Week of Respect

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Education, Positive Discipline, Uncategorized, Whole Child Education

by Jen Carcich

The “Week of Respect” is a statewide campaign to have all public school students focus on being respectful to one another. At Unity Charter School, we see every week as a week of respect and wanted to take the learning even deeper by celebrating a week of respect, kindness and peace.

The peace book

In the lower school, the learning groups read “The Peace Book” by Todd Parr and discussed what peace meant to us. The children learned that different things evoke a feeling of peace from in one another. The children then illustrated their idea of peace in the same fashion as Todd Parr did in his book. With bold colors and thick black lines, the children crafted peaceful paintings which were displayed through out the lower school.

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The paintings were then turned into hard covered books for the children to purchase. Copies of these books are open for the commUnity to read in our main office. More copies can be ordered using the code on the back of the specific book you wish to order.

About the Author

Jennifer Carcich is the 2/3 Grade Teacher and Sustainability Coordinator at Unity Charter School. This is her fifth year teaching at Unity Charter School. She is certified to teach both general education and special education students and has been in the teaching field since 1994. Jennifer takes pride in helping Unity Charter School and continuing to strengthen its unique and innovative approach to education and bring forth the school’s mission.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unity Charter School. Unity Charter School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.

My First Week at Unity: A New Mom’s Perspective

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in 07960, Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Education, Positive Discipline, Sustainability

By Wazila Rawat

As with many other parents and families, last week was a big milestone for our family. My older son, Naeem, started kindergarten and though he had attended daycare and pre-school, this was different – this was “big kids’ school” (to quote him 🙂 ).

As a parent, I had mixed feelings about this milestone. On one hand, I couldn’t figure out how 5 years had flown so fast – I wasn’t ready to let go of the pre-school years just yet. On the other hand, I was extremely proud to see Naeem go off to school in the school bus on his own.


I was also excited about being part of Unity as a parent. After learning about Unity at the open house last fall, I knew that Unity would be a good fit for my child and family. The school felt “right” for many reasons – the hands on learning, the approach to discipline and the commitment to sustainability among many other things.

This feeling was reinforced during the first week of school. At both the kindergarten play date organized by the PTO and the teacher meet and greet, everyone we met was extremely warm and welcoming. My favorite experience so far has been the school wide morning meetings – I love that the whole school gets together to start the day together.

On the first day of school, you could feel the excitement in the air as the kids returned back to a new school year. Looking over at Naeem, I saw a wide eyed look of awe at seeing so many kids in one place. 🙂 Though he was definitely overwhelmed that first day, I knew he would he would be ok.

After a great first week of school, I’m looking forward to continuing to learn more about Unity, meeting more parents and teachers and participating & volunteering in the various activities throughout the year.

About the Author

Wazila Rawat is a mother of two living in Morris Township. Her older son, Naeem, started kindergarten at Unity this year. Wazila’s hobbies include reading, yoga and cooking, especially baking!

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unity Charter School. Unity Charter School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.

Motivational Speaker Pedals a Positive Message

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Education, Positive Discipline, student post, Uncategorized, Whole Child Education

By Nova Rivers securedownload (1)

On December 5, 2014, Chris Poulos, a comedic, motivational speaking, biker came to Unity Charter School. All of the kids were excited to see him, and they were ecstatic once they saw his amazing moves, including the “Peanut-Butter Jelly.” Teachers were happy because of the positive message that Poulos was giving their students, such as, “Treat others the way that you would want to be treated,” and “Follow your dreams.”

“The biker guy was awesome! He’s so cool!” says sixth grader, Nicholas Scelfo. “My favorite part was when Chris jumped over two of my teachers! I really think he should come back again!”


Chris Poulos has achieved a lot in his life, despite his challenges. Poulos admitted to Unity that he has attention deficit hyper-activity disorder, better known as ADHD. He said that as a kid, biking helped him get all of his energy out and he truly loved it, a lot. Poulos loved biking so much that he made it his career, which won him over 80 competitions. His website, www.chrispoulos.com, is dedicated to his work of positive influence on children and of course, biking. Funny, kind, smart, and athletic, it was unanimous, that Poulos’ assembly was one of the best that Unity had ever had!

About Chris Poulos

Chris Poulos is a multifaceted speaker featured at schools, colleges, and conferences throughout the county. His energy and enthusiasm translate into a dynamic performance guaranteed to leave any audience spellbound. Since 1988, audiences around the world have been riveted to Chris’s words of wisdom and astonished by his athletic ability. Chris is truly in a league of his own, mesmerizing his audience with incredible bicycle stunts, while simultaneously engaging them on topics such as: bullying, cyberbullying, perseverance, self-discipline, respect, teamwork, mental health, and more.

