Week of September 12, 2022
In This Issue
Highlights from this week's Middle Matters:
- Important Upcoming Dates
- SY22-23 School Calendar
- Curriculum Night Presentations and Feedback
- PTO Events
- Girls on the Rise Information (Repeat)
- GBMS Yearbook Purchasing Details (Repeat)
- Allergy Safe School Information - No Nuts (Repeat)
- School Lunch Options (Repeat)
- Clubs and Sports Information
- BRAVO Information
- Student Announcements
Highlights from GBMS PTO and District
- PTO News
- District News
Repeated Topics in Middle Matters for your Reference
- Stay Home When Sick (Repeat)
- Process for Reporting Positive COVID-19 Cases to D97 Schools (Repeat)
- How to Report Student Absences (Repeat)
- Office Phones and Dropping off Items at Brooks (Repeat)
- School Day (Bell Schedule and A/B/C rotation) (Repeat)
- Cell Phone/Mobile Devices Away for the Day (Repeat)
- Tardies to Class (Repeat)
- Water Bottle Reminders (Repeat)
- School Registration Information
- School Physical and Immunization Information
- Tech Support
Community Partner News
- Friday Night Place
- OPRF Hockey
- Imagine OPRF Project 1 Tours and IGOV Meeting
- NAMI - SUPPORT4U
- Leyden Family Services
If you have questions about the upcoming school year, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact my Executive Coordinator, Ms. Angel Banks, at email@example.com or (708) 524-7636.
Our administrative team is also available to help answer your questions.
Angelica Love Curriculum & Instruction AP (6th grade, 7th grade) firstname.lastname@example.org
Antoine Bland Curriculum & Instruction AP (8th grade, multineeds) email@example.com
Stacie Klein Culture & Climate AP firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday - A Day; Tuesday - B day; Wednesday - C Day, Thursday - A Day and Friday - B Day
No School: Monday, September 26th, 2022
No School: Wednesday, October 5th, 2022
No School: Monday, October 10th, 2022
Conferences: Thursday, October 27th from 12:45pm to 8pm
School Pictures: Wednesday, November 2, 2022
No School: Tuesday, November 8th, 2022
End of Trimester 1: Tuesday, November 22nd
Trimester 1 Report Card Emailed Home: Friday, December 9th
Join Upcoming PTO Meeting - Monday, 9/12/22 @ 6p in Brooks Media Center
It's official! We are back in the building. Come out to meet other Brooks parents, hear about school updates from Principal Capuder, and learn about current PTO efforts. Help out by volunteering!
Brooks PTO Taco Night @ Tacos '76!
Brooks Dine Out @ Tacos '76 - 9/15/22 11a-8p
Kick off Latinx Heritage Month this Thursday at Tacos '76! For all Dine In and Pick Up orders that mention "BROOKS," 30% of sales will go to the Brooks PTO.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED -- BACK TO SCHOOL EVENT
Back to School Event. - 9/22/22 5:30-7p - Volunteers Needed!
Hi Brooks Parents! We are gearing up to have a blast on Thursday, September 22nd 5:30pM - 7pM to celebrate the new school year. Bravo and the GBMS PTO are partnering to host a party for the entire family that you won't want to miss. In fact, we NEED YOU :) We have 40 volunteer slots to fill. Click the link below and be a part of the fun. THANK YOU in advance.
Girls on the Rise
This letter intends to invite your student to participate in an essential and beneficial curriculum focus empowerment program for black, and brown girls entitle Girls on the Rise. The purpose of Girls on the Rise is to help your student discuss and deal with issues and situations that girls often face during their pre-teen and teenage years. At the same time, they are focusing on social, emotional learning such as self-management, relationship skills, decision making and social awareness while embracing and celebrating their culture. Girls on the Rise will provide your daughter with the opportunity to discuss these issues in a brave, open and supportive environment.
Girls on the Rise will take place for Roosevelt Middle School students on Thursdays after school 3:20 pm-4:20pm starting September 22nd, Gwendolyn Brooks' students on Wednesdays and Percy Julian's students on Fridays. D97 groups will occurred during student's SOAR or advisory periods and anticipated to start the week of September 19th.
