THE DISTRICT DISPATCH Royal Oak Schools news, straight to your inbox


In This Issue

  • Message From Our Superintendent
  • New Faces In The New Year
  • Kindergarten Information
  • MLK Day
  • Family Fair
  • Skating At The Rink
  • Guest Speaker
  • Around The District
  • Curriculum Insights
  • DEI: The Deep Dive
  • Senior Gold Cards
  • Did You See It On Social?
  • January Calendar
  • 2024-25 School Calendar
  • Job Postings In The District
From The Superintendent


Happy New Year from Royal Oak Schools.

January is School Board Appreciation Month. Here at Royal Oak Schools, we have a very dedicated and thoughtful school board. The board, made up of 7 community leaders, is tirelessly working to ensure the success and well-being of our students. Each member brings a wealth of experience and a genuine concern for the welfare of our students.

The Royal Oak Schools Board of Education actively embraces student involvement and fosters a sense of community by bringing on board members and organizing lunch and learns with high school students. This initiative demonstrates a commitment to incorporating student voice and perspective in decision-making.

Back row: Michelle Cook, Lisa-Aline Hanes, Deb Anderson, Maryanne Vanhaitsma, Lauren Jasinski Front row: Erika Alexander, Tim Ciechorski

We want to express our heartfelt appreciation for their selfless dedication to shaping the future of our students. Thank you, Royal Oak Schools Board, for your invaluable contributions and commitment to fostering a community of excellence!

- Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, Superintendent Royal Oak Schools

New Employees


Introducing some new faces to the district! Welcome all to Royal Oak Schools; we hope you enjoy your time in your new positions.

  • Eric Blessman - Paraprofessional at Upton (not pictured)
  • Connor Burkeen - Paraprofessional at ROMS (not pictured)
  • Theresa Campbell - Paraprofessional at Addams
  • Tiffany Hahn - ASD Teacher at ROMS
  • Elizabeth Lucas - DK Paraprofessional at Keller
  • Susannah Oliver - TRAILS Transition Coordinator
  • Makayla Stallworth - Paraprofessional at Oak Ridge (not pictured)
Kindergarten Time


Our annual Kindergarten Information Night will take place on Wednesday, January 31, at 6:30 PM at each of our six elementary schools.

This will be a great opportunity for our incoming kindergarten families to learn more about our kindergarten program, schools, and school district!

Kindergarten enrollment for the 2024-2025 school year will begin on Thursday, February 1, 2024. All enrollments will be virtual, including uploading the required documentation for pre-enrollment. Please see the "How to Enroll" portion of the Enrollment website for more information.

A resident child must be five years of age on or before September 1st in order to be eligible to attend kindergarten.

If a child is not five by the September 1st enrollment eligibility date but will be five no later than December 1st, the parent/guardian may still enroll the child in kindergarten. Notification, by way of a completed Kindergarten Age Waiver, must be received in order for a child born between September 1 and December 1 to be enrolled in kindergarten.



The cities and school districts of Berkley, Clawson, and Royal Oak are proud to announce their joint MLK Day event. On Monday, January 15, the community is invited to honor Dr. King through learning and action. The commemoration, “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” will begin with a donation drive at Royal Oak Middle School (709 N Washington Ave.) at 8:30 AM.

From 8:30-9:30 AM, guests can enjoy breakfast, make signs for the Freedom Walk, and participate in volunteer services and hands-on activities.

At 9:30, we'll have a welcome presentation in the auditorium located at Royal Oak Middle School and watch a video produced by students talking with other students from all three schools about what service and community mean to them.

At 10:00 AM, guests can join in on a freedom walk through the Royal Oak Middle School neighborhood. The first 300 guests will receive a commemorative event button. All ages and members of the community are invited to attend.

Following the walk, the public is invited to participate in service projects at Royal Oak Middle School and at community locations, including donation sorting, blanket making, creating hygiene kits for those in need, and card making for educators.

A wish list is available on Amazon, and many of our schools will have collection boxes until January 12, where you can drop off items.

Donations will be collected to support the following groups:

  • Cass Community Social Services
  • Judson Center
  • Redford Brightmoor Initiative
  • Royal Oak First United Methodist Church
  • Teen Clean Closet

Items will be collected through 11:00 AM the day of and then delivered that day by volunteers. Look for more details on the City of Royal Oak's website,

Family Month


On January 18, our administrative offices will host an Opportunities Fair For Families from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

Families are invited to stroll through the halls at the administrative building, enjoy light snacks, and connect with various partners and service providers from the district.

There will be information on preschool and Latchkey, athletics, afterschool activities, food service, employment, and more.

This event is tailored to provide valuable insights and opportunities for personal and educational growth.


