The Oak Park Advantage

October 2020 Third Edition Newsletter


Thursday, Oct. 22nd, 6pm

This is an online event.

Presented by the Wayne State University

Office of Student Financial Aid

Join us on Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 6:00 PM.

Please have your student sign-up in their Counselor’s Google Classroom to attend.

Parents and Guardians are STRONGLY encouraged to attend, but it is not mandatory.

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Friday, Oct. 16th, 6pm

13701 Oak Park Boulevard

Oak Park, MI

Oak Park Football is back, but out of an abundance of caution, we will not allow any spectators in our stadium or campus for the 3 home games that we have this season.


Oak Park Schools 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.

How? Attend a NACAC Virtual College Fair!

See the virtual fair dates below.

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 Look around several days before each fair date.

Click below to see which colleges will be at each fair:

Each virtual fair is a free, one-day event. Attend as often as you like. Families invited, too.

Simply sign up at now and register for one or more fairs. On the event date, log in, drop in, ask questions, and pursue your college dreams.


Carlita Taylor is a 2017 graduate of Oak Park High School. Carlita is currently a senior at Columbia University(New York City) majoring in Psychology with a special concentration in Public Health, she also is a member of the Women's Track & Field Program.

Many people would assume an athlete at your caliber in high school would choose a “big track school” or somewhere where you could just focus on athletics… so what made you choose an Ivy league school, let alone Columbia?

Throughout high school, I made an effort to have academics and athletics as my top priorities. School was number one and track was a close second. So when it came to picking a school, I needed to have the same lifestyle and a program that believed in the same things that I did. Choosing Columbia would allow me to explore the majors that I wanted while setting me up for a career after graduation and after track. Many of my teachers and my coaches believed I would do well at an Ivy League as well.

Can you give a timeline of what a typical day in your life as a student at an Ivy League University looks like?

My days are very long and pretty much vary depending on the semester. I may wake up around 7am and get dressed for breakfast. That’s usually followed by an 8:40am class. I would catch a shuttle at 10am to the practice facility, where I would workout for about 2.5 hours. Afterwards, I’m either trying to fit in a quick lunch or moving on to my next class. Then, I may have an hour lift around 4pm. I’ll have an hour break to catch up on an assignment or to grab a quick snack. My next class is at 6:10pm and by 7:30/8pm, I’m eating dinner. The rest of my night is spent doing readings and completing assignments. By 12am, I am in the bed and ready to do it all over again the next day.

This routine, could not have been an easy transition when you first got to college from high school. What was that initial adjustment like for you as a freshman at Columbia?

Freshman year was very difficult for me. I was in a combination of classes that didn’t really represent what I wanted to accomplish or actually learn for the matter. Although the resilience I’ve gained from growing up in Detroit allowed me to finish out my freshman year strong, I had to quickly adjust my time management skills and study habits. Also, the culture shock of being on campus was a lot to deal with that first year. It was a constant internal battle of feeling like I didn’t belong and trying to remember the faith that I would succeed from so many people back home. I think the reassurance I received from teachers from Oak Park, my coach, and my family made my transition much easier.

Attending Columbia cannot allow you the same amount of freedom or luxury of the average student-athlete. What do you think makes your college experience specifically different?

At Columbia, we are treated like regular students. Our academics come before sports. At other schools, athletes have mandatory study hall but we don’t. So sometimes I am the athlete that’s in the library late at night or pulling an all-nighter to finish a paper. My experience is different because the track team understands how demanding Columbia’s curriculum can be and that some sacrifices will have to be made.

What has been the most difficult moment for you as a college athlete thus far? And how were you able to work through it eventually?

The most difficult moment would probably be the constant battle of recurring injuries. Injuries can take a toll on how you perform in both class and on the track. To work through it, I have developed better lifestyle routines and better relationships with my trainers, coaches, and professors. To work through anything, I have learned it’s best to lean on my resources.

Your Top Five favorite things to do when you’re not running or studying:

1. Binge watching a show on Netflix

2. Taking a casual stroll through Central Park

3. Hanging with friends in the lounge

4. Trying new restaurants

5. Reading a good book for my own pleasure

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Office of Teaching and Learning

District Wide Updates

w/o October 12, 2020

  • Oak Park Schools would like to welcome Lauren Marchelletta. Lauren is an Oakland Schools Technology Integration Specialist and will be joining Oak Park Schools on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and every other Friday. While here, Lauren is excited to curate resources, design professional learning/training on existing or new technologies, model effective integration of a new/existing technology, collaborate with you individually or your team to create effective learning experiences with or without technology! We are so excited to have Lauren to assist with all things technology and remote learning! Welcome aboard!

