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


In This Issue

  • Message From Our Superintendent
  • Welcome New Staff
  • Family Information Updates
  • Family Month
  • Principal Honored
  • Around The District
  • Curriculum Insights
  • DEI Corner
  • Fall Sports Wrap
  • Community Swim Program
  • Save The Date - MLK Day 2024
  • Join The Royal Oak Schools Foundation
  • Did You See It On Social?
  • December Calendar
  • Job Postings In The District
From The Superintendent


Greetings from Royal Oak Schools.

December tends to be a busy month for most of us, but January 2024 is gearing up to be a very eventful month for our school district.

Our return to school date from the winter recess will be Monday, January 8, 2024.

On Monday, January 15, Royal Oak Schools will again work with Berkley Schools and with our new partner, the Clawson School district, on a day of celebration honoring Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Each school district and our respective municipalities will provide volunteer opportunities and a walk within the community to honor Dr King. Information can be found with this link and will be updated regularly.

On Thursday, January 18, we are sponsoring a Family Opportunity Fair to allow our parents and guardians to meet with and hear from valued departments and community partners who service our district. This will be a valuable experience for existing and new families, with Kindergarten registration right around the corner.

On Monday, January 29, 2024, we are pleased to welcome guest speaker Nicole Runyon LMSW, Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist, who will present on the impact of social media on young children and teens. Ms. Runyon Was a featured speaker during our staff professional development days in August, and her message and expertise were very well received. This session is open to everyone and will be held at our board offices.

On Wednesday evening, January 31, each elementary school will host their Kindergarten Information Night, where parents can gain valuable information about our Kindergarten and Developmental Kindergarten (DK) programs and curriculum, including details about the 2024-25 enrollment process. More information can be found on our website.

We hope to see many of you at these special events to benefit our community. Happy holidays to you all.

- Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, Superintendent Royal Oak Schools

New Employees


We are happy to announce the addition of more staff at Royal Oak Schools. We look forward to their valuable contributions in their respective roles.

  • Jodi Berger, Oakland ASD Teacher
  • Kenneth Geddie, Oakland Paraprofessional (not pictured)
  • Reyhaneh Jafari, Keller/TRAILS Speech & Language Pathologist
  • Anthony Locricchio, Royal Oak Schools Senior Tech Coordinator
  • Rachel McMenamy - Paraprofessional at Keller
  • Ashley Phillips, DEI Coordinator
  • Grace Voight, Northwood Paraprofessional


As the inclement weather approaches, we may need to get in touch with families in an emergency or provide important updates, so please ensure your contact information is up to date in MiStar. The district uses several ways to communicate with families to ensure that our stakeholders have the news they need promptly. Did you know you can receive text messages from the district, as well as emails? You need to opt-in to receive texts in MiStar. If you want to receive communication in your home or preferred language, you need to enter that in MiStar as well. Effective communication lies at the heart of our diverse community. By ensuring our communications are accessible to all, we create a space where every family feels valued.

Changing your email address? New telephone number? If you don't want to miss a communication from Royal Oak Schools, check your information in MiStar. Families can edit their contact information, add ways they would like to receive communications or change their password to something easily remembered in the MISTAR Parent Portal. You can use this link to get started: However, address changes cannot be updated using the Parent Portal. All address changes must be made with the District Central Enrollment Office, located at 800 DeVillen, Royal Oak, MI 48073.

Opportunities for Families


Royal Oak Schools Celebrates Family Month in January with many activities with a family focus.

January will be here soon, and at Royal Oak Schools, we're thrilled to kick off the year with a particular focus on family engagement and community connections. Our commitment to fostering a community of excellence is at the heart of these upcoming events, designed to bring families together for meaningful experiences. Let's dive into what January has in store:

1. MLK Jr. Day - Day of Service (January 15)

Start the month on a positive note by joining us at Royal Oak Middle School on January 15 for a Day of Service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At 8:30 AM, we'll gather for a hot breakfast and engaging activities, followed by a walk and more activities at the school until noon. It's a fantastic opportunity to come together as a community and make a positive impact.

2. Opportunities Fair for Families (January 18, 5:30 - 8:30 PM)

On January 18, our administrative offices will host an Opportunities Fair For Families from 5:30 to 8:30 PM. Stroll through the halls, enjoy light snacks, and connect with various partners and service providers from the district. This event is tailored to provide valuable insights and opportunities for personal and educational growth.

