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

In This Issue

  • Congratulations Class Of 2021
  • Pandemic EBT Information
  • Food Over The Summer
  • Vaccine Clinic At ROHS And ROMS
  • Summer Programs And Camps
  • Honor Society News
  • Around The District
  • Recognizing Retirees
  • Student Achievements
  • Teacher Awarded Educator Of The Year
  • Students Wanted To Reflect On Royal Oak
  • Spotlight On Royal Oak Public Library
  • Royal Oak Schools Foundation Golf Outing And BBQ
  • School Calendar: Important June Dates
  • Available Positions At The District
  • What's On The Web?
  • Social Media: Seniors Car Cruise
Celebrating Graduates


Dear Royal Oak Schools Families,

So many things have been uncertain for us this past school year, but one point is certain, we need to celebrate our graduates as they leave Royal Oak Schools for bigger and better things!

We know their years in the district did not end as we would have predicted, but our students have remained focused; they have kept going, and have kept achieving. As we see the yard signs in the community and the senior banners hanging on the fences of ROHS - we are reminded of the resilience of our students who have all benefited from your support and that of our staff in every school.

The outlook for summer seems so much more positive than it did a year ago, and that energy is certainly being felt around the district. On behalf of our school board, and all of the staff in Royal Oak Schools, we wish our students and families a safe and fun summer.

Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick

Class of 2021 graduates from Royal Oak Schools elementaries. (Top left is Addams and top right is Northwood.)


The Pandemic-EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) Program provides temporary funding to address emergency food needs for families affected by the pandemic.

The program gives food benefits to families whose children were not able to get free or reduced-price school meals due to COVID-19. Being eligible for this program will depend on what school your student attends. Eligibility for the Pandemic-EBT program can be different between schools within the same district. A school building is eligible only if the building has had 5 school days in a row of reduced in-person hours due to COVID-19.

Your student could be eligible if:

  1. the school they attend is eligible for P-EBT and
  2. if your student normally gets free and reduced meals at school and
  3. your student is not getting instruction in-person for some or all the month

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issues P-EBT benefits based on:

  • How each school building reports their eligibility
  • How most of the students attend school during the month

There may be months when your student's attendance was different from what the school reported. In that case, you may be able to have your student's benefit level reconsidered. Your request to be reconsidered must be submitted by June 30, 2021. Your student(s) may be P-EBT eligible if they attended class online, for some or all of the time in April 2021.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/PEBT or call 1-833-905-0028.

Food For The Summer


This summer, we don't want you to worry about how food will get onto your table. That's why we are coordinating meals to go for you and your family.

Curbside meal pick up will continue in June on Fridays at Royal Oak High School from 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m..

No curbside meals will be available the week of June 21. Meals will start up again on July 1 and will then remain on Thursdays throughout the summer. Food can be picked up at Royal Oak High School between 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

If your child is in summer school, Grab-N-Go meals will be available daily for students in classes at ROHS, ROMS, Northwood, Keller, and Churchill.

All meals are free!

Vaccine Clinics


Last month we partnered with multiple health organizations to provide COVID-19 vaccine clinics to our families.

Over 170 people attended our clinic at Royal Oak High School on May 20. Bloom Pediatrics organized the event and provided snacks, water, photo props, a "Why I'm Getting Vaccinated" board, and stickers for everyone that came through.

Check out these photos from the event.

Clinic at Royal Oak High School

On May 27, a vaccine clinic was held at Royal Oak Middle School. MedNext, a medical services agency, hosted a free Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Royal Oak Schools’ eligible students and family members ages 12 years and over. All participants received a second vaccination appointment while checking in at the clinic.

Clinic at Royal Oak Middle School
Summer Programs


Royal Oak Schools is excited to announce FREE summer programs for students DK-12, that kick off this June.

DK-5th grade will begin classes on June 28 at Northwood Elementary. Students will be engaged in interactive reading & writing, phonemic awareness & phonics, shared book experiences and individualized skill instruction, also math and problem solving, science and coding, computer skills and fun physical fitness activities.

Registration is still open for 6th - 8th graders with classes starting on June 28 at Royal Oak Middle School. Program descriptions include developing writers and communicators, mathematics, biology and chemistry, also opportunities for personal growth and learning. Use this link to register.

