April 16

District 97 Vision

Oak Park Elementary School District 97 will create a positive learning environment for all students that is equitable, inclusive and focused on the whole child.
Twitter Highlights: Week 31

Please click on the above link to see highlights from this 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!

Brooks News to Know

8th Grade Lunch Balances

8th Grade Families,

We need your help with how you would us like to transfer your lunch balance at the end of the school year. Please use the survey below. If you have questions, please call the main office.


8th Grade Graduation

Last Day:

All eighth graders are expected to attend school on their last day, Thursday, May 31st. Report cards will be mailed home.


Graduation will take place on May 31, 2018 at Oak Park and River Forest High School. 201 N. Scoville Avenue, Oak Park. Doors open at 7:00pm ceremony will begin at 7:30pm prompt.


Each student will receive three tickets for the auditorium seating and two tickets for the OPRF annex seating . The OPRF Annex is located in the HS cafeteria. There, you will watch a live feed of the ceremony. Admission to the auditorium and annex for parents, guardians, and guests is by ticket only. Each person in your party must have a ticket.

Live Feed of the Ceremony:

The graduation ceremony can also be viewed online through YouTube. Share this link with anyone who is not able to attend the ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt1Q4KTwCKg

There will be an 8th grade packet with additional information and permission slips sent home with our 8th grade students on Friday, April 13th.

Update on the Last Day of the 2017-18 School Year

State law requires that Illinois public schools be in session a minimum of 176 days. As a result of this requirement, the district will need to add time to the end of the school year to make up the emergency day used on Friday, February 9.

During its meeting on Tuesday, April 10, the Board of Education will review a recommendation from the administration to change the last day of school from Thursday, May 31, to Friday, June 1. This will be a half day of student attendance at all 10 of our schools. This change will not impact the date or time for our eighth grade graduation ceremonies.

More information on the last day of school is available on the district's website, which you can access by visiting http://bit.ly/2IwwgFM.

Best Buddies Color Run 2018

It is time to register here for the 2018 Best Buddies Color Run! Register before April 18th to guarantee a t-shirt size of your choice. This is a great activity to do with your whole Buddy Group!
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Brooks Art Department 4th Annual Upcycling Extravaganza and fundraiser

SAVE THE DATE!!! and SAVE your trash for us to make into treasures.

Brooks Art Department 4th Annual Upcycling Extravaganza and fundraiser

May 19th (Evening hours TBD)

Bottle Rocket Art Gallery

7322 Madison St, Forest Park

Brooks art students are saving the environment one piece of art at a time! Students will discuss sustainability, our growing landfills, and up-cycling (giving new life to old items). In true art teacher style, we gather free and discarded items that our students will turn into art. All items will be for sale including: faux stained glass windows, tables, chairs, shelves, frames, wall hooks, chairs, decorative boxes, leather arts, jewelry, mosaics, wall art, decorations, & more! Fundraising efforts will benefit The Brooks Art Department for special materials, tools and guest teaching artists.

Cleaning out? We'd love donations... things that work well are wooden chairs, small tables, frames, shelves, and interesting, quirky things we can repurpose. Also, we are collecting straws. If you get one at a restaurant, save for us! Not sure if what you have is a good fit? Shoot a pic and send to Mrs. Murray or Ms. Pabellon.

Last thing... Ms. Pabellon will begin maternity leave the first week of May and Ms. Williams (retired art teacher) will take her leave to help finish out this project and the year. We are excited to collaborate together!

District 97 Ethnic Festival

Big Bang Event Speaker at Triton

Big Bang Event Speaker

Nagin Cox: NASA/JPL Spacecraft Operations Engineer

Dare to Do Mighty Things

Reaching Out Into the Solar System

Exploring the Solar System is an international effort that involves many nations. The robotic missions that pave the way push the frontiers of our abilities as a species and return data that illuminate the way all humans look at themselves. While there are examples of solitary human exploration, most endeavors that expand our boundaries involve teams of people working together for a common goal. This is one of those stories.

Ms. Cox will give three presentations.

April 28, 2018

10:30 a.m. for middle and high school students

1:30 p.m. for high school/college students and professionals

7:30 p.m. for all ages

Reservations are requested.

To RSVP, call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3372 between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or send an email to cernan@triton.edu. When making a reservation, please provide a contact person, phone number and email address, which talk you plan to attend, the number of people in your party, and if you are a member of the Cernan Earth and Space Center.

These programs are open to the public.

Please help spread the word as we inspire the next generation of explorers.

For details, visit www.Triton.edu/Cernan/NaginCox

Who is Nagin Cox?

Nagin Cox has been exploring since she decided as a teenager that she wanted to work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She was born in Bangalore, India, and grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her experiences as a child in a Muslim household showed her how easily we separate ourselves based on gender, race or nationality, and it inspired her to do something that brings people together instead of dividing them. The Space Program helps the world "look up" and remember that we are one world. Thus, she has known from the time she was 14 years old that she wanted to work on missions of robotic space exploration.

Cox realized her childhood dream and has been a spacecraft operations engineer at NASA/JPL for over 20 years. She has held leadership and system engineering positions on interplanetary robotic missions including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Kepler exoplanet hunter, Mars InSight and the Mars Curiosity Rover.

In 2015, Cox was honored as the namesake for Asteroid 14061 by its discoverers. She has also received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals. She is a U.S. Department of State STEM Speaker and has spoken to audiences around the world on the stories of the people behind the missions. She has also served on Cornell University’s President's Council for Cornell Women.

