The Unity Scoop – September 26
Dear Families of Unity,
I want to thank those who participated in Thursday evening’s virtual Open School Night for our middle school. And I look forward to our high school’s virtual Open School Night this coming Thursday. As we all know and appreciate, our collaboration is incredibly powerful in creating the best possible education for our students. Participating in Open School Night to connect with teachers, learn about curricula, and discover ways to best support students at home is a key next step in our collaboration. Again, I look forward to connecting with our high school families on Thursday!
Congratulations on completing our second full week of school. It is hard to believe that the fall is here and that the month of October is less than a week away. I am pleased to report that Unity has had very strong attendance over the past two weeks with over 91% of our students in school each day. We thank you for all that you are doing to ensure that your children are safe, healthy, and fully prepared to engage in their studies each and every day.
In this edition of the Unity Scoop, I bring to you: a number of updates on upcoming events, shout-outs to students on their accomplishments last spring, and some photos from classrooms this past week.
Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!
Head of School / Co-founder
Updates as of September 26, 2021:
1. New – Students and teachers in Action this Week: Being in classrooms to actively observe and support teachers continues to be a highlight for me and our instructional leaders. The photo below features our 6th grade mathematicians and their teacher, Mr. Lee, hard at work and deep in thought! Expect more photos in coming editions of the Scoop!
2. New – Congratulations to our Middle School Students who Made the Honor Roll in the Spring of 2021! As we kick off the new year, it is important to recognize and celebrate the achievements of our students from this past spring. During Thursday evening’s middle school Open School Night, we took a moment to congratulate our current 7th and 8th graders who earned Honor Roll status in Trimester III of last year. Congrats honorees! We look forward to celebrating our Trimester I Honor Roll students for this year in December!
3. Updated – Virtual Open School Night for High School Families is this Thursday, September 30th at 6pm: 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. Here is the link: High School: September 30th, 6pm
4. New – Slides and a Quick Recap from Thursday’s Open School Night for Middle School Families: Thanks again to our middle school families for participating in Thursday’s session. Here are the slides that Mr. Burns and Ms. Williams shared. Below is a list of 5 ways that middle school families can best support their children at home in getting the most out of their Unity education this school year. Note that our Middle School Student & Family Handbook is on our website.
5. New – A Few Open Seats Remain for Prospective Unity Students in Grades 6-8 – Spread the Word!: Unity Middle School has seats available in Grades 6, 7, and 8! If you refer a student that enrolls at Unity Middle School between September 20th and October 1st, you will receive a $100 amazon.com gift card for school supplies. Please contact Mr. Doscher for more information or if you know a middle school family that might be interested in Unity.
6. 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.
7. Updated – Regular COVID-19 Testing of Students Conducted 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.
8. New – Attention Senior and Families of Seniors: Information re: College Workshops and Scholarships from Mr. Gonzalez: See the updates below from our College & Career Readiness Team!
- Options Center College Workshops – Options Center, one of Unity’s partner organizations, is hosting a weekly College Application series Wednesdays at 4pm. We highly recommend and encourage all 11th & 12th grade students to take advantage of this FREE college prep resource.
- Fall Sessions:
- 9/22 – Supplement Essays and Recruiters
- 9/29 – CUNY Recruiter Visit
- 10/6 – Support Programs & Recruiters
- 10/20 – How to Pay for College
- 11/10 – Interviewing Tips
- Use the following link to register: bit.ly/Optionsworkshop1
- Once you’ve registered, send Mr. Gonzalez a message that says: “I signed up for Options’ workshops!”
- Fall Sessions:
- Scholarships – Review the plethora of college scholarships below by clicking on the links to learn more.
- Coca-Cola Scholarship – $20,000 for College! The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected each year to receive this $20,000 scholarship. High school seniors, apply here! The application will be open until October 31, 2021, at 5pm Eastern. Register for a live webinar to learn more about the application process.
- Search for Scholarships – Students and families should be looking for and applying to scholarships NOW! These scholarships will provide free money for college! Click on any of the links below to use the search engines to find and apply for opportunities – and be sure to work with Mr. Gonzalez to submit your materials by the deadline!
- Going Merry – A free, one-stop scholarships platform. It matches you with scholarships and then helps you apply directly. It has both local and national scholarships and you can bulk-apply for multiple scholarships, which share similar essay prompts, using one application.
- Scholar Snapp – A free, simple to use data standard that allows students to reuse their application information – including contact information, essays, transcripts, etc. – from one scholarship application to another thereby streamlining the college scholarship application process.
- Scholly – A mobile app that provides students with a fast and simple way to find scholarships for college. (Created by Christopher Gray, a Coca-Cola Scholar!)
- Peerlift – Proven scholarships, internships, summer programs, and more gathered by fellow students like you. (Founded by a team of 2017 Coca-Cola Scholars!) Learn more about the creation of Peerlift.
- Fastweb – Create a profile and let fastweb do the research on scholarships, internships, colleges and more for you.
- CashCourse – Information that helps college students stay financially informed.
- Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation – Educational and scholarship opportunities for students of all levels.
- Cappex – A free website where you can learn which colleges want you, before you apply and learn about more than $11 billion in merit aid scholarships.
- Scholarships.com– A free college scholarship search and financial aid information.
- Scholarship America – Provides information and resources for your scholarship search.
- HS Finder (Hispanic Scholarship Fund) – Scholarship information for Latino students.
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund – Provides scholarships, programmatic and capacity building support to the 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
- Gates Millennium Scholars – Provides outstanding low income African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline they choose.
- Dell Scholars Program – Recognizes academic potential and determination in students that have a definite need for financial assistance.
- UNCF – Awards 10,000 students each year through 400 scholarship and internship programs so that students from low- and moderate-income families can afford college tuition, books and room and board.
- The College Board Opportunity Scholarships – The program guides juniors and seniors through the college planning process and offers the chance to earn scholarships, from $500 to $40,000, for every action that students complete.
9. Recap – Footage of Our Family Information Sessions on August 26th: In case you missed the sessions and/or would like to review what was presented, here are video recording of each session:
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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 (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.
Update on P-EBT Benefits for Families: New York State is providing Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) food benefits to all households with children who are eligible to receive free school lunch under the National School Lunch Act and whose school was closed or operating with reduced in-school attendance due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 academic year. Issuance of the food benefit will continue for several months, due to the large number of eligible children and schools participating in the National School Lunch Program across the state. For additional information visit NYSOTDA P-EBT Benefits Information Page.
- If your child(ren) is eligible and has not received P-EBT benefit by November 2021, you may fill out the P-EBT Information Form.
- If you have misplaced a P-EBT Food Benefit card issued to your child[ren), you may order a replacement card by calling 1-888-328-6399. If your child(ren) received P-EBT benefits on a Medicaid card and you need to order a replacement NYS Medicaid card or select a PIN, go to otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/P-
EBT-Medicaid-Card-PIN- Instructions.asp for more information.
- Once you have set up a PIN to access your P-EBT food benefits, you can check your family’s P-EBT food benefits balance by visiting www.connectebt.com or by calling 1-888-328-6399.
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.