Chris designs each program to educate, motivate, and captivate his audience. During his performance, Chris combines extreme bicycle stunts with anecdotes and real-life experiences that reach inside the hearts and minds of his audience. This personal connection allows him to deliver content that the audience can immediately use to improve themselves and their peers. Chris will engage and motivate his audience to think about how to improve their own lives, treat others how they want to be treated, and create a ripple effect of respect and goodwill that will improve their whole community.

Positive Discipline – Unity’s Unique Learning Environment

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Positive Discipline, Whole Child Education

By Teresa LaSala IMG_4579

Unity Charter School is a unique learning environment in which positive discipline is a core component in our daily curriculum and embedded in all aspects of the community beginning with administration then filtering through to staff, students and families.

Unity’s charter was written based on the Adlerian principles of discipline. Positive Discipline, an international Adlerian research based program, teaches the importance of belonging and significance, respect for all people, encouragement, strategies for reducing misbehavior, and the development of problem solving and communication skills for students and staff. This is done experientially and in a manner that is respectful to both adults and children.

Positive Discipline workshops and materials provide teachers with specific lessons, for implementation into daily curriculum, to use with students, to teach social and emotional life skills and healthy self-discipline. Positive Discipline is based on the understanding that discipline must be taught and that discipline teaches. Teachers report they enjoy teaching more because Positive Discipline promotes respect, better discipline throughout their schools and classrooms and invites greater cooperation from all involved, thereby enhancing school climate, providing more teaching time and improved academic outcomes.

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We strive to address each student as an individual and consider the importance of educating the “whole child”. We have multi-age classes to best meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of all students. In addition, multi-age activities are integrated into our weekly schedule to encourage collaboration amongst students of all ages. Using Positive Discipline daily, in both school-wide and class meetings, we foster a peaceful culture based on embracing diversity. We approach all aspects of discipline with a focus on solutions. We want to empower the students to resolve conflicts through mutual respect, the wheel of choice, and effective communication in seeking a win-win situation for all. Our student-run Democratic Governance encourages students to have a voice and take on leadership roles. Our goal is to educate capable, confident, life-long learners and productive citizens of our world.

The following are additional examples of Unity’s implementation of Positive Discipline:

  • Student generated Code of Conduct
  • Class created guidelines
  • Older students facilitating Positive Discipline experiential activities with younger students
  • Student led parent/student/teacher conferences
  • Peer mediation program
  • Student led Interest Groups
  • Active Positive Discipline team available during school hours

In an effort to unify the community in understanding and applying the philosophies of Positive Discipline, free workshops are offered to parents throughout the year and additional ongoing training and education classes are available for registration. A five session, Positive Discipline “Follow Up” class is being offered through Unity beginning in January. Registration details and costs are available in the weekly Unity Digest or may be provided by contacting the main office.

About the Author:

Teresa LaSala, a Certified Positive Discipline Author, Facilitator and Lead Trainer, provides training, consultation and supportive services in public, private, charter and parochial schools throughout the United States and internationally. She served for 8 years as a member of the Positive Discipline Association’s Board of Directors and regularly facilitates Positive Discipline in the Classroom and Parenting with Positive Discipline workshops and certification trainings.

Teresa is a Whole Child Faculty Member – Regional Specialist for ASCD (an educational leadership organization). She serves as a School Culture and Climate Field Consultant with The United Way of Northern New Jersey’s/Collage of St. Elizabeth’s – Youth Empowerment Alliance Program; and has received an award from the NJ State Department of Education, as part of a team, for implementing a “Role Model Character Education Program” (based on the Positive Discipline Whole School Model). She is a licensed nurse with 23 years of experience in the areas of Family and Pediatric Care, Child Development, and General Medicine. She is also the author of two positive discipline books.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unity Charter School. Unity Charter School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.

Unity Charter School Middle School Students visit Frost Valley YMCA camp

Written by Stacy Havens. Posted in Middle School, Positive Discipline, Whole Child Education

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Frost Valley Adventures

by The Cheetahs, the grade 6/7 learning group, lead by Teresa Badalamenti

The middle schoolers of Unity Charter School went on a two-night trip to Frost Valley from October 29 to October 31, 2014.The students of grades six through eight traditionally take an autumn camping trip. This year, the students went to Frost Valley, a YMCA camp in Catskills, NY. Frost Valley offers team-building activities such as archery, hiking, rock climbing, high ropes, low ropes, and survival skills. On the first night, the students had the opportunity to play commando and black ops as well as to go on a haunted trail. On the second night, the students had a campfire where they roasted marshmallows and performed skits. To top it all off, the food was delicious! It was an experience to remember!