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

Welcome back! We have enjoyed seeing students and staff back in our schools for in-person learning. Districts across Oakland County continue to experience staffing shortages due to the pandemic. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise we are seeing the impact in our classrooms. We ask for the continued patience and support of our students, staff, and families as we navigate these difficult staffing shortages when we need to fill vacancies in the classrooms. Universal mask-wearing is a protocol in Royal Oak Schools, and it is being strictly enforced.

Substitute teachers are in very high demand. When our staff needs to be out of school we will work to fill those vacancies, but in some cases, it may be necessary to alter schedules or offerings. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding if those changes are made in your child’s school.

In the coming days and weeks, it is possible that our district will experience some of the following:

  • Interruption to before and after school care services
  • Changes to programs and activities outside of the school day
  • Postponed or cancelled events

It is also possible that a classroom or school may need to transition from in-person learning to virtual learning. We will treat this on a case-by-case scenario, based on many factors, including:

  • Availability of staff to safely operate in-person learning in a school
  • A high volume of positive COVID-19 cases within a given classroom or school
  • Guidance by OCHD to go virtual based on local COVID-19 data

Families are encouraged to prepare for alternative childcare and transportation arrangements if there are disruptions. Though these are not ideal situations, and we will do everything we can to avoid them, please know that our school and district administrative teams continue their unwavering commitment to offering exceptional learning experiences for our students during the school day. We closely monitor COVID-19 data by class, school, and district daily.

Thank you for your continued support when it comes to the health and wellness of our Royal Oak Schools Community. Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year 2022.

In This Issue

  • New Year, New Faces
  • Kindergarten Information Night & Enrollment
  • MLK Jr. Day On Event
  • School Board Recognition Month
  • Stand Up For Oxford and Against School Violence
  • Be SMART
  • Around The District Snapshots
  • Highlighting Programs In The District
  • Dr. Kim's Corner
  • Senior Gold Cards
  • School Calendar: January Dates
  • Open Positions In The District: Including School Crossing Guards
  • Social Media Spotlight: Highlights from Royal Oak 100 Years Celebration
New Faces


We have already hired a few new faces at Royal Oak Schools this year.

Please welcome the following:

  • Sophie Bedford, Science Teacher Royal Oak High School
  • Tori Debastos, Kindergarten Teacher Addams Elementary
  • Monica McCallum, Occupational Therapist
  • Michael Pawlicki, Social Studies Teacher Royal Oak Middle School
Sophie Bedford (L) and Tori DeBasatos (R)
Kindergarten Enrollment


Kindergarten enrollment for the school year 2022-2023 begins January 27, 2022. That's right after Kindergarten Information Night, which is a virtual event happening on January 26 at 7 PM.

All enrollments will be virtual including uploading of the required documentation to the Central Enrollment office. Please see the "How to Enroll" portion of the Enrollment website for more information.

Kindergarten Age Requirements:

  • A resident child must be five (5) years of age on or before September 1st in order to be eligible to attend kindergarten.
  • If a child is not five (5) years of age by the September 1st enrollment eligibility date, but will be five (5) years of age no later than December 1st, the parent/guardian may still enroll the child in kindergarten. The parent must notify the school district, in writing, prior to the beginning of the school year. 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.
  • Kindergarten Age Waiver
  • Immunization Waiver Information
  • Vision Screening for Kindergarten Entry
  • OCHD Flyer

Royal Oak Schools also offers a Developmental Kindergarten. And speaking of enrollment, families that wish to apply for Schools of Choice should mark their calendar for February 28, 2022. That's when the application window opens.

And, Addams Early Childhood Center will be offering full-day preschool classes for 3 and 4-year-olds for the 2022-2023 school year. Registration begins on January 24. For registration information and/or questions on these fee-based programs, please call (248) 288-3220, Ext. 0. Also, there is no school for Addams Early Childhood Center students on January 17th and 28th.

It's On


On January 17 the country recognizes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day off of work and school, but also as a “day on” when people step up to march in his memory, or work on a service project, or take time to reflect on what Dr. King’s legacy means to them.

On January 17, at Royal Oak Middle School, students, staff and community members are invited to take part in a Day On to honor Dr. King’s legacy. Both Berkley Schools and Royal Oak Schools students are collaborating on this event.

The commemoration, “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” will begin with a virtual presentation hosted on the Royal Oak Schools and Berkley Schools Facebook pages at 9:30 AM. The virtual event will include a keynote speech by Dr. Kim Martin, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Coordinator for Royal Oak Schools, a performance by the Detroit Youth Choir, messages from both school superintendents, and more.

