The Oak Park Advantage

February 2021 Second Edition

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Oak Park Schools & Gleaners Community Food Bank are partnering to serve our community. 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 Fridays, March 5 & March 19 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Oak Park High School (13701 Oak Park Blvd, Oak Park 48237).

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.

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Wednesday, Feb. 24th, 5-6pm

This is an online event.


Oak Park Schools Health Science Academy presents: HIGHWAY TO HEALTH CARE CAREERS VIRTUAL EVENT

Discover your pathway to a rewarding career in Health Care. If you are interested in joining the Oak Park Schools Health Science Academy, please join us Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 5 pm – 6 pm for a one-hour virtual zoom session to hear about great career options in health care.

For more information, please contact program director, Mrs. Jen Lavetter at​

Zoom meeting information:

Meeting ID: 846 9371 6963 Passcode: 283681


Those who are ready to apply for Administrator positions should plan to attend the Aspiring Administrator’s Workshop. This workshop will be spread over two Saturday mornings and will include an opportunity to have your cover letter and resume reviewed as well as access to some valuable on-demand content. This workshop is appropriate for those applying for their first position in Administration as well as those who may be Assistant Principals ready to apply for Principal positions.

The Virtual Event Platform will open on Friday, February 26 and will close on Friday, March 12. During this time on-demand content can be accessed at any time and all live sessions will be recorded and available for viewing. Resumes and Cover letters will be due on February 15.

Workshop At A Glance:

February 27: Live Sessions (9AM - 12PM)

  • Highly effective, experienced Assistant Principals and Principals from around the state will provide breakout sessions in an area of their own expertise.
  • 3 Breakout Rounds
  • Principal Panel Discussion

March 6: Live Sessions (9AM - 12PM)

  • Highly effective, experienced Superintendents and Principals from around the state will conduct the practice interviews. All attendees will have an opportunity to field questions and get feedback on their responses.
  • 3 Practice Interview Rounds
  • Words of advice

On-Demand Content

  • Resume and Cover Letter feedback and tips
  • Interview Tips
  • Researching a school/district using MiSchool Data and other sources
  • Project Game Plan Activity
  • Opportunities for Preparing Yourself to be an Administrator
  • Administrator Certification


Friday, Feb. 26th, 2:30-4pm

This is an online event.

The OPHS A.R.E.A. (Anti-Racist Education Avengers) committee is having their first Community Forum on February 26th - with panelists from the community to speak about their experiences with Racism, Anti-racist movements, and things that we as a community can do to help come together and make change.
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Oakland Schools will be hosting their annual African American Read-In, part of the National African American Read-In established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. This year we’ll be featuring author Jerry Craft. Craft’s graphic novel New Kid won both the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Book Award in 2020.

Families, educators, librarians, and readers of all ages are welcomed! Our evening with Jerry will include a drawing demonstration, sharing about his journey as an author and the ways that his life has shaped his stories, and reading part of New Kid.

A copy of New Kid will be provided for Oakland County students and educators who register (1 per house hold). Books will be mailed directly to participants’ residences once they are available. Please register before February 17th to receive a copy of "New Kid" to your residency. Books are limited – A copy of New Kid will be provided for the first 600 Oakland County students and educators who register (1 per house hold).

Registering after February 17th cannot guarantee delivery to your residency by event night. Books will still be mailed after February 17th. Registration closes on February 24th at 6PM.

Jerry Craft is the New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal winning author of the graphic novel, New Kid and Class Act. Craft is also the creator of Mama’s Boyz, an award-winning comic strip which won the African American Literary Award five times. He is a cofounder of the Schomburg Center’s Annual Black Comic Book Festival. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts.

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​Good Morning,

Below is the Q & A for the health corner. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend and mid-winter break (if you are off:)


If I have had COVID-19, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?


Yes, the CDC still recommends that those who have had a history of COVID-19 illness still get the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals should be fully recovered from the virus and discuss any concerns with their health care provider. Evidence shows that while many people who have had COVID-19 develop some natural immunity, the length of time this immunity lasts is unknown. Overall, vaccination creates a stronger immune response and adds another layer of protection against COVID-19.

Stay Healthy!

Vanessa Long

Oak Park Schools District Nurse


The Oakland County Health Department (OCHD) has started “Save your Spot” in line for the COVID-19 vaccine. Save your Spot will help inform them of your interest in getting the vaccine as well as organize the distribution of their vaccine supply.

According to OCHD, when you are eligible to set an appointment and vaccine doses are available, they will contact you by phone, text or email. To learn more information, please log onto: and complete the form. The site also provides an Oakland County COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard so you can monitor the following in real time:

  • Total Doses Received
  • Doses Administered
  • Vaccine Appointments Set (secured through a certain date – meaning the amount of doses they have already received and scheduled appointments for)
  • Number of Appointments Available

You can also register your email address to receive news and information about Oakland County vaccination appointments and COVID-19 resources or text OAKGOV to 28748.


