June 1, 2020

Remote Learning Middle Matters

8th Grade Graduation - Virtual Ceremonies on June 6

The virtual eighth-grade graduation ceremonies for Brooks Middle school will be streamed live on the District 97 YouTube channel on Saturday, June 6.

"Mindful Middle-Schoolers" Program

The Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township, Oak Park Elementary School District 97, and DePaul University’s Community Counseling Center have partnered to deliver a vast array of educational and therapeutic services to staff, families, and youth through the “Mindful Middle-Schoolers Program.” Please click the topic below to view the recorded webinars.

Daily Student Sign-in for Remote Learning Days

Daily Student Sign-in for Students

Students should complete this form 1 time each day of Remote Learning to be checked into all of their classes. Thank you for making sure this is completed daily!

Attendance Line:

Please call 708-665-3074 or send an email if your student will not be participating in remote learning on a given day.

Last Day of School - Thursday, June 4

District 97, in collaboration with the Oak Park Teachers' Association (OPTA), has decided to make Thursday, June 4, the last day of student attendance for the 2019-20 school year. June 5, the date that was previously designated as the last attendance day, will instead be used as a teacher institute day.

This institute day will be used to provide support and professional development to staff in preparation for the 2020-21 school year. Although the district has not made any decisions about the fall, we believe this extra time is critical as we continue to build our staff’s capacity to provide high-quality instruction to all of our students—whether it’s remote or on-site. For more details, please visit https://bit.ly/2ZJWa4M.

From all of us at Brooks to all of our Students and Families

We miss you and hope you have a safe and healthy summer!

Student Belongings

Process for Pick-up and Drop-off

  • Please write the student last name and advisory teacher last name on a sheet of paper and tape it to the passenger side window.

i.e Student Name - Capuder

Advisory Teacher - Alejos

  • We ask that you only drive SOUTH on Kenilworth avenue for the 300 block of Kenilworth to help with traffic flow in and out of the Brooks parking lot.

  • Parents/guardians will turn right into the main parking lot off of Kenilworth avenue during your student’s scheduled time.

  • 8th GRADE ONLY: As you pull into the Brooks parking lot, parallel to the field, Chromebooks, chargers and the sheet of paper with your student’s last name and advisory teacher will be deposited into a bag provided by the district through the car window.

  • As you continue through the Brooks parking lot, located parallel to the Brooks office, if parents/guardians have textbooks, library books, volleyball uniforms and/or school issued band instruments to drop off, we ask parents/guardians to put them in the available “Drop Off Area”.

  • As you pull around the parking lot parallel to the commons, if possible, please open the trunk of the vehicle

    • If a parent/guardian needs to open the trunk manually, please get out of the vehicle, manually open the trunk, and get back in the vehicle.

    • Once the parent/guardian is back in the vehicle, the school staff will place the items in the trunk.

  • The school staff will place the bag(s) of locker contents (hallway and PE) in the trunk of the vehicle. All personal belongings of students have been placed in plastic bags, labeled with the student’s name, along with diploma, graduation program and if ordered cap & gown (8th grade only) and yearbook (if you did not request it be mailed to your home).

  • Please exit by turning right or heading south on Kenilworth from the Brooks parking lot. This will help with traffic flow in and out of the parking lot.

See the schedule outlined below:

Purple: 6th Grade, Tuesday June 2nd

Green: 7th Grade, Wednesday, June 3rd

Orange: 8th Grade, Thursday, June 4th

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Update on Summer Plans for District 97 Student Devices

As we prepare for the end of the school year, there are two updates from the District 97 Technology Department that we want to share.

First, due to the current situation, we will not be collecting devices from students who are currently in third through seventh grade. This decision was made with the health and safety of our students and families in mind, considering the logistics of collecting more than 4,000 devices. It will also ensure access for all students who are participating in the summer school sessions being offered by the district.

The technology department will continue to service devices through a specified schedule throughout the summer. There will be more details shared on this in the coming days/weeks. If you and your family move out of the district, please email helpdesk@op97.org to schedule a time to drop off your device to the district office prior to leaving. It will be very important to get these devices as soon as possible so we can have them cleaned and prepped for the students in the fall.

