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


In This Issue

  • Message From Our Superintendent
  • Welcome New Staff Members
  • Good Luck To Retirees
  • Download Our App
  • Technology Discounts
  • Do You Need Blessings?
  • High School Rankings
  • Around The District
  • Curriculum Insights
  • DEI Corner
  • Marching Band Golf Outing
  • PAC Information For Families
  • Did You See It On Social?
  • September Calendar
  • Job Postings In The District
From The Superintendent


Welcome back to another school year! We have high expectations for a great year for everyone.

All staff were welcomed back on August 23 at Royal Oak Middle School for a morning of camaraderie and professional growth. Staff was treated to a hot breakfast in the cafeteria provided by our district’s food service provider Chartwells. Staff were able to visit our Tools For Schools marketplace filled with community partners who had giveaways, raffles and more. We are fortunate to have many organizations and businesses supporting our district’s work.

Thank you to the following groups that participated:

  • Be SMART
  • Blessings in a Backpack
  • M3 Investment Services
  • MECU
  • OUR Credit Union
  • ROEA
  • Royal Oak Public Library
  • Royal Oak Youth Assistance
  • Royal Oak Schools Foundation
  • TAG Multi Media
  • Teen Clean Closet
  • VanEvery Chiropractic

Our professional development was kicked off by keynote speaker Shenandoah Chefalo, a consultant assisting the district with understanding the impact of trauma on school-aged children, families, and staff. The morning ended with safety training from our School Liaison Officer, Officer Joe Yerke. Officer Yerke will return to police duties in the community this fall, and we welcome our new SLO, Antonio Lipscomb, to Royal Oak Schools. Watch for a feature story from the district soon to introduce Officer Lipscomb to our community. He is already off to a good start at Royal Oak High School.

The Launch into Learning Professional Development Day on August 24 was a proud moment for us as over 90 staff members offered to facilitate and present their knowledge and experience with their peers. We are very proud of our staff's leadership initiative to educate themselves on best practices to support our students.

Again this year, I will present a State of the Schools address on September 28 at 6:30 PM at the Administrative Offices. The State of the Schools Address is a significant occasion where we reflect on the accomplishments and milestones of the past year and discuss the exciting initiatives and plans that lie ahead, including our district’s newly developed strategic plan, Continuing Excellence. We believe that when parents, teachers, and the community come together, we create a more enriching and supportive environment for our students to thrive. Thank you for your ongoing support, and I hope to see you there! If you cannot join us, we will stream and record the event for future viewing.

- Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, Superintendent Royal Oak Schools

Welcome To Royal Oak Schools


The Human Resources Department was very busy this summer onboarding new employees. Between May and August, over 50 new employees were hired as follows:

  • 30 Classroom Teachers
  • 3 School Social Workers
  • 2 School Counselors
  • 1 Director of Athletics and Activities
  • 1 School Secretary
  • 1 Benefits Coordinator
  • 14 Paraprofessionals

Staff members were welcomed back, and new staff were introduced during a professional learning morning. You can watch this year's new hire video here and learn something interesting about many new staff members.

We also had some internal changes. Jennifer Knipper, Principal of Northwood Elementary since August 2019, has moved into the role of Supervisor of Continuous Improvement, and Melanie Davis, School Social Worker for Royal Oak Middle School, was promoted to the role of Supervisor of Secondary Special Education. We announced the hiring of Molly Bascom-Keller as the new Principal of Northwood.

Molly taught at Berkley Schools at Burton Elementary for nine years, along with a principal internship and interim principal experience. "I love education and am thrilled to join Royal Oak Schools and the Northwood Elementary family," she said.

She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Western Michigan University in Finance, a Masters of Elementary Education degree from Oakland University, focusing on both Mathematics and Language Arts and an Education Specialist degree from Wayne State University in Supervision and Administration. "I'm most excited to get to know and build relationships with our students, their families, and the Northwood staff. This is a tremendous community; everyone has been so welcoming and kind. It already feels like home!"

