May 11, 2020

Remote Learning Middle Matters

PowerSchool - Monitoring Student Engagement during Remote Learning

Grades and ongoing formative feedback are critical tools for communicating academic progress to families and educators alike. During Remote Learning, schools are able to provide meaningful, ongoing feedback and grades to students based on the work completed during the remote learning period, but your child’s final grade will not be harmed as a result of school closures and remote learning. Grades entered in PowerSchool for work completed during the remote learning period can only improve your child’s grade. For work not completed, this is denoted by a RLINC mark for the assignment and will not negatively impact a student’s overall grade in the class. Therefore, the grade displayed in PowerSchool for a class that is typically used to indicate a student’s engagement in their learning currently isn’t a reliable indicator. Click here to learn more about the added information included in the PowerSchool portal, which can be reviewed by a student or a parent/guardian.

Please be assured that there is continued flexibility and understanding around students completing assignments. The assignments shared during remote learning have suggested due dates and can be found in Canvas for each of your student’s classes. The student has the flexibility to submit these assignments when they are able to do so based on what works best for the family. If you are planning to have your student engage in completing past assignments, we would recommend only adding 1 or 2 of these assignments to each week of your student’s current weekly learning. Please feel free to reach out if your needs change or if there are supports you would find helpful.

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.

Registration Open for 2020-21 School Year in District 97

Returning Students - Registration for returning students will be open May 6 through May 20, 2020 .All current families received an email on May 6 from to remotely register your child for the 20-21 school year. We ask that all returning students complete registration as quickly as possible in order to accurately plan staffing, materials, devices, etc. for the upcoming school year. Remember to upload any required documents to InfoSnap (PowerSchool Enrollment) before submitting. Click here for the May 6 communication to families. Detailed information about the returning registration process is available on the district website at If you have any additional questions, please email

"Mindful Middle-Schoolers" Program

The Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township, Oak Park Elementary School District 97, and DePaul University’s Community Counseling Center have partnered to deliver a vast array of educational and therapeutic services to staff, families, and youth through the “Mindful Middle-Schoolers Program.” Below is a list of upcoming VIRTUAL talks, which will be held via Zoom. Registration via the Eventbrite links below is requested. Once you register, a link will be emailed to you four hours prior to the start of each event.

"Mindful Middle-Schoolers" Community Talk Flyer

Mental Health Wellness Appointments

We recognize that this time of crisis may create stress and trigger emotional difficulties for your child. D97’s school psychology department is offering acute (short-term) access to mental health wellness checks. Scheduled appointments are available daily between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for mental health triage services during the COVID-19 school closure beginning April 13, 2020.

Parents/Caregivers, you may sign up your student for a 15-minute slot here: if you think your child would benefit from an empathetic ear and a few coping and self-care tips. When signing your child up, please provide the email (for video chat) or phone number you’d like us to contact at the time of the appointment.

Although this crisis may also be tough for adults, these mental health triage appointments are reserved to focus on student needs. If you have questions as a caregiver/parent, please email your building’s assigned school psychologist, your child’s educational team, or refer to this resource guide, created by the District 97 Social Work Department:

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.

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 (no school Friday, May 8th)

Sign up here

Brooks Culture and Climate/Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning Choice Board:

Use the Middle School SEL Choice Board to engage in activities focusing on the 5 SEL skills listed below.

Self- Awareness : The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

Self-Management:The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

Social Awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship Skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

Responsible Decision Making: The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.

Additional Resources that can be accessed online

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

7th Grade: Abby Berman at

8th Grade: Hannah Boudreau at

Brooks Media Center

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:

The page is linked on the GBMS Library Home Page and on the Student Announcements Page in Canvas.

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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

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, 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, with any questions on how to setup your parent/guardian PowerSchool account.

Technology Support

Technical support will be available from school and district technology staff by accessing the Help Desk through email, 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.

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

Brooks PTO Business Meeting

Join us for the last PTO Business meeting of the year on Monday, May 11 at 6:00pm via Zoom. We will be discussing plans for next year.

Meeting ID: 721 116 2639

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 15: 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 8th Coffee, which will 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

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.

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
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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 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 ( 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

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.
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Future Huskie Graduation Gift Ideas

Looking for a graduation gift for your future Huskie and would like to help support a local business on Marion Street in Oak Park? Check out for some great ideas. Proceeds go to the OPRFHS Booster Club.

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 >
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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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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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