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

In This Issue

  • Support Person of the Year named
  • School closure latest
  • Free and reduced lunch benefits
  • Helping the community
  • Emmy nomination update
  • Michigan Census
  • Available positions at the district

Royal Oak Schools Names Support Person of the Year

Tim Watkins, Royal Oak High School Head Custodian, is being honored by being named Royal Oak Schools Support Person of the Year.

Don Watchowski, Royal Oak High School Assistant Principal/Athletic Director nominated Tim. He said, "I have been nothing but impressed by Tim since the day I joined our Royal Oak Administrative team 4 years ago. His energy and strong work ethic, combined with his willingness to be proactive, ask questions, and go above and beyond, definitely provide his foundation as a strong educational support leader."

Don describes Tim's strengths as knowledgeable, an extremely hard worker, an excellent communicator with students, staff, and colleagues, someone motivated to keep our learning environment clean and safe for students and staff, a willing collaborator and influential participant in special event set-ups, someone committed to meeting the individual and collective needs of our staff, loyal, reflective on his practice, someone with exceptional follow-through and a true professional.

"Tim is exactly the type of support person we need as part of our team," Don added. "He understands people and the importance of positive relationships. He is respectful and appreciative of his opportunities and all of his colleagues and co-workers. Tim is humble, kind, and willing to “dig-in” to any and all challenges."

Tim will be recognized at the May 14, 2020 virtual board meeting.

School Closure Latest

At this time of year, there would have been dozens of special events and celebrations occurring across the district, with special consideration to our Class of 2020 who will end the school year differently than anyone had planned. We're working closely with our administrative team on all of those details and we will share them in the coming weeks. We know that our plans must reflect any orders in place at the time and are difficult to predict.

Our plan to have students come to school in order to pick up materials will be postponed until after May 15 while we follow the stay-at-home order for the safety of our staff and families. We are also seeking clarification of the impact on construction trades with respect to our building improvement projects.

The learning plans for K-12 have shifted to new learning with the emphasis on essential skills by grade and course. The lessons are provided for both core content areas and specials/elective classes. In addition to the K-12 classes, our services and supports for preschool children are also in place. At the Addams Early Childhood Center, we have been prioritizing outreach to preschool families, making sure they connect with our staff to discuss needs. The staff have developed age-appropriate learning opportunities for preschool students using the Seesaw platform used by the elementary schools.

The assurance statements for review by the intermediate school district contained in the Continuity of Learning Plan have been completed. You can find the plan document on our website at www.royaloakschools.org. This document provides us the opportunity to share our overall plans for responding to the COVID-19 crisis and ensures that we are providing students with alternative modes of instruction. Our plan includes the commitment to an online learning platform as our primary mode of providing materials and instruction, and provide alternate documents if requested. We are also providing support to meet the needs of the whole child with social and emotional activities and resources for parents. We continue to use strong relationships with families and students already in place with our teachers, counselors, social workers, administrators, and other support personnel on a regular basis, and as needed. The plan also required us to describe our means of monitoring learning, to provide an estimate of costs associated with the response plan, and restate our commitment to continue to provide meals to our students.

Weekly messages with details about the learning plan continue to be sent by principals and teachers. Each week’s plans are reviewed using feedback and questions, and we anticipate adjusting them as necessary moving forward. If any family has an issue accessing online learning, please reach out to your principal.

Our meal program continues to distribute breakfasts and lunches, Monday-Friday, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM at Keller Elementary and Royal Oak High School. We applaud the strong commitment by our food service staff and volunteers led by Mr. Mike Jacobs, Food Service Director.

We are aware that many families may be experiencing a reduction or loss of income due to the pandemic closures in our community and state. Please know that Royal Oak Schools continues to accept applications for Free/Reduced meal benefits until June. You can apply online by using the parent portal.

Parents can access the application by doing the following:

Go to royaloakschools.org


Select MISTAR Parent Portal

Log in using Pin and Password

Click Apply for Free or Reduced Meal Benefits

Click Submit a 2019-2020 Household Application

If you submit a F/R application by May 8th, 2020, and your benefit eligibility status changes to free or reduced, you will be eligible for Pandemic EBT Benefits. The benefit will be $5.70 per day per child, for each of your family members 18 years of age or younger, or enrolled in a special education program 26 years of age or younger. We strongly encourage you to apply if your family situation has changed, or you haven’t applied in the past. Please contact Kim Stoi at 248-435-8500 ext. 1123 for further information, or questions.

