The Oak Park Advantage

November 2020 First Edition Newsletter


Monday, Nov. 9th, 3pm

This is an online event.


Return to Learn Update - Card Marking II

Dear Oak Park Schools students, families and staff,

On Friday October 30, we were informed that the Oakland County Health Department (OCHD) has raised their risk level for in-person instruction to the highest level of risk – Level E. See attached for more information.

As a result of continued health concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, nation and abroad, the OPS Board of Education voted unanimously on Monday, October 26 to continue fully remote/online learning through the remainder of the first semester (Friday, January 15).

As the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on our plans for the remainder of the first semester (through Friday, January 15). We realize that we have shared a lot of information and administered several surveys since the beginning of the school year. Therefore, we would like to share an update and reiterate some key points.

We remain committed to our Guiding Principles:

  • Health & Safety
  • Research-based Decisions
  • Commitment to Social Emotional Support
  • High-quality Instructional Practices
  • Providing Tools for Success

OPS will make every effort to provide at least 30 days of notice, if the plans for fully remote/online learning change as conditions may require.

OPS continues to monitor the City of Oak Park, City of Detroit, Oakland and Wayne counties as well as regional metrics which, as you know, are ever-changing. Reviewing these metrics involves reviewing positivity and hospitalization rates as well as rolling seven and fourteen-day averages for new confirmed cases, including cases in various age ranges. We are utilizing many resources, such as the Oakland County Health Division, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Harvard Global Health Institute and our judgement as a result of a collective century of educational leadership experience as a district executive team to help us actively monitor COVID-19 risk levels.

Although there are school districts in our area engaged in hybrid/in-person learning, we do not believe the risks outweigh the reward at this time. With this in mind, please prepare for our phased re-entry plan to consistently evolve as COVID-19 has proven to be a moving target.

OPS continues to support the academic, social-emotional wellbeing and health of our students through a wide range of programs and resources this school year. OPS provides a full continuum of services for all levels of needs. For more information, please access the COVID-19 tab on our website at

Our staff COVID-19 Teaching and Learning, Operations, Social Emotional and School Health ad hoc committees will continue their work in the coming weeks. Parents and students will continue to be surveyed as the semester progresses to provide feedback and input in our plans moving forward as well.

OPS acknowledges that students, families and staff are navigating the rapidly changing and ever-evolving journey of this global pandemic in varying ways. However, we strongly believe that the continuity and predictability of the schedule and instruction are essential to the success of remote/online learning. If you are aware of any student that is challenged in a way that is preventing them from being engaged in remote/virtual learning, please contact your son/daughter’s school principal to share that information.

We are committed to doing everything in our power to remove barriers to student learning and provide access to level the playing field, including providing a Chromebook, hotspot, meals, medical and mental health care, immunizations, flu shots, etc. No issue is too big or too small if it is impeding the learning process of our students.

If your child’s Chromebook is in disrepair, please call 248-336-7667. Families will be able to exchange Chromebooks in poor condition on Thursday, November 5 and Friday, November 6 of this week. Please contact your child’s principal for more information.

I also want to reiterate the gratitude and support of the Oak Park Schools Board of Education. Let’s continue to manage these unprecedented times together. #WeAreOakPark


Jamii J. Hitchcock, Ph.D.

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Friday, Nov. 6th, 5pm

8400 North Cambridge Avenue

Detroit, MI

With the landscape of Michigan high school football changing for the 2020 season, the MHSAA has loosened its restrictions on live-streamed broadcasts to help alleviate the burden on fans having less opportunity to watch games in person due to COVID-19 attendance restrictions. The Free Press will livestream todays game vs. University of Detroit Jesuit.
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Tuesday, Nov. 17th, 9am

13701 Oak Park Boulevard

Oak Park, MI

Join us for our Oak Park Schools Community Immunization Fair.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Thursday, December 3, 2020


Oak Park High School Gymnasium (13700 Oak Park Blvd. Oak Park, MI 48033)

Raffles will be available for attendees, prizes include Xbox, Tablets, and $50 Kroger gift cards.

Flu Shot Appointments are also available Monday - Friday

Contact the OPHS in-district clinic to make an appointment:

Rasanda Dorsey RN, MSN, FNP-C

Family Nurse Practitioner

Oak Park High School

Ascension Michigan School-Based Health Centers

13701 Oak Park Blvd| Oak Park, MI 48237

t:(248) 398-0199| f:(248) 398-0210

Monday – Friday

7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


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


The holiday season will be different for Michiganders this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure families do not miss out on being together during the holidays, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued guidance on how to travel and gather safely during the holidays.

“Celebrating the holiday season with family and friends is one of our most cherished traditions,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.

“Even though the way we celebrate may have to be different, the guidance issued today shows there are still many ways to spend quality time with family and friends safely during this festive season.”

Traveling and in-person gatherings increase the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. However, if you decide to travel for the holidays, follow these safety measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask and keep your nose and mouth covered when in public places.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

In addition to the MDHHS guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the following resources to help determine if you should travel during the holidays:

Individuals who should avoid attending or hosting in-person holiday celebrations with people who do not live in their household, include those who:

  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others.
  • Have symptoms of COVID-19 or are waiting for COVID-19 viral test results.
  • May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • Are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness.

