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The Unity Scoop – March 27, 2020

Dear Students and Families of Unity,

It is with a deep sense of admiration and gratitude that I applaud our community’s collective efforts this week in adapting so quickly, courageously, and effectively to remote learning.

We have worked tirelessly as a full and complete team with trustees, leaders, administrators, counselors, teachers, family members, caregivers, and students all contributing meaningfully to provide the opportunity for all of our students to engage safely in the best possible educational experience.  Be immensely proud, Unity, of our accomplishments this week.  I look forward to building on our recent achievements next week.

In this edition of The Scoop, I offer two new updates along with a number of reminders that are still relevant to our community.  I wish everyone a safe, healthy, and restful weekend with family and loved ones.

As a reminder, the Daily Scoop is posted on our homepage at unityprep.org.  If you have questions, concerns, and/or ideas in response to any update, don’t hesitate to respond to this note by email.  A Unity staff member will be in touch at their earliest convenience.  Thank you to those who offered responses to updates over the past few days.

Updates as of March 27, 2020

New – Resources for Mental Health and Talking to Young People About COVID-19: Feeling anxiety amid a global pandemic is normal and natural for everyone.  As adults, it is critical that we care for our own mental and physical health, and that will help us to better support our young people. The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has provided this guide for self-care and strategies for talking about COVID-19 honestly and effectively with young people.

2. New – Next Week’s Virtual Spirit Week at the High School: With a real interest in infusing positivity and joy in our student’s (and staff’s) experiences while learning remotely, particularly given the stresses we have all endured over the past several weeks, our high school students are encouraged to take part in our Virtual Spirit Week this coming week. See the themes for each day of the week below. More details can be found on our HS Instagram account, unityprep_hs.

  • Monday, March 30th: Issa’ Mood Monday
  • Tuesday, March 31st: Hat Day
  • Wednesday, April 1st: Workout Wednesday
  • Thursday, April 2nd: TikTok Thursday
  • Friday, April 3rd: Jammies and Jams

3. Updated as of March 27th (see updates in green below) – Materials to Engage in Remote Learning – Communication and Support Moving Forward: Students should now have access to the resources and materials to engage in remote learning.  Moving forward, here is some helpful information for you:

Unity Middle School:

  • Assignments for Friday, 3/27, and beyond will be posted to student’s Google Classroom accounts.
  • Spectrum is offering free internet for households with grades K-12 students; caregivers should call 1-844-579-3743 or 1-844-488-8395 to sign up.  Alternatively, Optimum is offering Altice Advantage broadband free at home – call 1- 866-200-9522 to sign up.
  • To our families who are currently experiencing challenges with accessing technology (computers, laptops, etc.) as well as access to a reliable internet/wifi service, please know that Unity staff are working hard to help you address these challenges and will be in contact with you directly.
  • For families receiving new technology in the mail, please be aware that you will need to sign for the package when it arrives.
  • If you have questions concerning middle school materials, contact Darline Charles via Jupiter, email at dcharles@unityprep.org, or 347-687-3650.

Unity High School:

  • Students have received invitations in Jupiter with links to their virtual classrooms. Links for class will remain posted in Google classroom. Students may also access the link by returning to their teacher’s initial email in their message log.
  • Spectrum is offering free internet for households with grades K-12 students; caregivers should call 1-844-579-3743 or 1-844-488-8395 to sign up.  Alternatively, Optimum is offering Altice Advantage broadband free at home – call 1- 866-200-9522 to sign up.
  • If you have questions concerning high school materials, including laptops, contact UPHS by emailing help.hs@unityprep.org or calling the main office at 718-682-3725. Please note that during this time, reaching the main office by phone will be limited and email is preferred.

4. Updated as of March 27th (see updates in green below) – Remote Learning at Unity – Communication and Support Moving Forward: Here are important updates that you need to know to engage in remote learning:

Middle School:

  • We will expand to our full schedule of remote classes on Monday March 30th.  Students will begin activities for their enrichment, PE/Dance, and intervention courses, in addition to continuing with their ELA, Math, History, and Science courses.  Students should continue to log into their Google Classroom and Zoom meetings for each class.
  • Jupiter messages were sent out on Friday, March 27th with your child’s updated schedule and log-in information for enrichment, PE/Dance, and intervention.
  • If you have technical questions or other concerns, please reach out to your child’s advisor.  If they don’t have an answer for you, they will be able to share your question with the appropriate staff member.
  • Here is what you need to know about grading:
    • Students should submit work by 2 PM each day.
    • Students will receive one daily participation grade for completing their work for each class.
    • If students submit work late, they can still receive full credit for their work.  Teachers will update the grade within 24 hours of receiving the completed work.
  • Attendance for each class will be based on completing the assignment for that class period.  Work is due at 3 PM each day beginning March 30th.

