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

In This Issue

  • Back To School 2021-22
  • Welcome New Staff
  • Meet New ROHS Administrators
  • Retirements
  • Free Lunch
  • Blessings In A Backpack
  • Dr. Kim's Corner
  • Bond Work: Changes Over The Summer
  • Community Garden
  • Summer School Snapshots
  • School Calendar: Important September Dates
  • Available Positions At The District
Welcome Back


The 2021-22 school year will begin, with the first official day of school on Tuesday, September 7 and we can't wait to see you!

You may have been hearing a lot about UVC technology being used in our school. We shared an article about this with you last month. For further explanation, please watch this video.

Royal Oak Schools is moving forward with face-to-face instruction for all students, DK-12 including TRAILS Adult Transition. Following the recommendations from the OCHD will allow us to maintain our in-person instruction.

We will be requiring universal mask-wearing when indoors at all of our school buildings by students, staff, and visitors regardless of vaccination status. Masks will be provided to those who need them. Staff and students are encouraged to bring their own clean masks to school daily. To read more about the mitigation strategies that we will be following, click on this link.

Per the OCHD, “Reporting positive cases and identifying close contacts in school is important to quickly identify those who should isolate and quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure to COVID-19.” Royal Oak Schools will:

  • Maintain isolation rooms within schools should students become ill during the school day until children can be picked up.
  • Report positive cases and close contact with the OCHD, ideally within 24-hours.
  • Notify close contacts of the exposure.

We will be following the new guidelines per the CDC regarding quarantining.

Required to quarantine:

  • Close contacts exposed at less than 3-feet of space must quarantine.
  • If 3-6 feet of space has been maintained, and one or both were unmasked, then quarantine is also required.

Exclusions from quarantine:

  • If 3-6 feet of space has been maintained, and both were properly masked, the parties do not have to quarantine.
  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19* do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months if they remain symptom-free. Those who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first COVID-19 positive test may need to be tested again if no other cause is identified for their symptoms.
  • Vaccinated persons* are not required to quarantine if they are more than 14 days since receiving the last dose in the series or have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
  • *If exposed parties have tested positive in the past or are vaccinated, proof of that status is required to avoid quarantine. If you do not wish to share that documentation, a quarantine period will be enforced.

Quarantining period:

  • We will follow the 10-day reduced quarantine strategy.
  • Stay home for 10 days after exposure while wearing a mask and physically distance yourself from others.
  • Those who quarantine for 10 days must cooperate with the contact tracing efforts while monitoring for symptoms for two weeks after exposure.
  • If symptoms occur, immediately isolate and get a COVID-19 test.

We will continue to stay up-to-date on any changes from the Oakland County Health Division, CDC, and MDHHS. Regular meetings with the OCHD staff will resume for the area superintendents this week as their input as health professionals are critical to our school opening. As we have learned over the last 18 months, conditions can change at any time and we appreciate your flexibility and responses to those changes. Families can expect to hear from their own schools’ administrators and teachers as school begins.

Thank you for your support and cooperation with all of our mitigation efforts. Again, following the guidelines set for schools will increase the likelihood of our being able to maintain the face-to-face learning environment for all.

New Faces



Royal Oak Schools has hired many new faces for this school year. Please welcome the following and watch for their announcements on our social media channels.

  • Blair Alexis, ASD Teacher at Royal Oak Middle School
  • Jill Border, Resource Room Teacher at Royal Oak High School
  • Evan Caccavelli, ELA Teacher at Royal Oak Middle School
  • Megan Callahan, Counselor at Royal Oak Middle School
  • Katherine Davis, Science Teacher at Royal Oak Middle School
  • Rebecca Dennison, Teacher Consultant, Royal Oak High School
  • Susan Dobbs, Resource Room Teacher, Royal Oak Middle School
  • Saba Elias, Math Teacher Royal Oak High School
  • Katrina Ellis, PE Teacher Addams/Upton Elementary
  • Samantha Ellis, Counselor Royal Oak Middle School
  • Tucker Gaegauf, 5th Grade Teacher Keller Elementary
  • Brian Hacker, French Teacher Royal Oak High School
  • Deanna Hayden, Level 3 Teacher Churchill Community High School
  • Amy Hermon, IT & Research Specialist Royal Oak High School
  • Rebecca Jason, Speech Pathologist Addams ECC
  • Jessica Johnson, 1st Grade Teacher, Addams ECC
  • Kayla Johnson, ELA Teacher Royal Oak High School
  • Regan Kwong, Social Studies Teacher ROHS/ROMS
  • Brittany Landau, Office Secretary Royal Oak High School
  • Brittney Melse, Social Studies Teacher Royal Oak High School
  • Courtney Miller, Art Teacher Royal Oak Middle School
  • Kaitlyn Miller, GSRP Teacher Addams ECC
  • Wael Mohamed, Math Teacher Royal Oak High School
  • Julie Molnar, ELD Teacher Oakland Elementary
  • Shannon Mozek, Health/PE Teacher Royal Oak High School
  • Alfie Ormsbee, ELA Teacher Royal Oak High School
  • Brienne Peers, Social Studies Teacher Royal Oak High School
  • Martha Pietsch, AST Royal Oak High School
  • Amy Raymer, Level 3 Teacher Keller Elementary
  • LeeAnn Robinson, ASD Teacher Oakland Elementary
  • Emily Wade, Social Worker Royal Oak High School
  • Evelyn Youel, Math Teacher Royal Oak High School

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

Ravens Leadership


Two familiar faces and one new, round out the leadership roles at Royal Oak High School.