At 10:30 AM, the community is invited to gather at Royal Oak Middle School (ROMS) for a freedom walk in the ROMS neighborhood as well as a donation drive. The walk will kick off at 11 AM. There will also be an area to collect donations...pick up a t-shirt designed by Royal Oak High School students, record testimonials on what Dr. King and his "I Have A Dream" speech mean to you, and warm up with hot chocolate or coffee. All ages and members of the community are invited to attend.

The event committee will be collecting the following donations prior to the freedom walk to support the Redford Brightmoor Initiative, Cass Community Social Services, the Judson Center, and Gleaners Community Food Bank: Toiletries & Cleaning Supplies (toilet paper, paper towel, soap, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, cleaning products, baby wipes, deodorant, feminine products), DVDs (new or used), non-perishable foods (including canned meat and fish), diapers (newborn to size 6), baby wipes, and laundry detergent.

School Board Recognition Month


The month of January is designated as School Board Recognition Month. We appreciate our school board year-round, but during this month, we are given an opportunity to acknowledge all that this group of volunteer elected officials does for our school community.

The seven elected trustees of the Royal Oak School Board are dedicated to the success of our students and are guided by the district's long-standing Mission Statement.

Board members work collaboratively to hire and evaluate the superintendent, monitor and create the policies that govern our students and district, and oversee the financial operations of the district. In fact, the board trustees are not involved in the day-to-day operations of the district; that is the responsibility of the Superintendent.

Guided by four officers (president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer) elected each January, the board meets as a whole (7) and also in smaller committees. All meetings are open to the public and provide a time for public comment.

We want to thank our Board of Education for all that they do for our students!

  • President, Deborah Anderson
  • Vice-President, Maryanne VanHaitsma
  • Secretary, Marty Cardamone
  • Treasurer, Allison Sykes
  • Trustee, Erika Alexander
  • Trustee, Tim Ciechorski
  • Trustee, Lisa-Aline Hanes
Top Row L to R: Allison Sykes, Lisa Hanes, Erika Alexander, Tim Ciechorski Bottom Row L to R: Maryanne VanHaitsma, Deborah Anderson, Marty Cardamone
Stand Up Event


A tragic event took place at Oxford High School in late November 2021. A school shooter took the lives of four Oxford students, injuring several others, including a teacher. The community, including schools across Michigan and the country, have been mourning and grieving alongside Oxford after this terrible ordeal. An administrator at Royal Oak Schools wanted to do more, he wanted to create an event to honor Oxford and show them that they are supported by not only their students and families but also by Royal Oak and schools across Michigan.

Brian Gordon, Interim Director of Athletics and Activities had a brainstorming session with Athletics Coordinator Pamela Moore, where they came up with an idea for an event on February 4 to kick off "Stand Up For Oxford."

Gordon made a few calls to the MIAAA (Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association) and the MHSAA and got the plans in motion.

"Since Oxford is a member of our league, and we're a pretty tight athletic community, we wanted to do something to support them by using the power of sport," said Gordon. "I thought it would be cool to have every school in the state of Michigan, on a Friday night in February, all stand up together at the very same time to show our support and stance against school violence."

Gordon, along with the MHSAA, got Bob Artymovich with E.A. Graphics involved. Artymovich has created the Oxford Strong shirts that are available for families, community members, and students to wear on February 4 and all month long, and he's going to donate back money raised from each shirt sold to support the families and students affected by the shooting.

School districts can buy the shirts in groups to sell at their events, or shirts can be purchased privately with this link. Sweatshirts, long sleeve shirts, and t-shirts are available.

On February 4, at 7 PM, students, families, administrators, teachers, community members, and more will Stand Up for Oxford and Stand Up Against School Violence. The Royal Oak Ravens Girls Basketball team will be playing at home that night against Stoney Creek.


Lindsey Warren of Be SMART talked to our district last month about Be SMART and what it means. She was scheduled on the December board meeting agenda months before the Oxford High School shooting. She explained that Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched the Be SMART campaign.

Lindsey Warren speaks at the December Board of Education meeting.

Be SMART is a group that promotes responsible gun ownership and hopes to reduce child gun deaths through education and awareness about gun safety and storage. There are five "simple steps" the group promotes to help prevent shootings by children. They are:

  • S - secure all guns in your home and vehicles
  • M - model responsible behavior around guns
  • A - ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes
  • R - recognize the role of guns in suicide
  • T - tell your peers to be SMART

According to the group, each year in the U.S. nearly 260 children aged 17 and under gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. To read more about the presentation, click here.

The Royal Oak Police Department would like to remind residents and gun owners that they provide cable gun locks for FREE. Just stop by the front desk at the station and ask for a gun lock stop.

