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

Welcome Fall!

In This Issue

  • Welcome New Staff
  • Multilingual Family Reading Event
  • Introducing Our Safe Ed Staff
  • Former Teacher Recognized
  • Eagle Scout Recognition
  • ROHS Drum Line Performs Live
  • Bond Work In Progress
  • Dr. Kim's Corner
  • Spotlight on Career Development
  • Hall of Famer In Our Halls
  • Return To School Snapshots
  • Raven Podcasts
  • Support Staff Career Fair
  • PAC Dates
  • School Calendar: October Dates
  • Available Positions At The District
  • Food Pantry Information
  • Social Media Spotlight
Hello There!


Royal Oak Schools is happy to share that we've hired more new faces for this school year. Please welcome the following and watch for their announcements on our social media channels.

  • Sarah Culpepper, O.T. at multiple schools
  • Thomas Danis, Resource Room Teacher at Churchill
  • Miranda Gjoni, ESL Teacher at Churchill
  • Helena Kirby, Parapro at Northwood Elementary
  • Alexander Lawlis, 1st Grade Teacher at Northwood Elementary
  • Lynn Liedel, Secretary at Royal Oak High School
  • LeAnn Miller, 4th Grade Teacher at Keller Elementary
  • Aaron Noble, Parapro at Churchill
  • Susannah Oliver, Resource Room Teacher at Royal Oak High School
  • Paige Sanford, Kindergarten Teacher at Northwood Elementary
  • Matthew Swastek, English Teacher at Royal Oak High School

Learn more about our new staff members by watching this video!

Family Reading Event


Before the start of the school year, the English Language Development Department hosted a literacy workshop for families of incoming kindergarteners who are multilingual. The purpose of this event was to celebrate reading and our families' home languages.

Families read bilingual books with their children, wrote stories together, and heard tips from our staff about supporting literacy development at home. Each family left with a bag of bilingual books in English and their home language, and other resources to support their family's reading journey.

As part of our district effort to be inclusive and sensitive to our student’s backgrounds, identities, and needs, the term English as a Second Language (ESL) has been replaced with English Language Development (ELD) when referring to our district’s K-12 program that supports students and families who may use a language other than English in their homes. You can read more about that here.

Safety In Our Schools


Safe-Ed staff is an integral part of the learning community at Royal Oak Middle School and Royal Oak High School. As their name implies, school safety is their sole responsibility in the building. Safe-Ed staff is highly visible in their bright yellow uniforms. They receive training in school safety annually, and they are certified in CPR, COVID-19 protocols, cultural awareness, effective communication, managing conflict, and more.

Safe-Ed staff arrive before the school day begins to ensure the building is secure and to begin welcoming students for the day. Students arriving early to school can have breakfast, work on homework, and socialize in the cafeteria under the supervision of Safe-Ed staff. During the school day Safe-Ed performs a variety of duties that include:

  • Greet and screen all visitors to the building upon arrival ensuring that only visitors with appropriate school business are allowed entry.
  • Securing all exterior doors after the school day begins and checking exterior doors throughout the day.
  • Monitoring hallways during passing time as well as during student instructional time.
  • Monitoring student parking areas.
  • Assisting in fire, tornado, and lockdown situations whether real or drill.
  • Monitoring lunch areas.
  • Monitoring school security cameras.
  • Ensuring students exit the building safely once school ends.
Royal Oak High School Safe Ed Team: Paul Harris, Evette Robinson, Rich Tuck, and Charlie Coats

"Our Safe-Ed staff is more than just watchful eyes. They are a part of our community and work to build relationships with students," said Royal Oak High School Interim Principal Audra Melton, Ph.D. "They are always willing to lend a hand to students whether it’s a locker problem or trying to find a classroom. Their assistance is vital to the smooth and safe operation of our school campus."

Royal Oak Middle School Safe Ed Team

"ROMS is fortunate to have our very supportive Safe-Ed team as a part of our school community," said Royal Oak Middle School Principal Todd Noonan. "Kids first recognize Michelle, Adam, and Debbie by their yellow shirts but they connect with them quickly by way of trust and kindness. The guidance and student-focused assistance they provide in our building is invaluable.”

Chisnell Honored At Rotary


Steve Chisnell retired from Royal Oak Schools this year and was recognized for his years of service to not only Royal Oak Schools but also the Royal Oak Rotary and Royal Oak High School Interact Club last month.