3. Skate Days (January 10 & 25)

Enjoy ice skating at The Rink in Royal Oak. 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.

4. Guest Speaker Nicole Runyon, LMSW on Adolescent Health (January 29, 6:30 - 8 PM)

Join us on January 29 for an enlightening evening with guest speaker Nicole Runyon, an expert on social media's effects on adolescent health at the board office. From 6:30 - 8 PM, Nicole will share insights into how screen usage influences teenage psychology. This event is a must for parents and community members interested in staying informed and engaged in the well-being of our youth.

5. Kindergarten Information Night (January 31)

As we close out January, don't miss Kindergarten Information Night on January 31 across all Royal Oak elementary schools. This is a crucial event for parents and guardians to gather essential information and insights as they prepare for their child's educational journey. Check back next month for more details, including start times.

As we embrace these events, remember that each gathering contributes to the growth-minded community we aim to foster. Our mission is to provide an inclusive, diverse, safe, and student-first environment.

MSCA Award


Royal Oak Schools is thrilled to announce a momentous achievement for our Royal Oak Middle School Principal, Kristin Meldrum. Kristin Meldrum has been named the 2024 Michigan School Counselor Association Administrator of the Year.

The journey to this prestigious recognition began with a heartfelt initiative from the Michigan School Counselor Association (MSCA), which invited all counselors who are members across the state to nominate administrators who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and leadership. At Royal Oak Middle School (ROMS), all four counselors who are members of the MSCA came together to discuss the opportunity, recognizing the remarkable qualities that Principal Kristin Meldrum embodies.

“Our committee truly enjoyed learning about your leadership and advocacy from your school counseling team,” said Terri Tchorzynski, MSCA President in a letter informing Principal Meldrum of her award. “Based on the examples shared, there is no doubt in our minds that you are a true advocate for our profession and a leader who truly understands the impact school counselors can have on all students when given the necessary administrative support.“

One of the examples is the implementation of Wellness Wednesdays and the no cell phone policy at the middle school. "Because of this, lunch with 400 students has been rather loud and rambunctious," said Principal Meldrum. "Which is why we then connected with the community to provide students with outdoor recess time. Recess includes time outside, Wellness Wednesday Activities, Lunch and Learns, and LC at LT (Learning Commons at Lunch Time) to promote our other initiative, individual reading throughout the school day. " The community has generously donated games and activities for the student's to use during this time, even a ping pong table. More donations are always welcomed. 

"Mrs. Meldrum brings high energy and thoughtful planning as she leads the ROMS team of teachers and staff," said Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick. "We are honored that the MSCA has recognized her passion for leading a student-centered school, and consider ourselves very fortunate that she is here serving in our community."

Principal Meldrum was honored at a Celebration Luncheon in Kalamazoo last month by the MSCA.

Principal Meldrum with Award
Around The District


The Addams ECC had a parent volunteer bring in their honeycombs from their honeybee hives and harvested the honey with our students!
At Addams, we celebrated a PTA donated playground equipment ribbon cutting on Nov. 20th! The kids started playing on it right away! (Cutting the ribbon: parents Jennifer Stark and Stephanie Barkman.)
Keller students from Mrs. Piwko's class looked at pictures of their own life and then wrote specific things that they were thankful for... like I am thankful for being able to hold a leaf bug!
Three students from Mrs. Nemecek's third grade class at Northwood wrote a persuasive essay to Principal Bascom-Keller on keeping Northwood green and clean. The students were recognized for their ideas, initiative, and leadership. The students inspired the entire class, who went out and cleaned up the playground.
Oak Ridge students from Mrs. Kosnik's 3rd grade class performed the First Thanksgiving during Reader's Theatre!
Oakland Elementary celebrates its Citizens of the Quarter! ( Knox and Elon - not pictured) DK- Lillian Kindergarten- Owen and Phoebe First Grade- MacKenzie and Lucia Second Grade- Maleek and Miranda Third Grade- Aaliyah and Hazma Fourth Grade- Maddie and Alexis Fifth Grade- Summer and Abigail
Upton students in Ms. Piccirilli's 3rd-grade classroom made placemats for a homeless shelter that will be used for the holidays.
ROMS Lego Club meets every Friday after school.
MYP students at ROHS embarking on a unit titled "Speaking Truth to Power: The Crucible." The Statement of Inquiry (SOI) for this unit asserts that "Character motivations and themes can connect to real-life situations of authority, security, and freedom." This statement serves as a conceptual anchor for the teaching and learning activities throughout the unit.
Some of the TRAILS students playing hoops as a learning break from school.

