December at Oxford High School

From the Oxford Community School district and Oxford HS, we hope everyone had a special Holiday and Happy New Year!
Unity and Connectedness.  Regardless of what you celebrate, our traditions bring our students and learning community closer. These moments create positive memories for our students, a supportive environment and something to look forward to. As IB Learners, we strive to be open minded and appreciate the values and traditions of others.  We know our students crave the comfort and security that comes with traditions and predictability. Traditions are a wonderful way to anchor our learning community together, providing a sense of unity and belonging.  When students feel they belong and are connected to their environment, learning will begin to deepen.

A Season of Giving.  This Holiday, our students, parents and staff outdid themselves again by donating and collecting items for less fortunate families in our community.  Oxford's Giving Tree is a project where each Elementary School collects items, such as hats, cloves and mittens to local agencies. Check out this article in the Oxford Leader! Both OHS and OMS helps with this cause by donating both money and additional items at each grade level to assist,  For example, Mrs. Sambuchi's Language Arts 12 classes collected over 500 hats, socks and gloves to help contribute to their Senior grade giving tree.  Our Leadership students help organize and communicate these efforts school-wide.  

Our Leadership students also collaborated with Oxford Middle School and our Elementary schools to purchase and wrap gifts for less fortunate, local OCS families. Our very generous OCS parents went above and beyond by picking one family per school to help organize, communicate and collect for those families. Our OCS staff also stepped up and donated many gifts and gift cards to each of the families.  Our Leadership students picked up additional items just to make sure each family was able to have a special holiday.  

As IB Learners, we strive to be Reflective.  Our students give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience.  This month, our Business Professionals of American (BPA) students competed at the Regional Leadership Conference on December 19th.  Students that placed in their respective event will compete at the State Leadership conference in March.  Our Video Production team wanted our parents and community to see their work.  Please leave positive comments or suggestions that may help them improve for the state competition.  Click below!

On December 22nd, our Girls' Varsity Basketball team competed against West Bloomfield at the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Our Lady Wildcat's earned their 5th win of the season with this 46-33 conference win!  Our Dance Team also performed during timeouts and halftime to all our OHS parents and community who came to support our Wildcats.

The Oakland Schools Education Foundation (OSEF) annouced in December that Music teacher John Hill  has been recognized into OSEF's Educator Appreciation program. Congratulations, Mr. Hill!
This is a new program for OSEF and was launched on Giving Tuesday, which ran through the first week in December. This program recognizes teachers and other school staff members worthy of recognition. 

Our Symphonic and Concerts Bands teamed up with Oxford Middle School's 7th grade Band for an outstanding Holiday Concert on December 6th!  OHS Band Director, Mr. Gibbons, and OMS Band Director, Mr. Schmaltz, shared with our parents how proud they were of students.  Our kids sure captured the spirit of the Holiday during this evenings performances!  Check out this short video on Oxford's Twitter page.

As expected, our staff participated in an ugly sweater contest during the last week of school before break.  These opportunities allow of staff to have fun and show a side of themselves students don't always see.  This year's ugly sweater contest winner was Mr. Yinger and his beautiful unicorn sweater.  If you know Mr. Yinger at all, this photo is even funnier!

Student's in Mrs. Goetz's first period Mentorship class joined other metro-Detroit residents for Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams.  This is a new program created by the Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Family Advisory Council at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.  Pediatric patients will shine flashlights from the hospital windows at night and look for others standing outside the hospital to flash them back.  This has helped the children feel less isolated in hospital rooms many cannot leave.

On December 9th, ten of our Weightlifting Club students competed at North Branch HS.  There were at least 8 different schools represented at this event.  The ten students from OHS who competed racked up 9 medals, including Jordyn B. who won the trophy for the overall pound for pound strongest in the JV Girls competition.  Keep up the great work, Wildcats!

This year's Many Moods of Christmas concerts, conducted by Chorus Director, Mr. Card, were absolutely sensational!  With a sell out crowd for each of the five performances at OMS, our students once again demonstrated their reputation for excellence on a national and international level.  The atmosphere and quality of performance they delivered each night was truly special.  Our parents and community are always treated like VIP guests, being served sweets, deserts and beverages at their own seated tables.  Our Oxford High School Choirs help demonstrate the OCS Mission of challenging all students to reach their maximum potential. 
Our Debate Team competed at the Dexter Delight tournament on December 3rd.  They are looking forward to the upcoming competitions this January.  Pictured below is: Matthew Berg (senior), Meyer Valdes (senior), Keara Fox (junior) and Julia Brown (junior).