Steve taught English and Literacy at Royal Oak High School and was beloved by many. He led the Model UN Club, Socrates Cafe, the Roost Student Union, and Interact Club. Lauren Heide is a math teacher at ROHS and she is now overseeing Interact Club.

"Interact is the largest club at Royal Oak High School, dedicated to a mission of “Service Above Self.” A youth Rotary program, Interact sponsors dozens of projects each year, including coordinating clubs in other schools, microloans for businesswomen in the developing world, Toy Breakfast, Box City homeless project, Alternative February Break, and The Roost Student Union."
(L) Steve Chisnell shakes Superintendent Fitzpatrick's hand after being recognized at meeting. (R) Mary Beth Fitzpatrick with Royal Oak High School Senior, Leellen Patton, who will lead Interact at the High School this school year.

You can watch the appreciation event and hear from Steve Chisnell on his post-retirement plans below.

Read more about Steve's thoughts on his retirement here.

Follow Steve on his website here.

Eagle Scouts


Jack C. E. Catchpole earned his Eagle Scout while a member of Troop 1629 and was recognized at the September Board of Education meeting. Only about two percent of boys who enter scouting ever obtain their Eagle Rank.

Jack started in the Scouting program by participating in Cub Scout Pack 1628 for 5 years and then as a member of Troop 1629 for 6 years. In order to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, Jack had to earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, complete an Eagle Scout project and pass an Eagle Scout Board of Review. Jack's Eagle Scout project was to provide some upgrades to the Upton Elementary School ball field by installing benches and adding a sign to welcome people to the Upton field.

The final step of earning the Eagle Scout Rank is to pass an Eagle Scout Board of Review which involves reviewing the accomplishments of the Scout, determining whether or not the Eagle Scout project allowed the candidate to demonstrate leadership, a review of reference letters in support of the candidate and an interview with the candidate to determine if the Scout attitude towards Scouting's ideals. This is done in front of people that Jack may have met for the first time. This is also the group that announces that Jack has earned his Eagle Scout rank. Jack had a wide grin on his face and was quite pleased with himself as he earned the Eagle Scout rank just like his brothers Kyle and Luke, and just like his dad had done before him.

Jack's parents are proud of how he developed while working on this Scout project, learning how to ask people to help him during the project, demonstrating leadership during the project execution, and being able to listen, reflect and then answer questions that are posed from people that he may not know.


Connor Zavislak, who has been a member of Troop 1629 in Royal Oak for the past 7 years, has also recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Connor was not able to attend the meeting but was given a "shout out" for his success.

His Eagle Service Project also consisted of rebuilding the ball field at Upton Elementary School, which included tilling the field, delivering and spreading gravel, and leveling the field. This project benefited all the students at the school, along with the entire neighborhood. He earned 25 merit badges during his years as a Scout. Connor graduated in June 2021 and is studying business engineering management at Michigan Tech.

His mother shared with us how proud she is of Connor, stating that he worked through floods working on the field with 50 tons of dirt that had to be wheelbarrowed to the pit to work on it. "Even the BSA Board Leader stated most people come to us with a box and you did an insurmountable act," said Angela Zavislak.

Congratulations again to Jack and to Connor on reaching this honor.



The First Lady of the United States Jill Biden came to Royal Oak as part of a Return to School Road Trip on Friday, September 24, 2021. The event was described as a five-state bus tour intended to highlight students and communities that are returning to in-person learning in a safe manner. Jill Biden spoke at Oakland Community College on the last stop of the bus tour where she addressed the challenges of returning to school in person but also praised educators and students for being back in the classroom, according to a release.

"Educators, you know, we did our best with virtual learning. But there are some things that you just cannot replicate through a screen. And that’s why I’m so happy to be back in class, in-person aren’t you?” she said.

The Royal Oak High School Drum line was invited to be part of the event.

Royal Oak High School Band Instructor Dave Jensen, explained that the White House called him and asked the group to do two performances, one outside and one inside. He said they wanted the drum line there to add school spirit and create a fun atmosphere for the event.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for the school and our drum line," said Jensen. "We hope to create the atmosphere that they want, and we're just happy to be there." That they did! Listen to the performance in this video, shared on Jill Biden's Twitter page: https://twitter.com/i/status/1443200431732187153

The Royal Oak High School drum line consists of 11 students between 9th and 12th grade. They are also having a fundraiser which offers a discount to all staff and families in the district.

Building Updates


You've been hearing about and reading about the latest updates, renovations, and rebuilds at our schools - well now it's time for us to SHOW you the beautiful upgrades. Watch our Bond Work In Progress video with this link!

