Week of September 27, 2022
In This Issue
Highlights from this week's Middle Matters:
- Important Upcoming Dates
- SY22-23 School Calendar
- Library in the mornings - starting 10/3
- GBMS Athletics Update (All games start @4:30pm; student fans need to go home and come back at 4:25pm on home game days)
- Latinx Heritage Month
- PTO Events
- Girls on the Rise Information (Repeat)
- GBMS Yearbook Purchasing Details (Repeat)
- Allergy Safe School Information - No Nuts (Repeat)
- Clubs and Sports Information (updated weekly)
- BRAVO Information (updated weekly)
- Student Announcements (updated weekly)
Highlights from GBMS PTO and District
- PTO News
- District News
Repeated Topics in Middle Matters for your Reference
- Stay Home When Sick (Repeat)
- Process for Reporting Positive COVID-19 Cases to D97 Schools (Repeat)
- How to Report Student Absences (Repeat)
- Office Phones and Dropping off Items at Brooks (Repeat)
- School Day (Bell Schedule and A/B/C rotation) (Repeat)
- Cell Phone/Mobile Devices Away for the Day (Repeat)
- Tardies to Class (Repeat)
- Water Bottle Reminders (Repeat)
- School Registration Information
- School Physical and Immunization Information
- Tech Support
Community Partner News
- PING Mentoring Program
- STRENGTHENING FAMILIES PROGRAM
- Friday Night Place
- NAMI - SUPPORT4U
- Leyden Family Services
If you have questions about the upcoming school year, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. You can also contact my Executive Coordinator, Ms. Angel Banks, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 524-7636.
Our administrative team is also available to help answer your questions.
Angelica Love Curriculum & Instruction AP (6th grade, 7th grade) email@example.com
Antoine Bland Curriculum & Instruction AP (8th grade, multineeds) firstname.lastname@example.org
Stacie Klein Culture & Climate AP email@example.com
Monday - No School; Tuesday - A day; Wednesday - B Day, Thursday - A Day and Friday - B Day
No School: Wednesday, October 5th, 2022
No School: Monday, October 10th, 2022
Noon dismissal: Thursday, October 27th and Friday October 28th
Conferences: Thursday, October 27th from 12:45pm to 8pm
School Pictures: Wednesday, November 2, 2022
No School: Tuesday, November 8th, 2022
End of Trimester 1: Tuesday, November 22nd
Trimester 1 Report Card Emailed Home: Friday, December 9th
Library Opening in the Mornings - Starting Monday 10/3
- Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday beginning October 3rd!
- No pass needed
- To enter, students wait in-between the Kenilworth doors (by the main office)
- An adult will escort groups to the library at 8:00, 8:15, and 8:30. For example, if you arrive at 8:10 you will have to wait until the 8:15 group heads up. If you arrive after the 8:30 group has been escorted, you may not enter the library that day
- You will sign-in and stay in the library until the 8:50 bell
- These times are for students to quietly read, do homework, or meet as a group to study or work on a project.
GBMS Athletics Update
Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month
Latinx Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and our teachers, staff and community have begun to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions and history of Hispanic Americans. We'd love to hear how you are honoring the unique achievements, contributions and histories of Hispanic Americans this month! Tweet us (@OakPark97, using the hashtags #MyD97 and #D97Joy) to share stories and photos or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Brooks Families!!!
- Our first Dine Out of the year was a hit! Thank you to everyone that came out to Tacos ‘76. We raised $575!
- Also, thank you to the families, staff, vendors, and volunteers that attended our Back To School Party - over 20 volunteers served, 7 clubs represented, and over 150 people in attendance! We hope you enjoyed yourselves.
PTO Social Media Workshop
Social Media Workshop - Please RSVP
Hi Parents! Whether you love it or hate it, social media is here...and our middle schoolers are intrigued.
At this workshop, we will create a space where we can talk about the challenges and share resources on how to guide our children through this digital world as safely as possible. This discussion will be led by a fellow Brooks parent! RSVP here.
PTO NEEDS YOUR OPINION
What's Your Opinion? Brooks Bowling Night
The PTO is planning a Brooks Community Night at Circle Bowl the weekend before Halloween. We have to get the full ROI (return on investment) for these costumes, right? And, we can build community at the same time. Which time slot do you prefer? Take poll HERE.
OCTOBER BOOK FAIR (volunteers needed)
Just around the corner, we have our Brooks Book Fair taking place in conjunction with the Parent-Teacher Conferences. More details to come but if you know you would love to volunteer, please send any email to email@example.com.