Our World Language Department held a World Language Fair on December 22nd to celebrate the Holiday in their respective cultures.  Mrs. Smith's Spanish students sang Christmas carols in Spanish.  Mrs. Stevens spoke with students about Posadas and had students play bingo in Spanish.  Mrs. Zhang led students through a Chinese paper cutting activity.  Mrs. Wu led students through a Chinese calligraphy activity.  Mrs. DeSano and her students practiced and performed Rudolf in American Sign Language for everyone to view.   Mrs. Beaham spoke with students about dia de los inocentes, or the Day of the Innocents.  Lastly, Mrs. McConnell led students through Spanish lottery and bingo activities.  

Spanish Club Members entertained the residents of Independence Village in Waterstone singing Christmas carols in both Spanish and English.  The students enjoyed having many of the residents sing along with them.   Afterwards the students spent time sitting and chatting with them about the upcoming holiday and memories of past Holidays.  Check out this pic and article in the Oxford Leader.

As a part of being an I'm Third Club member, our students are provided opportunities to participate in events that give back. This year, our students decided they wanted to do something more and chose to make homemade blankets themselves for children in local shelters and hospitals.  They teamed up with a charity called Project Linus. Homemade blankets give security and a special touch of love to children all over the country. Over 65 blankets were made!  Our students are willing to do anything that will make a difference for our less fortunate - especially young children!  

PD by our teachers, for our teachers.  Once again, our staff helped facilitate Professional Development for our teachers on Dec. 6th with strategies surrounding formative assessment.  The core of PD at OHS centers around how to best meet the needs of our learners.  Surrounding this core is how we provide our staff with meaningful training to meet their specific needs and instructional development.  We've focused our practice around a growth mindset where the process is just as important as the product.  Picture below, Lauren Jasinski, Carrie Connor, Ann Bolton, Kristie Bonkowski, Sian Marshall, Abby Prater, Dana Brewer, Amanda Bausack lead staff through the following training sessions:
  1. Using digital tools to formatively assess student understanding
  2. Using Illuminate to Make Instructional Decisions and Provide Student Feedback
  3. Students interacting with learning target
  4. How to differentiate for students when using info/data

Oxford students, staff and parents volunteers on December 17th in Pontiac by helping to put together 3,000 holiday meals for the homeless.  This included Ms. Fine, Mrs. DeRyckere, Mrs. Corbett, Mrs. Jasinski (and her father pictured below!) and Mrs. Okasinski.  

The Oxford Orchestra program had a successful fundraiser playing at Merge Studio and Art Gallery and Evergreens Coffee Shop on December 17th.  In return, Evergreen’s donated 20% of all proceeds to our Orchestra Program. There was a great turn out by the community and our students were grateful for Merge and Evergreen’s collaborating with us! 

Students in  Mrs. De-Nise and Mrs. Gray's classroom took some time this month to bake Christmas cookies with some of our other grade level students.  What's more meaningful than the yummy cookies is the opportunity for our students to work with others in a supportive environment where they feel connected to our school. 

Making connections. Some of our Leadership students took a field trip on December 12th to the MASC/MAHS Student Leadership Day Conference at Little Caesars Arena.  This opportunity provided our students with incite and advice about their professional futures from marketing, management, and hospitality leaders of the Pistons organization.  Pictured below, our OHS students pose with Bruce Sanders from the OHS graduating class of 1977!

Mr. Hill's Jazz Band and Mr. Gibbons' 8th graders and Wind Ensemble performed an amazing Holiday Band Concert on December 11th in our Performing Arts Center.  Our Band performances always provide our parents and community an opportunity to see the culminating hard work our students have given in class during the last month. 

OHS Orchestra director, Ms. Frakes, teamed up with OMS Orchestra Director, Mr. Berezney, for an fantastic Holiday Winter Concert on December 12th!  Our High School and Middle School students demonstrated how talented and well versed they are by performing many difficult Holiday performances.  Keep up the great work!

On December 12th, Oxford Community Schools held a luncheon for our Rotary Club of Oxford in our PAC lobby.  This event serves as an opportunity to thank our local residents for their support and trust in OCS.  Karen Bissett and our Food Services created some delicious lunch entrees, beverages and deserts.  Our custodial staff, transportation staff and students from all areas of our building took time to show their respect by volunteering.  This was a district-wide effort and one that we are excited to hold! Pictured below, Superintendent Tim Throne, shows his gratitude to our guests by thanking them for their support. 

Mr. Ruch's DECA organization was featured on WWJ this month where students discussed their recent class project on financial literacy.  The audio file in the link below is under the December 14th date.  Take a listen!

Our American Sign Language students in levels 3 and 4 teamed up with our Elementary SuperSingers for the Holiday sing-a-long in our Performing Arts Center!  Our HS students love working with our elementary students, as it is both rewarding and brings back some nostalgia. 

