History of  Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School

Named for: Gwendolyn Brooks, Poet
Originally built in 1893 as South or Washington Blvd School and later known as Emerson Junior High School. The new building opened in 2002.

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School student population included 7th and 8th grade students.  The school was renamed Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School in September of 2002 with the inclusion of 6th grade children and the opening of a new facility. Our first 6th grade class graduated 8th grade at the end of the 2004-05 school year.

The 2001-02 junior high school population was 577 students. The 2002-03 school year enrollment was 847 students made up of 287 students in 6th grade, 279 students in 7th grade and 281 8th grade students. The student population this year is 832.

Our incoming 6th grade students are 5th graders from the following District 97 schools:

  1. William Hatch Elementary School
  2. Oliver W. Holmes Elementary
  3. Abraham Lincoln Elementary School
  4. John G. Whittier Elementary School...
  5. A few Special Education children come from Washington Irving Elementary School

The 5th grade students and families are introduced to our staff, the middle school strategies, the curriculum and tour the Brooks facilities during an orientation meeting held in the Brooks auditorium near the end of March each year.

The 6th grade student core classrooms are located at the south end of our building on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors of the C wing. Their lunch, electives and physical education periods do not include 7th or 8th grade students. The 7th and 8th grade core classrooms are in the B wing and the 4th floor of the C wing.

Our middle school centers on a team concept. Each student is assigned to a team of core subject teachers. The team meets daily to discuss the curriculum, individual student progress and student needs. A team leader facilitates these meetings, decisions are made, and an action plan developed on how to best help each student with all phases of their middle school experience.

The teaching staff includes; 6 mathematics teachers, 24 teachers of the remaining core subjects, 9 teachers of children with special needs, 4.5 physical education teachers and 12 teachers of elective subjects.

The school day is 9 periods, including lunch, from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. Each student will have five core classes that include Language Arts, Literacy Skills, Math, Science and Social Studies. Math classes are scheduled based on a student’s ability. Math scheduling by ability allows each teacher to accelerate the learning process in every class regardless of a student’s current ability.

There are three periods a day of “off-team” time during which each student will participate in Physical Education and two electives. All 7th and 8th grade students are scheduled for 6 weeks of Health in lieu of physical education.