Henry Ford Health System is offering free, walk-in COVID-19 testing at Oak Park High School and multiple locations throughout Metro Detroit through Wednesday, March 31.

No appointment, physician referral, prescription or insurance is needed. The PCR (nasal swab) tests are available for adults and children.

Results will be provided within 48 hours. If you are having symptoms or suspect that you may have COVID-19, please take advantage of this free service.

Because testing dates, times and locations may change, please visit for updates. Or, call 313-876-1363 Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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Office of Teaching and Learning

District Wide Updates

w/o February 12, 2021

  • Come Celebrate Black History Month by attending any number of virtual events developed by our very own Hoffman Planetarium! Registration links are available for these highly engaging virtual events developed and curated by (K-12) Science Coordinator and Hoffman Planetarium Director Grayling Mercer.

  • Were you as impressed as we were with poet Ameanda Gorman’s moving performance on Inauguration Day? Did you immediately start thinking about ways you could inspire your students to elevate their voice just like Ms. Gorman? Well, check out this interactive lesson from the New York Times that you can take directly into your classroom!

  • Building Mirrors and Windows Virtual Conference with Gholdy Muhammad: The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is excited to announce and host a free virtual conference for educators and administrators, Building Mirrors and Windows: Children Seeing Themselves and Others in the Literature that We Teach, on February 25, 2021. Free for Michigan educators and administrators! REGISTER HERE!

  • Shout-Outs!

    • As Oak Park Schools continues to examine and develop educational opportunities for our students, the Office of Teaching and Learning would like to shout out all of the passionate and dedicated teachers and staff members who have made themselves available through numerous surveys, council meetings, and staff meetings to provide insight and opinions on ways to deliver safe, engaging, high quality learning to our students during a pandemic. Thank you to the teachers serving on the Oak Park Schools Teaching and Learning Council, the teachers attending New Teacher PD: Equity in Education, and all the teachers who participated in the district wide town hall earlier this week. Your voice, opinions, concerns, and expertise are greatly valued. Thank you all!

  • ​​​Article of the Week:

    • As we progress through this life altering pandemic, it’s important to step back and consider the ways we can focus on healing as we move towards different levels of communal re-engagement. What does that look like? What does that even mean? How do we become agents in restoring our own well-being? Some of those answers might be found in this interesting article from Medium, “The Future of Healing.”

  • Professional Learning Opportunities:

    • 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.

      • Dates/Time: March 25, April 8, April 15, April 21 (4:00 - 6:00 pm) Register Here!

    • Developing and Assessing Math Fact Fluency

      • Audience:K-5 Math Teachers and 6-8 Math Essential Teachers

        • Presenter: Gina Kling - Math Instructor at Western Michigan University

        • Description: Have you noticed students who are struggling with math fact fluency and are interested in ways to build and assess student fluency in a meaningful way? Join Ms. Kling as she provides proven strategies to help struggling students develop an understanding of fluency and learn games that will help them in a key mathematic focus area.

      • Dates/Times: Feb 18 and Feb 25 from 7 to 9 pm

    • 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.

      • Thursday, March 25, 4:00pm - 6:00pm

      • 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!



The Gamma Lambda Education Foundation currently has scholarships available for high school graduates who will graduate by June 2021. High school graduates are expected to enter an accredited college at the beginning of the 2020 - 2021 academic year. Scholarships are available in various amounts.

Requirements for consideration are:

  • Graduate from a Metropolitan Detroit Area Public High School or Public School Academy (Charter High School);

  • Grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;

  • Acceptance into an accredited four-year institution of higher learning;

  • African-American male;

  • Participation in the Gamma Lambda Education Foundation Scholarship Program and related activities sponsored and/or approved by the Gamma Lambda Education Foundation.

Application Procedures: Please Read Carefully

  • Submit completed application (Download both PDF documents above);

  • Submit transcript indicating grades for all courses completed through January, 2020 (grades 9 - 12 inclusive);

  • Submit two letters of recommendation:

1. One letter from a school instructional employee (i.e. counselor,

teacher or administration official); and

2. One letter from a community organization:

(a) Church; (b) Scout troop; (c) Junior Achievement; (d) Co-op work

assignment/employer (e) A similar organization not listed (will

review for consideration upon receipt);

  • Submit an essay of 350 words or less, stating “how a scholarship from the Gamma Lambda Education Foundation will enable you to achieve your career goals and objectives”;

  • Submit a letter of acceptance from a four-year college or university. This letter may be submitted by the time of interview.

