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

In This Issue

  • District News: Return To School
  • Clear To Go App
  • Thank You PTA
  • Community Support Spotlight: YMCA
  • Enrollment: Schools of Choice
  • Look Back: Black History Month
  • New Times For Curbside Meal Pick Up
  • Alumni/Royal Oak 100 Years
  • School Calendar: Important March Dates
  • Available Positions At The District
  • Social Media: Diversity Club Black History Month Roundtable
Return To School


March 1 will see many students and staff return to school as we once knew it... however, things will look a little different. Plexiglass has been installed around desks, counters, and food stations in the cafeteria. Hand sanitizer has been installed in all classrooms and open spaces. Signs have been placed on the walls, on the floor, in the bathrooms to remind students about social distancing and hand washing. And please note that all school properties are closed to the public while school is in session.

Although things may look a little different, we plan to welcome back your children in a safe manner and continue to provide an excellent education. Part of our preparation for the student and staff return includes testing our water supplies and flushing our systems. When we were planning to return in November 2020, our schools’ water was tested across the district. The results from our testing for lead and copper show no areas of concern and can be found on the district website, 2020 Water Test Results. In addition, the district contracts with DiHydro to treat our water systems with a calcium-based product that provides a coating over steel, iron, and copper for greater protection. The flushing of sinks, faucets, and toilets is a part of the custodians’ regular routines in the absence of regular use by staff and students.

As we have reported previously, the district has taken steps over time to update our HVAC equipment, and install water bottle filler stations while closing off the drinking fountains themselves. Cleaning protocols and other safety measures can be found on our website with other Return to School information.

Each elementary principal has prepared a welcome back video explaining how returning to school will look for your child. You can see those videos here. They have also listed on their websites information specifically for hybrid learning and remote learning. Just click on your child's school for details.

Before returning to school, families must complete a COVID-19 screening agreement. A link to that document can be found here. The district’s YouTube channel is a good source for watching informative videos recently created to take a peek into the schools and hear about our safety measures. Please take a moment to view those at Royal Oak Schools YouTube.

We're ready for your return and can't wait to see you!

Clear To Go!


When students return to in-person learning, parents will be asked to complete a daily health screening for their child or children with a very user friendly app called 'Clear To Go!'

Families will first receive an email from Clear Support (Subject: Your child is being asked to screen) asking them to set up their child's account. We are asking for families to set up accounts shortly after receiving the email to ensure students are ready for their first day of in-person instruction.

Families with children participating in in-person instruction, clubs/activities and/or athletics will be required to screen daily for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. Families of preschool and elementary school age children are asked to screen on their child’s behalf. Middle School and High School students may complete their own daily screenings if they are enabled to do so, including CCHS, Adult Education and ESL students.

“The first and most important step is for parents to evaluate their own children at home," said Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick. "The app will be a good daily reminder of that commitment so that any symptoms are considered before sending children to school. As always, even when not in a pandemic, we request that children who feel ill are kept home, and staff who are not feeling well stay home, too.”

The District says the entire set up process will take less than five minutes. Any students who will not be returning for in-person instruction and/or activities will not need to complete the daily health screening.

For more information on Clear To Go!™, including step by step instructions on how to set it up, use this link.

Thank You!


Fundraisers, events, and so much more is managed by our school PTAs. These things could not happen without the willing volunteers that make up the Parent Teacher Association for all of our schools. We can not thank you enough for the work you have done and undoubtedly will continue to do for Royal Oak Schools.

The PTA is an acronym for Parent Teacher Association. It is a national, state, and local organization initially founded with the mission of making schools a better place for children to learn. The idea behind the PTA is for parents, teachers, and students to work collaboratively for the benefit of the entire school community.

Maryanne Vanhaitsma is the President of the Royal Oak PTA Council. She says that PTAs work on advocacy, education, recruiting and coordinating volunteers, organize parent education, organize student activities, both educational and social, staff appreciation, family support, and many other things for students and families. Our Royal Oak PTAs are part of National PTA and Michigan PTA. Royal Oak is fortunate to have Royal Oak PTA Council as well as individual PTAs at each of the schools. The school PTA/PTSAs are the on-site group active in their respective schools. They work with the building principals, staff, families, and students at each of the schools to establish programs, activities, budgets, raise funds to support activities, and support whatever needs their particular school may have.

"The partnership is an important one. PTAs provide a means for families to connect with each other and the staff."

On February 17, PTAs celebrated "Founders Day." PTA founders are Alice McLellan Birney, Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Selena Sloan Butler. Their work to better the lives of every child in education, health and safety is celebrated on that day. "Our founders represented women of imagination and courage. They had a simple idea—to improve the lives and future of all children. They understood the power of individual action, worked beyond the accepted barriers of their day, and took action to change the world for all children," said Vanhaitsma.

"I find the work that our PTAs do to be rewarding and something that provides opportunities to support all children," Vanhaitsma said. She has been an active member of RO PTAs for over 17 years and has worked to ensure the success of the students, families, and staff during that time.

"I believe that every parent has talents and gifts to share that benefit our children, schools, and community and in sharing those talents and gifts, it allows for us to have stronger schools and a stronger community."


