The Oak Park Advantage

April 2021 Second Edition


Oak Park Schools is excited to announce the release of a mobile app designed specifically to keep our families better informed and connected to what’s going on in our schools.

The new Oak Park Schools mobile app for both Apple and Android devices will keep you connected while you are on the go. The app is FREE and available for download today!

The app will deliver real time school news to your smart-device for fast, up-to-date access. With the app you can:

  • Get the latest district and school news
  • Select the schools you want to follow
  • Get push notifications about breaking news, closures, weather, events, and more
  • See the latest photos from school events
  • Tap to see school locations, phone numbers, and staff information

Download the new app in 3 easy steps:

From a smart-device, go to the iTunes App Store® or Google Play®

Search Oak Park Schools

Then select the “Oak Park Schools” app for free download

School news in the palm of your hand, your new Oak Park Schools mobile app is just a few taps away. Download it today!


Dear Oak Park Schools Staff, Families & Students,

As the Derek Chauvin trial enters the fourth week, many of us are deeply hurt and frustrated as we relive the details of the loss of George Floyd, events surrounding the fatal shooting of 20-year old Daunte Wright and countless others. The pain and frustration have become all too familiar. It was just last June that our Board of Education passed the following resolution in solidarity with protests in Minneapolis and around the world. The resolution reads:

Our district is acutely aware that around the world, a movement to stop violence and uplift Black humanity-- formed in the phrase #BlackLivesMatter-- is inspiring action and conversation. Our district believes in diversity, equity and inclusion, while we cultivate the whole child into a global leader in a community that embodies compassionate citizens.

The senseless murder of George Floyd is just one of the countless incidents that are much too familiar, and must end immediately. Racism has been brought back into the light, where it needs to stay so that it can finally be eradicated. We stand in solidarity with those who have championed this mission, and know that now is the time for not only words, but actions as well. We are committed to engage in fairness and moral responsibility for our district. Now, more than ever, we know that we must get behind this movement. We must continue to evaluate our practices and priorities to ensure that we bridge the gap and continue to make strides toward a school district, community and a world that is inclusive for all. We must speak out, we have to stand together, and it is our duty to act now.

Efforts of the Oak Park High School Change Honesty Acceptance Diversity (CHAD) and Distinguished Knights student-groups, the Oak Park High School Anti-Racist Education Avengers (AREA), commitment of our Board of Education and excellence and equity for all through the use of equitable, anti-racist instruction and safe, culturally competent learning environments included in our Strategic Plan, underscores the significant role race and social justice play not only in our society, but in the learning and development of our students. Many of our teachers and staff feel a responsibility to help students process and make sense of these events and many others.

In anticipation of the impending verdict of the trial, we believe that we have a shared responsibility to support students; therefore, we will share resources with our staff to help foster developmentally appropriate student discussions.

Please review the following resources to help you navigate any discussions that you may have with your children.

· Living with the Bear, from Teaching Tolerance (

·Trial Resources for Families, from Minneapolis Public Schools (

·How Teachers Are Exploring the Derek Chauvin Trial With Students, from The New York Times (

· Tips for parents during the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, from Children’s Minnesota (

· Should Children Watch the Derek Chauvin Verdict?, from USA Today (

Thank you for your continued partnership in the education of all children and the efforts to create a fair, just society for all. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.


Jamii J. Hitchcock, Ph.D.

2021 Oak Park Schools Improvement Bond


May 4, 2021 is quickly approaching! If you are interested in sharing information about the Oak Park Schools 2021 Bond Proposal on your street and would like a lawn sign, please contact Andrea Phillpotts, Executive Assistant for the Superintendent, at 248-336-7705 or email her at Thank you!
Big picture


Surgeons Choice Medical Center is holding a vaccine clinic for administering COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine on Saturday, April 17, 2021 and on Saturday, May 8, 2021 from 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

We anticipate to vaccinate over 700 individuals in our Metro Detroit Community. On both vaccine dates, we will have food trucks, giveaways, special guests, and radio promotion on air as well as on-site for both days.

Appointments can be scheduled on the following website for ages 16 and up:

For more information, please contact:

Meghann Keliher


NOTE: This communication is for information only. Surgeons Choice Medical Center is not affiliated with the Oak Park School District.


A special thanks to Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak Student Heart Check Manager, Ms. Jennifer Shea of the Children’s Miracle Network at Beaumont for her donation of six new Automated External Defibrillators (AED) and cabinets. Through the generosity and community partnership of Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak and Ms. Jennifer Shea, we are prepared with state of the art equipment to provide emergency aide to students, staff, parents, and community members experiencing cardiac arrest in any of our schools.

