Much of the success of any school is based on strong home-school-community partnerships that support student learning in and outside of the classroom. Having parents that are engaged and active members of the school community is one of Unity’s hallmarks. Over the years, many parents have continued to volunteer and stay involved long after their children had graduated. Last month, I attended Unity Charter School’s Volunteer Tea to recognize and thank the hard working volunteers who have given back so much to Unity. Having parents in the school throughout the day contributes to the friendly, open atmosphere. Although a volunteer may be serving lunch in the kitchen, they have an opportunity learn the name and the culinary preferences of each student. Kitchen volunteers are critical to maintaining Unity’s vegetarian, zero-waste lunch program.
The last general assembly of Unity Charter School’s year is scheduled on Monday, 4 June at 7 PM. On the agenda is the election to the Board of Trustees. Make your voice heard; come out to vote!
Mendham’s Schiff Natural Lands Trust will host a green-themed film festival on Friday and Saturday, 1 and 2 June. The fourth annual Wild and Natural Film Festival will have documentaries on everything from rock climbing in Chad, to the monetization of water, to one family’s effort to keep plastic bottles off a California beach. Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased through Schiff’s web site.
Whether planning for extended Aftercare or a lunchtime play date, Unity Charter School parents know that half-days require special planning. Those approximately two half days a month are one of the school’s defining features. And yet parents and community members unfamiliar with their purpose might bristle: why early dismissal? Behind the scenes, Unity staff uses that time in its own unique way: for multi-faceted staff training and meetings that allow faculty and administration to identify needs, set goals and measure results. “We ask our teachers, what can we offer you so that you can be the best at your craft?” said Director Carolyn Mungo, and the response helps form the agenda of each staff development day.
One of the most wonderful and unique aspects of Unity Charter School is field trips. Field trips offer students a hands-on experience that they can’t get in a classroom, no matter how stellar the lesson plans. Every year, the Middle School takes two overnight field trips in addition to numerous day trips. The fall trip is geared toward the natural environment, and takes place at Camp Speers-Eljabar in Dingman’s Ferry, PA. The spring trip is usually centered around a city. This year’s trip was to Washington DC. I was fortunate enough to attend this trip to our nation’s capitol, along with my 6th grade daughter, Hallie. Following are a few excerpts from our travel journals.