Grades 9 -12 start classes on June 28 as well. They will be studying English Language Arts (ELA, government, economics, psychology, algebra & geometry, health, and foreign language. Also, introduction to mechanical drafting. Registration closes June 22 unless contacted by a counselor. Use this link to register.

Staff and students will follow the COVID-19 protocols that are currently in place.

Special Education students who qualify for Extended School Year services will participate from July 6 - August 20. These classes will be held at Keller Elementary and at Churchill/TRIALS. Service time is determined by the individual student's IEPs.

For more information on summer school, click here.

Interested in summer camps for your child? Registration is open and will be accepted up to two business days before the start of the camp. Please register as early as possible since the number of children registered determines whether we can run a particular camp. No walk-in registrations will be allowed.

Just some of the camps offered are soccer, basketball, softball, cheerleading, volleyball, flag football, baseball, and T-ball. For more information on registering your child, and/or paying for camp - use this link.

Daily health screenings will have to be completed before your child arrives at camp. Temperature checks will also be conducted each day.

Use this link to find the brochure for this summer's offerings through the Royal Oak Schools Athletic Department. Please feel free to contact Pamela Moore by phone (248)435-8500, ext 1148, or by email pam.moore@royaloakschools.org, if you have any questions.

Supporting Each Other


The Royal Oak High School Honor Society made good use of its time during the pandemic. The group made up of juniors and seniors, planned their Spring Service Project to help others this past April. ROHS NHS President Athena Arrer, lives close to Common Ground Sanctuary and said she is aware of the work they do, so she brought the idea to support them up to the rest of the group. "We normally donate to Adopt-a-Family during the winter," she said. "However, because of the pandemic, we were unable to do so. As President, this was a service project that I had been hoping to do all year."

"It was especially meaningful to donate to this sanctuary since us members are giving to students the same age as us."

The 131 members of NHS donated items from the Common Ground Sanctuary wish list, such as personal care items, art supplies, and household items. The Sanctuary in our community provides assistance to students that are of similar age to the NHS members. Nearly 12 boxes of items were donated by the National Honor Society on April 30.

From left to right – Our ROHS teacher advisors, Mrs. Rudd and Ms. Cusick, Athena Barrer, ROHS NHS President, and Amy from the Common Ground Sanctuary.
Around the District



Addams Early Childcare Center Childcare students have been enjoying learning and playing outside. Exploration is an important part of our day!

Mrs. Wilson reads to the children outside.


Congratulations to one of the 2021 Royal Oak Youth Assistance award recipients, 5th grader Lucille Kuchenreuther from Addams Elementary School. Each year, ROYA annually recognizes young people who have performed an outstanding humanitarian act, an act of heroism, or have provided exceptional service to someone. Lucy has been an integral member of the Addams Peer to Peer program since 1st grade, one of the most long-standing members thus far. Lucy has a special innate ability to read and respond to peers and what they may be needing during a difficult time or task. Lucy was nominated by her classroom teacher Matt Karsten, and School Social Worker, Colleen Davis.


Keller is celebrating 3rd grader, Victory Nader, the newest inductee into the Writer’s Wall of Fame. Victory submitted an informational piece on Native Americans. Keep up the good work, Victory!


Northwood students took part in a Fit-Athon that not only got the students thinking about fitness and fun but they also raised $30,417.96 - hitting their goal in three weeks! Mrs. Bath's class earned the most in the fundraiser, and 5th grader Oliver Klink clocked the most Fit-Minutes, while 3rd grader Tommy Warren raised the most money. Oh, and Principal Knipper had to participate in "Slime Time with Oliver and Tommy!"


Oakland had a great Virtual Art Night with Ms. B!

They also hosted a virtual yoga night! Fun!


Watch this video of Mr. Letkiewicz getting pie'd in the face by his students! "My students and I made a deal…get our Donorschoose project funded in one week and they got to pie me in the face. Well…they did it in one day!"

Also, Oak Ridge celebrated Red, White, and Blue Day with their staff and students!

Students waving flags and proudly wearing Red, White, and Blue!


Students at Upton Elementary worked hard last month creating the 5th Grade Legacy Garden on the eastside of the building. As a group they researched, planned, planted, and designed the project that will hopefully by enjoyed by the community for years to come. Students also decorated a rock to add to the garden. Students involved were from Ms. Vanevery's and Ms. Foss's class. 