Additionally, on Saturday, April 24, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak is providing free heart checks for children from 13 – 18 years of age. This type of heart screening is not typically included in the routine physical required for school sports. To register, please visit



What are the most important precautions that should be taken to minimize my chance of contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others?


There is no single precaution that is considered most important in minimizing risks associated with the spread COVID-19. Even with the spring sunshine and the ability to plan for more outdoor activities, it is important for everyone to remain vigilant to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Everyone should continue to:

  • Stay home when they are sick, and seek medical guidance as needed

  • Wear a face mask around others, especially when a six-foot distance cannot be maintained

  • Wash hands frequently

  • Disinfect commonly touched objects and surfaces frequently

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Avoid touching face

  • Get tested as often as necessary, especially if there is an increased risk of exposure from things such as travel or sports

  • Get Vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine

It will take an entire community working together to do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but if we all do our part, we can minimize the risks to our entire community.

Stay Healthy!

Vanessa Long

Oak Park Schools District Nurse

(248) 342-9944

Big picture


Oak Park Schools & Gleaners Community Food Bank are continuing to serve our community this spring. We want to ensure all families wishing to receive meals can do so. Families and individuals in need of food are encouraged to attend an upcoming drive-up distribution provided by Gleaners Community Food Bank

The distribution will take place on Friday, April 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Oak Park High School (13701 Oak Park Blvd, Oak Park 48237). PLEASE ENTER OFF OF COOLIDGE HWY.

Additional Details:

-30 lbs. of groceries - Items such as milk, canned fruits & vegetables, lean protein & other shelf-stable items.

-Drive-up or Walk-up - Stay in your vehicles, and groceries will be placed into your trunk. Walk up guests without vehicles or those w/o a trunk are welcome to obtain groceries from a self-service table. If walking, please be prepared to carry the groceries or have a cart.

-No appointment needed - You do not need to bring identification or proof of eligibility to receive food.

-Increasing safety - If you wish to pick up for another household, you may do so without their presence in the car.

Please contact Vicky Zoldos at 313-530-8736 with any further questions.

Big picture

Office of Teaching and Learning

District Wide Updates

w/o April 12, 2021

  • All Conference PD videos from August, October, and November have been compiled and uploaded for your learning pleasure! We also have uploaded the (6-12) Nepris Professional Learning session from December 7. If you are interested in additional learning from our Return To Schools Conference, our October PD Conference, or November 5D+ PD, or Nepris please click the links below! The uploads can also be found under “Staff Links” on our district website!

  • The City of Oak Park's Juneteenth Ad Hoc Committee is planning a celebration around Juneteenth and one of the important pieces of the event is an essay contest available to all Oak Park residents and Oak Park School students in K-12. Please click HERE for essay guidelines and award information! The submission deadline is May 10, 2021!

  • Summer Learning Opportunities!

    • Oak Park Schools is in the final stages of developing plans for 2021 Summer Learning! Thank you to all of the teachers and staff who have expressed a willingness to work over the summer in service of our students. Students and families: stay tuned!

    • Young people are passionate, courageous, creative, and resilient. They are full of hope and have the potential to generate positive change in the world. Oakland Youth Innovation Lab will build on these strengths to ignite a joy of learning for all. This unique learning experience will be grounded in a strong sense of community and will engage students in deep learning that is meaningful and authentic. OYIL is seeking teachers who are interested in being part of a unique design process for a new way of facilitating learning. Interested in learning more? Click HERE.

    • The Michigan Learning Channel launched in January 2021 with the goal of making high-quality educational programming accessible at home to every student and family in Michigan—with or without home internet access. The channel is available statewide on broadcast television through a partnership between Michigan’s six PBS stations as well as on-demand and streaming to any device at In Summer 2021, the Michigan Learning Channel is offering an 8-week program for grades Pre-K-6. The program includes standards-aligned ELA and Math lessons for each grade, plus physical fitness activities, hands-on STEM programs, and fun enrichment activities that bring in partners from across the state around a weekly theme.

  • Article of the Week:

    • As we return to in-person instruction, it’s important that we focus on all the recovery that needs to take place over the coming months. Check out Transcend Education as we pursue recovery in ways that sow the seeds for extraordinary, equitable reinvention.

  • Professional Learning

    • Oakland Schools is offering free 1 hour professional development sessions for all math teachers. All participants will receive 1 SCHECH hour for every session they attend. Check out the calendar of events for the school year and register if you’re interested.

