The Unity Scoop – October 17
Dear Families of Unity,
I hope that you’ve been able to take in some of the beautiful fall weather we’ve had this weekend.
Before jumping into updates this week, I want to take a moment to thank you for your ongoing collaboration and support. Schools across the nation have been expected to go way beyond their core function of educating young people. It has been a demanding time for teachers, staff, and school leaders.
Your support of Unity and commitment to our school have helped us in getting off to a relatively strong start to the school year. On behalf of our entire team, I wish to express our gratitude to you. There continues to be strength in Unity.
On a related note, I also want to thank our families for continuing to practice the 8 preventative safety measures at home that we have set forth as a school community:
- Schedule a vaccination for your child and eligible family members
- Wear masks
- Be mindful of distance
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas
- Wash hands often
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect
- Monitor family’s health
These measures must be a constant in how we go about our lives right now in order to keep our entire community healthy and allow us to experience the best of school without interruption.
In this edition of the Unity Scoop, I bring to you some new photos of our students in action in class as well as some updates on upcoming events.
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of October 17, 2021:
1. New – Students and Teachers in Action this Week: We continue to honor the hard work of our students as they engage in their learning each and every day of school. This week, we feature a number of middle school (MS) students in their English Language Arts (ELA) class. Ms. Meza, our MS ELA Chairperson, would like to shout out our ELA students for seizing the opportunity to show off their current skills as young and promising writers this past week. In addition, Ms. Abawi, our High School Math Chairperson, alongside her team, are excited by the new skills being developed by their mathematicians-in-training. Congrats, all! Expect more photos in coming editions of the Scoop!
2. New – Note that November 2nd will be a Remote Learning Day for All Students: All students in grades 6-12 will engage in school via learning remotely from home on Tuesday, November 2nd. Details on the remote schedule for the day and how learning experiences will be structured will be in next week’s edition of The Scoop. As this is Election Day, a friendly reminder to find your local polling site and vote!
3. New – Unity High Celebrates LatinX Heritage!: This past Friday afternoon, staff and students took part in cooking, movie-watching, dancing, and crafting alongside our staff. See below for some photos capturing the experience!
4. Recap – A Message from Mr. Coleman and Mr. Noblia about Playing on Unity’s Basketball Teams this Winter: As announced on August 20, COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all students (ages 12 and over) who participate in high-risk sports during the 2021-22 school year. This requirement applies to all participants in high-risk sports, including students, coaches, and administrative staff. Basketball is a high-risk sport. Participants (aged 12 and over) in winter high-risk sports must receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination by Monday, November 22nd. Contact Mr. Coleman (Acoleman@unityprep.org) or Mr. Noblia, (PNoblia@unityprep.org) with any questions.
5. Recap – All Unity 12th Graders will be able to Register or Pre-register to Vote in Elections this Week!: As a school whose mission it is to empower students to lead fulfilling lives, we are excited to support all of our seniors this week to register or pre-register to vote in future elections so that their ideas may be represented in our political system. This initiative is a milestone for our school and certainly a milestone for each of our seniors! Be sure to congratulate them for their initiative and future self-advocacy! Finally, to any and all family members who would like to join our seniors in registering to vote, you may register here.
6. Recap – Congratulations to our High School Students who Made the Honor Roll in the Spring of 2021! As we kick off the new year, it is important to recognize and celebrate the achievements of our students from this past spring. During Thursday evening’s high school Open School Night, we took a moment to congratulate our current 10th, 11th, and 12th graders who earned Honor Roll status last year. Congrats honorees! We look forward to celebrating our Semester I Honor Roll students for this year in February!
7. Recap – A Few Open Seats Remain for Prospective Students at Unity MIddle School and at Unity High School – Spread the Word!: Unity Middle School has seats available in Grades 6, 7, and 8 and Unity High School has seats available in grades 10 & 11! If you refer a student that enrolls at Unity by November 1st, you will receive a $100 amazon.com gift card for school supplies. Please contact Mr. Doscher for more information or if you know a family that might be interested in Unity.
8. Recap – Important Information Regarding Vaccinations Requested: We thank the roughly 75% of our families who have thus far completed this survey. As we solidify our safety protocols for the coming year, one significant factor in our planning is the extent to which our students are vaccinated. If you have not yet completed this survey or your child was recently vaccinated, we ask that you take one minute to do so as soon as possible. Note that we strongly encourage all of our families to take steps in getting their children vaccinated to best ensure that we are providing the highest level of safety for our community.
9. Recap – Regular COVID-19 Testing of Students Conducted This Week: During the 2021-22 school year, Unity will be testing 20% of our unvaccinated student population once per week. This additional safety measure is intended to complement—and not replace—our current health and safety measures and other adjustments we have made to keep our community safe and our buildings open. The goal of this type of screening testing is to be able to identify individuals who have COVID-19 and enable them to take precautions immediately to protect themselves, their families, and the broader school community.
