Middle Matters Remote Learning

Week of September 8, 2020

In This Issue

Highlights from this week's Middle Matters:

  • Mark Your Calendar: Thursday 9/10 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm Curriculum Night
  • STAMPED - Letter to families
  • New Meal Distribution Date & Information: Tuesdays
  • D97 to Host Virtual Parent Circles on September 16 and 23
  • PTO Business Meeting September 8
  • PTO Volunteering Information
  • Technology Support: helpdesk@op97.org
  • District Information Highlights
  • Community Partner Information


Sharing again:

  • Remote Learning Day and Schedule Information
  • Accessing ZOOM links for all classes
  • GBMS Remote Learning Webpage
  • Student Attendance
  • Back to School Photos
  • Virtual Meet Your Teacher Night Slides
  • PTO Brooks Spirit Wear ordering opportunity
  • 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 - Thursday, September 10th 6:30pm to 8:30pm

This is an opportunity to learn more about what your student will be learning this year in their classes this school year. We will be emailing all the needed Zoom Links to families on Wednesday, September 9th.


We will start the evening together with our School Leadership team and IB Coordinator then you will rotate through 3 meetings based on the grade level schedules pictured below.


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:


  • Performing Arts: Band, Orchestra, Chorus, or Speech/Drama/Debate
  • Visual Arts: Art Foundations, Applied Arts or Fine Arts


Here is our Curriculum Night Schedule for each grade level:

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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

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.

PTO Business meeting

Join us for a PTO business meeting on Tuesday, September 8 at 6:00pm. We will be discussing our budget and changes due to remote learning. Click here for the zoom link!

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.

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.

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

Back To School Photos

Share Your Back-to-School Photos!
District 97 families—we want to see your back-to-school photos! You can share your photos by tweeting us (@OakPark97, use the hashtags #MyD97 and #OakPark97) or emailing them to d97feedback@op97.org.

If you email us photos or videos, we will make sure they comply with the board policies and laws that govern issues such as privacy, appropriate use, etc. before they get posted.

Virtual Meet Your Teacher Event Information

Here is the Information Shared on Thursday 8/27 during each grade level's Meet Your Teacher Event.


We started each grade level event with an over view of Remote Learning and then introducing each teacher. Then at the 30 minute mark, we asked students with their parents/guardians to meet on another zoom link with their student's Advisory teacher as an opportunity to meet in small groups to get to know a little bit about their classmates, their advisory teacher and asking and questions.


6th Grade Staff Introductions

7th Grade Staff Introductions

8th Grade Staff Introductions

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!

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

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.


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.


Share Your Back-to-School Photos!
District 97 families—we want to see your back-to-school photos! You can share your photos by tweeting us (@OakPark97, use the hashtags #MyD97 and #OakPark97) or emailing them to d97feedback@op97.org.

If you email us photos or videos, we will make sure they comply with the board policies and laws that govern issues such as privacy, appropriate use, etc. before they get posted.


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.
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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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