Second, both Brooks and Julian have scheduled the collection of devices from the eighth-grade students on Thursday, June 4th. Please reference the 8th grade graduation communication send on 5/20/20 for more information. This will provide our team time to have them ready for the incoming sixth-graders in the fall. We will be providing further details on our plans as more information becomes available regarding the 2020-21 school year. The District 97 Technology Department has and will continue to collaborate with Oak Park River Forest High School in order to minimize the time these students are without a device in preparation for the upcoming year.

Once again, we are thinking of you and hope all is well with you and your families. We will continue to provide you updates throughout the coming weeks and months.


Michael Arensdorff
Senior Director of Technology

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Looking to join the cross country team this upcoming fall?

If you were not able to join our informational meeting we have recorded the slide show for your convenience. You may also contact Coach Kline for further information if needed at jklne@op97.org

End of Trimester 3 Grade Marks

Families will be receiving the end of trimester 3 report cards on Tuesday, June 9. These will be sent to families via email. PowerSchool is designed to provide grades based on percentages. We are not giving grades based on percentages, but rather following the guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education. Please disregard the percentage grade for each course in PowerSchool, as it will not represent or align with the Progressing (PR) or No Grade (NG) mark for the trimester. For your reference, below is the information shared previously regarding Trimester 3 grade marks.

Based on guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), we have developed grading guidelines for Trimester 3 that support students’ social-emotional health during this time. As such, we have shifted the Trimester 3 reporting to a Progressing or No Grade model to record student participation and academic progress during remote learning.

Progressing (PR):

The student participated in the remote learning process and demonstrated academic progress on the identified critical standards. The teacher engaged with the student/family.

No Grade (NG):

The student could not or did not complete the work. The teacher and/or administrator documented attempts to make contact, and/or support the student.

Note: If a student could not or did not participate during the remote learning period, a No Grade mark will be provided to indicate that learning did not continue during their time away from school. A No Grade mark does not suggest the student’s performance during Trimester 3 resulted in an “Unsatisfactory (U)” or “Not Yet (N).” Students who receive a No Grade mark will advance to their next grade level and will be provided an opportunity to make up content during the Virtual Summer Step Up Program here in our district during the end of July and beginning of August. More information from the district office will be forthcoming regarding this summer program.

Brooks Middle School Awarded IEA Grant for School Garden Project

The Illinois Education Association Foundation has awarded the Oak Park Teachers' Association (OPTA) a $1,000 grant for its "EcoEagles’ International Bird Hotel."

Brooks Middle School teachers Stephanie Suerth and Laura Stamp applied for the grant as part of the IEA Foundation’s Schools and Community Outreach by Educators program, which is a grant program designed to give educators money for a service project. The grant will be used for the construction of an International Bird Hotel at Brooks as part of the community and school garden, scheduled for the Summer and Fall of 2020. Click here for the full story >

District 97 Summer Learning Plan

District 97 is providing a variety of enrichment opportunities to support student learning over the summer. More than 50 staff members collaborated to create our optional Summer Learning Plan for Grades 1-8, which includes suggested activities and online resources in the areas of reading, writing and math. The document also includes a comprehensive list of virtual field trips for families to enjoy. This list will be posted on our district and school websites, and we will continue to provide resources for families throughout the summer. To access the optional Summer Learning Plan, please visit https://bit.ly/2X68WIN.

Brooks Culture and Climate/Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning Choice Board:

Use the Middle School SEL Choice Board to engage in activities focusing on the 5 SEL skills listed below.

Self- Awareness : The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

Self-Management:The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

Social Awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship Skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

Responsible Decision Making: The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.