Please complete the registration form below. If you have any questions, please call or text me at (708) 622-8673 or email me at email@example.com
Dominique Hickman, M.S
GBMS 22-23 Yearbook purchasing details
It's time to purchase your GBMS 2022-2023 Yearbook! If you purchase your yearbook now through September 30th you will receive a 10% discount! Use the purchase link below to get started. You can also use your TreeRing account to share photos with our Yearbook Team throughout the year as well as design your very own custom pages (first two pages are free). If you have any questions regarding the yearbook, please contact Meaghan Pabellon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purchase Link: https://www.treering.com/purchase?PassCode=1014096931934358
GBMS Passcode: 1014096931934358
Keep D97 Schools Allergy Safe - No Nuts Allowed
Please visit https://bit.ly/3j0KGTB to access information about the district’s food allergy management program, as well as tips and options for identifying food that is safe for snacks and field trips.
Nuts and nut products are not allowed in any District 97 schools during the 2022-23 school year. This includes products that are labeled “processed in a facility that shares equipment with nut products.”
We appreciate your help in adhering to this preventative measure.
School Lunch Options
Hot lunch will be available to students who wish to participate and have a funded or an approved lunch account, starting the first day of school. If you have questions regarding your student's lunch balance, you may contact the Lunch Manager, Shetrice Baker at Sbaker2@op97.org. To make payments on student lunch accounts please visit, https://www.mymealtime.com/signin.aspx
ADDITIONAL LUNCH OPTIONS
- PTO Tuesday STARSHIP Lunch Options will be available.Details can be found here:
Sign up at https://forms.gle/MaYCqRX2MTLWxFqNA (FINAL DAY TO SIGN UP IS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th, 2022)
Make payment at your chosen amount https://sites.google.com/view/brooks-pto-starship/home
- BRAVO Friday PIZZA Lunch Option will be available.
MILK ONLY CHARGE
As a reminder, if your student takes milk only during lunch, there is a cost of $.45 per carton, regardless of your family's school meal eligibility status. If you have not already done so, please add funds into your student’s meal account to accommodate the milk only charge. If your student takes the full school meal, milk is included. Thank you!
CLUBS & SPORTS INFORMATION - Fall 2022
BROOKS SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY 2022
Students in grades six through eight are welcome to join the cross country team. The Cross Country coaches for 2022 are Tom Rocco (email@example.com), Lary Grimaldi (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kim Beader (email@example.com). Cross Country is a no-cut sport at the middle schools. Students who have all the necessary paperwork completed (sports physical-the Interscholastic Sports “yes” box needs to be checked, sports permission slip and concussion form) and turned in will be accepted onto the team through Friday, August 26th, or once the 75 available spots have been filled. All students must have a copy of an updated physical to hand to the coach (we will not have access to nurse's files) before practicing for the 2022-2023 cross country season. Please see the linked information from the coaches which outlines what is needed each practice and the calendar of practices for the month of August. Wednesday, August 17th at 9:00am is the Meet and Greet. The First practice was Thursday, August 18th, 2022.
Students will not be permitted to start with the team prior to all necessary paperwork being turned into the coaches.
Best Buddies Club
Hello Brooks students! Are you passionate about inclusion? If so, Best Buddies is for you! Best Buddies is the world's largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Here at Best Buddies we will strive to create a sense of belonging here at Brooks through inclusive activities and social outings! Students will have the opportunity to build one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities, offering social interactions while improving the quality of life and the level of inclusion. People with IDD form meaningful connections with peers, gain self-confidence and self-esteem, share interests, experiences and activities that other students may also enjoy! If you have any questions please reach out to Ms. Malina (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ms. Sefcik (email@example.com)! Our first meeting will be this week Sept 14. Please see Ms. Sefcik in B2o5 for a permission slip.
Do you love book design, journalism, and/or photography? Then GBMS Yearbook Club is for you! Come be a part of our amazing team as we create the 2022/23 yearbook. Our first meeting is October 6th at 3:30-4:30 in D304. Come with a charged Chromebook. All are welcome!
Intramurals will be every Monday and Thursday after school 3:30-4:30 and meets in the third floor gym. Depending on gym space the activities we will start the year off with will be basketball, football, frisbee and badminton. Please pick up permission slips from Mr. Gillespie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Brook’s very own group that welcomes students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies—ALL are welcome here! Our first meeting will take place Monday, September 12th at 3:35pm in the Brooks Media Center. If you have any questions, please reach out to Ms. Berman (email@example.com).
