April 14, 2020

Remote Learning Middle Matters

Dear Brooks Families,

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy during this very unusual time. Below you will find linked the Remote Learning document from the district office, a Remote Learning Grading document for the middle schools that was sent to parents/guardians, as well as a Remote Learning Grading document for the middle schools that was sent to students.

Please know that we are here to support our students and families. Feel free to contact your student’s teachers, assistant principals, or me if we can help in any way.


April Capuder

Principal, Brooks Middle School

D97 Remote Learning Family Guidance

Parent/Guardian Communication Remote Learning: MS Grading Practices

Student Communication Remote Learning: MS Grading Practices

Brooks Middle School Remote Learning Website


Use or save this Remote Learning Quick Link to access daily and useful information at the click of a button!

No School Monday, April 13th - Remote Learning Planning Day for Teachers

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.

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

Lunch Social Time Sign-up Week of April 14th through 17th (no school Monday, April 13th)

Sign up here

D97 Special Education Parent Support Meeting

The District 97 Student Services Department is hosting a virtual Special Education Parent Support Meeting on Monday, April 13, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Please see the details below to join us.
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**Again, please know that you do not need to qualify for free or reduced-price meals to receive food during our closure.

Free/Reduced Lunch Applications- Qualify now until October 1

Given the economic impact of COVID-19, families may have experienced a financial change such as income reduction or job loss. Even if it is temporary and regardless of other financial factors, a change of income may qualify your children for free or reduced lunch from now until October 1, including summer meals. We encourage all families who have experienced a loss or reduction of income to take a few minutes to complete the National School Lunch application. To learn more or access the application, please visit https://bit.ly/3c5gxvV. Applications will also be available at our meal pick-up sites.

Families Who Receive Free or Reduced-Price Meals - Additional Support

We know that a common experience for many families during this health crisis is the loss of jobs and income. This change in income may qualify your children for free or reduced-price meals. Although this is not a requirement to receive meals from the district every week during our school closure, families who currently participate in the National School Lunch Program will also be eligible to receive additional funds for food through the state's Pandemic EBT.

We encourage all families who currently qualify to take a few minutes to complete the National School Lunch application as soon as possible.

There are four options for completing and submitting your application:

  1. Fill in the PDF application electronically and save it as a document on your computer. Email it as an attachment to the district's food service cooridnator, Carla Ellis, at cellis@op97.org.
  2. Print the PDF and fill it out by hand. Take a picture of the completed application and email it as an attachment to cellis@op97.org.
  3. Print the PDF and fill it out by hand. Send the completed application via regular mail to: Carla Ellis, Oak Park School District 97, 260 Madison St., Oak Park, IL 60302.
  4. Print the PDF and fill it out by hand. Fax the completed application to 708-524-3019.

Applications will also be available each week at our meal pick-up sites.

Remote Learning Feedback

Teachers have worked collaboratively this week to identify the critical standards to design learning around while we are engaging in remote learning. On Monday, April 13th, during our Remote Learning Planning day, teachers will be working to design learning for your student. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we are transitioning from teaching student face to face to working through which tools to use to best design learning for students remotely.

As we continue to engage in Remote Learning, hearing specific feedback is very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to share feedback with us through responding to these 5 questions.

Virtual Coffee with Capuder: Save the Dates

If you can, please grab a cup of coffee and join the virtual meetings. The links are found below. Click on the link directly from your computer's browser window or if connecting through the Zoom app, please use the Meeting ID and Password.

This is an informal opportunity for parents to be able to connect with me directly. There isn't a set agenda. This is a time to meet other families and ask each other questions, and offer support as well as community. Please join as well if you'd like to ask questions and/or share feedback about Remote Learning!

April 17: 8:30am to 9:30am (Zoom Meeting link) ID: 821 330 881 Password: 672114

April 24: 8:30am to 9:30am (Zoom Meeting link) ID: 821 330 881 Password: 672114

May 1: 8:30am to 9:30am (Zoom Meeting link) ID: 821 330 881 Password: 672114

We held our first Virtual Coffee with Capuder on Friday, April 3rd with about 35 participants! Thank you to all who participated. Here is the Q & A from our time together.

Brooks Culture and Climate/Social Emotional Learning

Good day Brooks Community! We would like to create some ways for us to be connected during this time so each week we will have a theme for ways to share photos and fun about how we are continuing to build community across the digital realm.

Last week we had Brooks Joy and Kindness theme! Thank you to all the students and staff that shared tweets!

This week will focus on having our Students share their BIG DREAMS to be included in our GBMS Yearbook. See Information Below.

