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The Unity Scoop – October 16

Dear Families of Unity,

Congrats on completing a short but productive week of remote learning at Unity!  I am proud to share out a number of updates in this edition of The Unity Scoop.  There is a lot to share – twelve new updates – in addition to various reminders that are relevant to families. Take a moment to scroll down and appreciate all that your children are experiencing in school – I hope that it makes you proud and makes you smile.

Have a wonderful weekend!

In unity,

Josh Beauregard
Head of School

Updates as of October 16, 2020:

1. New – Academic Interventions at Unity High Kick-off Today: Earlier today, Unity High kicked off targeted interventions for students who need greater support in their studies.  Moving forward, ELA, math, science, history, and elective classes will each have a 30-minute time slot on Fridays.  Students will only attend the courses they need additional support in; students in good academic standing will not have tutoring on Fridays.

Each Wednesday, students who have Friday interventions will receive an invitation from their teachers via Jupiter.  Please support your child in making it to their interventions in time!  For your record, all interventions will use this Zoom code (https://zoom.us/j/94895064457).

This intervention time will be prioritized for students who need additional instruction. If your child has general questions or wants to make up individual assignments, they should attend that teacher’s office hours at a separate time.


2. New – Unity High Interim Assessments to be Administered During Classes the Week of 10/26-10/30: These exams will count as summative grades. There are no changes to student schedules, however, please make sure that your child is arriving to every class on time and getting plenty of sleep!


3. New – Unity’s Partnership with When We All Vote Campaign Continue – Turn Up the Vote!: Thank you to Unity alumni: John Martinez, Sarah Martino, Akili Nunes, and Kayla Houston!  They helped register over 20 people at Unity’s high school last week!  See the photo below of Sarah registering to vote for the first time  Congrats, Sarah!  As Michelle Obama has stated: in this upcoming election we need to vote like our lives depend on it.  Please encourage your friends and family outside of New York to register to vote and to get out to the polls on November 3rd!


4. New – Unity Middle’s Mock Election on Monday, November 2nd!  Students of Unity Middle will have an opportunity to engage in a mock election in history classes a day before the actual election.  Turn out for the vote!


5. New – Character Day at Unity Middle, Friday, October 30th!: Students in grades 6-8 are invited to dress like a character from your favorite book as you engage in classes!  Have fun with it – change your Zoom background to match your costume!


6. New – Unity High Halloween Event, Friday, October 30th, at 6pm!  BOOOO!  For the first time ever, Unity High presents the YOOON-UHH-TEE Haunted House.  Have you ever been in an empty and dark school building after hours?  Or have you heard the urban halloween tale of Mr. Sweeney, the ghostly janitor who haunts school halls at night?  We are sure to deliver thrills and chills. There will also be candy and a costume contest with prizes for best costume. RSVP details will be sent via Jupiter, stay tuned. SPOOKY!


7. New – Unity Alumni Spotlight! Our alumni are now two months into their college and career training programs and WE ARE SO PROUD OF THEM!  To shout them out, we are launching a new part of The Scoop – The Alumni Spotlight!  In this section, we will highlight a Unity alum each month and share some details of what she/he has been up to since graduating last year.  Our first Alumni Spotlight profile is Tyrese Murphy!

Tyrese is attending Guttman College.  He is studying Liberal Arts while also working part-time at Amazon.  Based on his exemplary academic work, he has earned admission into The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) at Guttman.  Please see attached for a photo of Tyrese in his cap and gown this past June.

Words from Tyrese:

What’s up Unity scholars! I hope you all are doing well. I know everyone is still going through a pandemic and this is not how a lot of you want to spend your time, but all you need to do is just fight and pull through and you will accomplish everything you set out to accomplish. I know all of y’all will.

As of right now I’m doing really well in college. I do get stressed a lot but I know that’s a part of the game. I make sure sure to stay on top of all my assignments and always do my tests on time. Classes are very engaging because I am learning about topics I have never learned or covered before. Even though I haven’t been able to go on campus yet, I have met with a couple of people from my college and we are really building a family over there.

