Middle Matters Remote Learning

Week of September 14, 2020

In This Issue

Highlights from this week's Middle Matters:

  • Curriculum Night Presentations
  • Bravo Performing Arts Program Opportunity
  • Middle School Clubs
  • Technology Support: helpdesk@op97.org
  • PTO Weekly Communication
  • District Information Highlights
  • Community Partner Information


Sharing again:

  • New Meal Distribution Date & Information: Tuesdays
  • D97 to Host Virtual Parent Circles on September 16 and 23
  • Remote Learning Day and Schedule Information
  • Accessing ZOOM links for all classes
  • GBMS Remote Learning Webpage
  • Student Attendance
  • STAMPED - Letter to families
  • School Immunization and Physical Information


If you have questions about the upcoming school year, please don’t hesitate to contact me at acapuder@op97.org. You can also contact my Executive Coordinator, Ms. Tasha Guerino, at tguerino@op97.org or (708) 524-7636.


Our administrative team is also available to help answer your questions.

Angelica Love Curriculum & Instruction AP (6th grade, Teams 7.1 & 7.2) alove@op97.org

Antione Bland Curriculum & Instruction AP (8th grade, Teams 7.3) abland@op97.org

Stacie Klein Culture & Climate AP sklein@op97.org

Curriculum Night

In case you missed the opportunity to learn more about what your student will be learning in their classes this school year, we are including links to all the presentations.


We started the evening together with our School Leadership team and IB Coordinator


Then families rotated through 3 meetings. Below you'll find links to the presentations. These sessions were NOT recorded.


Teams:​ ​Learn about your student's Math, Science, Individuals & Societies and Language & Literature classes.


World Language/Design/Special Education/Reading:​ ​Learn about your student's French, Spanish, Design (this is a class that is only one of the 3 trimesters), Special Education and/or Reading class


Electives:​ ​Learn about your student's Performing Arts or Visual Arts and Physical Education classes:

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Middle School Clubs

More information about Middle School Clubs will be shared in September 21st Middle Matters.

Technology Support

Technical support will be available from school and district technology staff by accessing the Help Desk through email, helpdesk@op97.org. 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.

PTO Weekly Commuincation

Volunteer with the Brook’s PTO


Volunteer with the Brook’s PTO this year

Planning is underway for this 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 gwendolynbrookspto@gmail.com.


Connect with PTO

Follow us on FaceBook at @gwendolynbrookspto, or email us at gwendolynbrookspto@gmail.com.

Donate and help the PTO continue to fund school initiatives

Each year we are excited to welcome our students. Your PTO board would like to collaborate with parents, teachers and the community to further advance the funding of important school initiatives. The switch to remote learning has temporarily altered our previous fundraising initiatives.


In the past, we have successfully collaborated with Starship, who catered lunch for participating students on Tuesdays. This commitment funded approximately 95% of the PTO's initiatives. While we are able to adequately fund immediate needs with the money we have in reserves, we have approximately $14,000 of expenditures that have been postponed. This directly impacts our ability to grant requests from teachers to provide additional educational materials for optimal learning, providing a year end 8th-grade graduation celebration, and so much more.


The PTO board is actively pursuing new fundraising initiatives within our community. We would like your help! The most impactful way you can help is by donating money. If you would like to contribute directly to the PTO, please follow this link. Any amount is helpful!


If you have any questions or ideas on fundraising initiates we welcome your feedback. You may email the PTO Fundraising Chair April Fleming at afleming56@yahoo.com.

Order your Brooks Spirit Wear

Brooks Spirit Wear

Brooks spirit wear can be ordered at any time by visiting this website. Sizes for kids and adults! Orders will be shipped to your home!

Middle Matters - Sharing Again

Meal distributions will be held every Tuesday, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m

District 97 to Continue Providing Free Meals to All Students Every Tuesday
On Aug. 31, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will extend key waivers that allow school districts to continue serving free meals to all children into the fall months. This will ensure that all District 97 students have access to nutritious food at no cost—regardless of where they are learning or whether they qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Beginning Sept. 8, meals will be provided free of cost to any District 97 student in need. Meal distributions will be held every Tuesday, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Longfellow Elementary School (for Julian and feeder schools), 715 S. Highland Ave., and Brooks Middle School (for Brooks and feeder schools), 325 S. Kenilworth Ave.