  • All of our Return To School PD videos have been compiled and uploaded for your learning pleasure! Please click on the link and enjoy! In the coming days, we will also compile and upload all our videos from our October 9th Remote Learning Conference! Please look for Our October videos to appear in next week’s district updates and, again, thank you to all who facilitated and all who participated! It’s the OPS Staff that make these days so enjoyable!

  • Shout-Outs!

  • The Office of Teaching and Learning would like to shout out Asst. Superintendent Carol Diglio and Executive Assistant Shelley Sherman for all their hard work integrating KALPA into Oak Park Schools. For those of you who might not know yet, KALPA is a Professional Learning tracking system that streamlines all the PD hours you accumulate directly into MOECS. You’ll be receiving more information on this process soon but it’s made the uploading and tracking of your PD hours a much easier and more streamlined process! You’ll love it! More details coming soon from your principal!

  • Thank you to all the teachers across the district who have been administering NWEA remotely to our students. Your dedication and professionalism to your students is evident and recognized! We know that remote testing is a heavy lift and we thank you for eating your spinach and pushing us across the finish line! Way to go, team!

  • Asst. Superintendent Cassandra Baptiste continued making rounds across the district this week and had the pleasure of joining quite a few virtual classrooms. This week, she would like to specifically recognize all the students she witnessed working so hard to complete their work, engage in the lessons, and visualize their thinking. She witnessed the best of what Oak Park has to offer in the main room and small group breakout rooms! Thanks again to the teachers who continue to build their craft and make effective use of breakout rooms!

  • Thank you to all of our Instructional Coaches across the district. All five building level instructional coaches rallied together last week and produced two, high quality PD sessions for staff and this week they continue to establish and execute consistent data driven processes within our building level PLC meetings. It takes a village and we’re thrilled to have them on board!

  • A special shout out to all those who work behind the scenes on a daily basis at our administrative offices. Their days are long, challenging, and hectic yet they meet that challenge with grace and professionalism every day! Our administrative office team comes to work ready to serve--the students, the families, and our staff. OPHS teacher Peter Haun dropped off bagels for them this morning on behalf of the teaching staff and the Office of Teaching and Learning would also like to recognize their hard work. A shout out doesn’t taste as good as a bagel but we love you all the same! Thank you!

  • ​​​Over the course of the past year, many of our Oak Park Staff have dedicated their time, efforts, and professional learning towards improving equity across their teaching practices. Through Professional Learning opportunities offered by the district as well as partnering with outside groups and organizations, the Oak Park staff is engaged and enthusiastic about learning all ways to best serve our students and their families. If you’re interested in equity driven conversations and/or the role racial consciousness impacts teaching, check out this article from ASCD.


JOIN DR. CHRISTINE CARTER Tuesday, October 20, 7pm to discuss her two bestsellers, "Raising Happiness: Ten Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents" and "The New Adolescent: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction.”

Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a sociologist, and Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. Her best-selling books include "The Adolescence: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction" (2020) and "Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents." Dr. Carter writes a monthly advice column syndicated on and regularly appears on television, radio and in major print media.

Dr. Carter returns to the Glenbard Parents Series as part of the 25th year celebration to offer science-based strategies for raising happy, healthy, and successful young people. Today's parents confront teen challenges including social media pressures, video game obsession, sexting, vaping and uncertainty. Drawing on both research and practical applications Dr. Carter offers tools to cope with modern pressures, and tactics parents can use to instill joy in teens that will point them toward meaningful, and productive lives.

Mark your calendar to attend this event, which will be live streamed from this page ( No registration is required.

Questions in advance of the program may be emailed to

The New Adolescence: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction


We are proud to support Michigan's OK 2 SAY initiative to replace the culture of silence among students with a culture of collective responsibility. Students can make tips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through multiple means:

Statistics from the U.S. Secret Service show that in 81% of the violent incidents that happen in schools nationwide, someone else other than the attacker knew about a threat but didn't report it. With these new confidential tools, we are empowering our students to help us keep our schools, our students and our community safer.


Click on your child's school for the (Zoom Link/Google Classroom Code)

Oak Park High School

Oak Park Preparatory Academy

NOVA Academy

Einstein Elementary

Key Elementary

Pepper Elementary

If you are utilizing an Oak Park Schools Chromebook, please follow the steps below:

  • Plug the Chromebook (laptop device) into a electric outlet & press the power button to turn it on.
  • Click on the (Wi-Fi symbol) next to the clock. In the box that pops up, choose your Wi-Fi service or hotspot, and enter the password.
  • On the login screen, you will see a blank space followed by ""
  • Enter your Oak Park Schools student email address, and click "Next".
  • Students should enter their password.
  • If students experience an issue with usernames, passwords, or other problems, please call 248-336-7667 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Tech Help?
If you experience problems with the Chromebook, please make sure it is plugged into an electrical outlet, and that the cords are tight. Hold the power button down for 30 seconds, release it, and then try again. If the Chromebook still does not turn on, please contact the Help Desk at the email address or phone number below.

