School Year 2020-2021 Welcome!

First Edition, August 9, 2020

Welcome to the 2020 -2021 School year!

Dear Brooks Parents and Guardians,

I hope that everyone has had a healthy and enjoyable summer thus far. In this Middle Matter edition, you'll find important details related to the upcoming school year and specifically information regarding the start of Remote Learning for Trimester 1:

  • Student's Day to Day structure during Remote Learning for Trimester 1 and when student's specific schedules will be emailed home
  • Information for 6th grade and new families Chromebook Distribution and iPad return (August 19th and 20th)
  • School Supply list
  • 6th Grade and new student School Physical requirements
  • Cross Country Update
  • Introduction to New Staff
  • District 97's Virtual Parent University

If you have questions about the upcoming school year, please don’t hesitate to contact me at You can also contact my Executive Coordinator, Ms. Tasha Guerino, at or (708) 524-7636

Our administrative team is also available to help answer your questions.

Angelica Love Curriculum & Instruction AP (6th grade, Teams 7.1 & 7.2)

Antione Bland Curriculum & Instruction AP (8th grade, Teams 7.3)

Stacie Klein Culture & Climate AP

We are looking forward to working and engaging with you and your student! My weekly Middle Matters Family communication will be shared each Sunday evening with our families, starting now and throughout the school year.



April Capuder, Principal


Your child’s schedule will be e-mailed home on Tuesday, August 18th, 2020. All requested elective courses were considered and assigned whenever available. If your student’s registration hasn’t been fully completed, including the uploading of all required documents, we will not be able to send your student’s schedule at this time.


  • Will begin remote learning at 9am and end at 3:30pm

  • Students will attend 4 of their 8 classes each day on alternating A/B days, so one week they will meet with 4 of their classes 3 times and then the next week 2 times and vice versa for the other 4 classes, so over the course of two full weeks of school each of the 8 classes will meet a total of 5 times.

  • Students will be expected to meet for synchronous learning with each of their classes on their scheduled day via Zoom according to their student class schedule. Student attendance will be taken each period of expected attendance by their teacher in PowerSchool, as if we were meeting for in-person learning.

  • Each of their classes’ Zoom links will be posted on each of their Canvas Course’s Navigation menu

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6th Grade Chromebook Distribution

Process for Chromebook Pick-up and iPad Return

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

i.e Student Last Name - Capuder

  • 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.

  • Please wear a mask and be prepared to turn in your child's iPad, case and charger and then a Chromebook, charger and information sheet will be issued (assuming registration has been completed)

  • 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.

Please plan to follow the schedule outlined below to help ensure the distribution runs efficiently and safely:

8/19 5pm to 6pm: 6th Grade and New Students with Last Names starting with letters A-C

8/19 6pm to 7pm: 6th Grade and New Students with Last Names starting with letters D-J

8/20 5pm to 6pm: 6th Grade and New Students with Last Names starting with letters K-P

8/20 6pm to 7pm: 6th Grade and New Students with Last Names starting with letters Q-Z

****NEW 7th and 8th Grade students additional information about your Chromebook pick-up process will be shared next week.****

Please note you registration must be finalized with all required documents submitted to be issued a Chromebook.


School Physicals and Immunizations

Although District 97 is starting the 2020-21 school year with remote learning, the State of Illinois is still requiring all students entering kindergarten, 6th grade, and any students new to District 97 to turn in a current school physical (Certificate of Child Health Examination and Immunization record) with up-to-date immunizations (requirements for the State of Illinois can be found here). If you have not already provided this information when you registered your child, please email your child's records directly to our school nurse, Nancy Radogno at


The decision has been made not to offer Cross Country this school year. There are many factors that have contributed to this decision, including the safety of students and staff as well as the lack of equitable access for students to participate.

Warm Welcome to our New Brooks Staff

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District 97 will host a Virtual Parent University on Thursday, Aug. 13,

from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., to help families navigate remote learning this fall.

As you know, we are hosting a Virtual Parent University next Thursday, Aug. 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to help families navigate remote learning this fall.

Parent University Agenda

  • 6 p.m. to 6 p.m: Welcome from Dr. Kelley
  • 6:10 p.m. to 6:25 p.m.: What to expect with Remote Learning with the D97 Teaching & Learning Department
  • 6:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.: Technology Choice Session 1
  • 6:55 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.: Technology Choice Session 2
  • 7:20 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.: Parent circle session on supporting Remote Learning with the E-Team of Oak Park

First, thank you for your overwhelming interest in this event, which has far exceeded anything we have experienced with past parent learning sessions. Because we are nearing our capacity for Zoom webinar participants (1,000), we wanted to provide an update on how we plan to handle these sessions.

  1. District 97 will send meeting access information directly to the first 1,000 individuals who registered using our Google form. These parents/guardians will have the opportunity to view the sessions live.

  2. The first hour and 20 minutes (Dr. Kelley’s welcome message, the remote learning overview and five technology sessions) will be presented as webinars. These sessions will all be recorded, posted to our website and shared with all families by the end of the week.

  3. The only part of the event that will require live participation is the parent circle session with the E-Team, which is meant to give families the opportunity to have open discussions with one another about remote learning. We are not planning to record these conversations. However, for those who are unable to participate Aug. 13, we are already working with the E-Team to identify additional opportunities to facilitate parent-to-parent connections in the near future.

We understand that there is a significant need for resources and support as your children begin another trimester of remote learning. We are planning to hold additional learning sessions, including another Parent University, throughout the school year. Our district and school leaders will keep you informed of these opportunities as they arise.

Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership as we work to provide our students high-quality, engaging remote learning experiences this fall.

Volunteer with the Brook’s PTO next 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. Email any questions to

Technology Support

Technical support will be available from school and district technology staff by accessing the Help Desk through email, 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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2020 - 2021 Planning - District News and Information

  • Information from Community Child Care Providers for 2020-21 School Year

District 97 is working with community partners to support the child care needs of our families and staff. We are currently partnering with three providers: Hephzibah, the Park District of Oak Park and By Discovery. Details about each program can be found here.

The district will be providing financial assistance for any student who receives free or reduced lunch for at least Trimester 1. We will discuss the possibility of additional fee coverage with the Board of Education once plans are determined for the remainder of the school year. Details are provided at the point of online registration for each child care provider.

  • Registration

Families who are enrolling students in District 97 for the 2020-21 school year—including parents of new students and kindergartners—are encouraged to complete registration as soon as possible. Returning families should ensure that all required residency documents are uploaded. For more information about the registration process, please visit or email

  • Summer Meal Distributions to Continue through Aug. 24

District 97 has been working with our food service provider, Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200, to ensure that all District 97 students have access to meals this summer. D97 will continue to hold weekly meal distributions through Monday, August 24.

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The Help Corner will features 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.

District 97 has created Community Resources Page. 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

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

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.


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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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