Click here for more information.


(All applications must be post marked by the deadline/emails accepted)

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.

Welcome to NACAC Fairs!
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Do you know of an 11th or 12th-grade male or female student that can use some help with applying for scholarships, FASFA applications, college applications, finance management, ACT/SAT information, etc. for FREE?!?

To register, please email and zoom meeting details will be emailed upon registration.


Participate today! Calling all OPS students!

Earth Day Poster Contest and Environmental Service Award Competition

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development invite students to participate in either the Earth Day poster contest or the Environmental Service Award.

The Earth Day poster contest is for students in Kindergarten – 5th grade. Their submitted posters are judged based on the ‘Restore Our Earth’ theme and including plants, wildlife, or ecosystems native to Michigan. The artwork can be drawn by hand or digitally created. Each school hosts its own contest for the students and submits the top three posters for each grade. The Earth Day poster contest committee selects the top two first and second place winners from each grade.

The Environmental Service Award (ESA) competition is for students in 6th - 8th and 9th - 12th grade categories. Schools are invited to nominate a student or group of students to be recognized for completion of a school-sanctioned, environment-based project, that has tangible results. The project must incorporate the ‘Restore Our Earth’ theme and provide a benefit for plants, wildlife, or ecosystems native to Michigan. Schools confirm the validity of each project and outcome. The Earth Day ESA committee selects the top two projects from each category.

Schools can find the applications for either contest at, The deadline for both contests to submit entries is February 28, 2021. The winners from both contests will be notified by March 15, and their work will be posted on the Earth Day web page. If you have any questions, please contact Pam Howd at 517-282-8357 or

Due to this year’s challenges with COVID-19, the Constitution Hall celebration will be held virtually. Pre-recorded sessions will be posted to the web page the week of April 22, 2021. The Earth Day awards ceremony will include the winners of the 2021 annual Poster Contest and Environmental Service Project awards, and will be posted on website.

Earth Day Poster Contest

Earth Day Poster Contest Template

Earth Day Environmental Service Award

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Important Announcement Regarding Technology Services

Beginning January 4, 2021, Oak Park School District’s Technology Helpdesk will be serviced by Oakland Schools. You will receive an email within the next day or two from the “OS Service Desk”. This email will include your Service Desk login and a temporary password. Please follow the instructions on the email to activate your account, change your password, and access the new Service Desk.

You will now be able to access Technology Services help in four different ways:

(1) Login and create a ticket via a link on

(2) Chat online with a Service Desk agent

(3) Email the Service Desk

(4) Call the Service Desk.

Our Student support line 248-336-7667 will still remain, and students may press 1 for Technology Support. This will transfer the calls to Oakland Schools automatically.

Our staff Support number will change to 248-209-2060.

Support will be available Monday – Friday from 7:00am to 6:00pm!

Maintenance and Building requests will still be created using the Oak Park Schools Ready desk Ticket system. In the future, Maintenance requests will move to another platform as well.

Oak Park Schools Technology Services


Congratulations to our Oak Park High School Health Science Academy students on their success at the HOSA Competitive Events Program regional competition in December. This year’s competition was intense, but six of eight students that competed finished in the top ten and are now qualified to compete in the state competition in April. Huge shoutout to these dedicated students as they sacrificed time during their holiday break to represent Oak Park High School and our HOSA program.

Student Name Competitive Event

Cartwright, R’reanna - Health Science: Medical Terminology (State Qualifier)

Cook, Dashari - Teamwork. Public Service Announcement (State Qualifier)

Thompson, Destiny - Emergency Preparedness: CPR and First Aid (State Qualifier)

Wahhab, Tumani - Emergency Preparedness: CPR and First Aid (State Qualifier)

Welch, Dejuan - Teamwork. Public Service Announcement (State Qualifier)

Wilson, Genaya - Teamwork. Public Service Announcement (State Qualifier)

Chalk, Donyel - Health Science: Nutrition (Regional Honorable Mention)

Thornton, Kamari - Health Science: Medical Terminology (Regional Honorable Mention)

Through the HOSA Competitive Events Program, members can compete in teams or as individuals in over 55 different events related to all aspects of the health care industry. HOSA integrates into the Health Science Education curriculum to develop and recognize smart, dedicated, and passionate future health professionals.

HOSA exists to enhance the delivery of compassionate, quality health care by providing opportunities for knowledge, skill, and leadership development of high school, post-secondary, and middle school students interested in healthcare.

For further information about the Oak Park High School HOSA program please contact our Health Science CTE Instructor, Mrs. Jennifer Gebhardt-Lavetter, RN at

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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!


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


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.