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The Unity Scoop – September 18

Dear Families of Unity,

Congratulations to our entire community for completing the first full week of school of the 2020-21 school year.  It feels great to be back in action, with classes fully up and running and students engaged alongside their classmates under the support of a talented faculty and staff.

Kudos to our staff and families for their collaboration in successfully launching our remote learning program this year.  We look forward to building from this week’s experiences to make next week’s experiences even better.  We also look forward to hosting all of our families during next Thursday’s Back to School Night program.  See below for details on the program.

In addition to information on Back to School Night, this edition of The Unity Scoop features helpful hints to families in best supporting their children to get off to a strong start.  Please review the updates below and reach out with any follow-up questions by emailing help.ms@unityprep.org or help.hs@unityprep.org.

Have a lovely weekend.


In unity,


Josh Beauregard

Head of School


Updates as of September 18, 2020:

  1. Unity’s Annual Back to School Night, Thursday, September 24th:Our middle school and high school will host all students, parents, and families for our virtual Family Orientation Night this coming Thursday, September 24th. Through the event, you will meet your child’s teachers and learn about each course’s goals and expectations to ensure your child’s success this year.  This is a mandatory event and we ask that all families RSVP.  See the details below for both events.

Middle School:

  • WHO: Mandatory for All Families
  • DATE: Thursday, September 24th, 2020
  • TIME: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

HOW TO REGISTER: The RSVP request will be sent via text message early this coming week.

HOW TO ATTEND: The session will be held on Zoom  – a link will be sent out next week.

High School:

  • WHO: Mandatory for all caregivers of current UPHS students
  • DATE: Thursday, September 24, 2020
  • TIME: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
  • HOW TO REGISTER: Register here.
  • HOW TO ATTEND: The session will be held on Zoom  – a link will be sent out next week.
  1. 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 – #3 below)
  • Arrange your child’s workspace (see #4 below for tips here)
  • Obtain school supplies (see #5 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 #1 above 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.  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.
  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, we thank all of the families that picked up their class resource bags today.  Members of our high school operations team will be contacting students and families who were unable to pick up their bags early this coming week to coordinate alternative pick up times.
  1. Middle School Students to Complete STAR Testing for Reading and Math: Thank you to families for supporting our STAR testing this week!  We will administer make-up tests on Tuesday for any students who missed their ELA or Math tests.  Teachers will contact students via Jupiter with details for make up testing.  If you are interested, please see the attached guide here for more information: Administering Star Assessments Remotely: Family Guide.
  2. 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. New! 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 and 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.

  1. New! College Information for Students and Families of Unity High:
  • Upcoming College Visits for Seniors! Seniors are expected to attend all college visits this fall as a way to learn more about college offerings.  Unity has scheduled college visits every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon until mid-October.  Visits will take place at 4pm and/or 5pm.  Please click here (CCR Calendar) to view the colleges and the days and times of their visits.  Underclassmen are also welcome to attend.
  • College application season has begun!  Mr. Gonzalez and Ms. Roth have set an ambitious goal: Every senior will submit all college applications by October 30!  To meet this goal, each senior MUST complete this Senior Checklist immediately.
  • Parents/Caregivers – attend our first financial aid workshop!  On September 29th at 5pm, all parents/caregivers for the senior class must attend a MANDATORY virtual (remote) financial aid workshop.  This workshop will prepare families to begin the financial aid application process the following week.  Please check Jupiter Grades messages for the link to join the workshop.
  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.

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.  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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