Spoken Word Club
We look forward to beginning a new year of Spoken Word Club in October. Please stay tuned for an update that will include a specific time and place.
BEAT (Brooks Earth Action Team)
Last year, some activities that our club did included:cooking food that we grew, taking political action to save an endangered prairie, taking a field trip to remove invasive species (that we then turned into an amazing pesto to eat!), hosting a Free Thrift Store for the whole school to celebrate Fast Fashion February and much more! What will we do this year? It’s up to the members! If you’re interested in nature, ecology, the environment, art or political action, this club is for you! We meet Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30 starting Sept 6 for returning members & Sept. 13 for new members!
Chess Club / Game Club
Meeting in Room C 108 Time: 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Coordinator: Mark Hausfeld firstname.lastname@example.org
The goal of Chess / Game Club is to provide enrichment, teach, sharpen and reinforce game skills while learning to appreciate not only the games themselves but good sportsmanship as well. I hope to help all players, regardless of skill level, improve their “gaming” skills.
**All permission slips can be emailed, dropped in the main office, or brought on the first day our Club meets: September: Wednesday 14th, Wednesday 21st, Thursday 29th; October: Monday 3rd, Thursday 13th, Wednesday 19th More dates are coming soon!
Want to learn how to crochet or want to hang with others that like crocheting? Crochet club is back on! We will now meet Wednesdays 3:30-4:45. What to bring: Crochet hook (I personally like 3.5mm but look at your yarn for size), Yarn (I have some if needed). Knitters are welcome! Meeting Wednesdays in B202 from 3:30-4:45!
Informational meeting on Thursday, September 15th at 3:30. The meeting will be about 20 minutes long. If you can’t make it on the 15th, send an email to Mrs. Murray to be included in the assigned groups. email@example.com. Art club officially starts the following week on September 22, from 3:30-4:30 every Thursday.
Auditions will be September 12th, 13th, or 14th at 8am in D105
Students only need to come to one of these dates
Students must bring IDs and report to the main entrance (Kenilworth) the morning they audition. Mr. Blackman will let you in at 7:55
Students do not need to prepare anything ahead of time
For more information regarding the clubs (see 2nd tab on spreadsheet):
Brooks 2022 - 2023 Extra-Curricular Activities, which is being updated weekly.
Raise Your Voice Musical Revue - Auditions
7th/8th Grade Fall Musical - Raise Your Voice Musical Revue!
8th Grade Auditions - Tuesday, August 30
7th Grade Auditions - Wednesday, August 31
PTO Weekly Communication
PTO Starship Lunches are here!
SEPTEMBER 13TH - LAST DAY TO SIGN-UP FOR STARSHIP LUNCHES
What is Starship lunch? Take a break from packing or buying lunch every Tuesday! The Brooks PTO is once again pleased to offer a fun lunch option for students on Tuesdays from Starship Restaurant.
Everyone can participate! Because we are serious about inclusion and Brooks being a school where all kids feel that they belong, we determined that our fundraisers shouldn’t be a source of exclusion for any students. In the past, the cost of Starship lunches excluded some students from participating. To address this, we have implemented a Pay What You Can model.
Details can be found here:
Sign up at https://forms.gle/MaYCqRX2MTLWxFqNA
Make payment at your chosen amount https://sites.google.com/view/brooks-pto-starship/home
The PTO can't exist without YOU!
Do you want to have the inside scoop on what is going on at Brooks and D97? Do you want to make our school better than it ever as we transition back to a more ‘normal’ school day? NOW is the time to get involved!! We are looking to fill positions for the 2021-2022 school year and have some critical roles open! Sign up here and email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions! We look forward to hearing from you!
Connect with the Brook’s PTO
Connect with PTO
Follow us on FaceBook at @gwendolynbrookspto, or email us at email@example.com.
Order your Brooks Spirit Wear
Support the PTO, a local black-owned business, and get awesome Brooks Spirit wear all at the same time! Brooks Spirit wear can be ordered at any time visiting the Brooks section of the Shabby Fly website. Order will be shipped to your home!
2022 - 2023 District News and Information
D97 Back-to-School Information
As a reminder, we have created a central location for important back-to-school updates and documents: https://www.op97.org/back-to-school.
