February 10, 2020

Twitter Highlights: Week 22

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!

Parent/Guardians Illinois 5Essentials Survey - FINAL WEEK to be able to complete it

District 97 is administering the Illinois 5Essentials Survey again this year to certified staff and parents/guardians from all 10 of our schools, as well as students in grades four through eight.

The parent/guardian survey is available now. Please click here to learn how parents/guardians can participate in this important endeavor and click here to access the parent/guardian version of the survey.

Please note that school-level reports will only be generated if at least 20 percent of our parents/guardians complete the survey, which can be accessed until Feb. 14, 2020. Our current response rate for parents/guardians is at 12%.

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Current 6th & 7th grade Student Elective Registration

Our staff is currently in the process of planning for your student’s 2020-2021 school year. To facilitate this process, we will request that your student choose his/her Arts course course online during their advisory class time on Monday, February 10, 2020.

Please take the time to discuss with your student the elective options available to them.

7th Grade Elective Course Descriptions

8th Grade Elective Course Descriptions

Join us for the return of the Mindful Middle-Schoolers talks

Join us for any of the free Mindful Middle-School talks outlined below held either at Julian or Brooks Middle School. 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).

Mindful Middle-Schoolers - Community Talks 2020

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D97 Mid-year Progress Update - Board Meeting 2/18

During the District 97 board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18, Dr. Kelley will provide the board of education and the community with a mid-year progress update on our FY20 Collective Action Plan. This will include a written report, as well as a showcase of four key initiatives tied to our goals for the 2019-20 school year. Presentations will be given on:

  • Inclusive Practices: Universal Design for Learning (UDL)/Co-Teaching
  • Positive Learning Environment: Tier 1/Community-Building
  • Equity: National Board Certified Teachers (Strengthening Teaching Practices)
  • Focus on Whole Child: IB Program (Strengthening Middle School Instruction

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Administration Building, 260 Madison St. We hope you will attend to hear about the progress we have made toward our goals, and learn about some of the initiatives that are supporting our work.

Parent Workshop: "Developing Your Child's IEP"

The District 97 Student Services Department will host a parent workshop, "Developing Your Child's IEP," on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Holmes School, 508 N. Kenilworth Ave. Staff will provide a step-by-step guide to understanding the IEP process. Childcare will be available. Event flyer >

Lake Street Improvement Project

After several years of planning and community input, the Lake Street Improvement Project is getting underway in 2020 with the goals of improving traffic circulation and capacity, enhancing pedestrian and bicycle linkage between retail districts, replacing aging roadway and utilities, and strengthening Lake Street's role as the community's central tourism and retail corridor. To stay informed please attend one of the community open houses below or visit https://www.betterlakestreet.com/ for the latest updates, project overview and communication regarding project timelines and street closures/detours.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at OPRF Museum, 129 Lake St.
  • Thursday, Feb. 13, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave.

Parent Information Session - Single Subject/Whole Grade Acceleration

For families who are seeking single subject or whole grade acceleration for the 2020-21 school year, the district will be hosting a Parent Information Session on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Lincoln Elementary School, 1111 S. Grove St. The session will include a presentation that outlines the process and requirements. Click here to view the event flyer >

Information about the District 97 Accelerated Placement Program, including definitions and timelines, can be found at http://www.op97.org/acceleration.

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Parent Resource Site

The District 97 MTSS Team has created a D97 Parent Resource Site to further support instruction happening in the classroom. The site has been created to provide an overview of MTSS and support all students in the areas of reading, math and writing. Our team has selected resources that offer a free version to our families. If you have additional free websites or resources you would like to share, please reach out to MTSS Director Faith Cole at fcole@op97.org. Thank you for your partnership!

Around the District with Dr. Kelley

The word discipline in connection with schools has such a negative connotation. The long history of shame, punishment and racism has interfered with the very purpose of schools – to help young people learn and grow. District 97 is reclaiming and redefining discipline to better align with our mission and vision of what it means to be educators of students. We are making systemic shifts away from punishment to a mindset of preemption and restoration. Read and learn more - Around the District with Dr. Kelley - http://bit.ly/34JiR84

"Food Free in Three"

During the 2019-20 school year, District 97 will be in Phase 2 of "Food Free in Three." This means that celebrations can include food from the following four categories: fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and packaged popcorn and pretzels that are nut safe. More information about this initiative can be found at https://www.op97.org/health-services/food-free-in-three.

8th Grade Cap & Gown Information, Graduation photo Retake Day

Cap and Grown Information

Graduation Photos Retake Day

  • Graduation photo retake day will be Thursday, February 27.
  • If you have not yet taken your graduation photos there is no charge for retakes.
  • If you have already taken graduation photos and would like them re-done, there is a $10.00 retake fee.


