The Unity Scoop – May 1
Dear Families of Unity,
It felt great to be back in action as a school community this week. I want to congratulate our middle school students for showing off all of the math skills they have developed this year during this week’s state math exams. Kudos to our talented middle school math teachers for fully preparing our students to confidently show off all that they have learned as mathematicians this year.
I would also like to congratulate our 12th graders who officially announced their intentions to enroll in the colleges and universities of their choice during Friday’s College Signing Day festivities at Unity High. It was a glorious event, and made possible by the incredible work of our entire community, including Mr. Gonzalez, our founding Director of College & Career Readiness, and his team. Kudos to the families of our seniors – be immensely proud of your children. We look forward to celebrating their graduation in June alongside you!
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, I offer a host of acknowledgements of students achieving great things. In addition, the details on a number of exciting opportunities for students this spring and summer are provided.
This coming week, I am excited to celebrate our educators during National Teacher Appreciation Week as well as our leaders during Principal Appreciation Day!
As a reminder, note that we do have school tomorrow!
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of May 1, 2022:
1. New – Unity High Celebrates College Signing Day in Style: On Friday, we honored our 12th graders as they announced their college and career intentions. It was a festive affair with families, staff, and students in attendance. We are overwhelmingly proud of our seniors, as they have empowered themselves with numerous post-graduate options available to them after Unity. A big shout-out to Mr. Gonzalez and his team for organizing the event!
2. New – Students and Teachers in Action this Week: We are thrilled to continue celebrating the hard work of our students as they engage in their learning each and every day. This week, we spotlight our middle school scientists-in-training. Sixth grade scientists have been exploring different body systems and their functions. Scholars are learning how these human body systems are all interconnected and dependent on one another. In the attached photo, Ms LaPlaca, Mr Thomas, and our scholars are playing a quick game of “Ms. LaPlaca says” to learn about the different muscles in the human body.
In other grades, our seventh grade scientists recently completed their “Stop the Shake” earthquake project, which required them to build an earthquake-proof structure using craft materials. Scholars first built their structures and presented their buildings to their peers. In doing so, scholars explained the choices they made in terms of building materials, base, the design process, etc. Finally, these structures were tested on a shake table representing a 5.0 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale.
Eighth grade scientists have been wrapping up their sexual health education unit. Next week, scholars will be learning about genetics and how scientists can predict what specific traits an offspring will most likely have by completing punnett squares! Scientists will also be completing three labs in preparation for the upcoming state test in science.
As a bonus, Ms. Diaz would like to bring the following opportunity to the attention of middle school scientists! The Black in Physics organization (https://www.blackinphysics.
3. New – May 2022 School-wide Calendar: For your family’s convenience, here is a schoolwide calendar of events for the month of May – 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:
- 5/2: Classes are in session
- 5/2-5/6: AP Exams at Unity High
- 5/1: Principal Appreciation Day
- 5/2-5/6: Teacher Appreciation Week
4. New – Congrats to our Middle School’s Students of the Month in April!: Kudos to our Students of Month for showing exemplary scholarship, citizenship, and growth – we are proud of you!
Scholarship: Zaeyah Rush
Citizenship: Ester Pollard
Scholarship: Nina Pitter
Citizenship: Kymani Pilgrim
Most Improved: Khaya Khan
Scholarship: Taylor Beckles
Citizenship: Naishae Wilson
Most Improved: Julissa Garban, Damani Green
5. New – Athletics Spotlight The Unity Panthers Middle School Baseball Team!: In this edition of the Scoop, Mr. Coleman would like to spotlight the student-athletes of our middle school baseball team. Congrats on your recent win, team! And continue to represent our school with sportsmanship and pride this season!
6. New – Registration is now open! Summer School Rising – NYCDOE Summer School Programming for Grades K-8 & Summer Youth For High School Students: The 2022 Summer Rising application is now open for students currently in grades K-8 and Summer Youth Employment for high school students. Parents and students can find more information here: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/
7. New – 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 is one!
Free Film Screening at Von King Park: Hold your Fire, Saturday, May 9th, 7pm: The screening will take place in Von King Park in Bed-Stuy, just blocks from the location of the historic events depicted in the film. Following the screening we will present a conversation with filmmaker Stefan Forbes, producer Fab 5 Freddy, and special guests. Details on the event can be found here.