Girls on the Rise
This letter intends to invite your student to participate in an essential and beneficial curriculum focus empowerment program for black, and brown girls entitle Girls on the Rise. The purpose of Girls on the Rise is to help your student discuss and deal with issues and situations that girls often face during their pre-teen and teenage years. At the same time, they are focusing on social, emotional learning such as self-management, relationship skills, decision making and social awareness while embracing and celebrating their culture. Girls on the Rise will provide your daughter with the opportunity to discuss these issues in a brave, open and supportive environment.
Girls on the Rise will take place for Gwendolyn Brooks' students on Wednesdays and Percy Julian's students on Fridays. D97 groups will occurred during student's SOAR or advisory periods and anticipated to start the week of September 19th.
Please complete the registration form below. If you have any questions, please call or text me at (708) 622-8673 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dominique Hickman, M.S
GBMS 22-23 Yearbook purchasing details
It's time to purchase your GBMS 2022-2023 Yearbook! If you purchase your yearbook now through September 30th you will receive a 10% discount! Use the purchase link below to get started. You can also use your TreeRing account to share photos with our Yearbook Team throughout the year as well as design your very own custom pages (first two pages are free). If you have any questions regarding the yearbook, please contact Meaghan Pabellon at email@example.com.
Purchase Link: https://www.treering.com/purchase?PassCode=1014096931934358
GBMS Passcode: 1014096931934358
Keep D97 Schools Allergy Safe - No Nuts Allowed
Please visit https://bit.ly/3j0KGTB to access information about the district’s food allergy management program, as well as tips and options for identifying food that is safe for snacks and field trips.
Nuts and nut products are not allowed in any District 97 schools during the 2022-23 school year. This includes products that are labeled “processed in a facility that shares equipment with nut products.”
We appreciate your help in adhering to this preventative measure.
MILK ONLY CHARGE
As a reminder, if your student takes milk only during lunch, there is a cost of $.45 per carton, regardless of your family's school meal eligibility status. If you have not already done so, please add funds into your student’s meal account to accommodate the milk only charge. If your student takes the full school meal, milk is included. Thank you!
CLUBS & SPORTS INFORMATION - Fall 2022
Please reference the cross country website for next week's practice schedule. The Cross Country coaches for 2022 are Tom Rocco (firstname.lastname@example.org), Lary Grimaldi (email@example.com) and Kim Beader (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please see the linked information from the coaches which outlines what is needed each practice and the calendar of practices.
The district has approved our wrestling program for all students in middle school! There will be an information session on October 1st immediately after school in B105, Mr. Colucci's room. Can't wait that long? Email Mr. Colucci about your interest, questions or concerns at email@example.com. Find out more here at https://www.littlehuskieswrestling.org/ or speak to Mr. Colucci and Dr. Holmes. Wrestling is a technical sport and requires people to use their mind to overcome physical challenges and win. If that sounds like something you would like to embrace, come join the team!
Best Buddies Club
Our next meeting will be September 28th in room A205. We hope to see you there!
Hello Brooks students! Are you passionate about inclusion? If so, Best Buddies is for you! Best Buddies is the world's largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Here at Best Buddies we will strive to create a sense of belonging here at Brooks through inclusive activities and social outings! Students will have the opportunity to build one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities, offering social interactions while improving the quality of life and the level of inclusion. People with IDD form meaningful connections with peers, gain self-confidence and self-esteem, share interests, experiences and activities that other students may also enjoy! If you have any questions please reach out to Ms. Malina (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ms. Sefcik (email@example.com) or Ms. Gaffney (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Our first meeting is October 6th at 3:30-4:30 in D304. Come with a charged Chromebook.
Do you love book design, journalism, and/or photography? Then GBMS Yearbook Club is for you! Come be a part of our amazing team as we create the 2022/23 yearbook. All are welcome!
Intramurals will be every Monday and Thursday after school 3:30-4:30 and meets in the third floor gym. Depending on gym space the activities we will start the year off with will be basketball, football, frisbee and badminton. Please pick up permission slips from Mr. Gillespie (email@example.com).
Brook’s very own group that welcomes students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies—ALL are welcome here! If you have any questions, please reach out to Ms. Berman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Spoken Word Club
We look forward to beginning a new year of Spoken Word Club in October. Please stay tuned for an update that will include a specific time and place.