Brian Gordon has come out of his recent retirement to take on the role of Interim Director of Athletics and Activities for Royal Oak Schools. Gordon recently retired from Novi Community Schools where he was the Director of Athletics since July 2012.

"The oversight of student activities and athletics in Royal Oak is a huge undertaking," said Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick. "We are very pleased to have Brian join our team on an interim basis as the school year begins. His experience and student-centered work ethic will provide great support to our student clubs, athletes, and the high school administrative team."

Gordon is entering his 3rd decade in Education. Prior to becoming an Athletic Director, Gordon taught at the elementary and high school levels for 20 years. While teaching, Gordon coached baseball, football, basketball, and track & field from the junior high to varsity levels, including a long stint as the Royal Oak Kimball and Royal Oak High School Varsity Baseball Coach from 1995-2010. Gordon was inducted into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011 as well as the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2021.

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.”

Michael Corridor steps into a new role this fall as Assistant Principal at the high school. He says that every day will bring new challenges and that he is excited to learn and grow.

"It is an honor to have this opportunity to serve a school with wonderful students, an extremely committed staff, and a supportive school community."

Corridor has worked in education for more than 20 years. For the past 11 years, he has been a secondary special education teacher in Royal Oak working across a variety of grades and in many different facets. He says his favorite part about being in the high school now is the fact that he's seeing kids that he has known for years.

"Royal Oak is fortunate to know Mr. Corridor as a dedicated and caring teacher," said Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick. "We are thrilled to have him now step into new leadership responsibilities at Royal Oak High School and meeting the students' needs as the assistant principal."

Corridor says he'll miss the middle school events but looks forward to the activities at the high school level.

Dr. Audra Melton is serving as the Interim Principal at Royal Oak High School while Mr. Giromini is on leave. Dr. Melton has nearly 20 years of teaching experience, beginning her career at Berkley High School and then moving to the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills.

Mike Giromoni said of Dr. Melton, "Dr. Melton and I taught and later served as building administrators together at the International Academy. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the International Baccalaureate programs and in secondary education, and I am truly grateful for her willingness to support our students, staff, and families in my absence."

Dr. Melton retired in 2018 and has since assisted several local school districts with interim administrative positions. She was raised in Troy and still lives there with her husband and two high school-age sons. Dr. Melton graduated from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio with a BA in Biology and Secondary Education. She holds a MAT from Marygrove College and a PhD in K-12 Educational Administration from Michigan State University.



You leave big shoes to fill and you will be missed! Thank you for your years of service.

  • Gregory Castle - ROHS Math Teacher
  • Perry Cicchini - ROHS ELA Teacher
  • Darla LaCroix - Northwood Elementary
  • Jay Vought - ROHS Math Teacher
Free Meals All Year


Through a nationwide waiver issued by the U.S.D.A., every student is eligible to receive one free daily breakfast and lunch for the entire 2021-22 school year.

While all student meals are free this year, Free/Reduced Applications are still needed to ensure the district continues to receive critical funding, as well as to determine students' Pay to Play status. Be sure to check your mail for the application packet delivered by the post office.

Or, click here for your Free/Reduced Lunch Application. Please direct any questions to the Food Service Department at 248-435-8500, extension 1123.

If/when your school begins offering ala carte items (bottled water or snacks) please note that they will not be free and must be paid for either with cash or through your student’s pre-paid food service account.

We will have grab-n-go meals available at all elementary schools to begin the year.

As we continue to navigate through the pandemic in 2021-2022 we will do our best to communicate changes to the food service program to you. Since it is difficult to address all the subtleties of the food program occurring at each school in a ‘one size fits all’ letter we encourage you to stay in contact with your school’s principal and secretary as they send out more frequent communications dedicated to what is going on in your particular school.

Food Over The Weekend For Families


Blessings In A Backpack is a group that collects, organizes, and even distributes food weekly to families in Royal Oak Schools. We want to extend a HUGE thank you to Shelley Lake and "Blessings In A Backpack" for taking care of our families by delivering food to their homes over the last 20 months.

The last packing with home delivery will take place on September 1. Shelley tells us that it will contain an extra delivery for families that have more than one student in their home that receives "blessings."

