The Unity Scoop – September 12
Dear Families of Unity,
I cannot express in words how wonderful it felt to open our doors once again to our students and welcome them back to Unity. It was inspiring to reconnect in person with so many of you on Wednesday as you accompanied your kids to school. It was especially heartening to meet many of our new families in person for the first time. On behalf of our entire staff and faculty, we are deeply honored to work alongside you and take seriously the trust you have placed in us to provide your kids with the best and safest education possible.
As I have stated on numerous occasions, a safe return to in-person learning is an absolute priority for us. While we are only three days into the school year, we have successfully taken a broad range of safety measures that collectively best ensure a safe and positive return. I was able to visit a number of classrooms at our middle school on Friday morning and I was struck by how familiar things felt and by students and staff seeming at home even with our new safety measures in place. I look forward to continuing our efforts this week as we aim to strengthen our measures as well as add to them.
In this edition of the Scoop, I offer a few important updates for the coming week, including temporary amendments to our high school schedule, information on the launch of COVID-19 regular testing, and the availability of getting the COVID-19 vaccine at our middle school site.
Best wishes in the week ahead.
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of September 12, 2021:
1. New – Reuniting as a Community! Students and staff had the opportunity this week to reunite after 18 months of remote learning as our main academic program. For grades 6, 7, 9, and 10, this week marked the first occasion in which students were able to meet and socialize with their classmates and teachers for the first time. On Friday, high school students had the opportunity to interact and socialize with classmates in fun ways as students visited nearby parks, including Domino Park, Bushwick Inlet, and McCarren Park. Enjoy the photos below of some of our 10th graders getting to know each other and have fun together while reuniting as a community!
2. New – A Shift in the High School Schedule this Week: Per the announcement provided by Co-Principals Yun and Louisma on Friday, all students in grades 9-12 will engage in learning remotely on Monday and Tuesday. During these two days, we will transition to a program that prioritizes in-person learning with live instruction and avoids the bandwidth challenges we experienced this week in attempting to have all students participate in their classes via Zoom. On Monday and Tuesday (9/13-14), students will not report to the school building. Instead:
- Students will log in to their advisory Zoom meetings at 9:00 AM. Advisors will send the zoom link via Jupiter and email.
- Students will learn from home asynchronously by signing into Google classroom and completing work. Work will be posted by 9:30am on Monday morning.
- Students who cannot use a personal device or cell phone to Zoom into advisory can come to the building Monday and Tuesday to collect a Unity device. The building will be open from 8am until 4 PM for tech distribution.
Students should return to school on our regular schedule from 7:55am – 3:25pm on Wednesday, September 15th. A summary of the schedule is featured below. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
In-Person – Friday 2:06 PM Dismissal
3. Updated – 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, 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.
4. New – Regular COVID-19 Testing of Students to Begin 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. Unvaccinated students are automatically opted in. If you would not like your child to participate in testing, please complete this form by Wednesday at 10am.
5. New – Vaccination Appointments Available at our 432 Monroe Campus (Middle School) this Week through the NYCDOE: During this week, many NYC public school sites will be offering free COVID-19 vaccines to all members of the community. PS44, the co-located school to Unity Middle School, will be offering vaccines from 7am-11am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, offering the first dose of the FDA approved Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine will be available to all students aged 12 years and older with a signed consent form from a parent. All vaccine sites and more information is available here. Note that this service is available to our high school students too – high school families just need to coordinate to have their child visit 432 Monroe Street (or another school site) during one of the days and times listed above.
6. Recap – Footage of Last Thursday Evening’s Information Session: In case you missed Thursday’s sessions and/or would like to review what was presented, here are video recording of each session:
7. Recap – Save-the-Date for Back to School Night for Families: During this required event, you will meet your child’s teachers and learn about our curriculum and programming for the school year. This event will be virtual for both campuses. See the links below. Additional details on both sessions will be provided next week.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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
|First day of school for students
|Indigenous People’s Day, school closed
|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 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, school closed
|February 21 – 25
|Monday – Friday
|Midwinter Recess, school closed
|April 15 – 22
|Spring Recess, school closed
|Memorial Day, school closed
|Juneteenth (observed), school closed
|Last day of school for students
Relevant Information from Past Editions of The Scoop:
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.
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.