Students can fill out the form and your Big Dreams will be published in the yearbook.

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We had a lot of requests for more time to purchase the Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School yearbook, so we're responding by extending the deadline to midnight on April 18, 2020.

As a reminder, your yearbook is $30.00.

Click here to purchase your yearbook today.

Virtual Social Emotional Learning

To ensure our students are still focusing on social and emotional skills remotely, we are taking the week to focus on what is most important for us all right now- Self Care. Brooks and Julian will challenge students to post one act of self care each day on FlipGrid so peers can see how they are spending time caring for themselves.

Thank you to all of our student who posted their may ideas for Self Care on FlipGrid:

Reading, biking, drinking lots of water, walking/running, caring for their pets, speed drawing, improving speed at which you solve a rubik's cube, making and drinking smoothies, exercising, playing games, hula hooping, sleeping, washing your hands, staying in touch with friends, drawing, and many more! These are some great Self-Care ideas and suggestions for others.

Video Created by D97 Social Workers and Psychologists

District 97 social worker Abby Berman and school psychologist Rike Neubert put together a video with tips and self-care ideas to help students and families cope during our school closure. Click here to view the video

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 jolsen@op97.org

7th Grade: Abby Berman at aberman@op97.org

8th Grade: Hannah Boudreau at hboudreau@op97.org

Brooks Media Center: Virtual Book Club

One Virtual School, One Virtual Book Club

A great opportunity for students and staff to come together! Parents, please share the opportunity with your kids to encourage them to participate in a One Virtual School, One Virtual Book Club Opportunity. HERE is a link with all the details. It's totally optional, but is an opportunity for our community of staff and students to come together.

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: https://wke.lt/w/s/BzMWaD

The page is linked on the GBMS Library Home Page and on the Student Announcements Page in Canvas.

CAN Do Challenge

If you are able to, our community needs your help! Brooks has annually participated in the CAN DO Community challenge, which is a hunger relief campaign sponsored by Beyond Hunger. Beyond Hunger is an essential service and they are open, even with the shelter-in-place guidelines. This year, Brooks is participating in a virtual version of the CAN DO Community Challenge, to do what we can, especially given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is designed to heighten awareness about local food insecurity and encourages schools, organizations, and individuals to become more involved with Beyond Hunger. Click here to make a donation!

Message from Beyond Hunger: Beyond Hunger is an essential service, and we are open, even with shelter-in-place guidelines. We know many families will be impacted as a result of COVID-19, and some will visit us for the first time. Please know that we are here to help through this crisis. We have implemented a drive thru model at the pantry where clients can remain in their cars and the groceries are loaded into their trunks. Walk-up clients are served one at a time respecting six feet spacing. All staff and volunteers will be required to wear masks and gloves when on-site. More information is available at www.gobeyondhunger.org/need-help, and please feel free to share any of our social media posts @gobeyondhunger.

District 97 Spring Scavenger Hunt

Join District 97 students and staff in a Spring Scavenger Hunt! Click here to view complete details >

To participate, just put something in your front-facing window each week to go with that week's theme. It should be large enough to see from the road and can be handmade or anything around the house! Kids can spot them from the road and can still practice social distancing. Let's show our community we are #D97Strong! (Tag the district's social media accounts using @oakpark97 and #MyD97.)

Multicultural Festival Postponed

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures that are in place, the 40th Annual District 97 Multicultural Parade and Festival scheduled for May 2 has been postponed indefinitely. Click here for more information >

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.

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  • April 13: Remote Learning Planning Day (No Student Instruction)
  • April 14-17: Remote Learning Days
  • April 17: Virtual Coffee with Capuder 8:30am to 9:30am
  • April 20-23: Remote Learning Days
  • April 21: Board of Education Meeting (Virtual, 7 p.m.)
  • April 24: Virtual Coffee with Capuder 8:30am to 9:30am
  • April 24: Remote Learning Planning Day (No Student Instruction)
  • April 27-30: Remote Learning Days
  • May 1 and Beyond: TBD
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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 (www.op97.org/coronavirus) 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 https://tinyurl.com/oprfguide.

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.
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Oak Park Public Library

The Teen Services department is in the process of rebranding the department and have created a logo creation contest where teens ages 13-17 can win $100, $75, and $25. You can find out more about it here.

We have also created Leading Edge Teen Advisory Board (LETAB). If you are looking to gain stronger leadership skills, self advocacy skills, and have a community voice, or looking to volunteer. This is for you. To apply click here.

Finally, here is the link to additional resources including 20 suggestions to utilize your time during this difficult time.