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The Unity Scoop – September 11

Dear Families of Unity,

It feels great to welcome our returning students back for the 2020-21 school year, along with a special welcome to those students new to Unity.  Congratulations to our middle school students on completing the first few days of virtual classes and to our high school students for completing their virtual orientation.

Although we all would prefer to be fully onsite as we engage in school, I am proud of our community in working toward the next best option: the continuation of our successful remote learning from last spring while incorporating new features for an even better experience for all of our students.  While this school year will prove to be unique in a great many ways, the belief in the potential of our students is unwavering.

In this kick-off edition of The 2020-21 Unity Scoop, I highlight a number of items that are important for you to support your children for a strong start this September.  Please review the updates below and reach out with any follow-up questions by emailing help.ms@unityprep.org or help.hs@unityprep.org.

​​​​​​​Enjoy the weekend!

In unity,


Josh Beauregard

Head of School

Updates as of September 11, 2020:​​​​​​​

  1. Unity Caregiver Checklist: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 – #2 below)
  • Arrange your child’s workspace (see #3 below for tips here)
  • Obtain school supplies (see #4 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.
  • Plan your child’s daily routine and schedule to accommodate their class schedule.
  • Attend Unity’s Family Orientation Night on September 24th (see #8 below for more information).
  1. 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.  We are planning additional technology distribution sessions next week. Our goal is for 100% of students to have access to the technology they need to fully engage in their studies.
  2. 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.

  1. 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 to these supplies, Unity is providing class resource bags to all high school students.  These bags contain specialty items for distinct courses that students are taking (ex. compasses for geometry, art materials for art class, etc.).  On Friday, September 18th, class resource bags will be available for pick-up in the gymnasium of 584 Driggs Avenue.  Please come prepared with your child’s schedule and something with which to carry supplies. If you are unable to come at the designated grade-level time (see below), you may come any time before 3:30pm.  However, we highly encourage you to arrive according to the schedule below. If you have any questions, email help.hs@unityprep.org.


High School Supply Pickup

Time Who What to Bring
9:00 – 11:00am 9th Grade Large bag to carry supplies
11:00 – 12:00pm 11th Grade Large bag to carry supplies
1:00 – 2:30pm 12th Grade Large bag to carry supplies
2:30 – 3:30pm 10th Grade Large bag to carry supplies


  1. Middle School Students to Complete STAR Testing for Reading and Math next Week: In order to better understand our students’ current academic levels, students will take a computer-based test for ELA on 9/17 and Math on 9/18.  These tests will take place on the computer during normal class time for those subjects.  Please see the attached guide here for more information: Administering Star Assessments Remotely: Family Guide.
  2. Special Advisory Schedule for High School Students on Friday, September 18th:On Friday, September 18th, high school students will meet with their advisor at 8:30am to have time to connect and learn important information about the add/drop course period. Caregivers, please make sure that your child logs into their advisory meeting at 8:30am on Friday.
  3. Unity Prep 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 toapply 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

  1. Remote Family Orientation Night is Happening Next Thursday, September 24th:We are excited to host all of our families during our Family Orientation Night on September 24th.  We ask that all families tune into the virtual event to learn more about our programming during the 2020-21 school year.   Please mark your calendars – additional details on how to log into the event will be shared this coming week.


  1. 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.
  1. 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.  Our guidelines for attire during remote learning will be provided during student orientations.
  1. Congrats to our Unity Alumni!:Members of the Great Class of 2020 embarked on their first year of college this past month.  We continue to be so proud of our founding class!  Enjoy the photos of Vladimir G. moving into his college dormitory at SUNY Oneonta and Isheanna M. on the campus of SUNY Buffalo State.

Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:

Free Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner available for Students and Adults – Any New Yorker, child or adult, has access to three free meals a day at more than 400 Meal Hubs across the city (including PS44), between 7:30am – 11:30am for children and families and from 11:30am to 1:30pm for adults. More details, including a search tool, is available by clicking here.

Resources for Mental Health and Talking to Young People About COVID-19 – The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has provided this guide for self-care and strategies for talking about COVID-19 honestly and effectively with young people. In addition, here is a link for webinars for “Parenting During COVID-19” through the Weil Cornell Psychiatry Department. 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 (1888-NYC-WELL) or text (text WELL to 65173) or by internet chat via their website: https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/.  In addition, a mental health hotline has been established in New York City that will provide FREE emotional support, consultation, and referral to a provider. The hotline number is: 1-844-863-9314.

Mental Health Counseling and Social Work Services Available to Unity Students who Receive Counseling – Social workers will continue to hold remote counseling sessions for all students who receive counseling throughout this week.  Please reach out to Ms. Del Purgatorio via phone or text (347-688-9107) or email (tdelpurgatorio@unityprep.org) if you have any questions about the continuation of counseling services or if you are concerned about your child’s mental health. Unity social workers can also be of assistance in providing information regarding social services (for example: housing, access to food, access to community mental health services, referrals to mental health providers, crisis intervention, etc.).

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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