The Oak Park Advantage

March 2021 Spring Edition

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Tuesday, April 6th, 8:30am

This is an online event.

Want to learn more about the Oak Park Schools 2021 Bond Proposal?

Tuesday, April 6, at 8:30 am, OPS will be hosting a Morning Community Coffee Meeting regarding the upcoming bond. In addition to the April 6 meeting, we will also host a Lunch & Learn Community Meeting Wednesday, April 7, at 11:30 am.

Please join us!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

8:30 a.m. | Morning Community Coffee

Meeting ID: 853 4190 4412

Passcode: v5Aqz3

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

11:30 a.m. | Community Lunch & Learn

Meeting ID: 872 9285 7421

Passcode: WJ6gMA

For more 2021 Bond information visit:

2021 Oak Park Schools Improvement Bond


Dear Oak Park School District Resident,

Every year, the Oak Park School District proudly serves nearly 4,000 students. As Superintendent, I see first-hand the unwavering dedication of our teachers, principals, support staff and our community to provide each student with the opportunity to reach their full potential.

In alignment with our mission, we are always seeking ways to improve our learning environments and school facilities. With all of our school buildings over 60 years of age, our facilities are in critical need of renovations. The district has conducted regular maintenance for our buildings and has addressed issues along the way, but the time has come that major renovations are needed that our regular budget cannot support. Just like your home, every component of building infrastructure has a limited useful life before it needs to be replaced.

On May 4, 2021, the district is asking the community to vote on a $54,445,000 bond proposal which provides significant funding for the district's critical infrastructure needs. If approved, the tax rate will remain the same as 2020. Included in the bond program are renovations and upgrades to the following areas:

- Infrastructure
- Mechanical & Plumbing
- Electrical
- Technology

A more detailed list of projects can be found on the district's website at

In this election, every vote is important. Please make sure that you vote on May 4, 2021 at the polls or any time after March 19, 2021 by absentee ballot. For your convenience, a breakdown of the ballot language is included with this letter. If you have questions or need more information, please visit the district's website by clicking on // or email us at

Working together, we want to ensure that our schools provide the best opportunities for our students and continue to serve our children and our community. Our vision is that our schools and educational facilities provide the best educational experience possible for our children. Of course, this would not be possible with the assistance of the community. Providing critical renovations to our infrastructure and school facilities supports our goal to provide quality, effective learning environments and is critical for every resident's property value.

Thank you for your consideration and please remember to vote on or by May 4, 2021. Strong schools equal strong communities!


Jamii J. Hitchcock, Ph.D.


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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

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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 Friday, April 2 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.

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Dear Oak Park Schools Family Community,

We are writing to inform you that after Spring Break (3/29/21-4/2/21), Federal and State testing will begin for Oak Park Schools Students. Please see the attached Parent Testing Letter for more information on Spring 2021 Testing. The letter includes detailed information about the various assessments and schedule by grade level.

All schools across Michigan will begin administering required state assessments. State and federal laws require students in grades 3-11 to take one or more of the following assessments each spring: M-STEP/MI-Access (Grades 3-8 and 11), PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, SAT 11, and WorkKeys. These assessments do not impact student grades. They serve to provide information on student learning and college-career readiness upon graduation.

Schools will be closed for Spring Break from 3/29/21-4/2/21. Instruction will resume, on Monday, 4/5/21.

For families who confirmed selection for In-Person, below is our K-12 Schedule for both Virtual and In-Person Hybrid Instructional Models:

Grades: PreK-5 (Elementary): Half Day Hybrid Learning Model

Pepper Elementary, Einstein Elementary, Key Elementary

  • ​In-Person School Day: Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (onsite) and 1:35 – 3:15 p.m. (home/virtual)
    • Students will receive a bagged lunch upon dismissal from school at 12:15 p.m.
  • Virtual School Day: Monday-Friday, 8:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (AM Block) and 1:35 – 3:15 p.m. (PM Block)
  • ​Combined Learning with Homeroom Teacher: Daily, 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    • All students, in-person and virtual, will join their classroom teacher and participate in a “Zoom-in-the Room”/live stream shared learning experience.

Grades: 6-12 (Secondary): Full Day Learning Hub Model

Oak Park Preparatory Academy (OPPA), Oak Park High School, NOVA

  • ​The school day for in-person and virtual students is Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
    • Office Hours/Student Support Time: 8:00 – 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
    • Advisory: Daily, 8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
    • Class Periods 1-6: Daily, 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • ​All students will receive lunch from 11:40 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
  • All in-person students will exit the building at 2:00 p.m.

On behalf of the district community, we wish you a safe and healthy Spring Break!


Cassandra Baptiste

Oak Park Schools

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning

Office of Teaching and Learning

District Wide Updates

w/o March 26, 2021

  • Fall 2020 NWEA Results for all K-12 students are now uploaded to MISTAR Parent Portal!

  • State testing (WIDA) for our English Language Learners/ English as a Second Language students will take place Tuesday, March 16 - Friday, March 26, 2021 in person. Our testing sites will be Key Elementary, OPPA, & OPHS. ELL teachers will be contacting parents to schedule testing.

  • 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!

  • Shout-Outs!

    • A big shout out to Oak Park’s Literacy Coaches (LEO)--Sarah Jones, Irene Fakhouri, and Angela Cheek-Welch for all their dedication and hard work around developing foundational literacy practices for our students. Their advocacy and support for cross disciplinary literacy practices is making a difference in the lives of our elementary students. Rock Stars!

    • As Oak Park Schools moves towards a gradual transition to in-person learning, the Office of Teaching and Learning would like to shout out all of the passionate and dedicated teachers and staff members who have made phone calls home to families identifying their preference. We know that in these ever changing times there are more questions than answers but your steady and calm demeanor backed by your passion is encouraging to everyone! Thank you all!

    • Shout out to OPPA Instructional Coach Megan Mitchell and OPHS Instructional Coach Emily De La Cruz for highlighting all the great work our teachers are doing across secondary schools. Keep up the good work!

  • 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

    • 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.

    • 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!

    • 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!


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

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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.

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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


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

OPS Regular Board of Education Meeting


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.