Attention 8th Grade Parents: The Ravens Ready Party is scheduled for June 10th, 12:05-2:00 p.m. (right after school). Students must be registered ahead of time. Use this link: https://forms.gle/9xscR3ThmJUBVc3cA. Also, the ROMS 8th Grade Drive Through Celebration Event is set for June 16 at 5 p.m.


Royal Oak High School has had a busy month. Graduates were celebrated with a Senior Car Cruise, their last day of school was May 26, and they had prom on May 27. Prom was held at the Royal Oak Farmers Market.

A few candids from Prom Night, held at the Royal Oak Farmers Market.


The 61st Annual Commencement for Churchill Community High School and Royal Oak Continuing Education took place on May 20 on the grounds of Churchill Continuing Education Center. In total 30 students attended the commencement ceremony that evening. You can view that event here.

Of the 24 CCHS graduates, two students particularly stood out, according to Supervisor Karen Powell. "These students took full advantage of remote learning being offered this year. Both needed close to two years worth of credits and they each put in the time and work to finish this school year." Ke’Sean Foster made the personal commitment mid-way through the year to stop working and dedicate himself fully to his education. He would not have been able to make the progress he did without this sacrifice. Batool Ahmed Inhayyir, who gave the class address, moved to the United States at 7 years old. She stated, "I wasn't able to speak any English, the only word I knew was hello. Now look at me speaking in front of all the graduates."

Batool Ahmed Inhayyir with her cousins and Principal Powell

Royal Oak Continuing Education had 10 students that chose to participate in the commencement ceremony. The graduates in that program ranged in age from 26-63 years old. Fernando Sharp came everyday at 3:00 p.m. on the dot and worked with his teacher mentor diligently to complete his high school credentials. He opened the ceremony stating, "Graduates, we did it, we succeeded, we conquered... remember to stay focused, be positive and you can soar like an Eagle...whatever you do in life push through, there will be challenges, but stay the course."

Fernando Sharp gives opening remarks

The evening’s success was a team effort from staff members to students, including those from the TRAILS program, also located at Churchill Continuing Education Center. The TRAILS students helped with decorations which entailed constructing a red and white balloon arch for the event. Everyone’s participation and collaboration was much appreciated and contributed to this special event.

Students like to leave their mark on the walls of Churchill before they officially leave...Ke'Sean Foster is seen here painting his brick. This a CCHS tradition for students.


Recently, there was an IEP for one of our high school students, Grace. She is on a Certificate of Completion but was accepted into Beaumont's Project Search Program for next fall. I first met Grace when she was a 6th grader at ROMS. Her parents were focused, honest, supportive, and kept Royal Oak Schools on track. There were many challenging meetings but the dedication of the ROMS and ROHS staff has paid off. Kudos to Michael Corridor, Rob Dietiker, Celeste Rudd, Elizabeth Steinkamph, Carmon Brown and all staff who continue to support Grace.

TRAILS students planted some flowers as part of their Leisure Activity for the month of May. Every month, we introduce new leisure activities to the students to help them explore activities that may be meaningful to them. The students dug holes and planted flowers around the trees to help beautify their school, build fine motor skills, learn more about caring for flowers, and enjoy a new sensory experience.
You'll be missed!



Congratulations to our Director of Special Education Jane Flarity-Gram, as she has announced her retirement from Royal Oak Schools effective the end of this month. Jane has been in this role for 6 years. She started her career in 1984 as a Speech Pathologist. "Communication skills are important in every facet of life," she said, "that's what drew me to speech." She moved on to an administrative role after being a speech pathologist as the principal at Addams Elementary for four years before moving into her District Administrator role.

Jane said that the end of the year is her favorite time in a school district. She loves celebrating alongside families, graduations, and opportunities for closure. She said that she likes to hang on to those positive moments in time. She's retiring after 11 years to spend more quality time with her family and join her husband in retirement. She's hoping to work out 7 days a week, run more marathons, and travel with her family.

"I feel lucky to have been a part of the Royal Oak Schools District."

She said that she will miss her colleagues, which are like an extended family. She'll miss going to buildings and visiting with teachers and students. She added that she wanted to leave this position better than what it was when she started.

"I'm so proud of the Special Ed department," she said. "There is a strong support system in each building for staff who work hard to be better for students. We have to dismantle silos and build bridges with one another."