Molly is married with four children, two of whom live in Royal Oak. She has a dog named Lily. A fun fact about Molly is that she converted a Transit van into a camper over the summer. She says she loves working on things and figuring out puzzles and problems.



We wish those of our staff members who retired over the summer the best of luck in their future endeavors. They have left big shoes to fill!

  • Judith Dropiewski, ROHS Math Teacher, 33 years
  • Vicki Hirst - ROHS Paraprofessional, 44 years of service
  • Noelle Ochoa - ROHS Science Teacher, 29 years of service
  • Martha Shrode - ROHS Art Teacher, 34 years of service
  • Theresa Vernier - ROHS Resource Room Teacher, 32 years of service
District App


Stay in touch with Royal Oak Schools by downloading our new mobile app!

Enhance your communication and stay up-to-date by downloading our app onto your mobile device with this link. Opting in to receive push notifications ensures that you'll be promptly informed about the most recent news and updates from both the District and your child's school.

With our app's intuitive calendar section, you can now save important calendar events directly onto your personal mobile device. You don't need to worry about missing important school functions anymore.

Finding lunch menus, connecting to MiStar, and other essential tools are all at your fingertips with the app.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to streamline your information intake and stay organized. Download the app today to unlock a world of convenience and connectivity.

Tech Discount


Staff, students, and families can purchase computers at a discount from REMC SAVE through September 30, 2023.

Royal Oak Schools assumes no responsibility, liability, or obligation for any devices purchased from the vendors listed below. The district will not provide servicing, technical support, or warranty coverage for devices acquired through these vendors. The information provided is solely to share potential discounts with Royal Oak staff and families. It does not constitute an endorsement or guarantee of the products or services offered by these vendors.

Use these links to find out more:

Blessings In A Backpack


“Blessings in a Backpack” is designed to provide students on the free and reduced lunch program with enough food for three meals daily on weekends. Administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester, this program is active in Royal Oak Schools. If you agree to participate in this program during the school year, your child will receive a bag of food for the weekend. A food bag will be put in your child's locker for take-home on Fridays. The simple meals may include macaroni and cheese, beef ravioli, canned fruit, granola bars, soups, juice, and other items. Students will receive a bag every week.

If you want your child to participate in this program, complete the sign-up form with this link. Please be sure to indicate on the form if your child has any food allergies. If your child has a food allergy, you, as the parent or guardian, are responsible for checking all food labels when the food arrives home. Royal Oak School and Blessings in a Backpack will not be held accountable for accidental food allergen exposure.

Please fill out a new form for each child you want to participate. You will see a link to submit another response upon form submission.

Around The District


WATCH: Students tour Royal Oak Middle School, practice with their lockers, and engage with fellow students and staff during Bulldog Bound!

New staff members gathered during New Teacher Orientation for a group picture.

Students had a great time learning during our August Lego STEAM camp.

Many Royal Oak Schools families got connected at the Royal Oak DEI Committee Get Connected event.

Addams Elementary Principal Timothy Boyer receives a painting of the school from local artist John Nagridge. Some students actually assisted in the artwork while watching John paint over the summer.

Keller Elementary staff all dressed up for the first day of school!

Insight Into Learning


On Thursday morning, August 24, our first-ever "Launch Into Learning" event occurred at Royal Oak Middle School. The "Launch Into Learning" event brought all Royal Oak teachers, staff, and administrators together at ROMS for a morning of engaging and informative professional development. What made this even more meaningful is that we had over 90 sessions of professional growth facilitated by 90 Royal Oak staff members and 10 outside presenters.

Session topics covered a wide range of professional development opportunities. For example, instruction, technology, diversity, equity and inclusion, social-emotional learning, school safety, assessment, and more!

It was such a positive experience and learning opportunity for our teachers and staff. It also allowed our entire staff to be together in one location, working and learning together, and really gave us a great start to the 23-24 school year.