The last set of the Bond 2017 projects will take place within Royal Oak Middle School, Northwood Elementary, and Churchill Community High School and Administrative Offices starting in the spring of 2022.



Kimberly Martin, PhD, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Coordinator at Royal Oak Schools wants to share with you this month the meaning of Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Indigenous Peoples' Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American Peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It began in 1992 in Berkley, California, as a way to honor Indigenous people, as well as recognize their contributions to American history. It is celebrated the same day as Columbus Day to bring attention to the controversial history of Columbus himself. Currently, about 37 states celebrate and recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day. To find out more about it, click here. And, celebrate Indigenous Peoples' day Monday, October 11th!

CCEC MEETINGS/DATES: Please save the upcoming Cultural Competence Engagement Committee (CCEC) meeting dates below for the 2021-2022 school year. Thank you again for being a part of this very important work! All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will end at 8:00 p.m. More information to come regarding either a meeting location or a virtual link for the meeting.

  • October 5, 2021
  • December 14, 2021
  • March 1, 2022
  • May 10, 2022

If you haven’t done so already, please take some time to complete the CCEC survey so that you can choose which one of the four CCEC goal areas you’d prefer to work on.

PARENT UNIVERSITY: Coming soon! Watch for dates for this new interactive learning opportunity for parents!

Get to know Dr. Kim a little better by watching this video: Meet Dr. Kim video link

Follow her on Twitter: @DrKimMartinDEI

Career Development


The Career Development Department at the high school is here to help students plan their futures. They can help students with testing and prep and post-graduation planning. educational development plans - and work with students on a plan for their future. During the year they offer a lesson with skills and labs including personality profiles that will help students get matched with different careers towards their personality and interests. Also, a course planner for scheduling classes towards their career goals. Career Development has job postings that are usually posted on social media. They offer live industry chats with professionals and research into specific professions where they then find archived chats with those professionals for students to see. They work with students on resume building and creating a talent portfolio. Portfolios include extracurricular certificates, letters of recommendation, college acceptance letters, proof of hobbies, and more, all of which the department can help students with. Janet Norling is the face behind Career Development and she is the Testing Coordinator.

Norling is managing this year's "Future Fair." The ROHS Future Fair, formerly the College Fair, is being held on October 26 from 6 - 7:30 PM. Colleges and trades from Michigan and beyond will be represented throughout the school. This is an in-person event at the high school, and masks will be required for all vendors and attendees. You can even bring the whole family. Cosmetology, massage schools, construction, electricians, sheet metal workers, many colleges, and specific trade schools will be in attendance. This is an annual event that couldn't be held in 2020. If you're a vendor and you'd like to participate - contact Janet at janet.norling@royaloakschools.org or call her at 248-435-8500 x1533.

The Career Development page on Facebook posts inspiring and motivational posts, as well as job openings for all age groups. Janet Norling, who runs the page, also manages ROHS Drama Club and the ROHS Dress Closet. The dress closet is currently accepting donations. The closet is run by student volunteers as well. It contains social dresses, semi, and formal gowns, and some business attire. They would love to have more dresses to fill the closet before prom so take some time and clean out your closet and donate to the ROHS Dress Closet.

Hall of Fame


The Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) has awarded its 2021 award recipients. In an event that was moved to virtual due to the pandemic, Royal Oak Schools Interim Director of Athletics and Activities, Brian Gordon, was inducted into their Hall of Fame.

Brian Gordon’s coaching career spans thirty-six years and three sports in Royal Oak. From 1990 – 2010, Brian coached the Royal Oak Kimball High School baseball team with a record of 419-221. While head coach his teams won five league championships, four district championships, and one regional championship. During this time Brian also coached football at Royal Oak Kimball from 1990-1996 with a JV record of 40-23, and from 1997-2002 at Royal Oak Adams JH with a 28-7 record. From 1992 – 1995 he coached 9th-grade boys basketball at Royal Oak Kimball with a record of 49-31.

Brian Gordon is known for his dedication and tremendous work ethic evident in everything he does, professionally and personally. His motto throughout his career has been, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there is no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” He is highly respected in his community for his passion, enthusiasm, and integrity which have impacted many generations of student-athletes and coaches.

Congratulations to Brian!

Happy To Be Back In School


Raven Podcasts


Royal Oak High School's daily "Raven Report" is changing things up this school year. The video newscast that has been brought to you Mike Conrad’s advanced video students each year will now be moving to a longer, once-a-week format. In place of a daily video newscast, Raven Radio will be delivering daily news and other announcements to the high school live over the PA system from the newly built podcast studio.

