Julian Middle Matters

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.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Mission Statement

The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

IB Snapshot Introduction: As you probably know, Julian is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. What does this mean? How does this affect the teaching and learning that happens in our classrooms? We will be using this space throughout the school year to continuously answer these questions by sharing pictures from our classrooms. We hope to show you through pictures how the teaching and learning at our school is in alignment with the IB Mission Statement.

IB Snapshot #1 - The IB Mission Statement states, “other people, with their differences, can also be right.” To achieve this ideal, we need to ensure all students have an opportunity to share their perspective. Our teachers utilize many engaging discussion strategies to make certain that every voice is heard. In these pictures, you see Mr. Colucci’s 6th grade students participating in a Snowball Discussion. The students are given a question to answer on a piece of paper. Once everyone has recorded a response the students toss their papers up into the air like snowballs. Everyone finds a new paper and they respond to the recorded statement. This continues for multiple rounds to give students an opportunity to hear the different perspectives of their classmates.


Student Council - Culture and Climate Focus

Julian Student Council along with teacher leaders are working together to spearhead a new school wide focus on the expectation of being on time to class. In order to support our students to demonstrate the expectation of being on time to class we have put several school wide initiatives in place.

Students who are on time to class (during a randomly selected periods of the day) will be reinforced with a HERO point. These points will allow students to track their progress digitally and work towards a reward of their choice at a school store. The grand opening of our school store will be on February 11 during student lunch hours. The store will be stocked with tangible and intangible (non-food items) identified by survey feedback from our students.  If you have something that you’d like to donate to the school store reach out to our Culture and Climate Coach, Lauren Olson ([email protected]).


All students will also be asked to sign in and out of classes in order to track their whereabouts during the school day. Additionally, they will wear or carry a hall pass that identifies them as having permission to be in the hallway.


We are confident that working together on these initiatives will support our students to maximize learning time in 2019!


8th Grade Author Visit

In conjunction with Anderson’s Books, Julian is proud to share that debut author Adib Khorram will visit with 8th graders on Monday, January 14 during 4th period. Khorram will talk to students about writing and his new novel.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay is wonderfully charming and illuminates a rich world of Iranian food, culture, and experiences. Darius travels to Iran because of his ailing grandfather, but he finds that he still feels the stigma of his weight, long hair, depression, and difficulty connecting to his dad. Sohrab, a family friend, invites Darius to play soccer and becomes his first real friend. Darius is adorkable, growing into his own strong sense of self. Here is what the critics have to say:

“... a refreshing bildungsroman” -Booklist

“... filled with insight into the lives of teens, weaving together the reality of living with mental illness while also dealing with identity and immigration politics” -Kirkus

“Darius is a well-crafted, awkward but endearing character, and his cross-cultural story will inspire reflection about identity and belonging.” -School Library Journal

Any Julian student or staff member can order a copy of the book. Khorram will personalize books purchased before 1/14, and signed copies will be available after the event. Paper copies of orders are available in LA classes, the library, and the office and are due to the library.


Student Led Parent/Teacher Conference – Thursday, January 31                                                            

Families will be receiving information from their student's grade level team leader to sign up for student led parent/teacher conferences. You will get an email from SignUp.com that will enable you to schedule a conference with your student's teacher. Our students lead these conferences. In the next couple of weeks, they will spend time considering the following International Baccalaureate Approaches to Learning Skills: organization, communication, being reflective, and affective skills. Students will complete a reflection form and collect work samples from their classes to share during the conference. Students will also have a pre-meeting with their conferencing teacher in order to ensure that they are prepared and ready to lead this important meeting.


8th Grade Graduation Pictures

Cap and gown graduation photos will be taken on Friday, January 18. Boys should wear a collared shirt and tie.  Girls should have hair neatly arranged, but avoid updos as caps will be worn.

No money will be due on January 18. Proofs will be sent home with students approximately 10 days after picture day, along with instructions on how to view and pay for your pictures online. All orders will ship directly to your home.

 Cap and gown photo retakes will occur on Friday, February 22.

 Contact Ms. Smith, the 8th grade assistant principal, if you have questions ([email protected]).


8th Grade Graduation Date - (in case you missed this communication prior to winter break)

This past summer, we submitted a request to Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRFHS) to hold our eighth-grade graduation ceremonies at its building on Monday, June 3. The high school told us that the day we wanted was not available due to a scheduling conflict involving another organization. We then reached out to several other local venues to find out if they could host us on our preferred date. Unfortunately, none of them could accommodate the size of our group or meet the needs of our students and their families. As a result, we have decided to hold this year’s ceremonies at OPRFHS on Saturday, June 1. The last day of school for 8th grade students will be Friday, May 31.


The ceremony for Brooks students will take place at 10 a.m., while the ceremony for Julian students will take place at 2 p.m. We will provide you with more detailed information about graduation toward the end of the school year. Until then, we want to apologize for any issues or inconvenience this may cause, and encourage you to contact us if you have any questions.


PTO Sponsored Honor Roll Breakfasts

A big thank you goes out to our PTO for sponsoring our Honor Roll breakfasts this past week. We had a great turnout of students, parents, family members, and teachers. We look forward to seeing you at the Trimester 2 Honor Roll breakfast in April!


JV Boys Basketball Team

Yesterday the JV boys’ basketball team finished their season by taking second place at the end of season tournament.  It was quite an accomplishment as they went into the tournament as the #5 seed and upset #1 seed Roosevelt in the semifinals.  Although we lost to Brooks in the championship, the boys came a long way and showed tremendous improvement.  


Winter MAP Testing Schedule:

Tuesday, January 15 - Thursday, January 17

8th Gr. Tuesday Morning / MAP Reading Assessment

Wednesday Afternoon / MAP Math Assessment

7th Gr. Tuesday Afternoon / MAP Reading Assessment

            Thursday Morning / MAP Math Assessment

6th Gr. Wednesday Morning / MAP Reading Assessment

            Thursday Afternoon / MAP Math Assessment


Illinois 5Essentials Survey

We are administering the Illinois 5Essentials Survey again this year to certified staff and parents/guardians from all 10 of our schools, as well as students in grades four through eight. Please click here to learn how parents/guardians can participate in this important endeavor  and click here to access the parent/guardian version of the survey. Please note that school-level reports will only be generated if at least 20 percent of our parents/guardians complete the survey, which can be accessed until Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

We need your feedback!


Upcoming Events:

Monday, January 14 – PTO Meeting at 7:00 pm in the Julian Media Center (3rd Floor)

Monday, January 21 – No School / Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday

Thursday, January 31 – Student-Led Parent Teacher Conferences


Dr. Todd Fitzgerald

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