October 14, 2019

Twitter Highlights: Week 7

You don't need to have a twitter account to see the highlights from the 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!

October 14th (Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day) - School is in Session

All District 97 schools are open on Monday, Oct. 14 (Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day).

Parent/Guardian Contact Information

In our efforts to keep our student and family contact information current, we are asking that our Brooks families please fill out the ink below.

Some of you have expressed concern about not receiving information, so we want to be sure we are able to reach you!

We appreciate your help in keeping your mailing, telephone and email contact information valid and up to date.

District 97 Emergency Data Form

Thank you for completing this form as soon as possible.

Important Health Office Reminder

This is a final reminder that the deadline for the 6th grade Health Examination Form is Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

If you will not have your examination form in by this deadline you must contact Nurse Nancy Radogno as soon as possible in order for your student to be exempt from school exclusion. For questions or concerns, please contact Nurse Nancy at nradogno@op97.org.

The required information as follows:

Physical examinations are required of all students entering 6th grade and must be recorded on the State of Illinois Certificate of Child Health Examination form (School Physical Form).

Parents must complete the health history section at the top of page two and sign it.

Required immunizations for 6th grade:

  • Tdap: One dose of Tdap for all students entering 6th grade

  • Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine: One dose received on or after the 11th birthday for all students entering 6th grade

  • Varicella: Two doses of varicella

  • Hepatitis B: Three doses of Hepatitis B vaccine

Families who are requesting a religious exemption to immunizations or examinations but have the Certificate of Religious Exemption to Required Immunizations and/or Examination Form completed by the parent/legal guardian AND the child’s health care provider.

Completed Certificate of Child Health Examinations could be faxed, emailed or brought to the office before the end of the school day on October 15, 2019.

Student Led Parent Teacher Conferences

Thursday, Oct. 24th, 12:30-8pm

325 South Kenilworth Avenue

Oak Park, IL

Student attendance will be a half day, from 9am to 12pm on 10/24 & 10/25. There will be no lunch served. Buses will run their usual routes.

Teacher teams will begin to contact parent/guardians via email on Monday, October 14th to select an appointment time for Thursday 10/24/19 between 12:40pm and 8pm.

Oct. 15 Board Meeting - GTD Update

The next regularly scheduled District 97 Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 15, in the boardroom of the administration building (260 Madison Street). The agenda and packet of materials for this meeting will be posted on the district website.

Families are invited to hear an update on recent changes to the district's GTD (Gifted, Talented and Differentiation) services to increase access to math enrichment for all students. The administration will also update the board on the implementation of the Illinois Accelerated Placement Act.


Last week all of our teams revealed their Team Identities, Flags, and Chants. All of the team flags have been printed onto removable stickers for student Chromebooks. These will be distributed in advisory on Monday. Check out your child’s Team Flag and Identity!

We are now in the middle of our first all-school HERO goal. If a student decides to carry a bag during the school day, they will carry the appropriately sized bag during the school day. Given that student's textbooks are all accessible through their Chromebooks, there are limited items that students need to carry with them during the school day. Many students will gather their Chromebook and folders needed for their morning classes, stop at their lockers before and after lunch and then gather their folders for their afternoon classes. Typically students will visit their lockers at the start of the day, before and after lunch and then again at the end of the day.

The WHY behind the expectation, which links to our student expectations of BE SAFE:

  • Large backpacks in the stairwell bump into others potentially causing students to be pushed off balance and getting hurt in the stairwells (which has been the experience in previous years)

  • Large backpacks take up too much room in the classrooms because they do not easily fit hanging on a chair or under the desk, which leaves them on the floor making walking through the classroom spaces difficult and creates tripping hazards.

  • They promote disorganization, instead of promoting the development of planning ahead skills.

The appropriate size bag is either a cinch sack or small backpack (no larger than 18" high x 14" wide x 6" deep). If we meet our goal of 99% of student carrying the appropriate sized bag ,we will celebrate during school on November 8th. The celebration will also coincide with this year’s first opening of the School Store on November 7th.

This week we are also instituting Brooks Bucks that kids can earn for following the posted Brooks Student Expectations. These bucks can be redeemed at the School Store along with HERO points.