We also bid a fond farewell to the following who are retiring from Royal Oak Schools:

  • Angela Ashburn, Supervisor at Addams Early Childhood Center
  • Nancy Beardsley, Secretary at Royal Oak Middle School
  • Steve Chisnell, Teacher at Royal Oak High School
  • John Decker, Teacher at Royal Oak High School
  • Therese Durham, Teacher at Royal Oak Middle School
  • Jeanne Ernatt, Teacher at Royal Oak Middle School
  • Mary Fletcher, Teacher at Oak Ridge Elementary School
  • Kevin Friesen, Teacher at Upton Elementary
  • Katherine Kucyk, Secretary at Oakland Elementary
  • Diane Luscombe, Teacher at Oak Ridge Elementary
  • Annette Nall, Secretary at Addams Elementary
  • Jill Ruffles, Secretary at Royal Oak High School
  • Lynne Staszak, Secretary at Royal Oak High School
  • Michelle Wolfe, Teacher at Royal Oak High School
Way To Go ROS!


Do you know how hard it is to get a hole in one? Well, Senior Shane Topping just did it! He got a hole in one at the Red Run Golf Club in Royal Oak, hole number 4, that's 168 yards! 

Men's Swimming has a lot to be proud of this year. ROHS Senior Swimmers Tim Stanley and Mason Solecki have been named Academic All Americans. Over 342,294 kids are involved in aquatics at the high school level and only 2% of these students are recognized as high school All Americans, according to Coach Darrin Millar. The team was also recognized by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association of America, Inc. for their academic achievement!

The RO Lady Ravens Varsity tennis team finished first in the league and won their first league title since 2014. Congrats to all of the players and coaches.

Team members and coaches: Captain Athena Barrer, Olivia Weiss, Lilli Lesperance Solomonson, Audrey Stocker, Louna Prince, Juliet Brody, Jessica Kaplan, Jade Mabee, Ana Ilkiv, Lenora Say, Audrey Bricker, Reagan Blackwell, Claire Hill, Leellen Patton and Katie Skaleski. Coaches Kevin Friesen and Aaron Rosen.

Royal Oak Model UN or ROMUN, had some cheering to do last month when Sophomore Nina Hall earned Best Delegate (First Place) against veteran debaters across the country and around the nation through the U.C. Davis Model UN Conference (DMUNC). The conference marks the final competition during this pandemic year at Royal Oak High School. The team, though, has made the most of the situation in its 25th Anniversary Year, staying active by staging debates on social media and competing at conferences around the nation and world, including Singapore and Greece.

Nina Hall presents a resolution to the committee at UC Davis.

Congratulations to Senior, Emily Birnbaum and her short film, Thread. The film was selected as a "Best of Show" submission in the Michigan Student Film Festival.

Two Royal Oak High School seniors were included in a PBS production about how COVID-19 changed education. The project, Disrupted, streamed on PBS NewsHour on May 18 and included Jamal McClung and Hava Szarafinski.

Seniors from Royal Oak High School talk about how their education has been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Royal Oak Schools is proud to announce that Mike Conrad, a Media Teacher from Royal Oak High School, was awarded the 2021 Michigan Film Educator of the Year Award by *DAFT, Digital Arts Film & Television.

Conrad was recognized via a surprise Zoom organized by DAFT President Kevin Walsh. Among the viewers on the Zoom were Conrad’s family, sister, peers, former students, a school board member, and the Superintendent of Royal Oak Schools.

“We are so proud of you,” Mary Beth Fitzpatrick said. “You’re a blessing to our students and our program. You are among the best to influence our children.”

Royal Oak High School Principal Mike Giromini, added that this award was well-deserved. He said that Conrad has done a phenomenal job this year. “You set high standards for your kids, and it makes all the difference.”

Conrad was nominated by L’Anse Creuse Schools LCPS-TV Program Director Michael Kaufman. Kaufman said that he chose Mike Conrad because of the passion Conrad has for what he does. “You connect with students consistently,” Kaufman said. “Your students adore you to pieces and you set a bar of excellence, that’s why I nominated you.”

Royal Oak Schools Board of Education Vice-President Mary Anne Vanhaitsma, was also on the Zoom. She said that she loved how Conrad created a love of film in the classroom. “Your students admire you,” she said, “and they are lucky to have you.”

Mike Conrad said he was overwhelmed by the surprise Zoom but that he appreciated the award. He said that it’s been a hard year and that he’s just doing the best that he can. “It means a lot,” he added.

