December 16, 2019

Twitter Highlights: Week 16

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!

Winter Break

Wishing our Brooks community a very happy holiday season and a bright new year to follow.

Our winter break will begin on Monday, December 23, 2019 through Friday January 3, 2020. The school will be closed during this time.

Trimester 1 Honor Roll

Our students commitment to excellence is evident in earning this academic honor. The effort they have given to their academic performance here at Gwendolyn Brooks serves as an example and inspiration to so many. Congratulations to our students who earned a place on the Trimester 1 honor roll.

Straight A Honor Roll

A Honor Roll

B Honor Roll

Brooks Spirit Week

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Equity and Community Engagement

In District 97, we aim to provide a learning environment that is equitable and inclusive of ALL children. To do so, we need your continued partnership by supporting schools and students, monitoring your own child’s progress and giving us feedback along the way.

Before you and your child(ren) begin the season of rest, rejuvenation and precious time with friends and family, please take a moment to complete THIS SURVEY. Your responses will assist us in further improvements as we prepare for the remainder of the school year.

The survey will close on Dec. 27, 2019, at 5 p.m. Thank you in advance for your response, and for your continued support of our schools and the students we serve.

January 30th, 2020 Student Led Conferences

Please plan to attend the January 30th Conferences with your student. Sign up information for conferences will be shared during the week of January 13th.

During our next conferences, students will be sharing their IB Criterion Report with their parents/guardians. In anticipation of the upcoming student-led conferences, please view this screencast, which provides an explanation of IB Criterion.

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.


Our new HERO goal is: “Being respectful and safe with our personal space”. If we reach our goal, we will celebrate with grade-level STAFF vs KIDS basketball games on December 20th. Whether or not we make the goal will be determined and announced on Wednesday, 12/16.

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.

Brooks Rainbow Tribe Winter Drive

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Attn: Facebook & Twitter Friends

District 97 is seeking social media ambassadors who are willing to share news and information about our efforts to support all students. Whether you are sharing posts from our Facebook or Twitter pages or shouting out a teacher or student, being a social media ambassador is great way to be part of the "MyD97" campaign and support District 97 schools! If you are interested in being an ambassador for the 2019-20 school year, please complete our online form. If you have any questions, please email the district's director of communications, Amanda Siegfried, at

Around the District with Dr. Kelley

District 97’s vision is that EVERY child experiences a sense of belonging in our schools. Belonging means access to teaching and learning that is engaging, stimulating and challenging for ALL instead of just a select few. Read the latest post in the superintendent’s blog, "Around the District with Dr. Kelley," to learn more about why District 97 believes in the importance of our students feeling a sense of belonging --

Illinois 5Essentials Survey

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 8%.

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.

Holiday Travel and School Attendance

We recognize that holidays are an important time for reconnecting with families far away. A few missed days here and there, even if they’re excused absences, can add up to too much lost learning time and put your child behind in school. Our teachers will be teaching, and our students will be learning, right up until vacation starts and the first day back. Please keep in mind the costs to your children’s education if they miss too much school, you can help us convey that message.

Cold Weather Reminder

As the cold weather approaches, we would like to stress the importance of students wearing the appropriate winter outerwear to school.

Our goal is to have students go outside for social time whenever possible.

  • Students should come to school wearing a winter jacket, gloves, scarves, hat, etc.
  • Please discuss with your child the need to wear jackets when outside.
  • Winter outerwear should not be removed when it is cold outside.

Please be sure your student brings their ID to school everyday!

If you need to purchase an ID, you may do so on RevTrak or in the main office. The cost to replace an ID is $5.00.

Please help your student remember to bring their ID each day to school to Be Safe. During the lunch periods, their ID designates their lunch color. This is important so we can monitor where students should be during the lunch period, especially if there is any type of emergency situation that should occur during a lunch period. We have over 900 students and 100 staff members in the building each day. Wearing ID helps all of us get to know each other as we traverse the building.

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.

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.

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.


  • OPRFHS Incoming Freshman Enrollment Information Event: 12/16 6:30pm in Brooks Auditorium. All Brooks and Julian 8th grade Families invited to attend the event hosted by OPRFHS.
  • Winter Break - No student attendance - December 23, 2019 - January 3, 2020
  • January 30th, 2020 Student-Led Conferences


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.

Email the PTO BoardEmail 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 . 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 (
  • 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 ( or Mrs. Olsen ( 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.
  • 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 or Coach Guerino at - 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 or Marsha Turner Reid at
  • 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

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


  • Art Club 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!

  • 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 ( or Ms. Blanca Martinez (

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

Brooks in-house contact - Brian Shinners,

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


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



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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.

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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.

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