"This Wednesday we'll be delivering a spaghetti dinner with pasta, sauce, and a vegetable so the whole family can enjoy," Lake said.

Then starting on September 15, weekly packing will begin to be distributed in bins at the schools, like they did pre-pandemic. Students that are signed up for the program will receive their bags of food from their lockers on Fridays to bring home. Forms to sign up for "Blessings In A Backpack" will be sent home with students during the first week of school.


How Racially Diverse Schools and Classrooms Can Benefit All Students

Kimberly Martin, PhD, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Coordinator at Royal Oak Schools wants to share with you this month an article on how being racially diverse in school can benefit all. Here's a snippet of the article:

"Today, school integration—using new, more legally and politically palatable approaches—is getting a second look as an educational reform strategy. For one thing, policymakers and scholars across the political spectrum are beginning to realize that ignoring the social science research on the negative effects of concentrated school poverty is not working to close large achievement gaps between races and economic groups."

"Many middle-class Millennials say they find suburban life sterile and prefer walkable communities. One poll, the authors note, found that 77 percent of Millennials expressed a preference for urban life. This development raises new possibilities for integrated schooling."

To read the full article, use this link.

Bond Work

Bond Work Progress

We've been working hard all summer on improvements and renovations at some of our schools including Addams Elementary and Early Childhood Center, and Upton Elementary.

This new floor in a multi-purpose room at Addams ECC has a lane (marked in green) for the little tikes to ride their trikes on.
Work at Addams Elementary and ECC: Left picture shows new doors hung and lockers. Middle picture shows new paint and new flooring. Far-right is new paint in the learning commons.
Upton Elementary: New Addition for classrooms and gymnasium. A purple wall divides two new classrooms. And the last picture is of a new entrance!
New windows at the high school! Far-left picture shows - new windows on one side (L) and the old ones on the other (R).

Bond work has been completed at Royal Oak High School, Keller Elementary, Oakland Elementary, and Oak Ridge Elementary. Work at Addams and Upton is almost complete.

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. For more details on our bond work, click here.

Community Garden


An ad-hoc committee in Royal Oak sees the need for a community garden but also sees quite an extensive tree canopy in the city. The group began looking for some land with a lot of sun and soon found the grounds of the Royal Oak Schools Administrative Offices and Churchill Community High School.

Tom Regan and Amanda Herzog are co-leading the effort along with the Environmental Advisory Board of Royal Oak. They met with nearby city officials and volunteers that have built successful community gardens in their towns. Then they visited potential sites for the garden and their favorite was on the westside of Churchill.

Tom Regan stands next to Churchill where he hopes to start a Community Garden. (Photo: Mike McConnell)

Regan said that they then approached Royal Oak Schools administrators with the idea. "The next step is to have the city and school district get together and create a legal agreement," he said. "Our goal is to break ground in the spring of 2022."

“We’re excited to partner with those in the community to expand gardening in Royal Oak,” Superintendent Fitzpatrick said. “This is a great opportunity for our community members and it brings a fun project to Churchill.”

He described the program as a city program in which residents will be able to sign up for a plot just like they would sign up for an adult recreation class through Insight.

To gauge interest, they are keeping a list of people who are interested in having a plot at Churchill in Spring 2022. Contact Tom Regan by phone at 248-291-9054, or email him at tregan3@hotmail.com to be added to the list.

People who want to keep apprised of developments should follow the group on Facebook.

Picture of what the garden could look like. (Lathrup Village Vegetable Garden)


In case you missed it - a lot happened over the summer. We celebrated our parents, our dogs, challenged each other to pick between Ice Tea and Lemonade...amongst other things, and gave shout-outs to our students that sported their school gear while on vacation all over social media!

Important Dates for September


September 2 at Upton Elementary: Kindergarten & DK Meet the Teacher 4:00-5:00 p.m. & Kindergarten & DK PTA Playdate - 4:00-6:00 p.m.

September 6 is Labor Day

September 9 School Board Meeting

Septemeber 9 at Oak Ridge: PTA Social

September 10 first home football game, "Hometown Heroes"

September 10 at Upton: PTA Welcome Back Picnic from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

September 11 marks 20 years since 9/11

September 12 Grandparent's Day

September 14 remote asynchronous Curriculum Night at ROHS

September 17 Homecoming

September 19 is the 5th Annual Royal Oak High School Marching Band Golf Outing

September 21 is Elementary Virtual Curriculum Night

September 23 Remote Asynchronous Curriculum Night at ROMS



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.

Oakland Schools is putting out an urgent call for paraprofessionals to assist local classroom teachers. There are approximately 22,000 students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in Oakland County who benefit from the services provided by paraprofessionals. If you are interested in applying for a paraprofessional position, please visit - https://bit.ly/3x1d0ZE.

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

Now hiring school bus drivers in Royal Oak! Drivers will receive benefits, paid training and 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.

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.


Send them to: communications@royaloakschools.org

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