We were also very fortunate to have several sponsors for our Launch Into Learning event, which was very helpful. M3 Investment Services and Our Credit Union were two of our biggest sponsors and provided us with funding for goods, materials, and travel mugs/tumblers for all district staff. We would also like to thank Meijer Woodward Corner Market for providing snacks for our team, Atomic Coffee for providing us with coffee, and many other local businesses and community partners for food, raffle prizes, and more! We thank them for their continued support.

Watch this month's "Insight Into Learning" edition with the link below.

DEI Corner


Welcome back, Royal Oak families! Many new staff are raring to go, and returning veterans are ready to welcome all the new faces. September marks the beginning of several cultural celebrations. Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year, will be celebrated this year from September 15-17. Rosh Hashanah is one of Judaism’s highest holidays. Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” or first of the year. The festival begins in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, usually in September or October. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the “Days of Awe,” a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that ends on the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement.

Resources for Rosh Hashanah

Mexican Independence Day is September 16, which marks the start of Hispanic-American Heritage Month. Mexicans around the globe celebrate the anniversary of the country’s independence from Spain. We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic-American champions who have inspired others to succeed. Hispanic Heritage Month, or Mexican-American Heritage Month, runs from September 15 to October 15.

National Hispanic Month Resources

Check out these Hispanic Heritage Month activities for kids with this link.

Remember, as Winston Churchill once said, "Success is not final, and failure is not fatal. Forward progress and continuous improvement is the goal!"

Here’s to a most productive year!



The Royal Oak Parent Advocacy Committee (ROPAC) is our district's Parent Advisory Committee. ROPAC welcomes any parent or caregiver with a student(s) in Royal Oak Schools to join in their mission to make this a destination for students receiving special education services.

The ROPAC meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the month during the academic school year. They discuss topics relevant to students' well-being and regularly feature guest presenters. Check out their Facebook page to find out the latest meeting information and connect with other parents.

Their next in-person meeting at the Administrative Offices is on September 19.



Royal Oak Schools has recently been added to the School and College Listings, an online directory for schools, colleges, and educational professionals. Visit our listing with this link. Help us spread the word! Share our listing with your friends, family, and community. Your support means the world to us. Together, let's empower more students and shape a brighter future.


In the 2023-2024 Best High Schools rankings recently released by U.S. News, Royal Oak High School has demonstrated remarkable achievement, securing impressive positions both nationally and within the metro area. For a comprehensive overview of the school's rankings, feel free to explore its updated U.S. News profile page with this link.

With a distinguished national ranking that places ROHS within the top 40%, Royal Oak High School has proudly earned the esteemed title of a U.S. News Best High School again this year.

All Rankings:

  • #2,276 Nationally
  • #69 in Michigan
  • #28 in Detroit, Metro Area High Schools

Factors leading to the rankings were college readiness, college curriculum, state assessment proficiency and performance, and graduation rates.

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Dates for September


September 1 - No School

September 4 - Labor Day/No School

September 6 - National Read A Book Day

September 10-16 - National Arts In Education Week

September 10 - Grandparents Day

September 11 - Patriot Day

September 14 - School Board Meeting

September 17 - ROHS Marching Band Golf Outing

September 19 - ROPAC Meeting

September 28 - State of the Schools Address


October 31, Half Day - All Students

November 22-24, No School - Thanksgiving Break

December 25 - January 5, - No School - Holiday Break

This newsletter has been honored to receive a national award from the School Public Relations Association for excellence.


We would love to invite you to join our team. You can use this link to apply for most jobs with Royal Oak Schools: https://bit.ly/3rO26d1workforros.

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: edustaff.org.

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: bit.ly/3rO26d1workforros.

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: jholls@durhamschoolservices.com.

Instructional and administrative positions: Check the Oakland Schools Consortium portal at bit.ly/3rO26d1workforros. 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: elizabeth.caverly@royaloakschools.org or (248) 435-8400 x1210.


Send them to: communications@royaloakschools.org

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The District Dispatch Mission: To inform all interested in the Royal Oak Schools community and deliver information straight to them through stories of our people, our successes, and our future.