Snapshots Around The District


Math Olympiads working hard at Addams Elementary.
Building Gingerbread Houses is serious work for these Keller Kindergarteners.
DK students getting buggy with science with Rocket Ryan the scientist. at Northwood Elementary!
Mr. Ryan Davis got a surprise from his class last month when he was presented with a basket of books for his new baby from his class at Oak Ridge! Mekhi Ryan Davis was born on December 26th. Congratulations Mr. Davis!
Check out all of the food put together for baskets for families in need! Great job Oakland!
The Holiday Express came to Upton Elementary and gave first and second-grade classes the opportunity to "travel" to 4 classrooms, each representing a country. This year, students traveled to Japan, Israel, Mexico, and the Netherlands. In each country, students learned about the winter holiday and traditions from the region, created a craft/played a game, and had a special takeaway treat.
Mrs. Szymanski’s 4th Grade Class at Upton played Dreidel, a traditional Hanukkah game played in Jewish homes all over the world,
The ROMS Student Council Winter Warm-Up Shopping Event is next week. This free event is open to all families in need of winter coats, hats, scarves, mittens, or gloves. Just come to the Dawg Pound (Gathering Place) from 3:00-4:00 PM on January 10-13. All items are free of cost. (Photo by Harris Vo)
Huge shout-out to these 5 singers from Honors Choir who are going to States in January! From L to R- Gavin Warner, Parker Major, Paige Clark, Charlotte Murray, & Haley Berry
The Royal Oak Optimist Club presented a Youth Appreciation Award to Churchill Community Ed student, Elon Dains on January 7. (LtoR) Karen Powell, Supervisor CCES, Ilene Harmon-McGough, President of the Royal Oak Optimist Club, Elon Dains, Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, Superintendent Royal Oak Schools.
Highlighting Programs


Students were busy in the fall working on performing arts concerts. We have many of the performances on the District's YouTube page for you to watch again. There was also the Drumline performing at the RO 100 Event and the High School Choir students who competed at Regionals and won a place at States!

Use this link to stay on top of all of the upcoming Performing Arts events in 2022.


Royal Oak Middle School had four students present at this year’s Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) Student Technology Showcase at the State Capitol building in Lansing. This event was held on December 8, and included ROMS "Makers Club" students presenting “AI and Machine Learning”.

At the showcase, students presented AI and Machine Learning concepts that were learned through two Maker Club sessions. In the first session, students learned what AI and Machine Learning is and what data are collected for them to work. They also used Google Experiments to investigate types of AI and Machine Learning activities. In the second session, students created a facial recognition project called “Face Finder” using Scratch coding tools.

Students Lorelei Aquilina, Renaldo Bejko, Louis Berent, and Isaac Delezenne did an outstanding job representing Royal Oak Middle School at this event. It was a great opportunity for the kids to meet with legislators in Lansing to talk about technology in schools. They especially enjoyed showing their AI and Machine Learning knowledge to our State Representative Jim Ellison. (Written by Jill Hill)

Photo right: Jill Hill, Lorelei Aquilina, Isaac Delezenne, Louis Berent, Renaldo Bejko, Rep. Jim Ellison


Deadlines are approaching for students to apply for CO-OP and work-based learning opportunities. Alicia Brown, who manages the Co-Op program for Royal Oak High School, said that they need more students to sign up for medical skills or other CTE-focused classes. "They learn lifelong skills," she said. "They learn first aid, CPR, how to take vital signs, build resume skills, and things like that." They also have the ability to apply to a medical field their senior year and get paid while getting school credit. Any questions may be addressed to Alicia Brown at alicia.brown@royaloakschools.org

Students can apply by using this link.


Diploma Programme classes are also included in the above link. Students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme participate in a high-quality international educational journey that helps them develop confidence in their own identities, make ethical choices, and join with others to face real-world, complex, and unpredictable situations. Supervisor Leah Barnett said there are ten top reasons to take DP classes:

  1. It increases academic opportunity.
  2. IB students care about more than results.
  3. It encourages students to become confident...
  4. ...and independent learners.
  5. It is an international qualification.
  6. Graduates are globally-minded.
  7. The IB encourages critical thinking.
  8. DP students have proven time-management skills.
  9. It assesses more than examination techniques.
  10. Subjects are not taught in isolation.
  11. It encourages breadth and depth of learning.

Questions? Email Leah.Barnett@royaloakschools.org. Why do the DP route? Let this Class of 2021 graduate tell you.



Happy New Year!

This phrase is one that brings with it a ton of expectations, resolutions, and hope. It is during this time that we promise to do better, look forward to actually doing better, and resolve to stick to it.