Mike Conrad has been teaching for 11 years at Royal Oak High School. He teaches video production, advanced TV production, and film studies.

To watch the Zoom, click here.

*DIGITAL ARTS, FILM & TELEVISION (DAFT) is a non-profit media-arts educational organization founded in 1969 whose primary mission is to promote the creative use of film and electronic media. We do this through the annual Michigan Student Festival, numerous workshops, conferences, and presentations for teachers, students, and media professionals.

Around Town




In honor of Royal Oak's 100th birthday, the Royal Oak Historical Society wants to hear from Royal Oak Schools students about what they love about the city. Entries are due by June 19 for a special showcase on June 26 & 27 at the Royal Oak Historical Museum.


The Royal Oak Public Library is excited to kick off its summer reading program, Tails & Tales, on June 19. The event will be held at Star Jaycee Park from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. that Saturday. Kids can expect to see animals from the Bowers School Traveling Farm, train rides, and entertainment including magic, dancing, juggling, and more! And while they're there having fun, they can register for Tails & Tales.

Amy Howes, Head of Youth and Teen Services at the library said, "We are open just in time to welcome you back to summer reading where there will be fun, a chance to win prizes, and a free book for all who register for the program." She said that adults and kids can join and track their reading during the six-week program while earning incentives and prizes along the way. If you can't make the free event on June 19, you can contact Rosemary at 248-246-3715 or rosemary@ropl.org to sign up.

New carpet and furniture at the ROPL

"Come back to the library," Howes said. "we can't wait to see your smiling faces." The library is currently open at a limited capacity but they are offering a "grab and go" style experience. The hours are: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. M-TH, 10 a.m. - 6p.m. Friday and Saturday, and are closed Sundays until after Labor Day. Computers are open for the community and Chromebooks are available for check out, Howes said. While they were closed, many renovations were done. And, they are no longer charging overdue fines for Royal Oak materials.

The Friends of ROPL are planning a one-day, "mobile" book sale on Summer Reading Opening Day as well. Here is the link to the event page where you'll find the information. Choose from a wide selection of books for adults, children, and teens and load up on your summer titles with most books priced at 50¢ or less.

Need a library card? Use this link to sign up for one.

Ready, set, golf


It's not too late to book your foursome in the Royal Oak Schools Foundation Golf Outing and BBQ! This annual fundraiser is planned for Monday, June 21 at the Metamora Golf and Country Club. Attendees will get 18 holes of golf on a beautiful and exciting course, a welcome breakfast, beverage carts, a dog at the turn, all before feasting on a full Barbecue prepared on-site! The cookout includes Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork and all the fixings. There will be appetizers, salad and plenty of desserts, and a vegetarian / vegan option will be available.

For more information on the golf outing and BBQ, click here.

Royal Oak Schools Foundation is an educational charity as defined by the IRS tax-exempt status 501(c)(3).

Important Dates for June


Use this link for the 2021-22 district calendar.

June 7 is Commencement for Royal Oak High School

Board of Education meets on June 10 & 24

Last day of school is June 17

Father's Day is June 20

Summer Starts on June 20

ROSF Golf Outing is on June 21



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.

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.

New on the Royal Oak Schools Website


In case you missed it, we've added some new pages to the Royal Oak Schools website that you might want to check out.

Have you looked at our "Forward Together" page? This page is dedicated to the district's cultural competence planning and diversity, equity, and inclusion work at the schools. You'll find resources here and information on restorative practices, links to publications and resolutions, and even our K-5 Diversity Book Collection. You can check it out with this link.

The district's COVID-19 information page is your one stop shop for everything COVID-19 related for your family and Royal Oak Schools. Here you can find out about our vaccine clinics in the area, cleaning protocols, see building tours, learn more about resources for your family, and view reported COVID-19 cases in the district. To see this page, click here.

There are a couple of new pages added under the Community tab, like the Lincoln Elementary Time Capsule, ROMS Drama Club, and Summer Sports Camps.

And just in time for graduation, be sure to check out our Alumni page. You'll find a photo gallery with pictures from alumni through the years, information on filling out an alumni profile to be featured on our page, how to get your transcripts from Dondero or Kimball, and a column on some of the famous alumni from ROHS like Tom Hayden, Amy Smeed, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Check it out with this link.

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 - you can watch the Class of 2021 car cruise on the district's Facebook or YouTube page. (CMNtv link)


Send them to: communications@royaloakschools.org

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