10. Recap – A Resource for Supporting Adolescent Mental Health During a Pandemic and Back to School: Unity’s social work team would like to share a helpful resource with our families on how to best meet the needs of our students as they transition back to school ’ mental health as they (and we) all experience the transition back to school after a very challenging 18 months.
11. Recap – Slides and a Quick Recap from our Open School Night for High School Families: Here are the slides that Ms. Yun and Ms. Louisma shared. Below is the slide that Ms. Eason presented regarding our HS Family webpage. Visit the page for high school-specific updates and resources.
12. Recap – Slides and a Quick Recap from Thursday’s Open School Night for Middle School Families: Thanks again to our middle school families for participating in Thursday’s session. Here are the slides that Mr. Burns and Ms. Williams shared. Below is a list of 5 ways that middle school families can best support their children at home in getting the most out of their Unity education this school year. Note that our Middle School Student & Family Handbook is on our website.
13. Recap – Footage of Our Family Information Sessions on August 26th: In case you missed the sessions and/or would like to review what was presented, here are video recording of each session:
14. Recap – Update on Dress Code: During our Listening & Sharing sessions last month, a number of families inquired about our dress code for the coming year. One question that came up is whether families will be able to use past uniforms this year. The answer is yes! All past uniforms will be permitted this coming year. Details on dress code for the 2021-22 school year for the middle school and high school are listed below:
- Middle School:
- High School: There are key components of our dress code that we would like to highlight – see below. Additional details can be found here.
- TOPS: Unity tops are strongly encouraged and can be purchased at unityprepuniforms.com/ for high school students. All tops must fully cover the torso and shoulders.
- BOTTOMS: Bottoms must be knee-length or longer. No skin can be visible under small rips or tears.
15. Recap – Information on Supply Lists: See details below by site.
- Middle School: Details on the early school supply list can be found here.
- High School: Please purchase wired headphones, pens, and pencils. The full supply list can be found in the guidebook.
16. Recap – Attention Senior and Families of Seniors: Information re: College Workshops and Scholarships from Mr. Gonzalez: See the updates below from our College & Career Readiness Team!
- Options Center College Workshops – Options Center, one of Unity’s partner organizations, is hosting a weekly College Application series Wednesdays at 4pm. We highly recommend and encourage all 11th & 12th grade students to take advantage of this FREE college prep resource.
- Scholarships – Review the plethora of college scholarships below by clicking on the links to learn more.
- Coca-Cola Scholarship – $20,000 for College! The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected each year to receive this $20,000 scholarship. High school seniors, apply here! The application will be open until October 31, 2021, at 5pm Eastern. Register for a live webinar to learn more about the application process.
- Search for Scholarships – Students and families should be looking for and applying to scholarships NOW! These scholarships will provide free money for college! Click on any of the links below to use the search engines to find and apply for opportunities – and be sure to work with Mr. Gonzalez to submit your materials by the deadline!
- Going Merry – A free, one-stop scholarships platform. It matches you with scholarships and then helps you apply directly. It has both local and national scholarships and you can bulk-apply for multiple scholarships, which share similar essay prompts, using one application.
- Scholar Snapp – A free, simple to use data standard that allows students to reuse their application information – including contact information, essays, transcripts, etc. – from one scholarship application to another thereby streamlining the college scholarship application process.
- Scholly – A mobile app that provides students with a fast and simple way to find scholarships for college. (Created by Christopher Gray, a Coca-Cola Scholar!)
- Peerlift – Proven scholarships, internships, summer programs, and more gathered by fellow students like you. (Founded by a team of 2017 Coca-Cola Scholars!) Learn more about the creation of Peerlift.
- Fastweb – Create a profile and let fastweb do the research on scholarships, internships, colleges and more for you.
- CashCourse – Information that helps college students stay financially informed.
- Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation – Educational and scholarship opportunities for students of all levels.
- Cappex – A free website where you can learn which colleges want you, before you apply and learn about more than $11 billion in merit aid scholarships.
- Scholarships.com– A free college scholarship search and financial aid information.
- Scholarship America – Provides information and resources for your scholarship search.
- HS Finder (Hispanic Scholarship Fund) – Scholarship information for Latino students.
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund – Provides scholarships, programmatic and capacity building support to the 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
- Gates Millennium Scholars – Provides outstanding low income African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline they choose.
- Dell Scholars Program – Recognizes academic potential and determination in students that have a definite need for financial assistance.
- UNCF – Awards 10,000 students each year through 400 scholarship and internship programs so that students from low- and moderate-income families can afford college tuition, books and room and board.
- The College Board Opportunity Scholarships – The program guides juniors and seniors through the college planning process and offers the chance to earn scholarships, from $500 to $40,000, for every action that students complete.
17. 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
|Wednesday||First day of school for students|
|Monday||Indigenous People’s Day, school closed|
|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|
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
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.
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.
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.
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.