Kids can continue to earn Brooks Bucks for following the posted Brooks Student Expectations. These bucks can be redeemed at the School Store along with HERO points.

Message from the Main Office


  • Attendance Line : 708-665-3074 or send an email
  • Please note from 8:45am to 9:15am the Brooks answering service will be activated as our office staff is attending to in-house student and parent needs.
  • REVTRAK Link - Payment system for Field trips, School Fees, Replacement Fees, Gym Uniforms, etc. The link can also be found on the Brooks Website under Payments in the blue menu bar.
  • Bell Schedule - For those asking what time the periods take place.

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. We also want to hear from parents and students who would like recognize a Brooks teacher that has made an impact around diversity and inclusion. Every Sunday, selected comments will be featured in Middle Matters and 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.

Gwendolyn Brooks Class of 2020 Graduation

We'd like to share that the 8th grade graduation date for the Gwendolyn Brooks Class of 2020 will take place on Saturday, June 6, at 2:00pm. The ceremony will be held at Oak Park and River Forest High School.

Please be sure to mark your calendars. We will have more information regarding graduation activities in February.

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.


Purchase your Yearbook Today!

Purchase your yearbook today.

If you do not already have an account from a previous years purchase, you will be asked to set up an account in order to make a purchase.

Brooks Purchase Code: 1014096931934358

How to set up an account.


  • February 14 - 8th Grade Washington DC trip
  • February 17 - No student Attendance - President's Day
  • February 28 - Trimester 2 ends


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.

Email the PTO BoardEmail gwendolynbrookspto@gmail.com if you are interested or have questions!

Does your 8th grader want to have an 8th grade dance? We need you!

The 8th grade dance is a great way to celebrate finishing middle school. However, it can’t happen without support from the Brooks community! The PTO is currently looking for one more 8th Grade VP. This role helps plan 8th grade dance and a winter staff appreciation dinner. There are two 8th grade VP’s, so you are working with a partner!

Clubs and Sports Information


  • Math Team 3:30pm - 4:30pm in room B409. For more information contact Esther Smith at esmith3@op97.org . Open to 6 - 8 grade students.
  • Orff Ensemble (Xylophone and Drumming Music Group) Monday's, 8:00-8:50 am, Rm D104. Open to all students grades 6-8. For more information contact Mr. Carrillo (fcarrillo@op97.org)
  • Rainbow Tribe 3:30pm - 4:30pm 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!
  • Spoken Word Club: Mondays in B205 (3:30 - 5:00 pm) with Mr. Lee and resident poet Christian Robinson. Contact Mr. Lee with questions. mlee@op97.org
  • Ultimate Frisbee: Currently on Winter hiatus. This recreational Frisbee Club will meet again in the Spring 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 are dependent on weather.


  • 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
  • EcoEalges - 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

  • Chess Club meets in room C108 from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. For more information contact Coach Hausfeld at mhausfeld@op97.org


  • Art Club from 3:30-4:30 October- March in D301. Free and open to all students.

    Mrs. Murray (kmurray@op97.org) 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!

  • Service Club meets at 8am in room B209. 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).
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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

Girls on the RISE -

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

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


YEMBA is a hands on, community based forum for connecting, serving, educating, strengthening and empowering our youth physically, mentally and spiritually. For female and male youth grades 6th through 8th. Join your friends, classmates and peers in our mentoring empowerment program. A fun, safe, exciting experience and learn skills that will last a lifetime.

Wednesdays - 3:30pm 6:30pm

Includes: Homework help, mentoring, recreation workshops, snacks, guest speakers and much more...

For more information contact:


(773) 842-5022

email: www.yemba@yemba-inc.org

Website: www.yemba-inc.org

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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.

Oak Park Code Fest

  • The D97 Librarians are partnering with the Oak Park Public Library and Oak Park Education Foundation to bring you Code Fest 2020.

  • This hands-on night will show families what types of coding and programming activities are available.

  • It will be a fun night of coding stations where families and students can drop in and try these fun activities.


Parent Leadership Training Hosted by the Collaboration for Early Childhood

The Collaboration for Early Childhood is hosting a parent leadership training series starting Saturday, Feb. 1. The trainings represent an effort to give parents, grandparents, and caregivers the skills and tools to help them be their child's first and most important caregiver. All events will include child care, food and transportation (upon request). To register or ask questions, please contact Jennifer Little at 708-613-6122 or email jlittle@collab4kids.org. Click here to view the event flyer >
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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.