    • Oakland Schools Culturally Responsive Teaching Institute (4 Days, 2 hours)

      • This interactive professional learning series will provide participants with an opportunity to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to teach and provide support for the education of students who are identified as ethnically diverse.

    • Anti-Racist Leadership Institute hosted by Dr. Jay Marks

      • The goal of this professional learning experience is to provide participants with an in-depth examination of race and racism, and its interplay with power, privilege and dominance. Participants will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to address structural racism for the purpose of eliminating systemic racial disparities and achieving racial equity in schools. The institute is designed for educators who already possess a foundational knowledge about race and racism, and its impact on schools and society.

      • Tuesday, April 27, 4:00pm - 6:00pm

      • For more information and registration instructions, CLICK HERE!

    • Oakland Schools is sponsoring a National Speaker Series focused on equity and inclusion in the classroom. Speakers include Dr. Bettina Love, Dr. April Baker-Bell, and Dr. Amy McCart. Please click HERE for more information and registration opportunities!


Michigan Learning Consortium Summer Programs!

It’s an 8-week program at no cost to participating families. The program will be offered online with sessions also on television. Learn more:


It is with great pleasure that the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association and the Wolverine

Bar Association announce their 26th Annual DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DRUM MAJOR FOR JUSTICE ADVOCACY COMPETITION (“MLK Advocacy Competition” or “Competition”). The membership of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association and the Wolverine Bar Association primarily consists of African American lawyers who practice in Oakland and Wayne counties. Both organizations endeavor to serve the communities where we live and work.

Each year, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition Committee, on behalf of the sponsoring Associations, invite 11th and 12th grade students from select high schools in the Detroit Metropolitan Area to participate in this exciting and worthwhile Competition. The purpose of the MLK Advocacy Competition is to promote oral and written advocacy among high school students and encourage students to

develop and improve their analytical and writing skills.

To participate in the MLK Advocacy Competition, students must submit an essay analyzing an issue using the principles espoused by Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr. Typically, the essay topic relates directly to academic and/or societal realities that some students

encounter each day.

This year’s essay topic is:

On August 28, 1963, a mass protest brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and some 250,000 others to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. What is today phrased as the March on Washington, was officially known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. One specific demand of Dr. King was linked to the horror still facing us today, police brutality. As part of his “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King states: “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” Fifty-seven years later, citizens descended upon Washington D.C. to address the same injustice of police brutality and daily protests are being held throughout the Nation. If Dr. King were alive today, would he support the call to defund police departments across the Nation as a reform to police brutality? If so, explain why? If not, explain why?

Each participating student must submit an essay of not more than 1000 words on the above stated topic. These essays will be due by 5:00pm on April 23, 2021 and should be emailed to the undersigned. Members of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, and the Wolverine Bar Association will review the essays to select the finalists.

Typically, five finalists are selected to receive a monetary scholarship. This year’s competition will be decided based upon the quality of each student’s essay.

Every student who submits an essay will receive a Certificate of Recognition. In addition to a Certificate of Recognition, selected finalist will receive a monetary award intended to assist them in achieving their educational goals. Cash prize awards will range from $500to $5,000 (First Place). The first-place finalist’s name will be memorialized on a perpetual plaque. The First Place Winner will also have the opportunity to participate and compete

in a virtual oral advocacy regional competition for an additional monetary award.

The essay requirements are described below and strict adherence to the stated requirements is necessary. Failure to adhere to the guidelines may result in the disqualification of the submission.

We encourage teachers to consider using this Essay Competition as a starting point for a class assignment. In the past, students attending various schools in Oakland and Wayne counties have successfully participated in the Competition.

We believe that your students will find involvement in this Essay Competition most rewarding, and we look forward to their participation. Should you have any questions regarding the Essay Competition, please do not hesitate to contact Committee Member

Carlton Watson at 313-647-1293 or via email at


Congratulations, Ericka Watson, Director of Specialized Student Services in Oak Park Schools! Ms. Watson is presenting at the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) Institute on Monday-Tuesday, April 19-20, 2021. The institute is a virtual professional learning experience focused on developing anti-racist school leadership and teaching practices. Ms. Watson's presentation is titled: School Discipline and the Role School Leadership Plays in the Suspension and Expulsion of African American Students.

MSAN is a national coalition of multiracial school districts that have come together to understand and eliminate opportunity/achievement gaps that persist in schools.

We are proud of our OPS staff for leading on a national stage during this unprecedented time in our history!

