All ways, moving forward with Dave Coulter newsletter

Dave newsletter header

May 11, 2022

Bi-Weekly Executive Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Last week, I had the honor of speaking at a gathering to celebrate a group of extraordinary people who have been challenged in so many ways during the past two years.

The Oakland Schools’ Outstanding Teacher of the Year Awards ceremony in Pontiac was a salute to all teachers, but six, in particular, were singled out for special recognition for the innovative and creative ways they found to develop and deliver engaging content for students who spent much of the last two years in remote learning.

Through these challenges, Oakland County’s teachers persevered and worked tirelessly with students to overcome the learning delays that resulted from the pandemic years. And it was clear from those in the room last week that even though it was a tough couple of years, they were thrilled to not only be back in the classroom but celebrating each other on a night that was filled with a special energy that had been missing during the pandemic.

I started my career as a middle school teacher of Social Studies and English. And while that was a long time ago, I remember what it was like to stand in front of a classroom of students, terrified that I wouldn’t connect. I wouldn’t engage. I felt the tremendous responsibility that I had to be a guide to these young people, that I was helping to shape their future.

I’m not sure there’s a more important job out there and I have an immense amount of respect for the work that teachers do. In Oakland County, the task is huge. There are 28 public school districts with more than 170,000 students. That doesn’t include more than 50 private schools and another couple dozen charter schools in the county.

And teachers are responsible not only for their academics but in many cases their social and emotional well-being too. In these fraught and divisive times, that’s a herculean task to be an educator, a support system and a teacher who is dealing with learning loss from the last two years.

Oakland County is committed to helping our students and teachers. We sent $28 million in federal COVID relief money to schools and worked to put 68 nurses in schools throughout the county. We invested more than $2 million in the Mental Health and Wellbeing School Partnership Program to provide more mental health services in our schools and another $7.9 million in grants to improve access to mental health services for all age groups, including students. And we’re looking at ways we can help schools make up the learning losses that some kids experienced during the COVID shutdowns.

While the county doesn’t have a direct role in running the schools, I learned from my time as the Mayor of Ferndale that a key indicator of success for a community and a big attraction for people looking at where to live, is the quality of the schools. So, we all have a stake in making sure our schools are the best they can be.

In addition to the teachers in our schools, there are so many others who deserve praise, including, school board members, counselors, administrators, janitors, cafeteria staff and the entire education community. You all play key roles in ensuring our most precious assets learn and grow into successful adults.

To learn more about the Outstanding Teach of the Year Awards, click here


With gratitude,

David Coulter

Oakland County Executive

pet clinics at the park

Service highlight of the week: Pet clinics coming to county parks

Did you know that Oakland County’s Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center, in conjunction with Oakland County Parks, is offering pet clinics from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 14 at Orion Oaks Dog Park and May 21 at Independence Oaks County Park.

Dog and cat vaccines will be offered at discounted prices: $10 for vaccines; $20 for heartworm tests and $20 for microchips; $20 each for canine flu and lyme vaccines.

Dog owners can also purchase a license for their pet at the clinics at a cost of $15 for spayed/neutered dogs; $25 for unspayed dogs.

For more information, call 586-879-1745 for vaccine questions; or 248-858-7759 for general information.

Veterans Services available at Oakland County Michigan Works! offices

Oakland County Veterans' Services and Oakland County Michigan Works! are providing veterans with convenient access to a broad range of services. Oakland County Michigan Works! (OCMW) centers in Novi, Southfield (Tuesday), and Oak Park (Thursday) will host veterans benefits counselors one day a week.

Veterans who visit the OCMW offices in Pontiac, Troy, and Waterford will receive a referral to a liaison in the Veterans' Services offices in Pontiac or Troy.

OCMW Novi will host veterans' benefit counselors on Tuesdays, OCMW Southfield also on Tuesdays, and OCMW Oak Park on Thursdays.

Veterans' benefits counselors help clients navigate the process of completing and submitting applications for federal, state, and county veterans’ benefits.

awards celebration

“Spirit of Main Street” gala honors Oakland communities

Highland Township's Downtown Development Authority (DDA) captured the "Spirit of Main Street" award as nine downtowns were honored last week during the gala celebration at the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in Pontiac.

The Highland Township DDA received a $2,000 cash award from Genisys Credit Union as the "Spirit of Main Street" winner for its unique video themed "Live Highland, Shop Highland," highlighting community businesses like Maher Feed and Pet Supply, Comeback Inn, and Jeni's Ugly Pies.  The video chronicles how the Highland DDA and community came together to support local businesses during the pandemic, including $28,000 in business support grants from the Highland DDA and a community-driven crowdfunding campaign that raised $100,000 to support the Comeback Inn.

Other highlights of the event included the keynote presentation and book signing by nationally renowned Mary Means, founder of the national Main Street program; recognition of Auburn Hills and South Lyon advancing to the Partner Program level; and MSOC passing a milestone of $1 billion in cumulative public and private investment since 2001.