The Oak Park Advantage

September 2021 4th Edition


Monday, Sep. 27th, 9pm to Friday, Oct. 1st, 11pm

13701 Oak Park Boulevard

Oak Park, MI

Homecoming Week 2021 - September 27 - October 1

Monday, September 27: Marvel/ Meme Monday
Dress in your favorite Meme or Superhero from Marvel, DC, or Anime. Students and staff can dress up as their favorite Meme or superhero.

Tuesday, September 28: Twin or Triplet Day
Students and staff will find a twin or triplet or group of people to wear the same clothes, colors, and outfits!

Wednesday, September 29: Pajama Day
Wear your favorite PJs or sleep outfit.

Students are expected to follow the 2021-22 Dress Code Guidelines. If a student fails to follow the guidelines, a parent/guardian will be contacted to bring a change of clothes and the student will remain in the office.

Thursday, September 30, 2021: Throwback Thursday
Seniors dress as senior citizens! :)
Students and staff can bring back any fashion style or trend prior to the current year. (Wear 2000’s 90's, 80's, attire!)

Friday, October 1, 2021: Class Colors Day
Class T-shirt Day w/ theme: OPHS colors (Students & Staff)

Class of '22 Senior colors - RED
Class of '23 Junior colors -GREY
Class of '24 Sophomore colors -WHITE
Class of '25 Freshmen colors - BLACK

Homecoming Football Game - Oak Park Knights vs. Birmingham Seaholm Maples at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 2, 2021: Homecoming Dance
The 2021 Homecoming Dance will be held on Saturday, October 2, 2021 from 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. Doors close at 7:30 p.m. A photo identification and ticket is required for entry.

Only students enrolled in OPHS, including students registered in-person or virtual, can attend the Homecoming dance. Students should be picked up or exit the campus at the conclusion of the dance. Refreshments will be provided. Masks should be worn with the exception of when students are eating or drinking.

Attire: Dress to Impress. Appropriate traditional formal dance attire recommended. However, due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, we recommend that families keep their Homecoming Dance attire and transportation expenses to a minimum.

Location: Oak Park High School

Core Values: Student Code of Conduct policy is in full effect. Please demonstrate our core values of integrity, community, accountability, respect and excellence and have a great time!

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Friday, Sep. 24th, 7pm

20500 West 13 Mile Road

Beverly Hills, MI

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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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Being a teenager can be hard—and when a pandemic disrupts your normal routines, it can get a lot harder. You may feel disappointed, depressed, and anxious about the future. How about connecting with other teens from around the state to share your feelings and compare experiences?

Register for a virtual support group designed especially for 14-to-17-years-olds, hosted by our Stay Well counseling team. Sign up for one or more sessions at

You’ll get a confirmation email with information to join the meeting. Be Kind to Your Mind.

Call the Michigan Stay Well counseling line for free emotional support. Dial 1-888-535-6136 and press “8.” Remain on the line until you hear the prompt to speak with a Stay Well counselor. This service is free, confidential, and available 24/7. For more guidance on coping with pandemic-related distress, visit
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Mazda is offering free oil changes and vehicle cleanings for educators through September 30th. There’s no need for the car to be a Mazda.

Eligible Customers include: Active teachers, professors, teaching assistants, teaching aids, administrators, coaches, school support staff (e.g., custodial staff, bus drivers, office staff, etc.) within 12 months of the service date. Eligible Educational Facilities include: Public, private, or parochial pre-school, elementary, middle or high school, academy, charter school, prep school, boarding school, college (e.g., career, community, junior, technical), university, post-graduate studies (e.g., master’s, doctorate, law, medical, veterinary degrees, etc.)

Most standard make/model passenger cars, crossovers and SUVs are eligible. The program
excludes certain vehicles, including exotic vehicles, classic car vehicles, offroad vehicles, vehicles with greater than 8-quart engine oil capacity or any other vehicles with special manufacturer requirements.

Limit one (1) offer redemption per customer during program period. Offer is not transferable. No cash value. A copy of current driver’s license and a copy of documentation that clearly reflects proof of occupation within 12 months of the service date is required. Examples include ID card with person’s name and name of education facility, pay stub or ID badge.


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

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


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.