Oxford HS had several presentation during our December 12th Board of Education Meeting. Dance Instructors Ms. Koivunen and Mrs. Brewer had the opportunity to highlight their Dance Conservatory program and our outstanding student performers.  During the BOA meeting, IB Diploma Program Coordinator, Mr. Eldridge, also took a moment to share some of our former and current DP student successes.  Athletic Director, Jordan Ackerman took some time to share the outstanding season our Girl's Swim and Dive team had this Fall, as well as highlight a few our exceptional athletes.  Boy's and Girl's Cross Country Coach, Mr. Petersimes, also shared the excellent season both teams had and highlight this year's outstanding performers.

Oxford News This Week gave John Oetjens some time in his 'Schooling Around' segment to also highlight our Dance Conservatory.  John also highlighted this month's Orchestra Concert, conducted by Natalie Frakes - with a special performance from OMS' Orchestra Director, James Berezney

This month, our National Honors Society students volunteered time with with Oxford Early Learning Center students. Our NHS aims to develop well-rounded students who participate in both extracurricular and co-curricular activities. This includes volunteer work, which extends their learning on a personal level.

Oxford's Special Education fundraiser on December 3rd was a huge success for our students and families. About 100 community members, including many OCS staff and families were present at Collier Lanes. This event raised about $3,200 to benefit OHS special education students and classrooms.  What's amazing about this fundraiser is that is was created by Jordyn Zyngier, a fifth-year student in Oxford Schools Early College (OSEC) program!  Here's a great article in the Oxford Leader to read more about it!

Our Special Education staff gathered this month with core area teachers to discuss strategies to meet the needs of their students in skills class.  We are continuously reevaluating our practice and our inclusive co-taught teaching model.  This includes monthly meetings were teams and staff can share strategies to make ongoing adjustments. 

Students in Ms. Wu's Chinese classes made music videos this month as part of a comprehensive project to the semester.  Check out this one here!

Mr. Millard's Radio, TV and Film students put together a quick slideshow of some of our Wildcat Spirit (here)!

Oxford High School would like to send a congratulations and farewell to Counseling Secretary, Kathy Absher.  She will be moving to the Board Office to begin her time in a new role, beginning January 8th.  Kathy was an outstanding person to work with because she has the unique skill set of working meticulously with computers and data, but also making strong personal connections with our students, parents and staff.  She will be greatly missed at OHS! 😢

Our Student Newspaper staff launched a new website in October:  Our dedicated team of 18 writers, five of whom pull double-duty as editors, and one dedicated website manager - are working hard to report the news in an unbiased, fair and balanced way.  Please check them out!

Our OHS News Broadcasting has also made some outstanding updates to their daily news show.  You can subscribe to their YouTube Channel and even set alerts to receive their news each day.

You can check out the latest from Oxford Community Television's Schooling Around: Episode 64 to hear from Superintendent Tim Throne speak on district enrollment and our International Program, with OIP Coordinator, Jill LemondBand Director, Jim Gibbons, also speaks about his program and our 5 students who were just selected as All-State.  Lastly, Leonard Elementary Principal, Paul McDevitt, speaks about OCS' Giving Tree Project. 
Episode 65 highlights our students from last Spring's 13 Reasons Why Not project, led by Dean of Students, Pam Fine. MYP Coordinator, Molly Darnell speaks about our MYP Personal Inquiry Project.  Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, Ken Weaver, speaks about our World Language programs.  Lastly, Assistant Superintendent of Finance, Sam Barna, speaks about the recent passing of our Bond and Sinking Fund and where those dollars will be spent.

Communication & Information

Parents who are better informed are more likely to be engaged and supportive of their child and our learning community.  Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the following pages within and in addition to our OHS Homepage.

Mr. Wolf’s Top 6
  1. If you don’t already receive our weekly emails from OHS Administration, please click on SchoolMessenger and subscribe to receive helpful weekly info and updates.
  2. Our Parents & Students webpage is a great resource for parents to access student grades & attendance (PowerSchool), teacher websites (Haiku) and other school resources.
  3. Please visit our OHS School Calendar to view upcoming events.
  4. OHS News Broadcasting YouTube Channel is where you can find all daily announcements.  Subscribing and/or viewing on a regular basis will help keep you informed and updated.
  5. Our Counseling webpage has a number of resources for you and your student, including our curriculum, career resources, transcripts and services.
  6. Make sure you are also visiting our Athletic Website for athletic event dates, games and information.  We are currently working on a redesigned website that we hope you will love using.
  • Check out our Twitter page @oxford_hs to see day-to-day highlights of our wonderful learning community!
  • Our student Newspaper staff has launched a new website: with a dedicated team of 18 writers working hard to report the news in an unbiased, fair and balanced way. 
  • OCS Facebook is another way to see day-to-day highlights district-wide.
  • Wildcat Review Newsletters are created each quarter to highlight all of the outstanding work and accomplishments throughout Oxford Community Schools.

Thanks for your support and help in keeping Oxford an amazing Community!

Steve Wolf 

Principal – Oxford High School



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