Use this link for the December Performing Arts Newsletter with dates for upcoming concerts at all of our schools!

Insight Into Learning


As of November, we are proud to report that over ninety teachers and staff were trained in Trauma-Informed leadership practices! As a reminder, during the 2022-2023 school year, two cohort groups of administrators and teacher leaders completed three full-day sessions with a Trauma-Informed consultant and the ten modules in the trauma-informed curriculum. There were a total of sixty-two participants in both cohort groups.

In August, we offered another three-day session for teachers and staff interested in completing the trauma-informed leadership training. A total of 30 teachers and staff members participated in the training in August.

Also, in August, there was a two-day training for anyone who had been trauma-informed trained and wanted to become a qualified trainer for trauma-informed leadership work. We were fortunate enough to have twenty-two teachers, admins, and staff eager to complete the training and become trauma-informed trainers for our school district.

The district team of trainers has been meeting, planning, and getting ready to begin their training and are very excited to do so. We have 105 staff members who have shown an interest in getting trained, and our next cohort group will begin in December.

This will also be the first time our Royal Oak teachers, staff, and administrators will provide the training. What a wonderful place to be regarding increasing our understanding of trauma and how it impacts our students and staff!

TRAILS Program- Insight Into Curriculum Video

This month’s Insight Into Curriculum video series focuses on our TRAILS program. The TRAILS program aims to provide students between the ages of 18-26 with an opportunity to focus on functional academics in reading, math, and daily living experiences with an emphasis on applying these skills in the community and into adulthood. Also, a part of the TRAILS program is work cite-based learning. Students have the opportunity to engage in year-long placements within local businesses, fostering genuine real-world experiences in the community. You can watch the video below.

DEI Corner


Meet Ashley Phillips

Royal Oak Schools is excited to welcome Ashley Phillips as the new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator. A Detroit native, Phillips brings a wealth of educational experience, holding Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music Education from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.

With 17 years of teaching experience, Phillips has impacted students across various levels, from Pre-Kindergarten through College. Her journey includes roles as a Supplemental Instructor for Wayne State University, a Music Educator for Norfolk Public Schools, and most recently, an educator and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Teacher Leader for Berkley Schools.

Beyond her extensive classroom experience, Phillips has engaged in comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training with notable leaders such as Dr. Jay Marks, Dr. Bryant Marks, and Dr. Adolph Brown, III.

"Royal Oak Schools remains committed to providing a safe and supportive learning community. With the hiring of Ms. Phillips as our new DEI Coordinator, I am very excited to welcome her as a new leader to the district to help move these efforts forward for all district members. Her passion and knowledge will be a great addition to our team," said Superintendent Fitzpatrick.

Phillips is passionate about being a voice for all children on and off the stage. Her belief in ensuring that everyone feels seen, heard, and valued aligns with her leadership approach. With a focus on empathy, audience analysis, and effective communication, Phillips is dedicated to contributing to Royal Oak Schools' ongoing journey as a community of excellence.

"I am elated to join this amazing 'community of excellence' as the new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator. I am so excited to build relationships with everyone in Royal Oak's dynamic and exceptional community. I am committed to helping to drive the DEI efforts and initiatives in the district forward.

She emphasizes the importance of positive relationship-building as the cornerstone of success for everyone involved and looks forward to collaborating with students, staff, and the community to propel this work forward. She says that her goals, along with building relationships, are to promote the importance of maintaining inclusive learning spaces, to continue to provide meaningful DEI-related resources, and to provide staff with engaging and thought-provoking professional development opportunities.

In addition to her work in education, Ashley is also a 'Music and Sports mom who loves supporting her 12-year-old daughter at her orchestra performances, Black Belt Training classes, and U.S. Figure Skating Club activities. They both enjoy listening to music, attending plays and musicals, and watching movies together when they are not busy attending classes, testing, competing, and performing.

It's a Wrap


The fall sports season has wrapped up. The months were packed with many achievements. Our student-athletes showcased their dedication and talent across various disciplines. Let's dive into the standout moments from the fall season:

Boys Cross Country

The Boys Cross Country team secured the OAA White Champions title. Sebastian Ramirez and Braxton Sipes received All-OAA honors, with Ramirez earning All-State recognition. Both runners left their mark in school history with impressive times.