College is very different from high school. The workload is far more superior than the high school level. Your professors will not baby you at all trust me. I am writing more essays and studying for more exams. You have to take really good notes so you have a main source to come back to when studying.  In college you can not miss deadlines at all because if you do, it will have a very bad effect on your grade. If you miss a deadline only some classes will let you make it up but only for half credit so always get your assignments in on time. One last key thing that I have learned so far is that in college you are your own boss. You decide what you do. If you don’t want to go to class you don’t have to. If you do want to go to class you will. Nobody will be there to tell you how to make your own decisions. It is up to you if you want to stay dedicated towards this college grind or not.

My advice to students that are preparing for college is that college isn’t easy. It does get really stressful at times. You should prepare yourself for a lot of long days and nights. You have to study and keep your mind in the right place at all times. If you put the work in and focus your brain to work harder than ever you will accomplish huge things in your college life. College will not baby you. They treat you like adults and expect you to live up to your expectations as a college student.

Words from Ms. Murphy:

Tyrese has been completely focused in college. I knew his potential long ago but with all of the distractions, it caused destruction. I am super proud of my boy, he has truly shown perseverance. Although he wants to be in the classroom, he is doing it!  Late nights and early mornings, I am very proud.

For starters, the pushes for Tyrese’s success came from Ms. Roth and Mr. Gonzalez. I don’t know what I would’ve done without the tough love from Mr. G and nurturing from Ms. Roth”

To the parents/caregivers of current seniors: No matter what it may look like, keep pushing your children. Invest in your children. They need guidance.


8. New – Unity’s First-ever, Adult-ONLY, Virtual Trivia Night, Friday, October 23rd, 6pm!: Greetings Panther Families – this will be an opportunity to meet other caregivers, participate in some friendly competition, and possibly win a monetary prize!  RSVP for the big event here, and here is the Zoom link for the event.


9. New – Thank You for Your Feedback as We Seek to Expand Our Remote Learning Program!  Thank you to the 129 plus caregivers who offered their feedback this past week.  Your feedback is invaluable to our efforts and will greatly inform our next steps in improving our remote learning programming.  If you have not done so already, we kindly ask all families to take five minutes to complete this survey.  Thanks in advance for helping us to improve!


10. New – College Information for Students and Families of Unity High:

  • Common Application Workshop for all 12th Grade Students, Wednesday, October 21st, at 4pm:  During this workshop, Mr. Gonzalez will lead Unity’s senior class through the creation of their Common Application for college.  Using this application, students will be able to apply to multiple schools with a single application.  It is STRONGLY SUGGESTED that all seniors attend this workshop.
  • Early Action Deadlines for Unity High 12th Graders: All seniors who wish to submit college applications by Unity’s Early Action deadline (November 1) must have done the following by 8am on Monday, October 19th:
  1. Submit your CUNY list to your Counselor for discussion
  2. Submit your SUNY and private school list to your Counselor for discussion
  3. Submit your personal statement (re-share it!) to your Counselor – this should be a FINAL DRAFT!
  • Senior To-Do List: We have officially moved into the second phase of the college application process!  Seniors are now finishing their personal statements and creating their college lists.  By the end of this month, all seniors can be finished with their college application process if they keep to the schedule set up by their college counselors.  To ensure students are on schedule, seniors should have completed the following six steps by Monday, October 12th:
  1. Search for your desired CUNY majors here.
  2. Check for an academic (GPA) match at CUNY schools here.
  3. Find six (6) different programs/majors that interest you (these are the subject(s) you want to study in college).
  4. Email the list of six (6) colleges and programs to your counselor.
  5. Continue entering your FAFSA information with your parent/caregiver (see the Financial Aid Resources, included below!).
  6. Make an appointment with Mr. G or Ms. Roth to discuss questions:
    1. To make an appointment with Mr. Gonzalez click here.
    2. To make an appointment with Ms. Roth, click here.
  • Financial Aid Resources: In case you were not able to attend last week’s financial aid workshop, here are two resources from that session.  These resources will help students and parents/caregivers complete 70% of the financial aid application process:
  • PSAT and SAT Updates: The College Board has not yet clarified testing options for students, but we want to enable students in different grade levels to take either the SAT or PSAT this fall or winter.
    • 12th Graders: Please contact Mr. Gonzalez by the end of the day if you want to take the SAT in November.
    • 11th Graders: We are assessing the possibility of administering the PSAT to juniors in January.  More information will be provided as we get closer to the testing dates.  Please note that in addition to the PSAT, 11th graders should strongly consider taking the SAT twice this spring (in March and either April or May).  More information will be provided later in the school year.  Until then, students may join Khan Academy to prepare for the PSAT in the event that it is offered in January.


