The Unity Scoop – October 9
Dear Families of Unity,
As we approach our first long weekend of the school year, I congratulate you for your continued support of your child’s education. As a parent with two young children, I know firsthand how the balancing act of remote schooling with all of the other demands in life has been challenging. On behalf of our entire staff and faculty, we applaud your efforts and remain deeply committed to our partnership with you in providing the very best educational experience to your children.
In this edition of The Unity Scoop, we offer four new announcements and updates in addition to a number of reminders from prior editions that are still relevant and serve to support you and your family during remote learning.
I wish you and loved ones well over the long weekend.
Head of School
Updates as of October 2, 2020:
- New –Unity’s Partnership with When We All Vote Campaign – Voter Registration Drive!: Congrats to our community members who registered to vote this week during registration drive, including recent graduates, 12th grade students, and family members! And thank you Mr. Brown, Ms. Marron, and Mr. Gonzalez for making the drive possible!
- New –We Want Your Feedback as We Seek to Expand Our Remote Learning Program! We are eager to learn about how we can better serve you, your child, and your family with our remote learning program. Your responses will help us identify needs and provide resources, support, and information to our greater school community. We kindly ask all families to take five minutes to complete this survey. Thanks in advance for helping us to improve!
- New– College Information for Students and Families of Unity High:
- MANDATORY “What’s next?” Workshop, Wednesday, October 14th, 4:30pm: All seniors must attend a very important workshop next Wednesday, from 4:30pm – 5:30pm. During the workshop, Mr. Gonzalez and Ms. Roth will help seniors identify their “next steps” in the college application process and preview final steps. IT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT THAT ALL SENIORS ATTEND THIS WORKSHOP!
- 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:
- Search for your desired CUNY majors here.
- Check for an academic (GPA) match at CUNY schools here.
- Find six (6) different programs/majors that interest you (these are the subject(s) you want to study in college).
- Email the list of six (6) colleges and programs to your counselor.
- Continue entering your FAFSA information with your parent/caregiver (see the Financial Aid Resources, included below!).
- Make an appointment with Mr. G or Ms. Roth to discuss questions:
- 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 either October or 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.
- New –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).
- 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 (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.us/en/.
- 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 (email@example.com) 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.