, we celebrated Black History through a variety of in-class and schoolwide festivities. The month of March is Women’s History Month, which honors the vital role that women have played in our history and advancements as a society. In our second update below, I share with you some of the ways in which our high school history students are learning and appreciating women’s history.
In addition to celebrating Women’s History this month, we are also honoring Unity’s social workers this week as a part of School Social Workers Week. On behalf of our community, I would like to thank Ms. Del Purgatorio, Ms. Rivers, Ms. Brookins, and Ms. Saunders for your dedication, advocacy, and support of our students, families, and community. We are especially blessed to have your talents and expertise supporting our community over the past 12 months. Thank you for being such a tremendous support for all of us.
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, I bring to you a number of important updates, including new information on our school programming for the remainder of the school year with some additional info on our planned programming for the summer and fall.
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of March 14, 2021:
- New –Update to our School Programming Plan for the Remainder of the 2020-21 School Year! Per the letter that was recently disseminated via Jupiter, we will continue with our remote learning program for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Given the successes that we have experienced with our remote learning program thus far this year, and considering a host of factors that inform how we best serve our students and families over the coming months – including updates on safety guidelines from the CDC and the input of our stakeholders – we feel that this is best course of action for our school community. Please take a moment to read the full letter addressed to families. Additional notes on our preliminary summer and fall plans are also included. More information will be provided in the coming weeks.
- New –High School Interim Assessments are Taking Place This Coming Week: Students will be taking the final assessments of Quarter 3 in their classes from 3/15-3/18. Please support your student in arriving to class on time and working in a distraction free space during this critical week. We look forward to celebrating all of the knowledge and skills that students have acquired over the past quarter and school year!
- New –Celebrating Women’s History! As we honor Women’s History this month, one way we are celebrating is by spotlighting, studying, and discussing women who played a vital role in our history and advancements as a society. The screenshots below capture this process in our high school history classes this past week. Enjoy!
- New –Congrats to our Middle School’s Students of the Month in February!: Kudos to our Students of Month for showing exemplary scholarship, citizenship, and growth – we are proud of you!
- Scholarship: Jayden C.
- Citizenship: Jayla’rae M.
- Most Improved: Deshue R.
- Scholarship: Adriana P.
- Citizenship: Seth J.
- Most Improved: Omari H.
- Scholarship: Ahkeelah W.
- Citizenship: Shammah J.
- Most Improved: Skyla E.
- New –Take Part in our Opt-in, In-Person, Intramural Athletics Program!: As highlighted last week, Unity’s intramural program provides students with opportunities to exercise, learn, and interact with their peers six days a week. We currently offer the following sports: Basketball, Soccer, Step, Volleyball, and Track. If you are interested in registering your child, please contact Mr. Coleman (Acoleman@unityprep.org) for the middle school or Mr. Noblia (Pnoblia@unityprep.org) for the high school. Enjoy the photos of students in action below!
- New –College Information for Students and Families of Unity: See the updates below from our College & Career Readiness Team!
Summer Jobs and Programs:
- Mr. Gonzalez will be holding a Summer Job and Program Fair on Tuesday, March 23rd, from 3:15-4:15pm, to share information about programs and jobs students can apply for. Here is the link to join: Mr. Gonzalez’s Zoom link.
- A great resume makes a HUGE difference when applying for a job or for college. Students should make an appointment with their academic counselor to get help creating or updating their resume. Here are the links for each counselor:
College Financial Aid Updates:
- For the Class of 2021 – please make sure you have applied for FAFSA and TAP! The federal and state governments are running out of financial aid to provide to college applicants. You could receive over $11,000 of FREE money for college by submitting your FAFSA and TAP applications. Please schedule an appointment with Mr. Gonzalez or Ms. Roth as soon as possible to get help submitting your applications!
College/Career Application Updates:
- As of Friday, March 12, 88% of Unity’s Class of 2021 has applied to college and/or job training programs! Please join us in congratulating the seniors who have taken this major step toward continued success in their futures!
- If your child has not yet applied for college and/or a job training program, time is running out! Please have them make an appointment with Mr. Gonzalez or Ms. Roth as soon as possible!
College Admission Updates:
- As of Friday, March 12, 41% of the Class of 2021 has been admitted to at least one college! This is especially impressive because most colleges have not released decisions yet! We expect most decisions from SUNY and private colleges to come out in the next two weeks, and decisions from CUNYs to come out in April.
- So far, Unity seniors have been admitted to: CUNY Guttman Community College, CUNY John Jay College, CUNY Lehman College, CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY Hunter College, Georgia State University, Hampton University, Ithaca College, LeMoyne College, Manhattanville College, Marymount Manhattan College, Siena College, Skidmore College, St. Francis College, St. Joseph’s College, SUNY Alfred State, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Buffalo State College, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Delhi, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Old Westbury, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Purchase, SUNY University at Buffalo, Temple University, Trinity College, Drexel University, Quinnipiac University, and Wheaton College. Please join us in congratulating them – we are SO PROUD OF YOU!