Each bag of food will contain five breakfasts and five lunches. Click here for the September 2020 menus.

Click here for more information about food service during Trimester 1. If you have any questions, please reach out to the district's food service coordinator, Carla Ellis, at cellis@op97.org.

D97 to Host Virtual Parent Circles on September 16 and 23

District 97 families are invited to join two upcoming Virtual Parent Circles, which will be facilitated in partnership with the E-Team of Oak Park. Events will be held:

These sessions were organized to accommodate families who were unable to participate in parent circles during our Aug. 13 Parent University. The sessions are designed to build community among District 97 parents and guardians and provide support as we navigate remote learning.

REMOTE LEARNING SCHOOL DAY

SCHOOL DAY

  • Will begin remote learning at 9am and end at 3:30pm

  • Students will attend 4 of their 8 classes each day on alternating A/B days, so one week they will meet with 4 of their classes 3 times and then the next week 2 times and vice versa for the other 4 classes, so over the course of two full weeks of school each of the 8 classes will meet a total of 5 times.

  • Students will be expected to meet for synchronous learning with each of their classes on their scheduled day via Zoom according to their student class schedule. Student attendance will be taken each period of expected attendance by their teacher in PowerSchool, as if we were meeting for in-person learning.

  • Each of their classes’ Zoom links will be posted on each of their Canvas Course’s Navigation menu

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Accessing ZOOM Links for all Classes

Your student will be able to log into Canvas to access their classes/courses within Canvas, which will also be where each class' zoom link will be found. To login to CANVAS go to op97.instructure.com


Here is a VIDEO explaining how students will find the zoom links for each of their classes.


Students should use their username (their gmail address/google login withOUT the @students.op97.org portion) and their password. If your student doesn't remember their login information, please contact Minerva Colbert (mcolbert@op97.org). All new 6th grade families received this information on the instruction sheet when they picked up their Chromebooks on 8/19 or 8/20.

GBMS Remote Learning Resource

Please visit GBMS Remote Learning page on our website for all important information related to Remote Learning.

STUDENT ATTENDANCE

Attendance will be taken every day for each class period by each of your child's teacher and it will be denoted in PowerSchool. Student's are expected to attend each of their classes at their scheduled time and day. If your student will be absent from remote learning, please call the attendance number 708-665-3074 or email brooksattendance@op97.org

Stamped by Jason Reynolds

Dear Families,


We, as a District 97 Middle School Community, are consistently working to uphold our district’s Racial and Educational Equity Policy by, in part, ensuring all students feel welcome and by teaching antiracism within the curriculum.


This year, all of our middle school students at Brooks and Julian will start the school year reading and discussing Stamped by Jason Reynolds. This is the Young Adult version of Kendi Ibram's Stamped From The Beginning. Our statement of inquiry for this unit is: How might learning about the source of racist ideas help you to know the present and yourself? There will be activities, assessments, and other supplemental materials suited for every learning level. The book and related support will provide students with a "lens" for everything they learn for the remainder of the year. Please see a few resources about the book below.


We are excited this project is in partnership with the Oak Park Public Library where the E-Team will lead parent and community book talks. We have many invested District 97 community members who are collaborating to support this effort, our students and staff as we engage in this important work together (e.g., D97 Diversity Council, Climate and Culture Coaches, E-Team, Social Workers, D97 Teaching and Learning Department and D97 Equity Department).


We hope this is the start of several new, engaging and courageous conversations aimed at antiracist teaching and learning in support of our families and students.


Thank you for being the most important part of your child’s education.


Sincerely,


April Capuder, Brooks Middle School Principal

Jeremy Christian, Julian Middle School Principal

District 97 Middle School Language and Literature Department


“This is a book that every teacher needs to read in order to teach, that every bookseller needs to sell, and that every parent needs to read to have these discussions with young people about racism. We need to be able to navigate these issues. It’s family discussion, a whole school read, and a whole community read.”