In my last message of 2021, I talked about giving ourselves grace for just showing up, and being proud of the things we have accomplished, instead of dwelling on those things we didn’t. I’m going to extend that message here a bit to add: Be gentle on yourself in 2022.

Extend yourself grace for the things you worry about: being a good parent, a good employee, a good friend, etc. For the past two years we have been living in extraordinary times that have been filled with uncertainty, and (at times) chaos. We have dealt with school being open, then having to close, then reopening. We dealt with one wave of COVID-19 only to have to battle more highly transmittable variant(s). We have dealt with shutdowns and reopenings. And we got through it. And we’ll get through this next wave, together. But you must go easy on yourself.

Taking care of our mental health is crucial during times of extraordinary stress. You can’t be a good parent if you are rundown. It’s like the oxygen mask speech given on airplanes….put your own mask on first! Then you can help others. When you are doing well mentally, you are also more likely to be more aware of your child’s emotional state and how to help them. You can start with small things: Meditations and mindfulness practices, for example, even 5-20 minutes before bed to re-center yourself can help. We also have a TON of resources available for help in this area. They can be found on our website, but here is the link: https://www.royaloakschools.org/downloads/community/emotional_and_mental_health_resources.pdf

The new year is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives, and we get to write it! Just because the last chapter might have been difficult doesn’t mean this one has to be. YOU get to decide.

Be well.

Dr. Kim

Kimberly Martin, PhD, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Coordinator at Royal Oak Schools

Check out Dr. Kim's Corner here.

Follow Dr. Kim on Twitter: @DrKimMartinDEI

Senior Gold Card


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. (Not included: state championship events)

Passes are issued at the Churchill Community Education Center, at 707 Girard Avenue, in Royal Oak. Residents will be asked to present a driver's license or identifying information verifying their age when applying for the pass.

Important Dates for January


January is "Be Kind To Food Servers" Month

January is School Board Recognition Month

January 5, 12 Late Start Wednesday

January 13 School Board Meeting, 6:30 PM

January 17 No School - Martin Luther King Jr. Day event (see below)

January 26 Kindergarten Information Night

January 28 No School For Students



Substitute teachers: EDUStaff is our partner for substitute teachers. Please apply through their website at: edustaff.org. The rate of pay for substitute teachers is daily $125 or for a long-term substitute, $150/day. Edustaff is the district’s partner for substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, and secretaries. If you are interested in learning more, please go to http://edustaff.org/ for information and to apply.

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. As valued members of a student's educational team, these full-time (35 hr/week) team members are expected to be punctual, provide feedback, implement supports and strategies, and perform other duties that may be assigned under the direction of a teacher and or building leader. All applicants should apply through the Oakland Schools Human Resources Consortium website at: https://bit.ly/2PrEckt.

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.

Maintenance Team: We’re hiring for school custodians starting at $13.80/hour. These are full-time positions, hired through ABM. They are offering $1000 sign-on bonuses paid out at $250/quarter, and have 1st and 2nd shift openings available. Apply online at: https://tinyurl.com/3d5ae9rs.

Food service workers and cashiers: Chartwells Food Service is hiring at $14/hr for food prep workers, service station set up, serving meals to students, and running the register. This position is Monday through Friday from approximately 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Uniforms will be provided, along with a free lunch.

Bus Drivers: Durham School Services is hiring for our transportation department. A minimum of 20 hours is guaranteed with options for more. The shift is Monday through Friday 6-9 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. approximately. Pay is $17.85/hr. with a sign-on bonus of up to $1000 depending on CDL/endorsements after 6 months. Contact James Holls at Durham to apply: jholls@durhamschoolservices.com.

Instructional and administrative positions: Check the Oakland Schools Consortium portal at http://bit.ly/ROSJobs.

Employment opportunities with Royal Oak Schools can be found on our website under Employment/HR. If you have further questions, feel free to contact Beth Caverly at the District Offices: elizabeth.caverly@royaloakschools.org or (248) 435-8400 x1210.

Follow us on Facebook @RoyalOakSchools and Twitter @RoyalOakSchools and Instagram @roschools for updates and other news. We also have videos posted on our YouTube page. Check the district website, too, for the latest information.

Speaking of our website - check out our schools through the years pages on our website at https://www.royaloakschools.org/community/ros-100/.

You can watch the documentary, "100 Years of Royal Oak Schools," on WOAK from your home or online with this link.

And new to our YouTube channel - a recap of the Royal Oak 100 Downtown Celebration, and many holiday concerts that you may have missed!


Send them to: communications@royaloakschools.org

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