BEAT (Brooks Earth Action Team)
We meet on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30 in Room C202. Everyone is welcome! We have so many cool projects going: designing an outdoor classroom, saving the Rusty Patched Bumblebee (an endangered species!), designing a bird sanctuary, growing food and more!
Chess Club / Game Club
We meet in room C108 from 3:30-5:00 p.m on the following dates:
September: Thursday 29th; October: Monday 3rd, Thursday 13th, Wednesday 19th with more dates coming soon!
Coordinator: Mark Hausfeld email@example.com
The goal of Chess / Game Club is to provide enrichment, teach, sharpen and reinforce game skills while learning to appreciate not only the games themselves but good sportsmanship as well. I hope to help all players, regardless of skill level, improve their “gaming” skills.
**All permission slips can be emailed, dropped in the main office, or brought on the first day our
We meet on Wednesdays in B202 from 3:30-4:45!
Want to learn how to crochet or want to hang with others that like crocheting? What to bring: Crochet hook (I personally like 3.5mm but look at your yarn for size), Yarn (I have some if needed). Knitters are welcome! If you have any questions, please email Ms. Rodriguez (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Meetings every Thursday from 3:30-4:30. Open to all students. Drop in when you can. Make art! Make friends! Email Mrs. Murray to be added to the Canvas course at email@example.com
Please join us to find out about the service projects we’ll be organizing this year. You are welcome to share your own ideas about how we can help our community too. See or email Ms. Walsh (B209, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ms. Martínez (B208, email@example.com) with questions.
If students are still interested in joining, talk to Mr. Blackman in D105
- Fledgelings (all 6th grade and 7/8th not in a music class) meets Thursdays at 8am
- Downbeat (7/8th in Band, Choir, or Orchestra) meets Tuesdays and Fridays at 8am
For more information regarding the clubs (see 2nd tab on spreadsheet):
Brooks 2022 - 2023 Extra-Curricular Activities, which is being updated weekly.
THE ROBOTICS LEAGUE
Robotics House League Starting!
The Brooks Robotics House League is starting on Monday October 3, 2022. The House League is the less competitive robotics option at Brooks. House league is geared towards students who have an interest in learning more about the designing, building and coding of robots, without the pressures of the competition team. The house league is geared towards students who are interested in exploring robotics without the pressure of competitions and/or who may not have had any previous experience with robots and coding. The students will work in teams to design, build and code a robot to play a game. If you’re interested, please fill out the Brooks Robotics Club Application by Thursday September 29, 2022. We’ll begin on Monday 10/3/22 after-school in D202 and will meet weekly for about 11/12 sessions. There will be a nominal participation fee to cover the cost of consumable supplies, materials, etc.
If a student is interested in the competition team, House League is a great place to show your interest and for the coaches to get to know you. Spots on the competition team are very limited so this will serve as an opportunity for the coaches to evaluate the student interested in the competitive robotics team at Brooks. Students interested in the competitive team can indicate so on the application.
ASIAN AMERICAN CLUB
Open to all 6th, 7th and 8th graders
Open to ALL Brooks 6th-8th Graders
Dance Studio - begins this Thursday, September 15. Meets every Thursday from 3:30pm-4:30pm in the 2nd Floor Fitness Room from September 15 - December 1. Culminating performance on December 1. SIGN UP FOR DANCE STUDIO
Stage Crew - Orientation on September 20 in the Auditorium. SIGN UP FOR STAGE CREW
BROOKS SCHOOL STORE
PTO Weekly Communication
The PTO can't exist without YOU!
Do you want to have the inside scoop on what is going on at Brooks and D97? Do you want to make our school better than it ever as we transition back to a more ‘normal’ school day? NOW is the time to get involved!! We are looking to fill positions for the 2021-2022 school year and have some critical roles open! Sign up here and email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions! We look forward to hearing from you!
Order your Brooks Spirit Wear
Support the PTO, a local black-owned business, and get awesome Brooks Spirit wear all at the same time! Brooks Spirit wear can be ordered at any time visiting the Brooks section of the Shabby Fly website. Order will be shipped to your home!
2022 - 2023 District News and Information
D97 Back-to-School Information
As a reminder, we have created a central location for important back-to-school updates and documents: https://www.op97.org/back-to-school.
The district’s COVID-19 Health Safety Plan is linked below and can also be found, along with other COVID-19 resources and information, by going to https://www.op97.org/updatecenter.