Home Avenue bridge scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The contractor has reported that the Home Avenue pedestrian bridge will be open and the barrier walls removed by 12:00 PM noon on Monday, October 14, 2019. This means that students can walk and bicycle across the Home Avenue pedestrian bridge starting on the morning of Tuesday, October 15th. The Police Department will be notified to keep the extra crossing guards stationed at both ends of the Oak Park Avenue bridge until school lets out in the afternoon on Monday, October 14th. This means that the school crossing guards will no longer be stationed at both ends of the bridge starting on Tuesday morning. The standard District 97 school walking routes will be in effect starting on Tuesday morning.

Author Visits Brooks School

Author, Kekla Magoon, will visit Brooks students on October 23rd. She will speak to all of our 8th grade students, but all students will have the opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of her new book, Light It Up, which comes out on October 22nd.

Order forms will be available at school, but HERE is an order form if you’d like to check it out.

The PTO Book Fair through Anderson’s Bookshop is coming up the week of conferences, October 21-25. Students will visit one day during that week through classes. The fair will also be open the night of evening conferences.

The Mindful Middle Schoolers Program - October 17th at Brooks Middle School

Join us October 17 for The Mindful Middle-Schoolers talk in partnership with DePaul Family and Community Services.

In partnership with DePaul Family and Community Services, join us on Thursday, October 17 from 6:30 - 8:00 at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School for a discussion on Understanding depression in youth and strategies for treatment and support. How do we recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in youth? What strategies and treatments are available to support youth who are struggling with depression?

DePaul University, in partnership with the Oak Park Township Community Mental Health Board and D97, plan to offer a series of community talks to the Brooks/Julian middle school communities during the 2019-2020 school year as part of The Mindful Middle Schoolers Program. All are welcome (parents, school staff, students, community members).

Sign up at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/understanding-depression-in-youth-and-strategies-for-treatment-and-support-tickets-75088139647

Attached is a flyer that outlines additional future Mindful Middle Schooler Programming. Below is an image of the flyer.

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Monster Mash Bash - All School Halloween Dance


Monster Mash Bash - All School Halloween Dance

October 18 - 6:30pm-8:30pm

Open to ALL Brooks 6th-8th Graders

Tickets on sale starting October 1!


Brooks Service Club October Food Drive

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Halloween Costume Expectations

As part of our Service Club Food Drive, our Brooks students may dress up for Halloween by donating a $1 or a non-perishable food item to their advisory teacher now through October 31st.

Our goal is to create a positive learning environment where all students, staff and families feel a sense of belonging. In that spirit, we ask that you take care to ensure that your child’s costume choice does not portray a stereotypical image of any group of people or culture, or be offensive to any one racial, ethnic or religious group. We appreciate you being proactive with your child in making thoughtful costume choices. In addition, we ask that students do not wear masks or costumes that cover their face. Students may not bring weapons, use blood or gore, baby bottles or pacifiers and must comply with the district dress code.

To support you in your conversation with your child and to build your understanding around this topic, we have compiled links to resources below that you may find helpful. Thank you for your continued support of our students and schools.


Using the Canvas Calendar as an Observer

If you are looking for one place to see when your student has assignments due, check out the Canvas Calendar. The assignments will be linked on the Canvas Calendar on the day they are due.

Click the link below for detailed directions on how to use the Canvas calendar.


Internet for All Program

District 97 is now accepting applications for our Internet for All program. Through the program, which we launched two years ago, we are able to offer free home Internet service to students in grades three through eight who do not have access to this critical resource. You can access a video about the program by clicking here, a flyer about the program in English and Spanish by clicking here, and a web page featuring the flyer, the video and additional information about the program by clicking here.

Purchase your Yearbook Today!

Fall 2019 Promotional Discounts For Yearbooks

The Fall is a great time for you and your school community to order yearbooks! You will receive these discounts when ordering early in the school year:

October 1st - October 31st = 10% use code: 1014096931934358

November 1st - November 30th = 5%

During the months of August, September, October, and November when placing online orders the price of the book will reflect these discounts. The discount is calculated on the cost of the yearbook and does not apply to hardcover upgrades or extra custom pages.


  • Student-Led Conferences: Thursday, October 24th from 12:45pm to 8pm
  • End of Trimester 1: Friday, November 15th
  • Trimester 1 Report Card: Friday, December 6th


PTO Business meeting

Join us on Monday, November 11 at 6:00 pm in the Brook’s library for our PTO business meeting.