High School:

  • Continue to check your Jupiter messages each evening for details on your child’s schedule, teacher contact information, and Google Classroom log-ins.
  • For each class, students should go to their Google Classroom prior to the start of class and use the links in Google Classroom to open the Zoom meeting for their class and any class materials.  We encourage all students to have all platforms open 5 minutes before the class start time to ensure that they are able to start learning at the beginning of class.
  • Reach out to your child’s teachers via the contact information provided if you have questions during class time.
  • Here is what you need to know about grading:
    • Each week. students will be assessed using the following:
      • At least one classwork assignment per session
      • One homework assignment per week
      • At least one assessment per week (includes quizzes)
    • Homework is due by 11:59 PM the night prior to the next session
    • All classwork, whether student attends live class or not, is due by 11:59 PM on the day of session
    • Students who attend all sessions during the week in any given course will receive a “bonus” in that course
      • Example:
        • Student attends 2 out of 3 ELA sessions next week – no bonus
        • Student attends 100% of ELA sessions next week – bonus
  • Attendance for each class will be taken in Jupiter. We will send a robocall to inform families when a student misses 1 or more classes on a remote learning day.

5. Updated as of March 27th (see updates in green below) – Attention 8th Grade Families: See the important notes below in securing a high school seat for the 2020-21 school year:

  • The deadline for the Unity Letter of Intent to attend Unity High for the 2020-21 school year has been extended to Tuesday, March 31st.  Eighth grade families who are interested in attending Unity High in the fall should contact Mr. Beckford at cbeckford@unityprep.org or 862-294-0219 as soon as possible. He is available to answer any enrollment questions and confirm your child’s acceptance for high school.
  • NYCDOE high school offers were shared for Unity 8th graders last Friday.  If you would like to review your child’s NYCDOE high school offer, you are welcome to log onto Myschools account.
  • To support you in making an informed final decision for your child, Unity is scheduling 1-on-1 meetings with each 8th grade family through next week.  Please complete the following form to schedule an appointment today.

6. Updated as of March 26th (see updates in green below) – Mental Health Counseling and Social Work Services Available to Unity Students who Receive Counseling:  If your child receives counseling, you will hear from their counselor in the next few days to coordinate services and identify needs.  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 (1888-NYC-WELL) or text (text WELL to 65173) or by internet chat via their website: https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/.  Please reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio via phone or text (347-688-9107) or email (tdelpurgatorio@unityprep.org) if you have any questions about continuation of counseling services or if you are concerned about your child’s mental health.  Unity social workers can also be of assistance in providing information regarding social services (for example: housing, access to food, access to community mental health services, referrals to mental health providers, crisis intervention, etc.).  Update as of March 26th: A mental health hotline has been established in New York City that will provide FREE emotional support, consultation, and referral to a provider. The hotline number is: 1-844-863-9314.

7. Reminder – 2020 Grades 3-8 State Testing is Cancelled: The New York State Education Department announced recently that state testing for grades 3-8 are cancelled.  This means that our students in grades 6-8 will not sit for their English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science state exams this year.  Additional details on how we plan to assess and celebrate our middle school students’ academic growth and successes this year is forthcoming.

8. Reminder – Tutorial on Using Zoom, Our Remote Classroom Platform: This helpful tutorial provides helpful information on the video conferencing application we are using while teaching remotely, including what you need to use Zoom, how you download it, how you can join a meeting, and what tools are available.

9. Reminder – 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.

10. Reminder – Supplemental Resources to Continue Your Child’s Learning at Home: Between now and the launch of remoting learning, we encourage you to support your child at home in keeping their academic skills fresh.  The NYCDOE’s Learn at Home site provides learning resources to students to complete while they are receiving instruction.  It is important that students continue to read, write, complete social studies and science activities, and work on math problems.  The materials are organized by grade level and include the following:

  • Suggested daily study schedules
  • Guides and materials for instructional activities
  • Recommended educational television shows
  • Links to a variety of books, magazines, and websites on a wide range of topics that appeal to children at all ages

11. Reminder – Extension of Remote Learning through April 20th: Unity will extend its suspension of all onsite educational programming, including extra-curricular events, through April 20th.  This timeline and plan aligns with the NYC Department of Education’s plan, as announced yesterday for all of its schools.  Students will not report to our middle and high school sites for instruction during this time.

12. Reminder – Free Internet at Home: A variety of internet providers are offering free internet  access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have an internet subscription. Internet access at home will be critical for students to complete their remote learning assignments To enroll, call

  • 1-844-579-3743 for Spectrum
  • 1-844-488-8395 for Charter Communications
  • 1- 866-200-9522 for Optimum

Note that Installation fees will be waived for new households.

13. Reminder – Free Breakfast and Lunch Grab-and-Go Meals are Available at All NYCDOE Public Schools: Unity students may go to any NYCDOE school building (including PS44) between 7:30am – 1:30pm today and until further notice to pick up a bagged breakfast and bagged lunch for free.  Meals will be in the lobby or cafeteria of each building.

14. Reminder – We Encourage Families to Check NYSDOH’s website and the CDC’s website Regularly for Updates:  Here are the last recommendations as posted on the NYCDOE’s website as of March 17th, include the following:


  • Wash your hands with soap and water often.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
  • Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Do not shake hands. Instead, wave or elbow bump.
  • Monitor your health more closely than usual for cold or flu symptoms.
  • Get your flu shot – it’s never too late.
  • Reduce overcrowding by walking or biking to work, if possible.
  • If the train is too packed, wait for the next one.

If You Feel Sick:

  • Stay home and call your doctor if you have symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, fever, sore throat.
  • If you do not feel better in 24-48 hours, contact your doctor.
  • Do not go to school or to work until you have been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever reducing drugs like Tylenol or ibuprofen.
  • If you need help getting medical care, call 311.

For More Information

In unity,

Josh Beauregard
Head of School / Co-founder

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