March Update

March Update: We Made it to 2021!

Dear UASLE Community and Supporters,

It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year since our school community was last together, in-person, at full capacity. While the school closure announcement wasn’t made until later that weekend, Friday, March 13th, 2020 was the last time most of our students set foot in our school building. We remember going class-to-class that day, telling students that we weren’t sure what was going to happen in the next days, weeks, and months, but that they absolutely needed to prioritize their health and well-being, and that of their families, over stress about grades, attendance, and testing. We remember teaching students the term “social distancing” without fully comprehending how much it would become a part of our daily lexicon. A year later, after multiple closures and partial re-openings, we look forward to welcoming back our blended middle school students, part-time, on March 17th.

On January 20th, we came together over Zoom to watch the Inauguration of President Joe Biden. The swearing in of Kamala Harris, the nation’s first female, Black, and South Asian Vice President, was a moment that resonated deeply with our school community. Our students cheered along in the chat as they listened in awe to Amanda Gorman’s powerful inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.” Assistant Principal Norman reflected on the day, twelve years before, that she brought her UASCJ sixth graders to City Hall to watch the Inauguration of President Barack Obama on a big screen alongside city officials.

We are so grateful to the students and staff of UASLE’s Black History Month Committee, who put together a series of engaging and meaningful events and initiatives for the whole school community throughout the months of February and March (more details below). In February we also held a virtual, full-school version of our annual Spirit Week, culminating in a “Homecoming” celebration and “Spread the Love” event, also detailed below.

The pride we feel for our Senior Class of 2021 is immense. They have persevered through a truly challenging second half of their high school career, and continue to bring hope and positivity to our school community on a daily basis. 95% of the class has submitted their college applications, and our students have started to receive early acceptances at Barnard, Columbia, Lafayette, and Temple University. We hope you will consider supporting this amazing group of students through a donation to the UASLE Scholarship Fund.

Thank you for your continued support,

Nathalie Jufer, Kelliann Moller, and Sage Norman

UASLE Administration

UASCJ 6th graders at a City Hall event for the Inauguration of President Obama in 2009

Pictured: 2009 Throwback: UASCJ 6th graders at a City Hall event for the Inauguration of President Obama

Spirit Week

A modified virtual version of our annual Spirit Week was held in the first week of February for students in grades 6-12. Our students got to take part in a series of activities to show school spirit and build virtual community, from Class Color Day to Wacky Tacky Day to Cultural Pride Day to Red Carpet Day. Beyond the school day, our extracurricular events included a movie night to watchStep!, a staff versus student trivia competition (students for the win!), and our culminating event, the Spread the Love virtual dance with a live DJ who announced our Homecoming court! We had a great time engaging our students in celebrating school spirit in this new virtual frontier!

Black History Month

African American famous women for the 2021 back history month

Our school formed a committee to plan fun, meaningful initiatives for the community. An array of teachers and student leaders from grades 6-12 collaborated to create and host predominantlystudent-ledevents. They hosted movie nights, art gallery Zoom “exhibitions” featuring modern day Black artists, and even Black History Month trivia night! On Friday, February 26th, we were treated to a live, virtual performance by the African Zuzu Acrobat Dancers. Additionally, our Black student leaders have led successful and educational town halls on Black Culture and Cultural Appropriation as well as one on the topic of police brutality. With the help of the committee, our students were empowered to plan and facilitate S.P.A.C.E.s for our Black student body to share their experiences in a safe environment. Finally, we are planning to culminate our Black History Month celebrations in a final BHM Assembly/Talent Show where we are inviting all students to showcase their singing, dancing, writing, and artistic talents!


The Urban Assembly School for Leadership and Empowerment continued its tradition of crowning a homecoming winner. Every year the senior class elects nominees to be part of the homecoming court. Traditionally, the winner is announced in the fall at the end of Spirit Week, a week-long competition between the grades. This year, Spirit Week was held in February and the winner was announced during the virtual Valentine’s Day Dance. The class of 2021 queen, Brianna De La Cruz, was crowned in front of her home by Assistant Principal Kelliann Moller and Principal Nathalie Jufer. Brianna has been an invaluable member of the UASLE community since the 6th grade. She has been an active member of numerous clubs and teams and could always be seen in the hallways lending a hand to both students and staff. As a senior, she is a member of the school’s Equity Team and Students & Educators for Equity (SEE). SEE is a DOE program that aims to dismantle inequitable and systemically racist systems and structures within NYC's public schools. Congratulations Brianna!

Brianna De la Cruz selected as homecoming queen
Principal Jufer and Assistant Principal Moller and student Brianna De laCruz

Pictured: Brianna De la Cruz was selected by her peers as homecoming queen, and was surprised by Principal Jufer and Assistant Principal Moller in front of her home for her coronation.

We made it to 2021, and we’re glad you’re still here with us. Thank you for your continued support and we hope you’ll make a Donation to the School

Nimra Karamat, during her zoom meeting

We are so proud to see our students and alumni involved in civic action! Here Nimra Karamat, a sophomore at Wesleyan University and a UASLE alum, participates in a 100% youth-driven mayoral forum, asking mayoral candidate Andrew Yang about the importance of Black history in NYC schools.

  • Politicians

  • Small businesses

  • Artists

  • Local organizations

  • Stem

  • Baking businesses (or food in general)

  • writers/ authors (Ms. RIta)

  • Clothing businesses

  • Beauty. accessories businesses

  • Athletes (MMA fighters)

  • Non-binary/ Trans/ more gender identity

  • More POC

  • Animators

  • International guests

  • Animal rescue or animal-related

  • music or podcast

  • Slime business owners

  • video game creator/ animator or streamer

  • Immigration

  • climate justice

  • Youtubers

  • Educational inequity, financial literacy

  • college (process or paying for etc,)

  • Mental health professionals

  • computer science

  • Lawyers/ public defenders or federal judge

  • voice actor

Volunteer Opportunity

One of our Board-led extracurricular activities is We Were Seeds, a virtual career day where students interview women about their career paths. Students prepared the following list of people they would like to host and conversations they would like to have this Spring. Do you know anyone who has taken one of the following paths and who would enjoy spending an hour talking with students about their experience?

Everything Science: At-home activities from our science teachers!

EXPERIMENTS: Have you ever wanted to make candy? Try out this candy DNA model project recommended by Daglas or see what chemical reactions happen with alka-seltzer tablets in this how-to website suggested by Tylina. Get an egg inside a bottle and then get it out with just air in this video from Resnick or get crafty with creative upcycling and reuse unwanted products or materials into higher quality products with these ideas from Lopez.


6th Grade: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Young Reader's Edition by William Kamkwamba

7th Grade: Atoms Under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home by Chris Woodford

8th Grade: Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly

Living Environment / Biology: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Chemistry: The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kea

Environmental Science: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

Physics: Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli