The Oak Park Advantage

September 2021 3rd Edition

Today is #ConstitutionDay! This day commemorates the signing of the United States #Constitution on September 17, 1787 and is the perfect time to recognize the impact of the most influential document in #American History and the rights is affords us.


As school foodservice programs move to return to normal service and menus, we are facing unprecedented issues with the supply chain that will cause us to alter our posted menus with little to no notices. We are working closely with our distributors and manufacturers to secure both the food and supply items needed to support our program.

While it is our intention to serve the posted menu each day at every school, supply issues may not make this possible on any given day until supply chain issues are rectified. We will always attempt to substitute the scheduled menu item with another that is similar as possible to the extent we are able to do so.

Please know that we will always provide wholesome meals each and every day. We appreciate your patience and understanding and look forward to serving all of our students’ free breakfast and lunch in all buildings, this school year.

For any questions, please contact our food service office at 248-336-7757.

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Friday, Sep. 17th, 6pm

13701 Oak Park Boulevard

Oak Park, MI

Today is GAMEDAY at Knight Stadium! We will kickoff against the North Farmington Raiders at 6PM.
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Office of Teaching and Learning

District Wide Updates

w/o September 17, 2020

Across the Oak Park Schools District Community, we celebrated Constitution Day on Friday, September 17th!
Constitution & Citizenship Day commemorates the day the US Constitution was signed in Philadelphia (September 17, 1787) and honors all who have become citizens! Below are the curated resources that students and families can access to continue the celebration beyond September 17th!


Hello everyone!

My name is Jackie Smith & I am proud to be your new Director of Specialized Student Services! I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you all.

This is the start of my 13th year in education. My career began as a school psychologist in Wheeling Community Consolidated School District in Wheeling, IL. Since it is an ECSE-8th grade district only, I had the opportunity to work with all age levels at multiple buildings which provided me with a well-rounded experience. I had extensive training in behavior management, Autism, co-teaching, MTSS, and inclusionary practices.

After 6 years, I accepted a position as the Assistant Director of Student Services at Niles West High School in Skokie, IL. Niles West is a very diverse community with 2,500 students and nearly 60 languages. While there, I was responsible for all 504 plans, 1/3 of special education, our Academic Advocate program, suicide and crisis intervention, and oversaw our reduction to suspension program for drug & alcohol related offenses. Additionally, I supervised our psychologists, social workers, interns, nurses, and counselors. The district really values diversity & equity and provided me with many opportunities to partner with Harvard University on these endeavors.

In 2019, my family and I moved back to Michigan. For the last 2 years I was a Supervisor in Walled Lake Schools. I oversaw all elementary & early childhood special education programming and in my 2nd year, additionally supervised K-12 ASD and CI programs. While working in a large district can have its benefits, I really missed working in a smaller district and community. I decided to look for opportunities where I felt I could have a greater impact on educational outcomes for all students, which has brought me to Oak Park Schools.

On a personal level, I was born and raised in Muskegon, MI and graduated from Muskegon High School in 2000. From there, I attended Michigan State University, where I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology in 2004. I moved to Chicago in 2006 to attend the Chicago School of Professional Psychology where I obtained my Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology. While working as a school psychologist, I went back to graduate school to obtain my Masters in Educational Leadership and administrative endorsements to become a Principal & Director of Special Education. Like you, I am a parent myself. I have two children, Theresa (7 years) and Graham (2.5 yrs). My husband and I have been married for 9 years.

I am excited to start going into buildings and meeting all of your students! I have an open door policy and welcome your phone calls and emails. My goal is to have our families more involved in special education through our district and county Parent Advisory Committee (PAC). We are in need of two parent representatives from our district to attend meetings at Oakland Schools. If you are interested in learning more about PAC and how you can help our Oak Park families, please let me know. We also have many paraprofessional openings in our district which provides a meaningful opportunity to work with our students with disabilities.

I look forward to getting to know everyone and I hope you all have a great school year!


Jackie Smith

Director of Specialized Student Services

OAK PARK SCHOOLS COVID-19 Preparedness Manual 2021-2022

Fall Science Introduction


The Hoffman Planetarium is an engaging, interactive full dome classroom. It is powered by advanced programs including, Starry Night, The Layered Earth and Zygote Body. The SciDome IQ2400 brings real-time space and earth science into a unique, innovative teaching environment.

We immerse students in the planetarium’s interactive visual macrocosm, explored Earth’s 3D topography and layers in spectacular detail. Each individual high school Science course and grade level courses in kindergarten through eighth grade participate in a developmentally appropriate interactive presentations tailored to the curriculum and/or Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) disciplinary core ideas while providing a connection to the astronomical 'big picture' - the Universe.

At the Hoffman Planetarium, we believe that 'your journey into the mysteries of space begins here...

Planetarium Offerings

  • Upon arrival into the Planetarium, students view a presentation specifically designed for their current science unit. For example, the 5th grade Earth Science show is entitled “Our Place in the Solar System” and explores most of the Next Generation Earth Science Standards (NGSS) for the 5th-grade level.

  • Students are also provided with an opportunity, during their Science Lab experience, to complete a hands-on activity related to their current unit. For 5th grade students, the activity allows students to construct a model of the solar system. Additionally, students also access the Virtual Labs available through the FOSS Science Curriculum and/or online Virtual Labs related to the unit material.

We have accommodations for both wheel-chair bound and students with disabilities, including devices for the hearing impaired. Our goal is to ensure that all students have access to the unique, interactive learning experience that the Planetarium offers!

Preparing Students for a Lifetime of Success: Next Generation Science Standards Alignment

Within the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), there are three distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science-core ideas, practice and cross-cutting. The implementation of new science standards with the support of Planetarium programs provides an opportunity to advance science education for all students. To learn more information, please review the NGSS Parent Guides below

Elementary School (Einstein, Key & Pepper)

Grades K- 2: Download the Grades K-2 Parent Guide

Grades 3- 5: Download the Grades 3-5 Parent Guide

Middle School (Oak Park Preparatory Academy)

Grades 6-8: Download the Grades 6-8 Parent Guide

High School (Oak Park High School)

Grades 9-12: Download the Grades 9-12 Parent Guide

Planetarium Coordinator

To learn additional information about the Hoffman Planetarium or schedule a visit, please contact Mr. Grayling Mercer at or 248.336.7620


Thursday, Oct. 7th, 4pm

Oak Park, MI, USA

Oak Park, MI


Oak Park Schools, in partnership with St. John's Ascension Health Center, is proud to provide health services for students from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday.

You can come to the Health Clinic to schedule an appointment for your physical. The Health Clinic is located at Oak Park High School. You can also print the Ascension paperwork here or pick the paperwork up in the Health Clinic.

Services include:

Medical – General health assessment, school/sports physicals, sick care, immunizations, vision and hearing testing, laboratory screening, health education, and nutrition counseling.

Counseling – Counseling and referrals for various concerns related to school-age children and adolescents including depression, behavioral issues, personal relationships, violence prevention, family problems, and substance abuse.

Health Education – Student and parent educational programs related to the school-age child’s health issues: i.e., asthma, hypertension, diabetes, nutrition, abstinence, substance abuse prevention, and conflict resolution.

As a state-funded center that bills insurance, uncovered costs do not get billed to our students or their families, so we encourage your students to utilize these services.

For more information about Ascension MI School-Based Health Centers, please contact District Nurse ​Vanessa Long District Nurse, or visit


Oak Park Schools Families,

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was recently signed into law and it contains numerous relief provisions for individual taxpayers, including some significant changes to the Child Tax Credit.

As for background regarding this Advance Child Tax Credit, please look at the attached Publications 5534B and 5534C.

The Advance Child Tax Credit is not just available to taxpayers with children that file tax returns, but also to people with children who have low or no income. Which could help many children escape poverty in America.

To qualify for Advance Child Tax Credit payments, individuals must:

· Have a main home in the United States for more than half the year (the 50 states and the District of Columbia) or file a joint return with a spouse who has a main home in the United States for more than half the year; and

· Have a qualifying child who is under age 18 at the end of 2021 and who has a valid Social Security number; and

· If have earned income, made less than Modified Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of:

  • $75,000 or less for singles,
  • $112,500 or less for heads of household and
  • $150,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return and qualified widows and widowers

Advanced Child Tax Credit payments are not considered income and will not affect your access to government benefits like SSI, SNAP, TANF or WIC.

See #IRS info at


Dear Oak Park Families,

If you have a student device at home that needs to be repaired or exchanged, we are asking that you please place a service request with the Oakland Schools Service Desk. Please describe the nature of the issue your device is experiencing.

Oakland Schools Service Desk

Phone: (248)209-2060


Online Ticket submission/LiveChat: Create service ticket

We will have Office Hours beginning Tuesday September 7th, at the times and location below for you to be able to come and exchange your device. We will be offering two free repairs per student. After two repairs there will be a cost associated.

NOVA Academy

22180 Parklawn

Oak Park, MI 48327

Near the corner of Granzon and Parklawn, see map below. Please come to the door where it is labeled, Device Exchange. Look for signs that says, Device Exchange

: 7am-9am

Thursdays: 2pm-4pm

If you are new to Oak Park Schools and do not yet have a device at home, these will be distributed at your students school, the week of September 13th.

Thank you!

Oak Park Technology Team


C2 Pipeline is a program sponsored by Wayne State University's College of Nursing. We are funded through the Michigan Department of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Center funds. Our program focuses on increasing graduation rates, improving academics, and helping to ensure students are college and career ready. It currently operates in twenty-four Metro Detroit high schools, serving grades 9-12. C2 Pipeline consists of three main components: 24 afterschool programming centers, annual summer programs, and the Innovation & Curiosity Center. Our overall program goals include the following:

  • Preparing students to be college and career ready
  • Increasing academic achievement in student learning
  • Expanding student awareness through enrichment activities and other non-traditional learning
  • Provide a safe and nurturing environment for all students
  • Provide family services

Afterschool programming operates for a total of 32 weeks during the academic school year. Oak Park High School is one of 24 program centers, programming runs for two and a half hours daily, Monday through Thursday. During these two and a half hours, students are served dinner or a snack and also have a chance to participate in academic center and enrichment. C2 Pipeline's academic center offers students the opportunity to receive assistance with homework, projects, and any school related work in a small group setting. Our enrichments cover topics that would not normally be covered during the school day in a fun and exciting, hands on atmosphere. Examples include: Anatomy In Clay, Fashion Engineering, Traumatic Brain Injury, Need for Green Speed, SAT Prep, STEM Busters, and Empowerment Improv. Each center considers district goals and school improvement plans when determining programming activities. All enrichment curriculum is aligned to Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and state curriculum standards.

Oak Park Program Hours: Monday - Thursday from 3:00 - 5:30PM

Any Oak Park Students interested joining the C2 Pipeline program please contact me at


Dear Oak Park Families,

In December 2019, the Oak Park School District Board of Education adopted new policies. Board of Education policies are guidelines adopted by the Board of Education under which our school district operates.

Board Policy 2006 - Behavior on Student Appearance states: Students´ dress and grooming must not disrupt the educational process, interfere with the maintenance of a positive teaching/learning climate, or compromise reasonable standards of health, safety, and decency.

Throughout a series of meetings with students, administrators and district-wide attendance committee members, concerns were expressed about our previous standardized dress code (2-3 color approved pants/shirts) stifling the freedom of expression, inconsistently enforced, contributing to unnecessary conflicts among students and staff and a contributing factor to student absenteeism. Additionally, there is research that supports dress codes contribute to inequities among students.

Thank you to all of the students, families and staff who responded to the dress code survey. The survey closed on August 1, 2021. Over 82% of all respondents indicated that they are “in favor of students wearing what they choose to school as long as it is not offensive or inappropriate”. As a result, we have decided to pilot the dress code guidelines below for the 2021-2022 school year for students in PK-12 grade. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s building principal or assistant principal. Please see the Oak Park School Dress Code Guidelines below. Again, thank you! We are looking forward to a great school year!

Oak Park Schools 2021-2022 Student Dress Code Pilot

The Oak Park Schools Board of Education Policy 2006 states, students’ dress and grooming must not disrupt the educational process, interfere with the maintenance of a positive teaching and learning climate, or compromise reasonable standards of health, safety, and decency.

The primary responsibility for a student’s attire resides with the student and their parent(s)/guardian(s). The District is responsible for ensuring that student attire does not interfere with the health or safety of any student.

Further, dress code enforcement and/or classmates must not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income, or body type/size. Any restrictions to the way a student dresses must be necessary to support the overall educational goals of the school and explained within these dress code guidelines.

1.​ ​Basic​ ​Principle: ​ Specific​ ​body​ ​parts​ ​must​ ​be​ ​covered​ ​for​ ​all​ ​students​ ​at​ ​all​ ​times.

Clothes must be worn in a way such that genitals, buttocks, breasts, and navel are fully covered with opaque fabric. All items listed in the “must wear” and “may wear” categories below must meet this basic principle.

2.​ ​Students​ ​Must​ ​Wear*, while following the basic principle of Section 1 above:

  • A​ ​Shirt​ (with fabric in the front, back, and on the sides under the arms), AND
  • Pants/jeans​ ​or​ ​the​ ​equivalent​ ​(for example, a skirt, sweatpants, leggings, a dress or shorts) that cover at least one-third of the student’s legs, AND

*Courses that include attire as part of the curriculum (for example, professionalism, public speaking, and job readiness) may include assignment-specific dress, but should not focus on covering bodies in a particular way or promoting culturally-specific attire. Activity-specific shoe requirements are permitted (for example, athletic shoes for PE).

3.​ ​Students​ ​May​ ​Wear, as long as these items do not violate Section 1 above:

  • Hats must allow the face to be visible to staff, and not interfere with the line of sight of any student or staff.
  • Religious headwear
  • Hoodie sweatshirts (whole face must be exposed)
  • Fitted pants, including opaque leggings, yoga pants and “skinny jeans”
  • Pajamas
  • School/District Spirit Wear
  • Ripped jeans, (rips must be below the knee only and not expose underwear or buttocks)
  • Athletic attire
  • Visible waistbands on undergarments or visible straps on undergarments worn under other clothing (as long as this is done in a way that does not violate Section 1 above).

4.​ ​Students​ ​Cannot​ ​Wear:

  • Violent language or images of weapons.
  • Images or language depicting drugs, alcohol or vaping (or any illegal item or activity).
  • Hate speech, profanity, pornography.
  • Images or language that creates a hostile or intimidating environment based on any protected class or consistently marginalized groups.
  • Any clothing that reveals visible undergarments (visible waistbands and visible straps are allowed).
  • Ripped jeans (above the knee)
  • Tank tops, including spaghetti straps; halter tops
  • Swimsuits
  • Accessories that could be considered dangerous or could be used as a weapon.
  • Any item that obscures the face or ears (except as a religious observance).

5.​ ​Dress​ ​Code​ ​Enforcement

To ensure effective and equitable enforcement of this dress code, school staff shall enforce the dress code consistently using the requirements below. School administration and staff shall not have discretion to vary the requirements in ways that lead to discriminatory enforcement.

  • Students will only be removed from spaces, hallways, or classrooms as a result of a dress code violation as outlined in Sections 1 and 4 above. Students in violation of Section 1 and/or 4 will be provided three (3) options to be dressed more to code during the school day:

  • Students will be asked to put on their own alternative clothing, if already available at school, to be dressed more to code for the remainder of the day. This clothing will not contribute to shaming or embarrassment.

  • Students will be provided with temporary school clothing to be dressed more to code for the remainder of the day.

  • If necessary, students’ parents may be called during the school day to bring alternative clothing for the student to wear for the remainder of the day.
  • No student should be affected by dress code enforcement because of racial identity, sex assigned at birth, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious identity, household income, body size/type, or body maturity.
  • Students should not be shamed or required to display their body in front of others (students, parents, or staff) in school. “Shaming” includes, but is not limited to:
  • kneeling or bending over to check attire fit;

  • asking students to account for their attire in the classroom or in hallways in front of others;

  • calling out students in spaces, in hallways, or in classrooms about perceived dress code violations in front of others; in particular, directing students to correct sagged pants that do not expose the entire undergarment, or confronting students about visible bra straps, since visible waistbands and straps on undergarments are permitted; and,

  • accusing students of “distracting” other students with their clothing.

    These dress code guidelines shall apply to regular school days and summer school days, as well as any school-related events and activities, such as graduation ceremonies, dances and prom.

If a student needs District-approved clothing, please contact a trusted adult at your school and arrangements will be made to assist with providing gently used clothing and/or laundering. If students or families have any questions, please contact your school principal or assistant principal.

What can we expect this coming school year? Let's listen to what some of Oakland County's education experts have to say in the first episode of Season 3 of our Educationally Speaking #podcast.…



One by one, get the #COVID19 vaccine! Residents 12+, Oakland County Health Division offers all vaccines needed for students.

Walk-in clinics:

Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

North Oakland Health Center

1200 N Telegraph, Bldg 34E Pontiac

South Oakland Health Center

27725 Greenfield Rd. Southfield


Congratulations to Ms. Omotola Oluwole! She teaches students with ASD at Pepper Elementary School in Oak Park Schools! She was recognized by CW 50 Detroit! She was surprised by her colleagues and principal who expressed the great lengths that Ms. Oluwole goes to ensure student success! Thank you, Ms. Oluwole! You are the Oak Park Advantage! #OakParkPride #oakparkadvantage


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!


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.