Want to Donate to the PTO?

You can donate $10 or more to help pay for things like teacher grants, need-based scholarships and other enrichment activities. Please consider a matching gift donation from your employer.

Last month, the PTO funded a Teacher Grant to Ms. Maggio to add flexible seating to her classroom.

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Staff Appreciation Dinner October 24

Let the Brook’s staff know how much we appreciate them teaching and mentoring our not-always-so-easy middle schoolers by providing dinner for them during conferences! You can sign up to drop off beverages, dessert, etc, or to help serve the meal! All help is appreciated! See the sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090849aeac2daa8-brooks5


The annual Brook’s Book Fair is coming up during conference week. We have a new Book Fair Vendor this year. Anderson's Book Fair Company. They are a local company based out of Aurora, IL and offer a wide selection of books. We'll need some help with set-up, take down and book fair volunteers in between. Sign up to help here!
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Clubs and Sports Information

Math Team

Meets Mondays 3:30pm - 4:30pm in room B409. For more information contact Esther Smith at esmith3@op97.org

Open to 6 - 8 grade students.

Art Club

Meets Thursday’s from 3:30-4:30 October- March in D301. Free and open to all students.

Mrs. Murray will offer a variety of materials and techniques. Come when you can and be ready to explore your own ideas, work at your own pace, and make new friends in a creative environment just for artists! Art club is FREE!

Yearbook Club

Meets the 1st & 3rd Tuesday each month. Room B202 Beginning in October and ends in April.

Everyone is welcome to join GBMS Yearbook Club. We are looking for students to assist us in recording the student activities & events of the 2019-2020 school year!

For more information please contact Meaghan Pabellon at mpabellon@op97.org or Marsha Turner Reid at mturnerreid@op97.org

Service Club

First meeting is Friday's, 8am in room B209. Service club meets every Friday morning.

We organize & promote the school's service projects such as food drives, coat drives, the holiday food and gift basket program, and more! If you have any questions, please reach out to Ms. Susan Walsh (swalsh@op97.org) or Ms. Blanca Martinez (bmartinez@op97.org).

Orff Ensemble

(Xylophone and Drumming Music Group) Monday's, 8:00-8:50 am, Rm D104. Open to all students grades 6-8. No audition required! For more information contact Mr. Carrillo (fcarrillo@op97.org)

OPEF VEX Robotics

This year we are offering two cool programs for D97 middle school kids to enjoy. We look forward to another exciting VEX Robotics season at both Julian and Brooks.

  • The In-House Club is designed for students with little or no experience with robotics and for students who cannot commit to the long season of our Competitive League.

  • The Robotics Competitive League is an intensive program for the dedicated technology student, especially those who want to take their experience with VEX Robotics and programming to the next level.

To sign up or learn more information about our programs, visit our OPEF VEX Robotics page at https://www.opef.org/programs/vex-robotics/

Brooks in-house contact - Brian Shinners, bshinners@op97.org

Ultimate Frisbee

This recreational Frisbee Club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays to play from 3:30p to 4:30p. For more information contact Coach Gillespie at mgillespie@op97.org or Coach Guerino at tguerino@op97.org - Please note practices may be cancelled due to weather.


Eco Eagles will meets weekly on TUESDAYS at 3:30 in Room C202

Students who are passionate about helping the environment, gardening, saving endangered species or who just want to do interesting things outdoors should check out the ECO EAGLES, the Brooks ecology club. We have made award-winning films, gone on cool field trips, implemented fun fundraisers and raised awareness about many different issues. We are open to whatever you are interested in, so join us! For more information contact lstamp@op97.org

Spoken Word Club

Meets on weekly on Mondays in B205 (3:30 - 5:00 pm) with Mr. Lee and our resident poet artist, Christian Robinson.

For more information contact mlee@op97.org

Rainbow Tribe

Rainbow Tribe will be hosting our 1st meeting on Monday September 30th at 3:30 PM in the Library! Come join students who want to be a part of creating a safe and inclusive space for our Brooks LGBTQ community. All students (those who identify and allies) are invited to join! Reach out to Ms. Berman (aberman@op97.org) or Mrs. Olsen (jolsen@op97.org) with any questions!