Email Support

Phone Support (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)



Beginning October 12 through December 30, 2020, Oakland County is offering a telephone screening resource to assist parents/guardians through the pre-screening process and to help identify potential illness in children prior to entering school. All screenings are conducted by healthcare professionals.

Hotline staff can help answer questions about COVID-19 symptoms, the need for testing, and what is considered high-risk.

  • Cost: No cost for parents/guardians of Oakland County school-aged children
  • Days: Monday through Friday
  • Times: 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.
  • Number: 248-551-4242
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This Season a Flu Vaccine is More Important than Ever!

Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself, your family and your community from flu. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients. September and October are good times to get a flu vaccine.​

The more people vaccinated; the more people protected. Do your part. Get a flu vaccine this fall.

Roll Up Your Sleeve for Your Annual Flu Vaccine
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All OPS students must have an up-to-date immunization certificate or a valid immunization waiver to attend Oak Park Schools per Michigan law. If your child(ren) need immunizations, please use this time (virtual learning), to update the required immunizations. Attached below is link to find schedules for the recommended immunizations based on age, along with information to several clinics in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties that you can visit to get your children immunized.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students who are not properly immunized will not be permitted to return to in-person teaching and learning until immunizations are up-to-date.

For more information, please visit or email Victoria Ipina, School Nurse at

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Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.


Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults



Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, including common signs and symptoms listed above.

Flu Symptoms


Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell.

COVID-19 Symptoms

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Kids Kicking Cancer has partnered with Pepper Elementary School for the past two years bringing the Hero’s Circle to second and third graders. The program consisted of professional development for teachers, daily instruction by teachers, videos, and weekly instruction from sensei masters.

The program centers on learning to control your brain so that you can reach your goal. The Hero's Circle recognizes that it takes hard work, dedication, and perseverance to reach one’s goals. The Hero’s Circle is a tool to help one reach their goals.

Kids Kicking Cancer now offers help and services to not only cancer patients, but any child in pain from a serious illness.

Using martial arts therapy, Kids Kicking Cancer staff teaches ill children and their siblings to:

  • Regain a sense of control over the chaos of their lives.
  • Become empowered partners in their own healing.
  • Push away the messages of pain, fear, and anger.
  • Provide inspiration and light to others facing life-challenges.
  • Teach other children, and even adults, how to take control.
  • See themselves as victors, not victims.

Martial arts techniques unlock the student’s Power, and the focused breathing and relaxation work brings them Peace. While teaching Kids Kicking Cancer’s Breath Brake to others, they find great Purpose in their young lives.


Kids Kicking Cancer was created in 1999 by Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, a black belt rabbi and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics. Rabbi G lost his first child to leukemia at the age of two and brings a wealth of personal experience and sensitivity to dealing with children and families facing life-threatening illness.

This program, which began with a handful of children at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, now teaches over 7,000 children in 90 hospitals and program locations in 7 countries.

The most unique and powerful element of the model is that each child becomes a teacher to others. Kids Kicking Cancer’s mantra is Power Peace Purpose. When asked what is your purpose? The children yell out, “To teach the world.”

Kids Kicking Cancer also has a “black-belt” program for patients who are not responding to treatments. This end of life care program provides ongoing meditation and family focus in a palliative format that culminates in the child receiving a black-belt in a public ceremony, usually a few days before he or she dies. Embroidered on the black-belt are the words “Master Teacher” because that child is truly teaching the world how to use the power of light to break through darkness.

Rabbi Goldberg is an awardee of the Robert Wood Johnson, Community Health Leaders Award in Washington D.C., known as the United States’ highest award in community public health. He has been honored as a Hero in People Magazine, CNN Top Ten Heroes, and the Ford Motor Company’s Heroes Gallery, amongst the many media stories featuring the work of Kids Kicking Cancer.

For further information please visit

A Look Into The Classroom at Kids Kicking Cancer!
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Dear Oak Park Schools Families,

On Monday, August 31, 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the federal waiver allowing for the continuation of free meals through the end of 2020.

Oak Park School District residency and/or enrollment in the school district is not necessary to receive meals. All meal distributions will take place on Wednesday’s from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (new).

Our next meal distribution will be Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at Oak Park High School located at 13701 Oak Park Blvd., Oak Park, 48237.

For more information, please visit // or email Aric Wienclaw, Director of Dining Services at

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No Kid Hungry Organization runs a summer meal texting service. The service is free and open to anyone. A parent, grandparent, or caregiver can simply text the word “FOOD” to 877-877 and the system prompts them to provide their address or zip code, which is used to provide the location and service times of up to three nearby summer meals sites. For additional information, log onto
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Oak Park Schools on Live in the D


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.