Students can enjoy ice skating at The Rink in Royal Oak this month for free on select days. M3 Investments is hosting free skating for Royal Oak Students on January 10 and 25. Students must show their school ID, and elementary students need to be with a parent or guardian who can state the school the child attends. Skate rentals are $5.


Join us on January 29 for an enlightening evening with guest speaker Nicole Runyon, LMSW, an expert on social media's effects on adolescent health. Nicole will be speaking at the board office from 6:30 - 8 pm. The focus of the event will be to learn about how screen usage influences adolescent psychology. This program is a must for parents and community members interested in staying informed and engaged in the well-being of our youth and is completely free to attend. More information on Nicole Runyon can be found using this link.

Nicole describes this event as: "An insightful talk for parents of children of all ages from infants to young adults, that explores the intricate relationship between technology and child development. As parents and educators, understanding the fundamental causes behind the challenges our children face in this tech-driven era is crucial."

Use this link to register to attend.

Around The District


We are sticking with the gingerbread theme at the ECC! On the left, Yellow Lions made gingerbread playdough. On the right, a special reader reads the story of the Gingerbread Man to preschoolers in the Brown Bear room.
At Addams, Ms. Miller's Sea Turtle Class students learned about ringing bells to holiday songs. (L) Addams, 2nd graders in Mrs. Lizzy’s room, were working on their pieces for the PTA Reflections Contest. The inspiration was “I am hopeful for….” They created pieces about being hopeful for their friends and school. (R)
At Keller, HAVEN dropped by with their friend Daisy, to help kids learn to help themselves. HAVEN, a non-profit organization, introduced Helping Kids Help Themselves to the students. With this program, children learn about personal safety and body ownership through the use of a story involving a bird named Daisy. The program helps children identify, trust, and communicate their own feelings.
The Northwood PTA sponsored "Rocket Ryan" science assemblies for every classroom. Mrs. Christian's 1st-grade classroom had so much fun deconstructing the color black and making slime.
Oakland Elementary students and staff gathered outside Corewell Health's Beaumont Children's Hospital to participate in Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams. At approximately 8 p.m. they shined flashlights to remind pediatric patients they aren’t alone and wish them sweet dreams.
Check out these Oak Ridge students in Ms. Forsyth's class using two different robots. Dash was programmed using Blockly on the iPads, and the Ozobots followed lines and were programmed by drawing color patterns.
Upton students coordinated with the Student Senate, an all school cereal box donation drive for the Berkley Food Pantry. On the last day of the drive, they did a "Domino Rally" with the school to show how much we received. The bonus is that it was also PJ day! The school collected 214 boxes!
Magician Anthony Grupido performed at ROMS for three grade-level assemblies. With his illusions and magic came a strong message to the students about coping skills, relationships with social media, and suicide prevention.
Scenes from the high school: The entrepreneurship class is running the Raven Haven during lunch as part of their class taught by Ms. Turk (L). ROMS students shadowed ROHS Diploma Programme students to check out the program and the high school (C). Coco the Therapy Dog gets and gives lots of love at ROHS (R).
TRAILS students visited downtown Detroit before the holidays.
Churchill Community High School students lined up for drinks on Hot Cocoa Day!

ICYMI: You can watch the ROHS Unified Basketball Team game highlights at the Winter Pep Rally below!

Insight Into Learning


As part of the 2023-2024 State School Aid Act, Section 99h appropriated $6,573,200 for the 23-24 school year for competitive grants to districts that provide students in grades pre through K-12 with increased opportunities to improve math, science, and technology skills by participating in events hosted by science and technology development programs.

We have recently completed this annual Robotics grant application that includes seventeen teams of Royal Oak Students! The student robotics teams come from Keller Elementary, ROMS, and ROHS. These students will compete in specific robotics competitions across the state of Michigan.

Each team has a sponsor and coach who works with the students at all levels to help them prepare for the robotics competition and also helps develop their math, science, and technology skills. One of the coaches is a teacher at Keller, Jeanette McLoud; the other coaches work in engineering and technology. Some sponsors include DTE, Lawrence Tech University, and Qualcomm Wireless Technology.



Hello, and Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone had a restful and joyful Winter Break! Welcome to “The Deeper Dive,” our new section for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion updates within the district.

First, I want to thank everyone for such a warm and inviting welcome aboard as I joined the Royal Oak Schools family. This transition has been smooth, and Royal Oak Schools already feels like “home!”