Girls on the RISE - 6th Grade Girls & 7th Grade Girls

Girls on the Rise is a program offered in partnership with Brooks and the Oak Park Township. Girls on the Rise provides prevention and empowerment to minority girls. We strive to instill confidence in girls to utilize problem-solving skills through communication and respect. Our program plans to build social, communication and leadership skills, healthy relationships with peers and adults, raise self-esteem and self-awareness and create a sisterhood of strong young ladies.

The 6th Grade Girls group's 6th Grade Girls meets on Tuesdays, from 3:30pm to 5:00 pm in room C105.

The 7th Grade Girls group's meets on Wednesdays from 3:30pm to 5:00 pm in room C105.

The 8th Grade Girls group will begin meeting on January 15th, 2020.

For more information contact Dominique Hickman at dhickman@oakparktownship.org

Chess Club

Play chess games against other club members..checkmate!

Chess club meets on Tuesdays in Mr. Hausfeld's new classroom C108 from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. For more information contact Coach Hausfeld at mhausfeld@op97.org

Singing Groups Offered at Brooks (extra-curricular and co-curricular)

The Women's Ensemble (name TBD)

This group will be made up of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students whose voices present as female. Individuals are admitted to the highly popular co-curricular groups through an audition process in September. *Students do NOT have to be enrolled in Band, Chorus or Orchestra curricular classes to audition for these groups*. The repertoire for this group will include vocal jazz, showtunes, pop, and classic choral literature.

  • This group will rehearse Tuesdays from 8-8:50 am.

The Men's Ensemble (name TBD)

This group will be made up of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students whose voices present as male. Individuals are admitted to the highly popular co-curricular groups through an audition process in September. *Students do NOT have to be enrolled in Band, Chorus or Orchestra curricular classes to audition for these groups*. The repertoire for this group will include vocal jazz, showtunes, pop, and classic choral literature.

  • This group will rehearse Wednesdays from 8-8:50 am.

The Select Mixed Ensemble (name TBD)

This is an extra-curricular choir made up of 7th, and 8th grade students that focuses on vocal jazz, showtunes, pop, and classic choral literature. Individuals are admitted to the highly popular co-curricular groups through an audition process in September (and possibly a re-audition in December). Students involved in this top group must be enrolled in Band, Chorus or Orchestra during the day, and will be asked to sing with one of the other extra-curricular choirs.

  • This group will rehearse Thursdays from 8-8:50 am.

For more information contact Mr. Blackman at fblackman@op97.org

Music Department Fundraiser

In order to help our students fund their Cleveland Music Trip this year, our students are participating in fundraising efforts. You can place orders directly with the student by check or cash or we accept online orders as well.

When ordering online go to:


and enter the code 46101, Brooks will pop up. If you click Brooks, it will ask you the name and grade of the student you are purchasing from. After that, it takes you to the site and you can choose from the abundant riches of chocolate and cookie dough.

If you have any questions, please contact any of our Music Directors.

Andrew Davis - Band Director adavis@op97.org

Frank Blackman - Choral Director fblackman@op97.org

Fernando Carrillo - Orchestra Director fcarrillo@op97.org


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Don’t miss this hilarious and heart-warming musical!


Community Programs

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.

Attendance of Children at OPRF Sporting Events

Oak Park and River Forest High School recently implemented a new rule when attending athletic events. Effective immediately, children ages 11 and younger will not be allowed to attend athletic events at OPRF unless they are accompanied by an adult age 18 or older. Please click here for the full message from the high school.

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We are excited to announce the 2nd Annual Parent Empowerment Workshop at Kids Unlimited Therapy Services, held Saturday Nov 2nd 9am -2:30pm. Topics covered during the workshop include navigation of the school system to secure services, effective mealtime strategies for picky eaters and methods to manage meltdowns. You can also go to our website at www.kidsunlimitedtherapyservices.com to download the forms.

Free Water Skills/Safety Course through YMCA

The Executive Director of the YMCA is asking for our assistance to drive participation in their FREE water skills/safety course. Please see the list of dates for their upcoming session and engage families to consider. Flyer is linked here. The link for folks to enroll is: http://www.westcookymca.org/saw

Fall II Session: 10/28/19 through 12/22/19
Monday: 6:35 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Tuesday: 6:20 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 5:50 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Thursday: 6:20 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday: 4:30 p.m. to 5:10 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.
Sunday: 10:35 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

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