The district’s COVID-19 Health Safety Plan is linked below and can also be found, along with other COVID-19 resources and information, by going to https://www.op97.org/updatecenter.
Combined Student and Family Handbook for 2022-23
This year, the district worked to merge the Effective Student Behavior Handbook and Family Handbook into one comprehensive resource, the Student and Family Handbook, in order to streamline information for families and staff. The new handbook contains important information regarding school policies, procedures, student rights and responsibilities, and important notifications required by state and federal law.
The purpose of this handbook is to outline the expectations for building an educational community where everyone feels safe, included and able to learn. Having shared expectations, procedures and policies helps us respect all members of the school community in which we learn and work every day. Please take the time to read through the handbook and review it with your child.
Meal Information for the 2022-23 School Year
The breakfast and lunch menus for our elementary and middle schools are available at http://www.op97.org/business-office/food-service. During the 2022-23 school year, students may:
Bring a nut-free lunch from home.
Order school lunch.
PLEASE NOTE: During the 2022-23 school year, all students will be required to pay for their breakfast and lunch meals unless they are directly approved by the State of Illinois or approved after completing the 2022-23 Free and Reduced Meal Application.
Food Allergies/Nut-Safe Schools
Nuts and nut products are not allowed in any District 97 schools during the 2022-23 school year. This includes products that are labeled “processed in a facility that shares equipment with nut products.” Our schools have been nut-safe for the past two years—helping to create safer, more inclusive environments for all of our students.
Please visit https://bit.ly/3AyGPpI to access information about the district’s food allergy management program, as well as tips and options for identifying food that is safe for snacks and field trips. We appreciate your support of this important initiative!
The district is currently accepting fee payments for the 2022-23 school year. Full payment is due by September 30, 2022. You can access the fee information by visiting https://www.op97.org/business-office/fees.
Text Messages from District 97
District 97 uses the notification system BrightArrow to communicate with families via email and phone calls. We have started using periodic text messages to send reminders directly to parents' cell phones. In order to receive text messages, parents must opt in by texting YES to 87569. Once you have subscribed, you will receive a text confirmation.
Texts may appear from District 97 from 87569 or a phone number with a 424 area code (you may wish to save them to your contacts).
Wellness Check-in Program
Please reach out to your school's school psychologist or social worker if you have social-emotional concerns about your child. If your child is experiencing an immediate mental health crisis, please call the Thrive 24hr 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.
Repeated Topics For Reference
Process for Reporting Positive COVID-19 Cases to D97 Schools
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they must complete the following steps:1) In order to notify the school nurse and receive a return-to-school date, families/staff must complete the confidential COVID-19 Positive Case Notification Form as soon as possible following the positive test. Information provided will also be shared with the Oak Park Department of Public Health.
2) Families must continue to report student absences via the school attendance line, and staff must enter their absences in Frontline.
To see the rules for isolation and quarantine, click here. Additional resources are linked below.
STUDENT ATTENDANCE - How to Report Student Absences
Office Phones and Dropping off Items at Brooks
Please note that our office staff sets the phone to go to voicemail from 8:30am to 9:15am daily. Please leave a message of your student's absence or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office staff will listen to voicemails to call back or direct calls as needed after 9:15am daily. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
Dropping off Items at Brooks for your Student
You may drop off forgotten items for your student in the main office. Please note that we will not call into your student's classroom, as it is a disruption to the learning for other students and the teacher in the classroom. Your student should plan to stop by the main office on their way to lunch or between passing periods, if they think you may have dropped off the forgotten item for them to retrieve. We appreciate your understanding.
We will be following a block schedule again this school year. Students will attend 4 of their 8 classes Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday following an A/B Schedule and on Wednesdays following C Schedule where students will attend all of their classes. On the weeks where there is a day with no school, students classes will be A and B days only.
Cell Phone/Mobile Devices Away for the Day
Cell phones/Mobile Devices are not to be used during school hours. This includes calling parents/guardians due to illness, requesting items to be dropped off, etc.
Students can ask a teacher to use the classroom phone or the phone in the main office, if needed.
Cell phones are to be turned off/on silent upon entering the school building, stored in the student’s locker, and not used until the dismissal bell rings.
More Information can be found here. This will also be shared with students during the first week of school.