Combined Student and Family Handbook for 2022-23
This year, the district worked to merge the Effective Student Behavior Handbook and Family Handbook into one comprehensive resource, the Student and Family Handbook, in order to streamline information for families and staff. The new handbook contains important information regarding school policies, procedures, student rights and responsibilities, and important notifications required by state and federal law.
The purpose of this handbook is to outline the expectations for building an educational community where everyone feels safe, included and able to learn. Having shared expectations, procedures and policies helps us respect all members of the school community in which we learn and work every day. Please take the time to read through the handbook and review it with your child.
Meal Information for the 2022-23 School Year
The breakfast and lunch menus for our elementary and middle schools are available at http://www.op97.org/business-office/food-service. During the 2022-23 school year, students may:
Bring a nut-free lunch from home.
Order school lunch.
PLEASE NOTE: During the 2022-23 school year, all students will be required to pay for their breakfast and lunch meals unless they are directly approved by the State of Illinois or approved after completing the 2022-23 Free and Reduced Meal Application.
Food Allergies/Nut-Safe Schools
Nuts and nut products are not allowed in any District 97 schools during the 2022-23 school year. This includes products that are labeled “processed in a facility that shares equipment with nut products.” Our schools have been nut-safe for the past two years—helping to create safer, more inclusive environments for all of our students.
Please visit https://bit.ly/3AyGPpI to access information about the district’s food allergy management program, as well as tips and options for identifying food that is safe for snacks and field trips. We appreciate your support of this important initiative!
The district is currently accepting fee payments for the 2022-23 school year. Full payment is due by September 30, 2022. You can access the fee information by visiting https://www.op97.org/business-office/fees.
Text Messages from District 97
District 97 uses the notification system BrightArrow to communicate with families via email and phone calls. We have started using periodic text messages to send reminders directly to parents' cell phones. In order to receive text messages, parents must opt in by texting YES to 87569. Once you have subscribed, you will receive a text confirmation.
Texts may appear from District 97 from 87569 or a phone number with a 424 area code (you may wish to save them to your contacts).
Wellness Check-in Program
Please reach out to your school's school psychologist or social worker if you have social-emotional concerns about your child. If your child is experiencing an immediate mental health crisis, please call the Thrive 24hr Crisis Hotline at 708-383-7500. You may also refer to this local resource guide created by the Community Mental Health Board of the Oak Park Township.
Repeated Topics For Reference
Process for Reporting Positive COVID-19 Cases to D97 Schools
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they must complete the following steps:1) In order to notify the school nurse and receive a return-to-school date, families/staff must complete the confidential COVID-19 Positive Case Notification Form as soon as possible following the positive test. Information provided will also be shared with the Oak Park Department of Public Health.
2) Families must continue to report student absences via the school attendance line, and staff must enter their absences in Frontline.
To see the rules for isolation and quarantine, click here. Additional resources are linked below.
STUDENT ATTENDANCE - How to Report Student Absences
Office Phones and Dropping off Items at Brooks
Please note that our office staff sets the phone to go to voicemail from 8:30am to 9:15am daily. Please leave a message of your student's absence or you can email email@example.com. Our office staff will listen to voicemails to call back or direct calls as needed after 9:15am daily. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
Dropping off Items at Brooks for your Student
You may drop off forgotten items for your student in the main office. Please note that we will not call into your student's classroom, as it is a disruption to the learning for other students and the teacher in the classroom. Your student should plan to stop by the main office on their way to lunch or between passing periods, if they think you may have dropped off the forgotten item for them to retrieve. We appreciate your understanding.
We will be following a block schedule again this school year. Students will attend 4 of their 8 classes Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday following an A/B Schedule and on Wednesdays following C Schedule where students will attend all of their classes. On the weeks where there is a day with no school, students classes will be A and B days only.
Cell Phone/Mobile Devices Away for the Day
Cell phones/Mobile Devices are not to be used during school hours. This includes calling parents/guardians due to illness, requesting items to be dropped off, etc.
Students can ask a teacher to use the classroom phone or the phone in the main office, if needed.
Cell phones are to be turned off/on silent upon entering the school building, stored in the student’s locker, and not used until the dismissal bell rings.
More Information can be found here. This will also be shared with students during the first week of school.
