May 26, 2020

Remote Learning Middle Matters

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.

PowerSchool - Monitoring Student Engagement during Remote Learning

Grades and ongoing formative feedback are critical tools for communicating academic progress to families and educators alike. During Remote Learning, schools are able to provide meaningful, ongoing feedback and grades to students based on the work completed during the remote learning period, but your child’s final grade will not be harmed as a result of school closures and remote learning. Grades entered in PowerSchool for work completed during the remote learning period can only improve your child’s grade. For work not completed, this is denoted by a RLINC mark for the assignment and will not negatively impact a student’s overall grade in the class. Therefore, the grade displayed in PowerSchool for a class that is typically used to indicate a student’s engagement in their learning currently isn’t a reliable indicator. Click here to learn more about the added information included in the PowerSchool portal, which can be reviewed by a student or a parent/guardian.

Please be assured that there is continued flexibility and understanding around students completing assignments. The assignments shared during remote learning have suggested due dates and can be found in Canvas for each of your student’s classes. The student has the flexibility to submit these assignments when they are able to do so based on what works best for the family. If you are planning to have your student engage in completing past assignments, we would recommend only adding 1 or 2 of these assignments to each week of your student’s current weekly learning. Please feel free to reach out if your needs change or if there are supports you would find helpful.

Virtual Coffee With Capuder - Friday, May 29th 8:30am to 9:30am

Friday, May 29th, 2020 8:30am to 9:30am
Meeting ID: 885 4523 3503 Password: 9Cp5QY

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me throughout this school year, whether it was in person or by a virtual meeting. It has been a pleasure to get to know all of you and to have had the opportunity to hear your voice.

I look forward to seeing you all again for the 2020-2021 Coffee with Capuder conversation!

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 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

Looking to join the cross country team this upcoming fall?

Is your student interested in joining or rejoining the cross country team this upcoming fall? Join Mr. Kline on May 27th to receive information about this upcoming season. The meetings will provide information with the assumption that the state allows for schools to return on time and gather in groups larger than ten. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions at the end, however, please understand the answers provided are subject to change to reflect whatever orders the state has in place at that time. Finally, please only attend one of the scheduled times to allow as many parents seeking information to join.

***Disclaimer: the meetings will be recorded so that they can be shared with parents who are unable to attend***"

Join Zoom Meeting @8:30AM-9:30AM Meeting ID: 992 299 4116 Password: Kline

Join Zoom Meeting @6:00PM-7:00PM Meeting ID: 992 299 4116 Password: Kline

Virtual Clubs and Sports Meetings

We are in the process of organizing our Clubs and Spring Sports Teams opportunities to meet virtually. Here is the google document that contains the information about each club and sport meeting date and time along with virtual meeting link.

Need extra help in your classes?

Join the google meet by clicking the links found here, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 9 am, to get your questions answered by one of our morning library supervisors.

Students: Want to "see" your friends & have some social time?

Lunch Social Time Sign-up (no school Friday, May 8th)

Sign up here

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

7th Grade: Abby Berman at

8th Grade: Hannah Boudreau at

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:

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, 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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Due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, the District 97 meal distribution will be held Tuesday, May 26

Due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, the District 97 meal distribution will be held Tuesday, May 26, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Longfellow Elementary School and Brooks Middle School. If families are unable to pick up food during the meal distribution, they can reach out to our food service coordinator, Carla Ellis, to make other arrangements. She can be reached at
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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 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 If you have any additional questions, please email

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

"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.” Below is a list of upcoming VIRTUAL talks, which will be held via Zoom. Registration via the Eventbrite links below is requested. Once you register, a link will be emailed to you four hours prior to the start of each event.

"Mindful Middle-Schoolers" Community Talk Flyer

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: 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:

Parents & Guardians - Help with Canvas and PowerSchool

Here are two videos that can help you support your student during remote learning.

Canvas Video walks you through how to create a Canvas Observer/Parent Account and learn some key features of Canvas to help you navigate this tool. Please contact Ms. Minerva Colbert, with any questions on how to setup your parent/guardian Canvas Observer account.

PowerSchool Video that helps you navigate the tool and learn about the remote learning grade marks that will be notated this trimester. For parents that use the PowerSchool App, here is a link with more information about the app. Please email Ms. Vashti Carter, with any questions on how to setup your parent/guardian PowerSchool account.

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:


  • $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
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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.
  • May 26: Board of Education Meeting
  • June 5: 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 ( 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

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 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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