-Jason Reynolds


RESOURCES

School Physicals and Immunizations

Although District 97 is starting the 2020-21 school year with remote learning, the State of Illinois is still requiring all students entering kindergarten, 6th grade, and any students new to District 97 to turn in a current school physical (Certificate of Child Health Examination and Immunization record) with up-to-date immunizations (requirements for the State of Illinois can be found here). If you have not already provided this information when you registered your child, please email your child's records directly to our school nurse, Nancy Radogno at nradogno@op97.org.

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2020 - 2021 District News and Information

Continued Social-Emotional Wellness Check-Ins for Students
District 97 school psychologists and nurses have collaborated to offer access to virtual mental health wellness checks at each school this fall. Parents may sign up children for 25-minute Telehealth sessions where they can access an open ear for their sources of stress and learn self-care and coping strategies. Students may attend up to three sessions per trimester and may then be referred for other school-based supports if needed.

To sign up or learn more about these services, please visit https://bit.ly/3m3Xece.

If your child is experiencing an immediate mental health crisis, please do not use this service and instead call the Thrive 24-Hour 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.



Next Meal D97 Meal Distribution: Tuesday, Sept. 15
During Trimester 1, meals will be provided free of cost to any District 97 student in need. Meal distributions will be held every Tuesday, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Longfellow Elementary School (for Julian and feeder schools), 715 S. Highland Ave., and Brooks Middle School (for Brooks and feeder schools), 325 S. Kenilworth Ave.

Each bag of food will contain five breakfasts and five lunches. Click here for the September 2020 menus.

Click here for more information about food service during Trimester 1. If you have any questions, please reach out to the district's food service coordinator, Carla Ellis, at cellis@op97.org.


Free/Reduced Lunch Application
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. We encourage all families who currently qualify to take a few minutes to complete the National School Lunch application as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please email the district's food service coordinator, Carla Ellis, at cellis@op97.org.


D97 to Host Virtual Parent Circles on September 16 and 23
District 97 families are invited to join two upcoming Virtual Parent Circles, which will be facilitated in partnership with the E-Team of Oak Park. Events will be held:

These sessions were organized to accommodate families who were unable to participate in parent circles during our Aug. 13 Parent University. The sessions are designed to build community among District 97 parents and guardians and provide support as we navigate remote learning.


D97 Back-to-School Fact Sheet

Check out this fact sheet for important D97 Back-to-School information!


Effective Student Behavior Handbook

District 97 is committed to creating a positive learning environment that is equitable, inclusive and focused on the whole child. Behavior education involves proactively teaching positive behaviors to create the conditions that make every classroom and school a positive place to learn.


The revised District 97 Effective Student Behavior Handbook is designed to provide information about policies, procedures and practices related to student behavior, and to help students and families prepare for a successful school experience. It also provides notifications required by state and federal law. Click here for our full communication about the new Effective Student Behavior Handbook >


Information from Community Child Care Providers for 2020-21 School Year

District 97 is working with community partners to support the child care needs of our families and staff. We are currently partnering with three providers: Hephzibah, the Park District of Oak Park and By Discovery. Details about each program can be found here.


The district will be providing financial assistance for any student who receives free or reduced lunch for at least Trimester 1. We will discuss the possibility of additional fee coverage with the Board of Education once plans are determined for the remainder of the school year. Details are provided at the point of online registration for each child care provider.

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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 has created Community Resources Page. 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

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.

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.

My name is Maia Nelson and I am a member of Seven Generations Ahead’s youth environmental group “It’s Our Future” as well as a member of the One Earth Film Festival’s Youth Advisory Council. We wish to work with you to build awareness of sustainable food systems and inspire action to create equal access to fresh, healthy foods.


We would like to do this by screening a documentary film, holding a virtual discussion with panelists, and offering ways for those interested to get involved with this work. Our objective in reaching out to you is to inform a broader audience about these important issues and inspire them to take action, as the film relates directly to our shared interests in sustainable systems. We would love it if you would attend this event and share with your networks, partners, family and friends so this opportunity will reach as many people as possible. We would also love to know that our event details are reaching a very diverse young adult audience, as our event will have a strong youth leadership presence.


The film we will screen is called Sustainable and more information about it can be found here and attached is a flier about our event on 9/18/2020 at 6pm - Link to register for FREE tickets is HERE


You can follow It’s Our Future on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you!

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PHONE-BASED COUNSELING

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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