February 20th

Twitter Highlights: Week 24

Please click on the above link to see highlights from this past week. We are working to create a positive learning environment that is equitable, inclusive and focused on the whole child. No need to have a twitter account to view!

Brooks News to Know

**Presidents Day: No School on Monday February 19th, 2018**

Middle School Community Conversation - February 22nd from 8:30am to 9:30am @ Brooks

On Thursday, February 22, Brooks and Julian will be co-hosting a community conversation about supporting learning at the middle school level. During this session, which will be held in the Commons at Brooks from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., parents/guardians of middle school students will have the opportunity to talk to school and district representatives, as well as each other, not only about their family's educational experiences in District 97, but also the learning goals they have for their children going forward.

If you have questions or need additional information about this event, please contact Principal April Capuder at Brooks (acapuder@op97.org) or Principal Todd Fitzgerald at Julian (tfitzgerald@op97.org). We look forward to seeing you on February 22.

Winter Band Concert

On Thursday, Feb. 22nd, students from the GBMS Band Program will be performing their Winter Concert at 7 p.m. in the GBMS Auditorium. This event will feature all of our curricular ensembles (Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble). This event is free and open to the public!

Best Buddies Talent Show

Please join us at the annual Best Buddies Talent Show this Saturday the 24th at 2:00pm in the GBMS auditorium.

Over 100 kind-hearted Brooks and Julian students have been working hard on their acts and hope to see you in the audience cheering them on!

There will be an ice cream social following the show, and a 50/50 raffle. Admission is $1 or any sized donation.

PARCC Testing 2018

As in years past, students will again be participating in the PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) Assessment this Spring. The PARCC Assessment will be administered to all students during the first two weeks of March. We will begin PARCC testing on Tuesday, March 6th and are scheduled to end testing on Friday, March 16th with make-up testing to be completed during week of March 19th.

During the testing window in March, you can help your student do his/her best by:

1) Making sure, if possible, that your student attends school on the days of testing

2) Making sure your student gets a good night’s sleep before testing

3) Providing breakfast on the morning of testing

4) Reminding your student to ask the teacher questions if he/she does not understand the test directions

5) Letting your student know that you have confidence in his/her ability to do his/her best

6) Advising your student not to worry about the test—just do the best he/she can.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your student’s teacher or one of our Assistant Principals who are responsible for coordinating the PARCC testing: Angelica Kamysz (akamysz@op97.org) or Michelle Reed (mreed@op97.org)

Thank You PTO!

Thank you to our Brooks PTO and the Brooks Community for providing a delicious staff appreciation dinner during the parent teacher conferences. We appreciate your generosity!

Brooks and Julian Orchestra Concert a Success!

Thank you to Mr. Carrillo and our Orchestra Students for an excellent performance, as well as kudos to our guest performers Mr. Grimaldi, Mr. Andersen and Mr. Murphy!
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PTO Diversity Committee

Black Panther Movie Event

Big thanks to everyone who supported the PTO Diversity Committee "Everyone is a Hero" Black Panther Movie this weekend!

PTO Diversity Next Meeting

If you missed the last Brooks PTO Diversity meeting. But still want to be involved in leading and shaping this new initiative. The next meeting is on Tuesday February 27, 2018 7:00p.m-9:00p.m in Brooks Commons. You may reach out to the committee Chair Renee Dixon and RSVP via email at sheritaj75@gmail.com. Your voice is important, encouraged, welcomed, and essential for Brooks success.

Take the Stage!

Is your student ready to have their voice heard? Does your student want to make a difference in their world, but isn't sure how? Sign them up for "Our Story" a 6-week after school workshop that will coach students on how to research, write and perform their authentic stories. 5 students from Julian and 5 students from Brooks will be selected to participate in this workshop and Community Performance with adult tellers. Classes start March 1st. Learn more and register: http://bit.ly/DivCoEvents8 This program is intended for students whose voices are not typically/easily heard: minority students, students with disabilities and special learning needs, or students that identify LGBTQ+.


Questions? Email the PTO Diversity Council at: d97.pto.divco@gmail.com

7th grade trip to Springfield

There's still time to register for the 7th grade trip to Springfield!

Date: Friday, April 20, 2018

Cost: $115

Registration Deadline: March 15, 2018 (after the 3/15 deadline, a 10% late fee will be added for late registrants)

Trip ID: 149246

Easy ways to sign-up for the trip:

  1. Online: worldstrides.com/signup
  2. Phone: (800) 468-5899

Questions: contact Janorisè Robinson at brooksspringfieldtrip@gmail.com

Family Education and Advocacy sponsored by NAMI

Family Education and Advocacy series available for family members and professionals to provide educational tools for advancing a mutual understanding and resources for children with mental illness.

To register please visit our website: https://namimetsub.org/family-programs/family-advocacy

Second Step/ParenTeen Connect

Link to: https://www.parenteenconnect.org

Brooks students participate in weekly advisory lessons to build their social and emotional skills using a curriculum called Second Step. ParenTeen Connect is a resource for parents that works alongside the Second Step Program by giving middle schoolers and their parents the opportunity to hear from other teens and parents, get expert advice on tough issues, and access practical tools to help them connect and communicate better at home. Use this great resource to help guide conversations with your middle schooler about important topics like screen time, independence, responsibility and communication skills.

8th Grade Family High School Transition Information

To keep up-to-date on the activities and opportunities for your soon to be high schooler, please visit OPRFHS webpage often! The high school also sends out communications periodically to incoming Freshman class families - so check your email and mail for communications from the high school.

Here is link to OPRFHS Transition PowerPoint shared at their January meeting with 8th grade families.