“By changing the Raven Report to a once-a-week format, it opens up our daily schedule to allow students to work on and create more projects. The podcast studio offers students the opportunity to learn more about auditory storytelling,” said Mike Conrad.

Conrad plans to have students create longer form podcasts in the future as well. Daily Raven Radio episodes can be heard during programming breaks on WOAK, the student television station.

You can listen to a podcast here.

October 6


Royal Oak Schools is hosting a job fair on October 6, from 12 - 7 PM. Representatives from district partners will be present from EduStaff, Chartwells, ABM, Durham Transportation, and more.

"The Royal Oak Schools job fair will streamline the application process and make it as simple as possible for those interested in working with us. Job descriptions will be available for all open positions and attendees will be able to initiate the employment application process on-site. Contingent offers of employment may be made at the event," said Executive Director for Staff and Students Services, Patrick Wolynski.

Royal Oak Schools is hoping to hire food service employees, bus drivers, custodians, electricians, Latchkey workers, paraprofessionals, and substitute teachers.

Bring your resume because interviews will be on the spot, along with conditional offers being made.

'We have dozens of positions open - full-time, part-time, and substitute staff - serving all areas of the district," said Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick. "Our job fair will feature opportunities in before/after school care, pre-school teacher support, instructional support paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, bus drivers, custodial, maintenance and grounds crew, and food service workers. Like many employers, we are seeing shortages of applicants. This event will provide us an opportunity to talk with interested candidates and for them to learn about working in our amazing school district."

PAC Meeting Dates


A Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) is made up of parents of children with disabilities. The PAC advises the Intermediate School District (ISD, Oakland Schools) on the special education programs and services it provides. PACs have a positive impact on special education programs and policies.

Our Royal Oak PAC is a group of parents passionate about the education and the well being of our children. The ROPAC sincerely welcomes any parent with a student(s) in Royal Oak Schools to join us in our mission to make our schools a destination for students receiving special education services to thrive. We are committed to promote inclusivity for all. We believe students of all abilities deserve respect, support and resources.

All meetings will be held at 6:30 PM, both in-person and accessible virtually as well.

First PAC Meeting held in September

Here are the dates for the rest of the year:

  • October 20
  • November 17
  • December 15
  • January 19
  • February 16
  • March 16
  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 8
Important Dates for October


October 1 is World Smile Day

October 2 is National Custodian Day

October 6 ROS Support Staff Career Fair

October 6 is National Coaches Day

October 11 is Indigenous Peoples' Day

October 14 School Board Meeting

October 26 ROHS Future Fair 2021

October 31 is Halloween



We're hiring substitute teachers. 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.

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.

We're hiring custodians to join our team of cleaning professionals. Interested individuals can apply here.

We are in need of paraprofessionals to assist local classroom teachers. 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.

"Paraprofessionals are critical members of a student's team," said ASD Program Supervisor Jason Zewatsky, Ed.S. "Acting as an extension of the special education teacher, they support our students to more fully access the curriculum and overall school experience. Because of the important work of paraprofessionals, our students are able to experience success in a variety of school environments." There are approximately 22,000 students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in Oakland County who benefit from the services provided by paraprofessionals.

Now hiring school bus drivers in Royal Oak! Drivers will receive benefits, paid training, holidays, and more. Also a sign-on bonus; $1000 Fully Credentialed School Bus Drivers, $750 School Bus Drivers with CDL, and $500 for Non-Credentialed School Bus Drivers. Use this link to apply.

For 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.

Food Pantry

Open Hands Food Pantry is one of the largest in Oakland County. They served over 5700 families and 6100 individuals in 2020. They are affiliated with and located at St. John's Episcopal Church Royal Oak.

"In the early days of COVID-19 and through all of 2020 and the early months of 2021, we saw a tremendous need for assistance to families experiencing food insecurity," said Joey Spano, Board Member for Open Hands. "Our numbers have decreased slightly through the summer months and we want to be sure we are getting information to people and families who need assistance in your district."

There's always something going on at the district! Follow us on Facebook @RoyalOakSchools and Twitter @RoyalOakSchools and Instagram @roschools for more updates and other news. We also have videos posted on our YouTube page. Check the district website, too, for the latest information.

Speaking of Social Media - Check out our Facebook Live's with Brian Gordon every Friday.


Send them to: communications@royaloakschools.org

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