Tardies to Class
Being on time to class is essential for optimal learning for all students. This school year when a student reaches 15 tardies within a trimester, they will meet with their SOAR teacher to develop a strategy to ensure the student will get to all their classes on time. At 25 tardies within a trimester, the student will be assigned a time during their social time to meet with an administrator to reflect on root causes of tardies and develop a plan, additionally, parents/guardians will be contacted. At 35 tardies within the trimester, parents/guardians will be contacted to meet with their student and an administrator to develop a tardy contract.
School Registration for Returning Students
Registration for all returning District 97 students was due June 30. If you have not yet submitted your online registration, please do so immediately. Students who register late are not guaranteed to be approved by the first day of classes. Please note that only students who have completed registration and been approved by the district will be allowed to start school on Aug. 25. Emails either approving your student or requesting additional information come from InfoSnap@is.op97.org and are sent to the email listed for "Parent/Guardian 1" in our system. Please check your spam and junk folders for these emails.
New and Kindergarten Students
Parents who have a new or kindergarten student must start their registration by making an appointment at the district office. Appointments can be made by clicking here. Note: In order to make an appointment you will need to log in with your registration account, or create an account on the login page.
School Physicals and Immunizations
Incoming 6th-grade students and/or any new students who have transferred into District 97, MUST have a wellness physical and dental exam dated no less than one year prior to August 25th, 2021. Your child's physical must have been performed after August 25th, 2020 . Your child may not be admitted to school without these documents. Please submit the documents by mail or in person no later than August 25, 2021 to the following:
Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School
Attn: Health Office, Nurse Tracy Biggerstaff
325 S. Kenilworth Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302
SPORTS PHYSICALS – The State of Illinois Office of Education requires that any student who wishes to participate in interscholastic sports MUST have an Athletic Physical Examination, dated no less than one year prior to the first day of the current school year, anytime after August 25, 2020. It is MANDATORY that your child have this physical before they will be eligible to try out or participate in any interscholastic activity.
To access student health forms please visit http://www.op97.org/hr/health-requirements
**For any family having difficulty securing an appointment to get the physical completed, please email our School Nurse, Tracy Biggerstaff, email@example.com.
Technical support will be available from school and district technology staff by accessing the Help Desk through email, firstname.lastname@example.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.
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 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.
Friday Night Place
GREETINGS TO ALL STUDENTS, PARENTS/FAMILIES, FACULTY, STAFF, AND ADMINISTRATORS FRIDAY NIGHT PLACE IS KICKING OFF FOR THE 28TH YEAR! FOR NEW AND RETURNING STUDENTS REGISTRATION AND ACTIVITIES FOR THE FRIDAY NIGHT PLACE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM OFFICIALLY BEGINS THIS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH, 3:30PM TO 5:30PM. THE LOCATION REMAINS THE SAME, PERCY JULIAN MIDDLE SCHOOL. STUDENTS WHO ARE ATTENDING, PLEASE COME PREPARED WITH YOUR GYM SHORTS AND OR JOGGING PANTS, T-SHIRT, AND GYM SHOES. IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING FURTHER DETAILS PLEASE CONTACT COACH JEROME AT (773)-793-0867. ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT, AND FOR ALL NEW COMERS, WELCOME! GET READY, GET READY, GET READY!
WHAT: FNP Announcement
WHO: 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Graders
WHERE: Oak Park, Percy Julian Middle School
WHEN: Beginning Friday, September 16th, 2022
TIME: 3:30p.m. - 5:30p.m.
OPRF Huskies Hockey
- Sunday, September 18, 2022
- Ridgeland Commons
- On-Ice: 5:15 pm - 6:15 pm
- Players should arrive 20-30 minutes prior to start
- Meet and Greet with OPRF Hockey Director/Varsity Head Coach, Mike Murphy and JV Head Coach, David Rutkowski
IMAGINE OPRF PROJECT 1 TOURS & IGOV MEETING
SUPPORT4U is a mental health resource for our students to anonymously text licensed mental health clinicians any time of the day for assistance or guidance. Students can text for any issue; typical reasons might include social issues, anxiety, depression, substance use, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, bullying, abuse, or any other mental health-related topic. The clinician’s goal is to steer the student to available resources in the school and community. To use, students just need to go to Support4U.live on their phone, click on the Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School logo and hit send. Help is just a text away.
Thrive Services and Programs
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.