Tardies to Class
Being on time to class is essential for optimal learning for all students. This school year when a student reaches 15 tardies within a trimester, they will meet with their SOAR teacher to develop a strategy to ensure the student will get to all their classes on time. At 25 tardies within a trimester, the student will be assigned a time during their social time to meet with an administrator to reflect on root causes of tardies and develop a plan, additionally, parents/guardians will be contacted. At 35 tardies within the trimester, parents/guardians will be contacted to meet with their student and an administrator to develop a tardy contract.
School Registration for Returning Students
Registration for all returning District 97 students was due June 30. If you have not yet submitted your online registration, please do so immediately. Students who register late are not guaranteed to be approved by the first day of classes. Please note that only students who have completed registration and been approved by the district will be allowed to start school on Aug. 25. Emails either approving your student or requesting additional information come from InfoSnap@is.op97.org and are sent to the email listed for "Parent/Guardian 1" in our system. Please check your spam and junk folders for these emails.
New and Kindergarten Students
Parents who have a new or kindergarten student must start their registration by making an appointment at the district office. Appointments can be made by clicking here. Note: In order to make an appointment you will need to log in with your registration account, or create an account on the login page.
School Physicals and Immunizations
Incoming 6th-grade students and/or any new students who have transferred into District 97, MUST have a wellness physical and dental exam dated no less than one year prior to August 25th, 2021. Your child's physical must have been performed after August 25th, 2020 . Your child may not be admitted to school without these documents. Please submit the documents by mail or in person no later than August 25, 2021 to the following:
Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School
Attn: Health Office, Nurse Tracy Biggerstaff
325 S. Kenilworth Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302
SPORTS PHYSICALS – The State of Illinois Office of Education requires that any student who wishes to participate in interscholastic sports MUST have an Athletic Physical Examination, dated no less than one year prior to the first day of the current school year, anytime after August 25, 2020. It is MANDATORY that your child have this physical before they will be eligible to try out or participate in any interscholastic activity.
To access student health forms please visit http://www.op97.org/hr/health-requirements
**For any family having difficulty securing an appointment to get the physical completed, please email our School Nurse, Tracy Biggerstaff, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical support will be available from school and district technology staff by accessing the Help Desk through email, email@example.com. 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.
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 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.
PING MENTORING PROGRAM
This program is where high school music students give music lessons to middle school students after school, on various Tuesdays of the month. PING will begin the week of
STRENGTHENING FAMILIES PROGRAM
Classes open to families with children ages 7-17 years of age.
- Delicious dinner provided. —One night less of cooking dinner!
- Program proven to work– is taught in all 50 states and 36 foreign countries
- No cost to you! ...plus your kids will learn skills to help them all the rest of their lives.
- Must reside in Oak Park or River Forest. (Proof of residency is required, such as ID or Utility Bill.)
Friday Night Place
PLEASE COME PREPARED WITH SHORTS, SWEAT PANTS, T-SHIRT & GYM SHOES
GREETINGS TO ALL STUDENTS, PARENTS/FAMILIES, FACULTY, STAFF, AND ADMINISTRATORS FRIDAY NIGHT PLACE IS KICKING OFF FOR THE 28TH YEAR! FOR NEW AND RETURNING STUDENTS REGISTRATION AND ACTIVITIES FOR THE FRIDAY NIGHT PLACE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM OFFICIALLY BEGINS THIS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH, 3:30PM TO 5:30PM. THE LOCATION REMAINS THE SAME, PERCY JULIAN MIDDLE SCHOOL. STUDENTS WHO ARE ATTENDING, PLEASE COME PREPARED WITH YOUR GYM SHORTS AND OR JOGGING PANTS, T-SHIRT, AND GYM SHOES. IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING FURTHER DETAILS PLEASE CONTACT COACH JEROME AT (773)-793-0867. ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT, AND FOR ALL NEW COMERS, WELCOME! GET READY, GET READY, GET READY!
WHAT: FNP Announcement
WHO: 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Graders
WHERE: Oak Park, Percy Julian Middle School
WHEN: Beginning Friday, September 16th, 2022
TIME: 3:30p.m. - 5:30p.m.
SUPPORT4U is a mental health resource for our students to anonymously text licensed mental health clinicians any time of the day for assistance or guidance. Students can text for any issue; typical reasons might include social issues, anxiety, depression, substance use, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, bullying, abuse, or any other mental health-related topic. The clinician’s goal is to steer the student to available resources in the school and community. To use, students just need to go to Support4U.live on their phone, click on the Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School logo and hit send. Help is just a text away.
Thrive Services and Programs
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.