Each month we like to introduce to you a community group that goes above and beyond to assist the families of Royal Oak Schools. The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit has five core values: Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Inclusive and Caring. They are an inclusive organization for men, women, and children working to nurture the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility.

"We know that lasting personal and social change comes about when we all work together," said Executive Director of the South Oakland YMCA, Tricia Hamzik. She is responsible for the daily operations, fundraising and ensuring the mission of the Y in Royal Oak is fulfilled.

Multiple programs are hosted by the Y including Youth Learning Center, Swim Lessons, Sports Programs, Family Classes, Group Exercise Classes Summer Camp and Child Watch. And they love volunteers! Hamzik said that volunteers do a wide variety of things from Fall and Spring Cleanup, to Summer Camp and Child Watch. "Basically all areas," she said.

Hamzik explained that they Y is more than a "gym and swim." She said they are a Y for All. "We offer scholarships for all of our programs including membership. We do our best to not turn anyone away and all funds raised during our campaign go directly to our members. In addition, none of the funds raised go to operations" she added.

"After over a 20 year career with the Y I feel like I am part of something larger than myself."

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic the Y served nearly 11,000 children in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties. Children attended child care, day camp, arts and learning centers and more. During that time they distributed 217,000 meals and presented fresh food baskets to 100 families and 40 seniors for Thanksgiving. It took a week to deliver and over 30 volunteers. They adopted 80 families to provide a happy Christmas to 200 children. And much more... you can read their annual report here.

March 1 kicks off a fundraising campaign for the YMCA. "Our "Make Everyday Better" Campaign starts March 1st and ends in May," said Hamzik. "At the Y, we can make everyday better! You will always see a smiling and welcoming face. Whether you are at the Y for swim lessons, group exercise class or to learn a new sport we are here for you!!"



The Schools of Choice application window for students who are non-residents in grades K-8 will be open for the 2021-2022 school year from March 1, 2021 to March 26, 2021.

Students enrolled through Schools of Choice are eligible for continued enrollment in Royal Oak Schools through grade 12 as long as their enrollment in Royal Oak is continuous.

Remember, families must reside within the boundaries of the Oakland Intermediate School District in order to apply.

For questions or for more information on Schools of Choice, contact the Enrollment Office at: (248) 435-8400, x1260.

You can click here to apply online for Schools of Choice grades K-8.

Look Back


February was Black History Month, but we all know it's more than just a month.

Educating ourselves and our children is important to understanding and accepting others. We all must do our part to end racism. An important step we can take is helping our children understand through important conversations.

Here are some resources for you and your family to check out and enjoy every month.

This information was shared by our District's Restorative Practice Coach, Nicole Reynolds. It includes resources to help start this important discussion. Use this link for more information on Restorative Practices.

New times for meal pick up

Starting with the return to school this week, the frequency, days, and locations for free meal pick-up will be changed. Pick-up days are now on Fridays only. Royal Oak High School will be the only location and pick up will be at the bus loop entrance off Crooks Road.

Meals: Fully remote families can pick up 7 days' worth of meals for each child every Friday; hybrid families can pick up 5 meals, and the other 2 days' meals will be received while in person on their hybrid days.

New curbside pick up times: 11 AM - 12:15 PM

Remember, meals are free for everyone 18 years and younger, and for those 26 years and younger with special needs. Students do not need to be enrolled in Royal Oak Schools. Free and Reduced Lunch Applications should still be filled out and returned to the food service department.

Please call food service at 248-435-8500, ext. 1122 with questions.

Alumni Nominations

If you are an alum of Royal Oak Schools we want to hear from you. Royal Oak Schools is searching for recommendations of alumni to feature on our alumni page on our website. If you're an alum or you know someone who is, that has an interesting job, a unique success story to tell, or wants to brag about their accomplishments, nominate them to be profiled by our district.

Tell us your story! Use this link to fill out an alumni profile and share your story with the Royal Oak Schools community.

Did You Know? Royal Oak is turning 100 in 2021! Watch for stories from alumni over the next few months. We'd like to connect with you and your family and hear your story about school in Royal Oak over the years.

You can reach out to Mary Sier at 248-435-8400 x 2184 with any information you may have to help us create our own Royal Oak Schools 100 years timeline!

Need To Know News

Use this link for the 2020-21 district calendar.

The Cultural Competence Engagement Committee meets on March 16. Click here for more information.

Spring Break is April 2 - 9.



The district is seeking a passionate, and empathetic community-minded candidate to work with other leaders, families and staff on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion across the district. This leader will provide strategic leadership for developing and maintaining diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies and plans to ensure equitable, diverse and inclusive learning and workplace environments exist throughout Royal Oak Schools. Apply online selecting the Employment link at http://bit.ly/2PrEckt. The application deadline is March 12, 2021, or until filled.

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.

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 - Look what the Royal Oak High School Diversity Club/Council produced to honor Black History Month.

If you receive a "video unavailable" notification, click on the link provided by YouTube under the notification to watch the roundtable.


Send them to: communications@royaloakschools.org

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