Additional Resources that can be accessed online

Social Worker Support

Please know that our social workers continue to be available during this time. If your student would like support, please have them reach out to their grade level social worker via the following email addresses:

6th Grade: Jen Olsen at jolsen@op97.org

7th Grade: Abby Berman at aberman@op97.org

8th Grade: Hannah Boudreau at hboudreau@op97.org

Brooks Media Center

If students are looking for ways to stay connected to reading beyond what classroom teachers are sharing, check out the GBMS Library Wakelet page! Here is the direct link: https://wke.lt/w/s/BzMWaD

The page is linked on the GBMS Library Home Page and on the Student Announcements Page in Canvas.

Technology Support

Technical support will be available from school and district technology staff by accessing the Help Desk through email, helpdesk@op97.org. When an email is submitted, a Help Desk ticket is created and assigned to technology staff, who will be working throughout the day to address technology concerns. Our technology team can support District 97 devices and student online programs.

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District 97 Food Services Link

Please check here for additional information regarding free & reduced meals along with families looking to receive additional support

Registration Open for 2020-21 School Year in District 97

Returning Students - Registration for returning students will be open May 6 through May 20, 2020 .All current families received an email on May 6 from InfoSnap@is.op97.org to remotely register your child for the 20-21 school year. We ask that all returning students complete registration as quickly as possible in order to accurately plan staffing, materials, devices, etc. for the upcoming school year. Remember to upload any required documents to InfoSnap (PowerSchool Enrollment) before submitting. Click here for the May 6 communication to families.

Detailed information about the returning registration process is available on the district website at https://www.op97.org/hr/student-registration. If you have any additional questions, please email d97registrar@op97.org.

Volunteer with the Brook’s PTO next year

Although it seems like a world away, planning is already underway for the next school year! The PTO is committed to enriching the experience of students at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School through supporting a positive school environment, facilitating the development of positive relationships within the community, advancing school equity initiatives, and creating an environment where all students have access to school resources and opportunities. See the positions that are available and sign up here! Email any questions to gwendolynbrookspto@gmail.com.

Mental Health Wellness Appointments

We recognize that this time of crisis may create stress and trigger emotional difficulties for your child. D97’s school psychology department is offering acute (short-term) access to mental health wellness checks. Scheduled appointments are available daily between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for mental health triage services during the COVID-19 school closure beginning April 13, 2020.

Parents/Caregivers, you may sign up your student for a 15-minute slot here: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/selfsched?sstoken=UUVKMGZxZ0E0ZkpvfGRlZmF1bHR8ODI4ZTEzZmFkOTFjYWY5OGU5NjFiZDBkMDExZjkzNmY if you think your child would benefit from an empathetic ear and a few coping and self-care tips. When signing your child up, please provide the email (for video chat) or phone number you’d like us to contact at the time of the appointment.

Although this crisis may also be tough for adults, these mental health triage appointments are reserved to focus on student needs. If you have questions as a caregiver/parent, please email your building’s assigned school psychologist, your child’s educational team, or refer to this resource guide, created by the District 97 Social Work Department: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uKPIgKHr6sDnj_YHb1t6S9UbukwE2JUAZS4cv37H9QY/edit

BRAVO is PUMPED to partner with theaters across America to present Musical Theater MEGACAMP 2020!

What do you get when you "virtually" combine theatre kids from across the nation with award winning theatre directors, and add in a sprinkling of Broadway performers ...

Musical Theatre Mega-Camp!!

This one-week, nationwide theatrical camp, designed for grades 3rd through 12th, will deliver an educational musical theatre experience from industry professionals and Broadway Guest Artists for five days of fun and inspiration!

FreddieG Fellowship Teachers representing theaters from Texas, Virginia, Montana, Illinois, Alabama, and Florida have come together to create this collaborative camp experience June 8-12, 2020 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM (CST). The camp will culminate with a video presentation highlighting the week!

Registration is Limited! Join the fun today!

For more information: mtmegacamp.com


  • $300.00 - Full tuition for one camper and help another camper attend
  • $250.00 - Full tuition for one camper
  • Open Amount - Pay What You Can



IT'S SUNDAY! WHO INSPIRES YOU? Recognizing Staff who Make a Difference

In an effort to celebrate our community, we would like to invite parents and students to give a shout out to member(s) of the Brooks Community who have inspired them.The staff member will receive a certificate detailing how they have made a difference to you. You can also tag your comments under #BeBrooks97 on Twitter. Please join us in celebrating the Brooks Community by completing this form.