Oak Park RIver Forest High School Work Group Information

The Imagine OPRF work group is charged with making recommendations for a fiscally responsible facility master plan. Read more about their work here


A progress meeting has been scheduled for February 27 at 7pm in the South Cafeteria at OPRFHS to share work completed to date with the community.

Yearbook Orders

To order a yearbook, please use this link:


Recognizing Staff who Make a Difference

If you or your student would like to recognize any staff member (a teacher, a teacher assistant, social worker, librarian, front office staff, lunchroom staff, custodial staff or school administrator) please take a moment to complete this form.

Thank you to those who have completed this form to recognize a GBMS staff member. All individuals receive a printed certificate highlighting your appreciation for their contributions!

Please be sure your background check has been completed if you'd like to volunteer to chaperone Field Trips

Parents must make an appointment for background checks. You can go here to find the link to schedule a time for a background check to be completed.

Breakfast and Lunch Menus for February

Here is the link to the February Menus.

Sports and Club Information

Thank you to all who supported "Dance for a Chance"

Service Club hosted the annual “Dance for a Chance” this Friday, February 16th from 6:00-8:00! All proceeds benefited St Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help kids with cancer! Thanks to Ms. Walsh or Ms. Martinez for supporting Service Club students!
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Math Club

Math Team took 2nd place at Math Counts Competition on Saturday! Aleksander Saame and Dean Cianciolo will be competing at the State competition.
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Thanks to BRAVO for hosting 2nd annual InSPirED Workshop

BRAVO presented its 2nd annual InSPirED Workshop - empowering students with special needs through the power of musical theater this weekend on February 16, 10am-4pm. Students performed excerpts from Lion King!
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Girls Volleyball:

Tuesday 2/20 Home Game

Thursday 2/22 Home Game

CLUB OPPORTUNITIES (can join anytime)

Each club meets weekly, unless otherwise notated below.

Mondays (No meetings due to Presidents Day)

  • ORFF Ensemble from 8:00am to 8:50am in D104 (first meeting was on 9/18). Participation is open to all students - no audition required, but enrollment is limited to 40 students. Interested students can sign-up and pick up permission slips outside of the music room (D104). For additional information contact Mr. Carrillo - fcarrillo@op97.org. Still opportunity to join.
  • Ultimate Frisbee We will only meet on Mondays for the second trimester. Still 3:30-4:40 and meeting in the third floor gym. We plan on playing different types of frisbee activities in the third floor gym or the main gym when available. If you have any questions, please email Ms. Dajani at rdajani@op97.org or Mr. Gillespie at mgillespie@op97.org. (Weather Permitting)
  • Math Team from 3:30-4:30 in room B204 . The club will meet each week. Students of all interest levels are welcome. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Kahn at skahn@op97.org.
  • Spoken Word from 3:30pm to 5:30 pm in room B205. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Lee at mlee@op97.org


  • EcoEagles from 3:30pm to 4:30pm in room C302. If you have any questions, please email Ms. Stamp at lstamp@op97.org.
  • Chess Club from 3:30 to 4:45 in room B305. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Hausfeld at mhausfeld@op97.org.
  • Vex Robotics In-House League from 3:30 to 5 pm in room B302, 1/9/18 to 3/13/18 with Robot Rumble on 3/10/18. You can learn more by viewing flyer or OPEF VexRobotics website. or if you have any questions, please email Ms. Pena at tpena@op97.org
  • Rainbow Tribe after school until 4:30 in 2nd floor conference room next to PE classroom. Permission slip found here. Here are the dates club will meet: February: 20, March: 6, 13, April: 10,24 and May: 8, 22, 29
    If you have any questions, please email Ms. Olsen at jolsen@op97.org



  • Spanish Club from 3:30 to 4:30pm in room B308. Here are all the Spanish club meeting dates for the year: 2/22, 3/8, 3/22, 4/12, 4/26, 5/10, 5/24. If you have any questions please contact Mr. Lagioia at vlagioia@op97.org or Ms. Villalobos at cvillalobos@op97.org.
  • Yearbook Club meeting from 3:30 to 4:30pm in room B202. We will meet every Thursday afternoon until the yearbook has been “put to bed." The yearbook goes to the publisher on April 25. We welcome all shutterbugs! If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Marsha Turner-Reid at mturnerreid@op97.org or Ms. Meaghan Pabellon at mpabellon@op97.org



BRAVO Opportunities

  • Guitar Club & Dance Studio are ongoing - registration forms are due to the BRAVO Office (D103). Open to ALL Brooks Students and is FREE to join! For more info visit: bravoperformingarts.org
  • BRAVO Summer Auditions are coming up March 5-8. Learn more about the shows and sign-up for an audition through the BRAVO website!
  • NEEDED: Pizza lunch volunteers on Friday. Keep an eye out for sign-ups on the BRAVO website!days from 10:55am-1:15pm. E-mail bravo@op97.org if you are available and interested!

Get connected to PTO

PTO Information

Joint Middle School PTO Event:

Showing of the film Screenagers at 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday, 2/21 in Brooks Auditorium

Earn money for the Brooks PTO: When you shop at Amazon, begin your shopping through the link here and our PTO will earn 0.5% of your total sale, at no expense to you. First time Amazon Smile shoppers will find our organization by typing Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School Parent-Teacher Organization. Thank you for your continued support.

Subscribe to PTO Bulletin:

When you registered your child, if you selected the option “No to Directory”, the school can not share your contact information with the PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization). If you'd like to subscribe to PTO Bulletin use link below:

Next Community meeting is Monday, March 5th, 2018 at 7pm in the media center.

Next Coffee with Capuder is Friday, March 9th, 2018 at 8:30am to 9:30am in the Commons. Topic for conversation - IB