#WeAreOakPark #OPSLeads

Big picture


OPS Parents & Families,

Please join our Oak Park Schools Secondary Social Workers for PARENT POWER HOUR on Thursday, April 22, 2021.
Morning session: 9:30 am - 11 am
Evening session: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

We will be discussing strategies and tips to promote good mental health in teenagers. Now more than ever it’s important to invest in the mental health of our students to address the pandemic trauma.

Join Morning Zoom Meeting from 9:30 am—11:00 am

Meeting ID: 762 5713 3798
Passcode: parent

Join Evening Zoom Session from 5:30 pm—7:00 pm

Meeting ID: 777 8247 9179
Passcode: parent


Oakland County Michigan Works! is launching a new, year-long series of free, virtual financial wellness workshops next month, to help people make smart decisions with their money. Hosted by national, state and regional experts, the no-cost Financial Fitness workshops are open to anyone who is interested in better managing their finances. Subject areas include budgeting, investing, credit scores, paying for higher education, retirement planning, homeownership, elderly care and more.

The county’s Financial Fitness program kicks off on Tuesday, April 6, with “Realizing the American Dream: Achieving Home Ownership” and 11 more workshops are scheduled during the month:

  1. April 8 Why Debt is Not the Problem
  2. April 9 Saving Money on Groceries (Budgeting)
  3. April 13 Recovering from the Pandemic - Financial Planning for Gen X, Y, and Z
  4. April 15 Foiling Identity Theft
  5. April 16 Five Money Questions for Women
  6. April 20 Learn How to Position the Student for 100% Funding (Paying for Higher Education)
  7. April 22 Writing a Business Plan
  8. April 23 Debt: Both Useful and Dangerous
  9. April 27 Preparing your Investment Portfolio: Retirement and TaxesApril 29 A Dollar
  10. April 29 Stretches Further Than You May Think
  11. April 30 Recognizing and Avoiding Predatory Lending

The full schedule of workshops through June and registration links can be found at Directions for logging into the virtual workshops are sent to registered participants. The service centers also assist more than 3,000 employers seeking assistance with talent recruitment, apprenticeship programs, job fairs, candidate pre-screening, hiring and training support, layoff support and labor market data.

Service center staffs remain available by virtual appointment to work one-on-one with job seekers to build their resumes, prepare for job interviews and help address other needs. To schedule a virtual meeting, call 1-248-858-5520 and select the office nearest to you.

The service centers are hosting several virtual workshops for job seekers. A schedule can be found at



Oak Park Schools Students interested in engineering and coding.

Grades 6-12

About this course

The Joy of Coding is an online course specially created for anyone who wants to experience first-hand the power, and thrill, of coding computers to do amazing things. Created with high school students in mind, it is a great way for anyone to step into the wondrous world of coding. No prior coding experience is required!

Using Python, course students will learn how coding powers apps such as Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and Siri, and even learn how to code their own versions of Snapchat lenses.

The course includes weekly video lectures, reading, and coding assignments.

Students will:

  • Learn to code at their own pace w/ support from Michigan ECE faculty & students
  • Receive a certificate of accomplishment to include in college apps
  • Have our commitment to help you get unstuck when learning to code

Important dates

The course will run from July 5, 2021 – August 13, 2021

  • Application deadline (Updated): April 15, 2021 (for priority consideration)
  • Important Dates:
    • Acceptance Decisions: May 1, 2021
    • Submit coding module: May 15, 2021
    • Confirm Participation/Payment Due Date: May 18, 2021



For more information please visit:


The Midnight Golf Program (MGP) is a 30-week empowerment and mentoring experience that teaches life skills including college preparation, community activism, financial literacy, as well as, learning to play golf. It is a program that makes a positive impact in the lives of the participants and helps them realize their dreams. Since the program began in 2001, 2,800+ young people have been positively impacted by the Midnight Golf Program's transformational and industry-leading program.

Learn more how we make graduation possible for Detroit's youth! Click here for more information or visit:

Making Graduation Possible with the Midnight Golf Program


“Pear Deck’s award-winning tools seamlessly support effective teaching and learning methodologies. With solutions that work across all grade levels and subjects, Pear Deck helps teachers use active learning techniques to maximize student engagement. Districts that implement Pear Deck report improved outcomes and equity, improved student engagement and achievement, and a more positive school climate and culture.

Here you can learn more about Pear Deck’s efficacy and pedagogy, find webinars designed just for educators, and get implementation resources. “

You should be able to access the premium version of Pear Deck by logging in with your Oak Park Gmail.