Helping The Community

Royal Oak Schools is helping to feed the community and get students the technology they need through staff and volunteers who are stepping up to the cause. We continue to take requests for additional Chromebook devices and deliver them to those in need. With this week’s delivery of over 80 devices, we will have loaned out close to 500 for student use. Many have been distributed to our students in need by our own maintenance department!

Blessings In A Backpack continues to put together bags of food and other items for families at the District Administration Office. They deliver hundreds of bags to Royal Oak kids each week. They are always in need of volunteers to pack or deliver bags. You can follow them on Facebook for more details.


Royal Oak High School is lighting up their stadium for twenty minutes on Thursdays to honor the Class of 2020. To honor them, we turn on the stadium lights for 20 minutes starting at 8:20 (20:20 military time). The lights will shine every Thursday until May 20.

You can be part of the support for the seniors by joining us in the parking lot with your lights on, or turn your porch lights on at 8:20 for 20 minutes. #stadiumlightsforseniors2020

Seniors are also being honored on Instagram. If you've got a senior, check out @ro_seniors2020 and send a direct message to let them know where your child will be heading after high school.

Here's a sampling of what you'll find at the @ro_seniors2020 Instagram page.
"And the Emmy goes to..."

The awards ceremony for the Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) has been pushed back. NATAS announced the nominations for this years Student Production Awards last month and Royal Oak High School is included in that pool of worthy student filmmakers!


DIRECTOR: Hannah Frassetto Director Reel, Hannah Frassetto, ROYAL OAK HIGH SCHOOL

In addition, three students from the Class of 2019 were also nominated for a project that was completed for the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs at the tail end of last year.

GENERAL NEWS ASSIGNMENT: Flint Water: Still A Crisis, William Mester (WSU), Aidan Warneck (WMU), Lilly Waterfall (MSU), ROYAL OAK HIGH SCHOOL

UPDATED: The Awards Ceremony and Winner Announcements will be streamed online on May 3 at noon. Details to follow.

Michigan Census: Be Counted

2020 is a census year and we would like to encourage our families to participate in the U.S. Census. The U.S. Census is a Constitutionally mandated national survey that occurs every 10 years with the goal of counting everyone once, only once and in the right place. As of April 29th, Royal Oak's self-response rate is 71.6%. We are hoping for a response rate of 100% and we would like your help.

Why it is important: An accurate population count brings important financial resources into our community including funding for many education-related programs. Census data is also used to calculate funding for senior services, roads, public safety, and other important programs. Michigan communities lose an estimated $1,800 per year for every person not counted. That’s $18,000 per person over 10 years.

How to respond to the Census: If your household has already completed the Census survey, thank you! If you haven't, the census can be completed either ONLINE, BY PHONE, or BY MAIL. Postcards with instructions on how to complete the Census online or by phone were mailed in late March. If you didn't receive a postcard, but still wish to complete the Census online, go to: https://2020census.gov/en.html. If you didn't complete the Census either online or by phone, a Census form would have been mailed to your home to complete.

Who should I include in my Census form: You should include ANY PERSON regularly living in your household on April 1, 2020. For more detailed information about who to include, please visit:https://2020census.gov/en/help.html

Confidentiality: Your Census information is confidential by law and identifying information CANNOT BE SHARED for 72 years. They are currently looking for workers to go door to door starting next month. For more information, visit www.2020census.gov or call (844) 330-2020.

Staff positions available at Royal Oak Schools

EduStaff is the district’s partner for substitute teachers, paraprofessionals and secretaries. If you are interested in learning more, please go to www.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 the Addams Early Childhood Center at (248) 288-3220.

For instructional and administrative positions, check the Oakland Schools Consortium portal at http://bit.ly/ROSJobs

If you have further questions, feel free to contact Beth Caverly at the District Offices: elizabeth.caverly@royaloakschools.org or (248) 435-8400 x1210.

Be sure to keep an eye on school websites and communications for events specific to your buildings and activities.

Social Media

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. Check the district website, too, for information.

Speaking of Social Media - be sure to check out our staff read alouds and messages. Our elementary school teachers read a book to their children almost daily and many of our schools have made virtual messages for their kids. (Like this one from Royal Oak High School.)

Comments? Story ideas? Send them to communications@royaloakschools.org

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


Created with images by Chris Liverani - "Handshake" • Annie Spratt - "Young teen doing schoolwork at home after UK schools close due to the Coronavirus." • Merakist - "Social Media in Colorful Alphabets" • Joshua Hoehne - "untitled image" • Austin Distel - "Facebook page of an entrepreneur's social media on desktop and mobile. This photo is free for public use. Please credit this photo in caption with link to "www.distel.com"."