The new guidance also urges Michiganders to consider hosting virtual festivities instead of in-person holiday gatherings if there is a risk of community spread based on the risk identified in the MI Safe Start map. If an in-person gathering is hosted, it should be held outdoors if possible. Indoor festivities should avoid crowded, poorly ventilated or fully enclosed indoor spaces, and should be limited to 10 people or less per MDHHS Oct. 9 Emergency Epidemic Order. In addition, attendees of indoor or outdoor festivities should:

  • Social distance.
  • Wear cloth masks.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep safe around food drinks, including following good hygiene and limiting the amount of people in areas where food is prepared.
  • Bring food and drinks for themselves and members of their household. Avoid potluck gatherings.
  • Have one person serve all shareable food and consider using single-use items for condiments, plates and utensils.

Read the full “Celebrating the Holidays During COVID-19” guidance for additional tips to consider before, during and after a gathering to stay safe this holiday season.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and


Friday, November 6th

10:00-11:00 AM

We Have Lots of Information to Share!

Please Join us Virtually!

Zoom Meeting Link:

Parent Coffee: Join Zoom Meeting Link:

Meeting ID: 833 8791 4650 Passcode: Coffee1


The Zonta Club of District 15 is looking for a talented young lady to award a $1500 Young Women in Public Affairs scholarship! Make sure you tell your high school seniors about this opportunity TODAY!!! Share with any educators and college-bound female students you know!!!

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The Wade McCree Incentive Scholarship Program is open to students who have been continuously enrolled in, as well as graduate from Chandler Park Academy, Hazel Park H.S., International Technology Academy, Oak Park H.S., Pontiac High School, with:

  • a 3.0 GPA college preparatory curriculum
  • at least a 1060 SAT composite score
  • a US Citizen or Permanent Resident

Students will receive a four-year scholarship to Oakland University covering tuition. This scholarship is renewable for up to four years if they meet the scholarship criteria.


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.

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Office of Teaching and Learning

District Wide Updates

w/o November 2, 2020

  • All Conference videos from our Election Day PD will be uploaded shortly! Stay tuned for more learning to come!

  • The Office of Teaching and Learning is thankful for yet another successful day of professional learning on Election Day. We fully recognize the difficulty that goes into balancing professional learning with the importance of the day but, yet again, the Oak Park staff showed up and conquered the day! We appreciate all the patience and professionalism you displayed as you navigated the Oakland Schools sign up process as well as your heightened engagement during the sessions. We are so proud of our professional staff!

  • ​​Shout-Outs!

    • A special thank you to Key Elementary 4th grade teacher Monica Tienda for developing an incredibly useful PowerPoint to help guide our teachers through the Oakland Schools registration process. Remember the days when all you needed to get to PD were directions and a cup of coffee? Nothing is that simple these days but your PowerPoint helped...thank you!

    • We would like to shout out all the teachers who facilitated a PLC on Tuesday morning during our Election Day PD! Also, a special thank you to OPHS foreign language teacher Sandra Guzman de Grimm for taking on a LARGE group which required organizing many breakout rooms in her Zoom session! Thank you all. We truly appreciate all that you do!

    • A huge thank you goes out to OPPA’s Dawn Izzi and all the OPPA Mentor Teachers. Together, they have developed a program that identifies ways to grow as mentors while supporting their teachers through these challenging times. The backbone of a school’s success is the relationships formed within. Great job providing support opportunities for all our teachers!


    • The Office of Teaching and Learning is establishing a Teaching and Learning Council for the 2020-2021 School Year. This council will meet 1-2 times a month for the remainder of the school year and focus on intentional planning around remote learning, grading policy and assessment alignment, learning management systems, K-12 content based learning frameworks and/or any other important important work in which the collective voice and participation of district stakeholders is required for effective implementation. All Oak Park staff is welcome to express interest by completing this survey!

    • Social Emotional Learning: See below for access to resources for you and your students:

  • ​​​Article of the Week:

  • 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.

    • MASSP is providing a free, asynchronous, learning opportunity to help teacher's familiarize themselves with CEL's 5D instructional framework and 5D+ evaluation tool. In this session participants will gain both an understanding of the background and purpose for using the 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning (5D™) instructional framework, the 5D+™ Rubric for Instructional Growth & Teacher Evaluation and their roles and responsibilities within cycles of inquiry. The course is offered through Michigan Virtual and is completely self-paced. Upon completion of the online course you will receive 3 SCHECHs applied to your recertification license. The course is open to all educators, whether you are new to the district and have never used the 5D framework, or simply want a refresher on the dimensions and how to use the tool to increase your instructional effectiveness. ​ If you are interested in learning more click here to register.


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

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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.)


Roll Up Your Sleeve for Your Annual Flu Vaccine

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.

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The Oakland County Health Division offers drive-thru testing on:

Mondays and Wednesdays at the South Oakland Health Center at 27725 Greenfield Road in Southfield.

Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Oakland County government campus, 1200 N. Telegraph Road in Pontiac.

Fridays at Oakland Community College, Orchard Ridge Campus at 28696 Oakland, Farmington Hills.

General COVID-19 resources can be found on the Health Division’s website at or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or

Nurse on Call is available 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Saturday.

For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter.


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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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


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.


Mr. Anthony White and the Detroit Youth Choir have teamed up with a superstar line up of musical artists to record "CHANGE"!

CHANGE is necessary. CHANGE is essential. The time for CHANGE is now. "CHANGE" streaming everywhere on 10.23.20. All proceeds benefiting the Social Change Fund. Be the Change you want to see. #BeTheChange #Change #ItTakesAVillage

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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.