If you have any questions, would like help getting started, or are having issues accessing your account, please feel free to email Lauren Marchelletta at

Lauren Marchelletta


Technology Field Services

Oakland Schools & Oak Park

Call or Text: 248.410.2202

Resources for Oakland Schools/Oak Park Schools

CLICK HERE for Oakland Schools Tech Tidbits (February)

CLICK HERE to access my Oak Park Virtual Office

Big picture


Searching for an exciting and rewarding career opportunity? Do you want to get paid to learn?

Then join us on April 19, 4 - 6 PM for Oakland County’s first virtual apprenticeship showcase to learn more about these jobs, including current opportunities. The online event is free, but you must register to receive the login information.

Virtually meet one-on-one with representatives from a range of organizations that offer registered apprenticeships in a number of fields:

  • Building Trades
  • Manufacturing
  • Health Care
  • Pharmacy
  • Information Technology
  • Others

Do not miss the chance to see firsthand why apprenticeships are growing in popularity among people of all ages.


Oak Park High School Students!

Thinking about college? Here's your chance to hear firsthand from those-in-the-know at hundreds of colleges and universities nearby, across the country, and around the world.


The National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) is hosting FREE virtual college fairs! Students may attend as many fairs as they wish! Click to see a list of colleges that will share information about their programs, majors, financial aid, and much more on each fair date.

Virtual Fair Dates

On each fair date, more than 600 colleges will offer Zoom sessions and meetings. Students everywhere can log in, drop in, and ask questions. It's a great opportunity for you to explore your college options.

You'll want to sign up now at

Spring 2021 Schedule
Students may attend as many fairs as they wish! Click to see a list of colleges that will share information about their programs, majors, financial aid, and more on each fair date. Additional colleges will be added throughout the spring.

Four of these events are smaller Focus Fairs and are especially for students with special interests or residing in specific regions: STEM (Mar. 7), Performing & Visual Arts (Mar. 16), Western US (Apr. 10), Southeastern US (Apr. 20).

Connect Virtually
COVID-19 has shut down many opportunities students previously had for visiting, learning about, and connecting with colleges. NACAC aims to bridge that gap through these special one-day events.

At each virtual fair, students attend college presentations, learn about their options, ask questions, and demonstrate interest... all without leaving home.


Our mission is to provide a quality education that promotes respect for the individual and cultural differences of students and provides college and career readiness skills to become lifelong learners and productive citizens.

The Oak Park School District’s nearly 4,500 students are served at Einstein, Key and Pepper elementary schools (grades PreK-5), the Oak Park Preparatory Academy (grades 6-8), , Oak Park High School (grades 9 -12), NOVA (grades 3-12) the Oak Park Alternative Education Center (ages 16-19 years old) and My Virtual Academy of Oak Park (grades 5-12) in Oak Park, MI in Oakland County located in a suburban community near Detroit with approximately 30,000 residents. Our district consists of over 450 staff members, including 250 teachers and 11 building administrators.

Our school district boasts an abundance of educational and co/extra-curricular programs to meet the needs of a vast array of learners from Pre-K through twelfth grade. We encourage students to challenge themselves academically, explore comprehensive course offerings, and take risks to discover their individual gifts. We are dedicated to providing an intellectually challenging educational experience in safe, nurturing school environments that thrive on cultivating and empowering students to be their authentic selves. In addition, our academic and co/extra-curricular opportunities provide agency and shape self-identity, which are critical components to the adolescent development process.

Oak Park Advantage

The Oak Park Advantage is a holistic approach to education that not only prepares students academically, fosters a sense of belonging but creates long-lasting connections to the Oak Park community. While attending Oak Park Schools, students develop a confidence that is woven throughout their post-secondary, professional and social-emotional well-being years after they graduate.

Contact an Oak Park School District principal and take a tour! Get the Oak Park Advantage!

Our 2020 Goals

Maintain dynamic, healthy, and safe learning environments that inspire unlimited equitable opportunities for optimal classroom instruction to increase student achievement.

Implement ongoing transparent best practices to reduce operating costs to create opportunities to invest in human capital and professional learning, sustain quality facilities, establish a healthier organizational culture, and ensure fiscal stability.

Strategically design and implement organizational systems to increase efficiency, boost productivity to allow staff and students to focus entirely on student learning and social-emotional well-being.

Review and refresh curricular needs and resources employing planned adoption schedules based on current research with technology integration for classroom instruction.

Operate collaboratively district-wide and abandon ineffective silos.