11. New – Income Inquiry & Housing Status Form!  We are asking for your help by completing the questions on the form below so we can best assist you and your family during this school year. Your participation in completing this form allows Unity to receive grant money from the state and federal government. The information will be kept confidential.


12. New – Coffee With The Co-Principals Next Week!  Unity Middle and Unity High will each be hosting a remote Coffee With The Co-Principals event as an opportunity to discuss Unity’s progress and important updates directly with the Co-Principals:


13. Reminder – Our Virtual Wrestling Team is Now in Training at Unity Middle!  Team practices are now taking place every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:15pm with Coach Lopez.  If you are interested in having your child participate, contact Mr. Coleman (Acoleman@unityprep.org).


14. Reminder – Mental Health Counseling and Social Work Services at Unity: If your child receives mental health counseling at Unity, please expect to hear from their counselor in the coming days to coordinate services and identify needs.

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 (tdelpurgatorio@unityprep.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.us/en/.


15. Reminder – A Special Message to the Families of our Senior Class – The Class of 2021!: Senior parents & students – we know that you may have a ton of ideas and questions regarding class festivities and celebratory events. We are currently seeking parents and students to join The Class of 2021 Celebratory Committee. If you are interested, please send a Jupiter message or email (blopez@unityprep.org) Mr. Lopez who is serving as an advisor to the senior class this year. This Celebratory Committee, which will comprise of students, staff, and parent volunteers, will lead the way in creating, organizing, and facilitating senior activities throughout the school year.


16. Reminder – Unity Middle School has 6th Grade Seats Available!: Unity’s 6th grade still has a few remaining seats available.  Please spread the word throughout your respected networks!  If you know a family looking for an amazing middle school, please encourage them to apply today, or complete the following form: Unity Prep Interest Form.  Key features in our 2020-21 program include:

  • Each scholar will receive a laptop
  • Engage in classes from the safety of home
  • Five days of virtual, live instruction each week

Any questions? Please reach out to cbeckford@unityprep.org


17. Reminder – A Website Resource High School Caregivers: The Unity Prep High School Parent Corner is here to assist you with the tools and resources necessary to make your role as a Panther Parent easier. At UPHS, we see you as our partner in education and understand the crucial role you play in the lives of our students. There is no doubt you will have questions and concerns as your student journeys through high school; this page will help to serve as a resource to support you.

Please review the information provided on this page – from calendars to quick navigation to helpful webpages, ways to stay connected, and of course, a place to call or email when you need it. The site is updated weekly, so bookmark it and check it frequently for new information.


18. Reminder – 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).


19. Reminder – 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.


20. Reminder – 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

For additional tips on making an ideal, remote workspace for your child, check out this guide and these suggestions.


21. Reminder – School Supply List: 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 today.  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.


22. Reminder – 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.


23. Reminder – 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.


24. Reminder – Unity’s School Calendar through December 31st: In the spirit of providing you with the information you need to best support your child with school at home, here are our middle and high school calendars through December 31, 2020.


Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:

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.

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