8. Recap – Take Part in our Career Fair for Unity Middle School Students, Wednesday, May 25th, 11am-1pm!: We are excited for our middle school students to be inspired by the many career paths available to them in the not-so-distant future! We would love to have family members of our students participating as presenters (see the flier below). Interested in learning more and potentially taking part? Contact Ms. Gillies (firstname.lastname@example.org).
9. 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: email@example.com.
10. Recap – Attention All High School Students: Updates from Mr. Gonzalez and Unity’s College & Career Readiness Team: It is a busy time in the exciting world of college & career readiness at Unity! In addition, we have a number of students who are now in the process of applying for career training programs and jobs. It is exhilarating to collaborate with our seniors and their families in making concrete plans for the coming year! Here are few other updates from Mr. Gonzalez:
- College Application and Admissions Updates: Two exciting updates here!
- As of April, members of our senior class have been admitted to the following colleges and universities: CUNY Brooklyn College, CUNY Hunter College, CUNY Hostos Community College, CUNY Kingsborough Community College, CUNY Guttman Community College, CUNY LaGuardia Community College, CUNY College of Staten Island, CUNY John Jay College, CUNY City Tech, CUNY Queensborough Community College, CUNY Medgar Evers College, George Washington University, Skidmore College, SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo State College, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY University at Buffalo, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY New Paltz, Clark University, Penn State University, St. Francis College, Spelman College, Marist College, Hampton University, Howard University, Hofstra University, Ithaca College, Long Island University, Temple University, and Quinnipiac University.
- Three Seniors Make Trip to SUNY Fredonia: Over the weekend of March 25th, three Unity seniors (Kenny Ramos, Shanice McBean, and Jonathan Belton) who earned admission to SUNY Fredonia traveled upstate to take part in the school’s Mutli-Cultural Student Weekend (see attached photo). They observed classes, took part in on-campus events, and met current Fredonia students. This visit is helping them, just like many other seniors, get ready to decide where they will ultimately enroll. As always, Mr. Gonzalez and Ms. Ramjan want to help seniors and their families make this decision – please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
- Personal Statement Writing Workshop Series: Ten juniors demonstrated amazing initiative during March by joining a workshop series led by Mr. Gonzalez. The three-part series was designed to help them get a head start on their personal statements, the most important part of their college applications. Please join us in congratulating Antonie Robinson, Maya Moore, Mamadou Diop, Kevin Jimbo, Dominiq Small, Nnaemeka Omeruo, Giuliano Saico-Falconi, Danille Howard, Ashlee Deslandes, and Mekhi Herring! Keep up the great work!
- Attention all Seniors: College Financial Aid Comparison Sheet: By now, you should have received financial aid packages from all the colleges that have accepted you. If you have not received aid packages yet, please see me immediately! You have approximately two-three weeks to decide the college in which you will enroll. To help you make this decision, please use this Financial Aid Comparison Tool. Follow these instructions to use the tool, take the following three steps:
- Make a copy (“File -> Make a Copy”)
- Enter information for each financial aid package into the “Net Cost” sheet.
- Make an appointment with Mr. Gonzalez to review your aid packages: calendly.com/mr-gonzalez
11. 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.
- New – 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
12. Recap – Full Calendar for the Remainder of the 2022-23 School Year: Here is a schoolwide calendar for March through June. As with the March calendar above, print it out and throw it on the refrigerator door! An up-to-date events calendar can always be accessed on our website. We are now working on our calendar for the 2022-23 school year and plan to share it in late April.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
Update on P-EBT Benefits for Families: New York State is providing Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) food benefits to all households with children who are eligible to receive free school lunch under the National School Lunch Act and whose school was closed or operating with reduced in-school attendance due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 academic year. Issuance of the food benefit will continue for several months, due to the large number of eligible children and schools participating in the National School Lunch Program across the state. For additional information visit NYSOTDA P-EBT Benefits Information Page.
- If your child(ren) is eligible and has not received P-EBT benefit by November 2021, you may fill out the P-EBT Information Form.
- If you have misplaced a P-EBT Food Benefit card issued to your child[ren), you may order a replacement card by calling 1-888-328-6399. If your child(ren) received P-EBT benefits on a Medicaid card and you need to order a replacement NYS Medicaid card or select a PIN, go to otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/P-
EBT-Medicaid-Card-PIN- Instructions.asp for more information.
- Once you have set up a PIN to access your P-EBT food benefits, you can check your family’s P-EBT food benefits balance by visiting www.connectebt.com or by calling 1-888-328-6399.
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.
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.