The Unity Scoop – October 31
Dear Families of Unity,
I hope that the past week was good to you and your loved ones. As you take in the weekend and prepare for the week ahead, I want to flag a few updates to our school schedule for the coming two weeks so that you are clear on programming and can plan ahead accordingly:
- November 2nd (Tuesday): an asynchronous remote learning day for grades 6-12 (see details below) – students will be working on assignments from home
- November 5th (Friday): students in grades 6-8 will be dismissed at 1:15pm (students in grades 9-12 will experience a normal Friday schedule)
- November 11th (Thursday): no school for students in grades 6-12 (Veteran’s Day)
- November 12th (Friday): no classes for students in grades 9-12 (students in grades 6-8 will experience a normal Friday schedule)
In this edition of the Unity Scoop, I bring to you a number of updates on recent community events and initiatives. I offer a number of resources for families. Take a moment to appreciate all that we have going on and are offering.
I wish you and your loved ones a fun, safe, and festive Halloween weekend. If you are seeking ideas on the perfect Halloween costume, I offer as inspiration the photo below of our high school team showing off their creative costume talents on Friday!
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of October 31, 2021:
1. New – Details on Student Schedules on Tuesday, November 2nd:
- Grades 6-8:
- Students will be assigned asynchronous independent work at home via Google Classroom.
- All assignments should be completed and submitted by 3:30pm.
- Attendance will be based on the assignments being submitted.
- Grades 9-12:
- Students will join their advisories at 9:00am on Zoom where they will be able to exercise their voting rights and elect their class representatives! Attendance will be taken.
- Students will then complete independent work on their own. Work can be found on Google Classroom. The assignment should be submitted to Google Classroom no later than 3:00pm. This portion of the day is asynchronous.
- If students are interested in becoming a teaching assistant (TA), they should attend the TA meeting at 11:30am on Zoom. Details can be found in students’ emails.
- Students who are 18 or older, be sure to vote! Use this resource to find your local polling site.
- Caregivers are welcome to join Co-Principals Louisma and Yun for a virtual Coffee with the Co-Principals at 9:30am! Details and Zoom links will be sent out via Jupiter.
2. New – Unity Middle School Students and Staff Celebrate Spirit Week!: Students and staff had some fun while showing their school spirit as a community this week. Enjoy the photos below of students and staff sporting their favorite pajamas on Friday and of students participating in Halloween festivities on Wednesday afternoon!
3. New – Highlights from Unity High’s College Fair!: Our high school students met with a host of college representatives on Friday during Unity High’s College Fair. Thank you to Mr. Gonzalez and the College & Career Readiness team for organizing the event!
4. New – We Want to Hear from You! Please Complete this Important Survey this Week!: In the spirit of wanting to be the best school we can be for our families, we want to hear firsthand from you. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey by Friday so that we may have your ideas and preferences fully in mind when making important decisions that impact our experiences and collaboration as a community. We are aiming to have 100% of our families provide responses. Families who complete the survey by 5pm Friday and email the screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org will be entered into a contest for a $100 amazon.com gift certificate. Thanks in advance for helping us be the best school for your family!
5. New – Ms. Eason, High School Family Engagement Coordinator, Has Three Announcements for Unity Families:
- Virtual Session on Providing Academic Support at Home: On Monday, November 15th from 6pm-7pm, Unity High School will host the following workshop for families: I Don’t Understand the Content: Providing Academic Support for Your High Schooler at Home. During the virtual session, families will be introduced to strategies and tools they can use at home to academically support their child when they don’t understand the content. It will be a great opportunity to meet other parents and add to your parenting toolkit. Please see the flyer below and complete this RSVP form by November 10th.
- Attention – Families of 10th and 11th Graders: If your student is in 10th or 11th grade and is eligible for College Now, you should have received a Jupiter message about next steps, including an information session scheduled for November 11th. Please reply to that message if your student is interested. Thank you!
- Getting Ahead! Academic Enrichment Program Virtual Fair, Wednesday, November 10th, 6-7:30pm: During this webinar, families will get to explore over a dozen free programs that can support their students’ academic success. The event will showcase programs specifically for students in grades 4-10. The event will be hosted in English and Spanish. Participating programs include: A Better Chance, Breakthrough New York, Boys Hope Girls Hope, De La Salle Academy, ESPI: City Smart Scholars, George Jackson Academy, Harlem Educational Activities Fund, Let’s Get Ready, Oliver Scholars, Prep for Prep, REACH Prep, and REACH at Regis High School, SEO Scholars, and The TEAK Fellowship. Interested families can register here.
6. New – Two Featured Updates on Unity’s Athletics and Physical Education Programs from this Past Week: Our middle school athletic program hosted its first home game in 20 months with a volleyball match. See the photo below of team members offering “U’s” for Unity! In addition, congratulations to Emma C. as a recipient of Mr. Coleman’s Physical Education (PE) PRIDE Award!
7. 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.
8. 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 15th, 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
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 – 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.
16. 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|
|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|
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 (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.
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.