Despite challenges, the volleyball team finished with a 7-18 record. Riley Maizy earned recognition on the OAA White All League team, and she, along with Emmy Walden and Ava Emery, made the Academic All-State list.

Girls Cross Country

The Girls Cross Country team finished 5th in OAA White. Katherine Wischman earned a spot on the OAA White All League team.

Girls Swim & Dive

The Girls Swim & Dive team claimed the OAA White Champions title. Delaney Dalziel and Kamryn Eberhardt made it to the OAA White All League team, and Tracy Kalinowski was named OAA White Coach of the Year. The team broke two school records and received academic awards.

Photo by Toby Buckheim

Boys Soccer

The Boys Soccer team claimed the OAA White Champions title with a 10-4-4 record. Six players earned OAA White All League honors, and Jack Winterburn received additional recognition.


Despite a 3-6 record, the football team had standout players receiving OAA Gold All League honors, recognizing their contributions.

Boys Tennis

The Boys Tennis team excelled with a 15-3-1 record, and five players earned OAA Blue All League selections.

Girls Golf

The Girls Golf team had a strong 6-2 record, securing the OAA Blue League and Pre/Post Season Championships. Five players received OAA Blue All League honors, and Coach Tom Harwood was named Regional Coach of the Year.

Unified Soccer

Unified Soccer wrapped up an undefeated season, boasting a 7-0 record. The climax was an exhilarating double overtime victory against Howell High School in the KLAA league championship game. Beyond the wins, the team demonstrated significant growth and, more importantly, fostered lasting friendships throughout the season. With the largest roster in its history, the team has emerged as a leader in advancing the Royal Oak Schools' commitment to inclusion.

These achievements align with our vision of a community of excellence, where students excel both academically and athletically.


Royal Oak Parks & Recreation has partnered with the Royal Oak Schools to offer swim programs and open swimming. Register online at



Please save the date for the 2024 Martin Luther King Jr. Day On Not A Day Off event.

Royal Oak Schools will partner with Berkley Schools and Clawson Schools for this day of service on January 15, 2024 at Royal Oak Middle School.

The doors will open at 8:30 AM and volunteers and community members are invited to a hot breakfast while working on projects. There will be sign making and a freedom walk, also donation gathering and sorting, creating hygiene kits, making blankets, and thank you cards for educators. A wish list will be available on Amazon and many of our schools will have collection boxes until January 12 where you can drop off items.

Look for more details in the January edition of the Dispatch and on the City of Royal Oak's website,

Royal Oak Schools Foundation


The Royal Oak Schools Foundation (ROSF) is a vital force in our district, dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities and supporting the Royal Oak Schools community in achieving our vision of excellence. In 2023, they donated $25,000 for new books, enriching the learning environments at Royal Oak Middle School, Royal Oak High School, and Churchill Community High School, reflecting the foundation's dedication to providing enriching resources for our students.

Beyond financial support, ROSF actively addresses the challenges faced by our educators. Our ongoing partnership focuses on providing staff with social and emotional learning support, reinforcing the commitment to the well-being of the entire school community. Initiatives in 2022 and 2023, specifically focusing on social and emotional learning, showcase the foundation's deep understanding of educators' challenges beyond their traditional teaching roles. This commitment resonates with our broader mission to create an inclusive and supportive environment for students and adults.

The impact extends further with initiatives like the 2021 Literacy Project, which delivered books to Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Grades 1-5 classrooms at the start of the school year. Additionally, the heartfelt appreciation expressed in 2020 through holiday gift cards for our hardworking staff underscores ROSF's genuine understanding of the extraordinary efforts made during challenging times.

ROSF's collaboration with Royal Oak Youth Assistance in 2020 demonstrates the foundation's commitment to the broader community. This collaboration truly embodies the spirit of our mission, fostering partnerships that extend beyond the school grounds.

Passionate about making a difference? Join ROSF in this impactful partnership with our district. If you're interested in volunteering and contributing to the well-being of our students and staff, consider joining the ROSF board. Contact ROSF at or visit Please stay current on the latest happenings by following them on Facebook @RoyalOakSchoolsFoundation.

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Dates for December


December is Read A Book Month

December 2 - Special Education Day

December 5 - International Volunteer Day

December 6, 13 - Late Start for Students

December 13 - Free Skating at The Rink

December 14 - Board of Education Regular Meeting 6:30 PM

December 25 - January 5 Holiday Break - No School

January 8 - School Resumes

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:

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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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.