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

In this issue

  • 2020 MLK Day of Service sign-up now available
  • Curriculum update gives tenth grade ELA students ‘windows’ and ‘mirrors’
  • Keller students learn about technology and innovation
  • 2020 Kindergarten Parent Information Night
  • 2020-21 district calendar
  • Available positions at the district
  • Inclement weather notifications
  • and more!

Sign-up now for the 2020 MLK Day of Service

The city of Royal Oak, Royal Oak Schools, Berkley Schools and the city of Berkley are teaming up once again for the MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 20, 2020.

The event, hosted at Berkley High School, honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a short program in the morning, which has alternated locations between Royal Oak High School and Berkley High School since 2017.

The 2020 celebration will take place at Berkley High School with a breakfast preceding the 8:30 a.m. presentation of short performances and speakers. Beginning around 9 a.m., various on- and off-site volunteer opportunities are available for participants.

Sign up for volunteer opportunities at this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0b44a5ae2babff2-mlkday

Admission to the event is free with the donation of one or more of the following items.

  • Toilet Paper
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Gallon Ziploc Bags
  • Bath Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Deodorant
  • Body Lotion
  • Dental Floss
  • Canned Green Beans
  • Canned Corn
  • Canned Fruit
  • Pudding Cups
  • Breakfast Cereal - Including regular boxes of Cheerios & Rice Krispies
  • Gift Certificates to Little Caesars

Curriculum update gives tenth grade ELA students ‘windows’ and ‘mirrors’

The spring semester of the 2019-2020 school year is bringing a brand new learning opportunity for the tenth grade English students.

This year, culturally responsive novels (books with a wider range of diverse main characters), are being added to the shelves and offered to the tenth graders for the second part of the year. Students can choose between The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Min Nguyen, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, or Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto.

Each class will cover every book, with groups of five or six reading each book. Students will read a portion of each book before choosing which one they want to read for the unit. The goal of including more diverse novels was to provide “windows” and “mirrors” to make sure students see themselves and their classmates in the texts they read.

“We live in a very complicated world, with a lot of different types of people and perspectives and religions and skin colors,” Ben Roeder, the supervisor of secondary education, said. “[The English teachers] wanted to just make sure that not only were students being exposed to a wider variety of different experiences and perspectives, but also students, when they were looking for something to read, could find themselves somewhere in a novel.”

This curriculum addition was led by tenth grade English teachers, who wanted to include books with a broader range of authors and protagonists than had previously been available.

This change has been in the works for several years. Two English teachers, Karamia Gutierrez and Ann Maudlin, first brought the idea to administration a few years prior to its implementation.

“I think it will benefit everybody greatly,” Gutierrez said. “It will benefit students who maybe haven’t seen themselves represented. For other students, it will be kind of a window for them into another way of thinking.”

Having a broader library to choose from gives the students an opportunity to widen their perspectives.

“With a deeper and richer experience, students are going to be more successful as students and employees in the future, and they’re going to be better at understanding and interacting with people in general,” Roeder said.

Although this is the first year students will be reading these books in class, Lindsay Cole, English teacher, said students in previous classes have suggested the addition of more diverse texts.

“I think the students will feel heard,” said Cole.

Keller students connect curriculum to the outside world

A presentation at Keller Elementary recently tied the outside world to what fifth-graders have been learning inside the classroom.

Andrea Dziengowski, teacher, said that the students had been learning about innovation, and that the guest speaker complemented their instruction.

"Our fifth-graders had a guest speaker from Autoliv visit them to enrich their How the World Works IB Unit," Dzeingowski said. "This unit has a central idea focused on how technology drives discovery. Students learned what an engineer does and how technology has changed in safety over the years. Also, students learned about the production of parts and the global impact on our world."

Autoliv develops, manufactures and markets airbags, seatbelts and steering wheels. The company's products are sold to all leading car manufacturers worldwide.

2020 Kindergarten Parent Information Night

Parents interested in enrolling their students in kindergarten for the 2020-21 school year can join us at 6:30 p.m. on January 29, 2020 for Kindergarten Parent Information night.

The event gives parents an opportunity to visit their child's future school to meet staff and learn about the curriculum, including details about the district developmental kindergarten program.

  • Addams Elementary, 2222 W. Webster
  • Keller Elementary, 1505 N. Campbell Road
  • Northwood Elementary, 926 W. Twelve Mile Road
  • Oakland Elementary, 2415 Brockton Avenue
  • Oak Ridge Elementary, 506 E. 13 Mile Road
  • Upton Elementary, 4400 Mandalay Avenue

Call 248-435-8400 or check out the "Enrollment" section of the website for more information. New student enrollment for in-district families will begin on Thursday, January 30, 2020.

A child must be five (5) years of age on or before September 1st in order to be eligible for kindergarten or developmental 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.

Royal Oak welcomes Schools of Choice students from Oakland County in kindergarten through eighth grades. Applications for Schools of Choice will be available beginning March 2, 2020 both online and at the district central enrollment office. They will be accepted March 2 through March 27 at 4:30 p.m. Students enrolled through Schools of Choice may continue in Royal Oak Schools through grade 12, as long as their enrollment is continuous. School placement for students enrolling through Schools of Choice is determined on a space-available basis.

2020-21 calendar now available

The 2020-21 School Year Calendar is now online. View it for the first day of school, late start dates and breaks. Building-specific calendars, including special events and activities, will continue to be updated throughout the summer.

Find the calendar here: http://bit.ly/ROCal2021

Staff positions available at Royal Oak Schools

Royal Oak Schools is seeking substitute teachers and secretaries, support staff, crossing guards and latchkey staff.

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.

Inclement weather reminder

Unless families are alerted via an official district channel, school is in session. The district broadcasts pertinent, time-sensitive information using a variety of media. When needed, our Emergency Notification System (SchoolMessenger, populated with information from MIStar) broadcasts information by telephone and email to emergency contacts for Royal Oak Schools students. If appropriate, messages will be posted on social media, the district website, shared by principals and/or sent to local media for publication. All of these channels are official district methods of communication and may confirm if school is closed.

To ensure you’re receiving phone and email communications, logon to the MIStar Parent Portal to update your contact information. You can follow @RoyalOakSchools on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars. There is plenty to look forward to in January:

  • Monday, December 23 - Friday, January 3 - Holiday Break
  • Tuesday, January 7 - Cultural Competence Engagement Committee, 6:30 p.m., 800 Devillen
  • Thursday, January 9 - Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.
  • Monday, January 20 - MLK Day of Service, 8 a.m., Berkley High School, 2325 Catalpa
  • Wednesday, January 29 - Kindergarten Parent Information Night, 6:30 p.m., all elementary schools

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

There's always something going on at the district! Follow us on Facebook @RoyalOakSchools and Twitter @RoyalOakSchools for more updates. Check the district website, too, for information.

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.