Middle Matters Remote Learning

Week of September 21, 2020

In This Issue

Highlights from this week's Middle Matters:

  • Morning Virtual Homework Support and Virtual Breakfast with Brooks
  • Cell Phones Away for the Day during Remote Learning
  • A Greater Good Foundation
  • Volunteer for Brooks Garden Work Day on 10/3 from 10am to 1pm
  • Bravo Performing Arts Program Opportunity: Virtual Welcome 9/21
  • Middle School Clubs
  • Technology Support: helpdesk@op97.org
  • PTO Weekly Communication
  • District Information Highlights
  • Community Partner Information: YEMBA Virtual Parent Night on 9/21 & 9/23; Thrive Talks: Calm the Chaos on 9/24


Sharing again:

  • Meal Distribution Date & Information: Tuesdays
  • D97 to Host Virtual Parent Circles on September 23
  • GBMS Remote Learning Webpage
  • Student Attendance
  • 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

Virtual Morning Homework Support

Does your student need virtual homework support? Your student can connect with our Teacher Assistants on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8am to 8:45am for virtual homework help. Students can find the zoom link in their Canvas Lunch Class for the MORNING Homework Support!

Virtual Breakfast with Brooks

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8am to 8:45am, your student can join the zoom to listen to STAMPED read aloud by one of our Teacher Assistants. Your student can listen to the reading to be prepared for the lessons, activities and discussions of the book in their Language and Literature class. Students can find the zoom link in their Canvas Lunch Class for the BREAKFAST WITH BOOKS morning opportunity.

Cell Phones: Away for the Day during Remote Learning

We encourage all students to have their cell phones away for the day during Remote Learning School Hours from 9am to 3:30pm. Please watch this 2 minute video that supports the “Why” behind our expectations. Click on this link for additional information about keeping cell phones “Away for the Day” while attending school, even in our remote setting.


We disencourage student use of cell phones but understand there may be times that a cell phone is used to monitor a student's health, is part of a student's IEP or 504 plan or is accessible to be able to reach family members.

A Greater Good Foundation:

The Greater Good Foundation is geared towards male students of color in 6th through 8th grade. Students will meet with mentors from A Greater Good Foundation during advisory time one day a week. 6th & 7th graders will meet on Mondays from 11:40 am to 12:20 pm and 8th graders will meet on Wednesdays during advisory from 11:40 am to 12:20 pm. This group will use a workshop model with the students and a sample of topics covered include: think tanks, how the brain works, goal setting, etc. More detail on the program is provided in the handout. We are hoping to launch the program the week of September 28th. If you have any questions or would like your student to participate, please contact Stacie Klein at sklein@op97.org.

FLYER

Brooks Garden Work Day - Oct 3, 10am - 1pm

We need help with the following tasks: dismantle & move a raised bed; remove shrubs; prep garden beds for the spring; add wood chips. If you have a preference for any of the tasks, add it in the comment. Also, please bring any tools you have for that task. We will have rakes, shovels, etc. but having extra is welcome!


Please use this link to sign up to participate! https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409084ea9af2ba3f94-brooks
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Middle School Clubs

We will be looking to start a few virtual clubs in the month of October. Please look for more information in the coming weeks.

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

Connect with the Brook’s PTO

Connect with PTO

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


NEW - 6th grade families can connect on FaceBook in the 'Gwendolyn Brooks 6th Grade Families 2020-21' group.

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 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.

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

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.



Meal D97 Meal Distribution: Tuesday, Sept. 22
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 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.
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Free Webinar on Supporting Children During COVID-19


Free Webinar on Supporting Children During COVID-19
Thrive Counseling Center is hosting a free Thrive Talks webinar, "Calm the Chaos!" on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. to provide parents with tools to support their children with the ongoing stress and uncertainty of the pandemic. The session will feature:

  • Child psychologist Heidi Hamernik, PhD
  • OPRFHS Special Ed teacher Douglas Hill
  • District 97 school social worker Lori Janu-Chossek, LCSW
  • PCC Wellness pediatrician Brooke Turnock, MD
  • Steve Parker, Marriage and Family Therapist

Please use the following link to join the webinar:
https://zoom.us/j/93567350158

Thrive Services and Programs

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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