- Reminder – Issue No. 5 of the Unity Review is Available for your Reading Pleasure! I am excited to share with you the sixth 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 Love and Hate and includes a number of impressive submissions. Enjoy!
- Recap –Working Papers for HS Students During Remote Learning: We know many students will be applying for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) or Ladders For Leaders in the coming weeks. In order to do so, students may wish to obtain their working papers. The process for obtaining working papers during remote learning is as follows:
- Parent/guardian completes section I of this form: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/sss/documents/AT17-0320Fillable.pdf
(Form can be typed directly into and saved.)
- Email the form to Ms. Kim:firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 email@example.com OR a Zoom call can be scheduled where the documents can be presented.
- 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.
- Recap –Miscellaneous Updates for our High School Families:
- Check out the Unity Prep High School Parent Corner: there are some really cool additions to the parent site this month, including a presentation on supporting your teen’s mental health, a full list of enrichment opportunities, and SUNY virtual experience information. Please remember to check the family site regularly for updates.
- SAT Updates: Many families have been reaching out with questions about the SAT. College Board introduced some very significant changes this week:
- Subject Tests have been eliminated for all U.S. students, effective immediately. They will remain available for all international students through this summer. Beginning in Fall of 2021, they will be eliminated for international students as well.
- The SAT Essay will be phased out after the June 2021 administration. However, it will still be offered for statewide testing when there is a state level contract (e.g., Delaware).
- A digital version of the SAT is coming soon, likely sometime later this year. More details to follow in April. The College Board is looking at ways to “streamline and upgrade” the SAT.
- 11th Grade Academic Counseling:
- Please remind your student to check the 11th grade academic counseling Google Classroom regularly.
- *NEW* Open Office Hours have changed! New Hours: Tuesdays 12PM-12:30PM & Fridays 11:10AM-11:40AM (Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/8406380546) 11th grade students and families are welcome to pop in with quick academic questions and concerns.
- To schedule an individual student or family session with Ms. Eason use this link: https://calendly.com/leason/20min
- Recap –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
- Recap –Unity’s Panther Den is Open to Middle and High School Students who Demonstrate PRIDE!: The Panther Den is where students can redeem the Core Value (PRIDE) points that they’ve earned for prizes and gifts of their choice.
- Middle school students can submit their requests for the Panther Den prizes via the following link. Middle school students should reach out to their grade level dean with any questions.
- The High School Den is open to students on Wednesdays from 3:05-3:50pm and can be accessed using this link.
- Recap –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.us/en/.
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
Unity Caregiver Checklist: Now that we are a full week into the school year, you have likely checked a number of the items below off the list. Again, kudos to you – these are challenging times for families in balancing school from home along with all of the other commitments we are juggling in our lives. To help you in best supporting your child to get off to a strong start this school year, here is a list of important things that you should be doing:
- Secure a functioning laptop and reliable internet service (we can help here – #10 below)
- Arrange your child’s workspace (see #11 below for tips here)
- Obtain school supplies (see #12 below)
- Purchase Unity school attire – parents and families are encouraged to purchase the Unity uniform now, as uniforms will be required whenever we return to in-person instruction. During remote learning, students are encouraged, but not mandated, to wear a school uniform (see #13 below)
- Plan your child’s daily routine and schedule to accommodate their class schedule.
- Attend Unity’s Family Orientation Night on September 24th and/or watch the recording of the event (see #14 above for more information).
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.
School Supply List for New Students: For remote learning, the supply list may appear different than previous years. Please refer to the two supply lists below:
- Middle School Students: All students are expected to have the following school supplies:
- 5 composition notebooks
- 10+ pencils
- 10+ pens
- Ruler with centimeters (science only)
- Blank white paper
- Colored pencils
- New York City Public Library Card
- High School Students: High school supplies are organized by course and can be found here. Students are expected to have the supplies listed for each of the courses they are taking. In addition, we thank all of the families that picked up their class resource bags. Members of our high school operations team have been contacting students and families who were unable to pick up their bags to coordinate alternative pick up times and will continue to do so this coming week.
Information on Uniforms: Students are not required to wear uniforms during virtual learning. However, uniforms and school attire may be purchased by visiting the following links below.
Recordings of Unity’s Annual Back to School Night: Recording of last night’s Back to School Night can be accessed with the links below. If you were unable to participate in last night’s festivities, we strongly encourage you to watch the recording to be fully abreast of all supporting your child’s education in the 2020-21 school year.
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.