The Unity Scoop – September 2
Dear Families of Unity,
I want to begin by thanking the 400+ families who participated in our Information Sessions last Thursday. I was inspired by the turnout and our continued collaboration. As I have said before, we are at our best in serving your children when we are doing so in tandem. The turnout on Thursday evening was a reflection of this, and I am grateful.
In this edition of the Scoop, I offer a few important updates on our return to in-person learning, including schoolwide and grade-level specific updates. Please take a moment to review the updates so that you are fully informed on what your child will experience as we return to school.
On behalf of the entire Unity staff and faculty, we look forward to the first day of school on Wednesday, September 8th, and to reuniting as a community!
Best wishes this holiday weekend,
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of September 2, 2021:
1. New – 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:
2. New – Additional Information and Updates on School Programming for Middle School and High School: Our planning has continued since our Information Sessions on Thursday evening, with health and safety as our priority. We will be starting the school year with students in cohorts at both sites. By cohorting, students will be with the same group of [approximately 15-20] students over the course of the school day, thereby limiting their exposure to transmission. Cohorting is recommended by the CDC as an additional safety measure, and we believe that it is the best course of action as we return to in-person learning. Cohorting will be in effect for the first month of school. We will reassess our programming in early October based on how things are going. Here is some additional information about our programming by campus:
- Middle School:
- Students will stay within their grade level hallway for the entire day, with the exception of PE/Dance, bathroom visits, and outdoor lunch (weather permitting).
- Students will transition with their advisory between classes. Only one class will be in the hallway at a time.
- Students will carry all of their belongings, including sweaters/coats, with them throughout the day. This will avoid the need to enter classrooms with other students.
- We ask that you help your child dress in layers so that s/he is able to be comfortable throughout the day with the windows open and variable temperatures.
- We ask that you help your child pack his/her backpack with supplies that s/he will be able to comfortably carry all day.
- High School:
- Students will stay in their designated Advisory classroom for the entire day. In doing this, students will not need to transition from class to class.
- Students will be in classrooms with Unity teachers every period, though teachers will be utilizing Zoom for instruction via spaces throughout the building.
- To begin the school year, lunch will take place in students’ Advisory classrooms.
- Students should bring their Unity laptops to school as of the first day of school. New students will receive them the first day of school.
- Students should bring headphones every day to school (we strongly encouraged students to purchase noise-canceling headphones).
- For any high school families with follow-up questions, feel free to participate in a follow-up information session with our HS Principals, Ms. Yun and Ms. Louisma, on Tuesday, September 7th via Zoom at 9:30am. Here is the Zoom link for the session.
- A Family Reference Guide for HS families can be found here. The guide lays out much of what was discussed on Thursday evening with a few updates.
3. New – 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.
4. Updated – Important Information Vaccination 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. Vaccinations will be available in many NYCDOE school buildings during the week of September 13th, including at PS44. More details will be announced in The Scoop next week.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Recap – College Information for Students and Families of Unity High School: See the updates below from our College & Career Readiness Team!
- Class of 2022 – Register Now for a Summer Consultation with Mr. Gonzalez: Believe it or not, but the Class of 2022 is already working on applying to college and to career-training programs! They have been hard at work with Mrs. Eason and Mr. Gonzalez crafting personal statements, discussing their preferred pathway after high school, and attending virtual college visits. Many have already signed up to meet with Mr. Gonzalez this summer to continue this work and to visit local colleges! As a reminder for rising seniors, please make an appointment with Mr. Gonzalez immediately to begin working on your plan for senior year! Use this link to schedule your appointment: https://calendly.com/mr-
8. 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|
|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:
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 (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.
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.