April 27, 2020

Remote Learning Middle Matters

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4th- 8th

We are asking students and families to help!

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4th- 8th We need your help to send love to Brooks teachers - social distance style. There are two ways you can help!

1. Contribute a kind video message to your teachers on this FLIPGRID. Go to Flipgrid.com. Click "Enter a Flip Code" and Enter one of the Flip Codes below:

  • 6th Grade- 0822f06d
  • 7th Grade- cdee94d2
  • 8th Grade- 42a70219
  • Specials Teachers- 5fb76fc0 (PE, ART, MUSIC, ELL, World Language, Librarian, Design, Reading)
Click the big green plus sign to record a video of yourself sending a message to your teachers. Please record videos for your team teachers AND special teachers (non core teachers, social workers... etc.)

2. Take A photo of yourself for the Teacher Appreciation Week Photo Collage.

Students who contribute to both projects will be entered into a raffle to win a Starbucks gift card (mailed to you)!

Questions? Email Mrs. Olson (lolson@op97.org) or Ms. Klein sklein@op97.org

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.

Volunteer with the Brook’s PTO next year

Although it seems like a world away, planning is already underway for the next 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.

Mark your Calendar - Non Attendance Dates for students

Remote Learning Planning Day for Teachers

No School for students on May 8, May 15 and May 22

Student Belongings

We are currently working on plans for families to pick up students' personal belongings from our schools. In order to keep our community safe and preserve the cleanliness of our buildings, we have decided to hold off on any pick-ups until after the state's stay-at-home order is lifted. We will share more information with families in the coming weeks.

Virtual Clubs and Sports Meetings

We are in the process of organizing our Clubs and Spring Sports Teams opportunities to meet virtually. Here is the google document that contains the information about each club and sport meeting date and time along with virtual meeting link.

Parents & Guardians - Help with Canvas and PowerSchool

Here are two videos that can help you support your student during remote learning.

Canvas Video walks you through how to create a Canvas Observer/Parent Account and learn some key features of Canvas to help you navigate this tool. Please contact Ms. Minerva Colbert, MColbert@op97.org with any questions on how to setup your parent/guardian Canvas Observer account.

PowerSchool Video that helps you navigate the tool and learn about the remote learning grade marks that will be notated this trimester. For parents that use the PowerSchool App, here is a link with more information about the app. Please email Ms. Vashti Carter, VCarter@op97.org with any questions on how to setup your parent/guardian PowerSchool account.

Need extra help in your classes?

Join the google meet by clicking the links found here, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 9 am, to get your questions answered by one of our morning library supervisors.

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

Lunch Social Time Sign-up Week of April 20th through 23rd (no school Friday, April 24th)

Sign up here

Brooks Culture and Climate/Social Emotional Learning

Check out the ideas shared by our Middle School Students last week for Creating A Routine during Remote Learning

Dealing with Disappointment

Coronavirus and school being closed for the end of the year has left many students, teachers and families dealing with disappointment.

Read the article: For High School Seniors, Coronavirus Brings A Sad Ending and Unexpected Lessons

Reflect: What disappointments has the last two months brought for you? Missed graduation? Missing Great America? Missing friends? Cancelled sports seasons? Acknowledging our feelings about the things we are missing out on can help us to feel less alone and accept the change that has been thrust upon us. Coping skills are tools or techniques to manage your emotions. Check out this list of Coping Skills for reference.

Journal: Identify what have been your biggest disappointments as a result of the Coronavirus? What coping skills do you use to deal with your feelings of disappointment?

Additional Resources that can be accessed online

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District 97 Food Services Link

Please check here for additional information regarding free & reduced meals along with families looking to receive additional support

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.

District 97 Staff Referral Program

We are always looking for talented, dedicated individuals to join the District 97 team! We know that some of our best teachers and staff members have come to District 97 based on a referral. If you know somebody who you believe would be a good fit for our district, please fill out the D97 Staff Referral Form. If you have any questions, please email the human resources department at hr@op97.org.

7th Grade Springfield/Washington DC Trips

Due to the situation surrounding COVID-19, we are postponing the 7th grade trip to Springfield, Illinois to October 2, 2020. Your students will take the trip during the fall of their 8th-grade year. The trip planned for Washington D. C. for 2021 during your student's 8th-grade year is unchanged.

How payment credits or refunds will be handled by WorldStrides:

  • Credits for the payments made to WorldStrides will carry over and be applied to the new October 2nd, 2020 Springfield trip date
  • For those of you who purchased the full refund program option, you can request a full refund directly from WorldStrides, less the $19 you paid for this option. Then if you'd like your student to take the trip in October, you can re-register in the fall.

Please reach out to Janorise Robinson at brooksspringfieldtrip@gmail.com directly if you have any questions. She will be able to assist you.

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!

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

  • Incoming 6th grade Brooks and Julian families will be joining our May 1st Coffee, which will also be co-hosted by April Capuder and Todd Fitzgerald, principals of D97 Middle Schools

Thank you to our families and staff who joined our Coffee with Capuder conversation!

Q & A from 4/17/20

Q & A from 4/3/20

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

Here is the link to the Social Work Department home webpage

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.)

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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District 97 will hold Remote Learning Days for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Please see below for a list of important dates and meetings.
  • May 8: Remote Learning Planning Day (No Student Instruction)
  • May 12: Board of Education Meeting
  • May 15: Remote Learning Planning Day (No Student Instruction)
  • May 22: Remote Learning Planning Day (No Student Instruction)
  • May 25: Memorial Day (District Holiday)
  • May 26: Board of Education Meeting
  • June 5: Last Day of School
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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.

OPRF Youth Summer Camp Program and Swim Camp Canceled

Oak Park and River Forest High School has announced that all camps for youth through eighth-grade, including Huskie Swim Lessons Camp, have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read the letter from the OPRF Athletics Department >

Mental Health Resource, "Call4Calm"

It's now been four full weeks that students have been learning from home. 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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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.

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Please Join Us for a Weekly

Community Town Hall Meeting

Sponsored by Thrive Counseling Center

Via Zoom Virtual Platform on Thursday, April 23, 2020, 1p.m.- 2p.m.

We invite you to our on-going, virtual gathering of community members to share ideas and inspiration to help us navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

We at Thrive know the importance of community in staying emotionally healthy.

Join us any Thursday you are able. It's an opportunity for you to share your stories, concerns, and questions and to offer strategies that are helping

in these challenging times.

Zoom Details (same each week):

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 259 788 564

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Meeting ID: 259 788 564

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/ac0QXKraF8


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. 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.

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