Before her time at JPL, Cox served for 6 years in the US Air Force including duty as a Space Operations Officer at NORAD/US Space Command. She holds engineering degrees from Cornell University and the Air Force Institute of Technology as well as a psychology degree from Cornell. (Sometimes she is not sure which one she uses more: the engineering degree or the psychology degree.)

Cox is currently a Tactical Mission Lead on the Curiosity Rover, and every day at NASA/JPL exploring space is as rewarding as the first.

Learn More About Nagin Cox.





Community Engagement Fellow at Cradles to Crayons

Bringing the entire Chicagoland community together to “spring green” their closets on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2018 and donate their unused items to Cradles to Crayons. For more information on where to bring your donated items and who benefits from your generosity, please see the linked flyer below:


8th Grade Family High School Transition Information

To keep up-to-date on the activities and opportunities for your soon to be high schooler, please visit OPRFHS webpage often! The high school also sends out communications periodically to incoming Freshman class families - so check your email and mail for communications from the high school.

Here is link to OPRFHS Transition PowerPoint shared at their January meeting with 8th grade families.

Yearbook Orders

To order a yearbook, please use this link:


Recognizing Staff who Make a Difference

If you or your student would like to recognize any staff member (a teacher, a teacher assistant, social worker, librarian, front office staff, lunchroom staff, custodial staff or school administrator) please take a moment to complete this form.

Thank you to those who have completed this form to recognize a GBMS staff member. All individuals receive a printed certificate highlighting your appreciation for their contributions!

Please be sure your background check has been completed if you'd like to volunteer to chaperone Field Trips

Parents must make an appointment for background checks. You can go here to find the link to schedule a time for a background check to be completed.

Breakfast and Lunch Menus for April

Here is the link to the April Menus.

Sports and Club Information


The CAN DO CHALLENGE has started!!!

Student can ring money or non-perishable food items to your advisory to donate to the OPRF Food Pantry. The points they earn will be added to their advisory’s total for the year. The advisory with the most points after this project gets to take a field trip to deliver the food to the food pantry and lunch at Lou Malnati’s!

  • Each dollar = 10 points

  • Each specialty food item = 5 points (Nut butters, canned chicken/tuna, low-sodium soups, whole grains, low-sodium beans)

  • All other food and toiletry items = 1 point

Advisories will be collecting items through April 30th.

You can also donate through the link listed below.




Monday 4/16 Home Game.

Wednesday 4/18 Away game at Northlake

Thursday 4/19 Home Game.

Varsity will have practice Monday morning 4/16 at 8 am.

CLUB OPPORTUNITIES (can join anytime)

Each club meets weekly, unless otherwise notated below.


  • ORFF Ensemble from 8:00am to 8:50am in D104 (first meeting was on 9/18). Participation is open to all students - no audition required, but enrollment is limited to 40 students. Interested students can sign-up and pick up permission slips outside of the music room (D104). For additional information contact Mr. Carrillo - fcarrillo@op97.org. Still opportunity to join.
  • Ultimate Frisbee Postponed until further notice. If you have any questions, please email Ms. Dajani at rdajani@op97.org or Mr. Gillespie at mgillespie@op97.org. (Weather Permitting)
  • Spoken Word from 3:30pm to 5:30 pm in room B205. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Lee at mlee@op97.org


  • EcoEagles from 3:30pm to 4:30pm in room C302. If you have any questions, please email Ms. Stamp at lstamp@op97.org.
  • Rainbow Tribe after school until 4:30 in 2nd floor conference room next to PE classroom. Permission slip found here. Here are the dates club will meet: April: 24 and May: 8, 22, 29
    If you have any questions, please email Ms. Olsen at jolsen@op97.org



  • Spanish Club from 3:30 to 4:30pm in room B308. Here are all the Spanish club meeting dates for the year: 4/26, 5/10, 5/24. If you have any questions please contact Mr. Lagioia at vlagioia@op97.org or Ms. Villalobos at cvillalobos@op97.org.
  • Yearbook Club meeting from 3:30 to 4:30pm in room B202. We will meet every Thursday afternoon until the yearbook has been “put to bed." The yearbook goes to the publisher on April 25. We welcome all shutterbugs! If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Marsha Turner-Reid at mturnerreid@op97.org or Ms. Meaghan Pabellon at mpabellon@op97.org



BRAVO Opportunities

  • Guitar Club & Dance Studio are ongoing - registration forms are due to the BRAVO Office (D103). Open to ALL Brooks Students and is FREE to join! For more info visit: bravoperformingarts.org
  • NEEDED: Pizza lunch volunteers on Friday. Keep an eye out for sign-ups on the BRAVO website!days from 10:55am-1:15pm. E-mail bravo@op97.org if you are available and interested!

Get connected to PTO

PTO Information

Earn money for the Brooks PTO: When you shop at Amazon, begin your shopping through the link here and our PTO will earn 0.5% of your total sale, at no expense to you. First time Amazon Smile shoppers will find our organization by typing Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School Parent-Teacher Organization. Thank you for your continued support.

Subscribe to PTO Bulletin:

When you registered your child, if you selected the option “No to Directory”, the school can not share your contact information with the PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization). If you'd like to subscribe to PTO Bulletin use link below:

Next Community meeting is Monday, May, 7th 2018 at 7pm in the media center.

Next Coffee with Capuder is Friday, May 11th, 2018 at 8:30am to 9:30am in the Commons. We are inviting incoming 6th grade families to join us on this morning as well.