I have had the pleasure of meeting so many students, staff members, and Royal Oak Schools community members within the last six weeks. I am so proud to see so many different initiatives taking place throughout the district and in each building. These hard-working engagements and commitments are so important, and they work together to drive this work forward. From dedicated JEDI and DEI committees to Book of the Month school-wide projects to DEI field trips--Royal Oak Schools continues to raise the bar of excellence and commitment to DEI efforts and implementation.

Just before the break, I had the honor of leading 2 DEI assemblies for our 4th and 5th-grade students at Oak Ridge Elementary. Our special chant, “EMPATHY IS ESSENTIAL,” resonated throughout the "Great Room" as we worked together to emphasize the importance of this concept. We used a combination of student input, character education, percussion instruments, interactive technology activities, and Oak Ridge’s PBIS High 5 expectations (Be Kind, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Cooperative, Be Safe) to discuss the following topics:

  • Bucket Filling Challenge (Positive Reinforcement)
  • What does DEI stand for?
  • What does DEI mean to you?
  • Why is inclusion important?
  • Inclusion vs. Isolation
  • What is empathy?
  • The power of our words
  • Why is a sense of belonging important?

The students and staff had an amazing time participating, and it was a positive and uplifting way to end our day. Our students gave insightful input and thoughtful perspectives while cheering on their classmates, students from other classes, and staff members. At the end of each session, classes left with materials to begin their Bonus Gratitude Challenge for their classrooms. I am very proud of our students and look forward to many more relationship-building activities with our community.

I also look forward to meeting many more community members at our annual celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month. I hope to see you there!

~Ashley Phillips, DEI Coordinator

Gold Cards


Royal Oak Schools celebrates its senior citizens by offering a "Gold Card" to all district residents who are 60 years of age or older.

This pass entitles bearers to free admission to all school-sponsored events, including sports activities, musical and performing arts programs, and anything else that might normally include an admission fee.

Where To Apply:

  • Passes are issued at the Royal Oak Schools Administrative Building, 800 DeVillen, Royal Oak. (Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (closed for lunch between 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.)
  • Residents will be asked to present a driver's license or identifying information verifying their age when applying for the pass.
  • Please call (248) 435-8400 if you have questions about the Gold Card.
Oakland Schools Video


Have you heard of the Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum (MC3)? Oakland Schools recently produced a feature on this program and how it impacts students. Upton Elementary Teacher Jennifer Van Every was interviewed on the topic. In the video below, you can expect to learn about how Mc3 supports teaching through inquiry, impacts instruction, engages students, and shapes student success.

Follow, Like, Share!
Dates for January


January is School Board Recognition Month

January 8 - School Resumes

January 11 - Board of Education Regular Meeting 7:00 PM

January 15 - No School

January 15 -Martin Luther King Day: Day of Service

January 16 - PAC Meeting, 6:30 - 8 PM on Zoom

January 18 - Family Opportunities Fair

January 19 - No School for Students/Teacher Records Day

January 10 & 25 - Free Skating at The Rink

January 29 - Guest Speaker

January 31 - Late Start for Students


Please note calendar change for February:

February 27 - No School for Students

This is due to the State of Michigan holding the presidential primary election on that day. Some of our schools are used for these elections, and it is our practice not to have students in attendance on election days for safety reasons. We are making that change for February 27, 2024: staff will report and use the valuable time for professional development, and students will not be in school.

2024-25 School Calendar

The 2024-25 school year calendar has been approved. Use this link to review the calendar, which is located on our website under District/Calendars.



We would love to invite you to join our team. You can use this link to apply for most jobs with Royal Oak Schools:

Food service workers and cashiers: Chartwells Food Service hires substitute food service workers. The cashier position is from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and pays $14/hr. The cook position is at the elementary schools from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and pays $16.15/hr. After training, you would be "as needed" fill-in for sick calls, working on average 1-2 days per week. It could also become regular part-time when openings exist. Includes free lunch.

Substitute teachers: EDUStaff is our partner for substitute teachers. Please apply through their website at:

Paraprofessionals: A paraprofessional works with a team of teachers to help qualified students be successful at school. These patient and caring individuals may implement academic, physical, behavioral, and self-care supports that empower students to engage with their education as independently as possible. All applicants should apply through the Oakland Schools Human Resources Consortium website at:

Individuals interested in working with and caring for school-age children before and after school for our Young Oaks (Latchkey) Program should contact the Addams Early Childhood Center at (248) 288-3220.

Bus Drivers: Durham School Services is hiring for our transportation department. A minimum of 20 hours is guaranteed, with options for more. Contact James Hollis at Durham to apply:

Instructional and administrative positions: Check the Oakland Schools Consortium portal at Employment opportunities with Royal Oak Schools are on our website under Employment/HR. If you have any more questions, please contact Beth Caverly at the District Offices: or (248) 435-8400 x1210.


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