District 97 Staff Referral Program

We are always looking for talented, dedicated individuals to join the District 97 team! We know that some of our best teachers and staff members have come to District 97 based on a referral. If you know somebody who you believe would be a good fit for our district, please fill out the D97 Staff Referral Form. If you have any questions, please email the human resources department at hr@op97.org.
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District 97 will hold Remote Learning Days for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Please see below for a list of important dates and meetings.
  • June 4: Last Day of School
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Each week, the Help Corner will feature a frequently-asked question related to services and opportunities available for District 97 students and families. We will keep a complete list of these FAQs on our district website.

Supporting Students and Families
During Our School Closure

District 97 has created an online hub (www.op97.org/coronavirus) for updates about COVID-19 and our school closure, as well as resources (financial, mental health, nutrition, housing, etc.) that support the well-being of our students and families. We also encourage families to stay connected through Facebook and Twitter. Additional updates can be found at:

Village of Oak Park

Oak Park Township

Oak Park Public Library

Park District of Oak Park

Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200

Thank you to the incredible team of District 97 social workers and nurses who collaborated on our community resource list! Click here to view >

District 97 also has a broad network of partner organizations that provide an array of supports and services for Oak Park residents. The Community Mental Health Board and Oak Park and River Forest Townships have also put together a COVID-19 Social Services Resource Guide, which is available at https://tinyurl.com/oprfguide.

Each week, the Help Corner will feature a frequently-asked question related to services and opportunities available for District 97 students and families. We will keep a complete list of these FAQs on our district website.

Community Resources

Distribution of information by a community group in accordance with District 97 policy does not imply, directly or indirectly, that the group's program(s), event(s) and/or services(s) is sanctioned, sponsored or endorsed by the district, the Board of Education or the superintendent.

OPPL's virtual summer reading program

Click here for information on OPPL's virtual summer reading program!. Kids can track minutes, scan books, and earn badges and beads this summer, beginning June 1st!

YEMBA will be extending their school year program until the end of June.

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Future Huskie Graduation Gift Ideas

Looking for a graduation gift for your future Huskie and would like to help support a local business on Marion Street in Oak Park? Check out https://huskiestore.com for some great ideas. Proceeds go to the OPRFHS Booster Club.
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OPRF Youth Summer Camp Program and Swim Camp Canceled

Oak Park and River Forest High School has announced that all camps for youth through eighth-grade, including Huskie Swim Lessons Camp, have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read the letter from the OPRF Athletics Department >
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Thrive is offering phone-based counseling, 24/7 crisis intervention services, medication management and, a free Thrive Check-In phone support line (Ext. 8) to address our community’s needs during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Call us at (708)383-7500. Our Front Desk team is also ready to assist you Monday-Friday, 9am to 2pm, with requests for referrals or new services and to reschedule or cancel an appointment.

Mental Health Resource, "Call4Calm"

Thrive is also a proud partner of the Illinois Call4Calm Text Line Service. Text “TALK” TO 552020 (or “HABLAR) for Spanish. The Illinois Call4Calm Text Line is not a crisis hotline, but is a source of support for anyone experiencing stress and in need of a listening ear.

And we know the COVID-19 pandemic can wear on every resource—from food and shelter to our emotional bandwidth and mental health. Fortunately, the Illinois Department of Human Services has launched a support line called Call4Calm that is reachable via text. Individuals who want to speak with a mental health professional can text the word “TALK” or “HABLAR” (for Spanish speakers) to 552-020. Within 24 hours, that individual will receive a call from a mental health professional employed by a local community health center.

People can also text other terms, like “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” to the same number to receive information on how to navigate and access supports and services. Call4Calm is free, and individuals who use it can remain anonymous. We encourage you to share this resource with your students, families, and staff.

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