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

In This Issue

  • District News: Return To School Plan
  • Food Distribution Over The Holidays
  • Holiday Break
  • Thank You For Your Vote
  • New Board Members
  • Royal Oak Model UN
  • National Merit Scholars
  • 3 or 4 Year Old Childcare Available
  • Now Enrolling At Churchill
  • Time Capsule Documentary Online
  • Toys Needed For Those In Need
  • Holiday Guidance Suggestions
  • Available Positions At The District - Now Hiring Custodians
  • Social Media
District News


A special board meeting was held on November 4, where it was voted to stay in remote learning until the end of the first quarter instead of returning to hybrid learning on November 9. The board voted to continue remote learning until January 29, 2021.

Per the requirements of the State of Michigan, we are required to review the Royal Oak Schools Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan with the Board of Education once per month for their consideration. As always, we will continue to assess the situation in our community on a regular basis.

The decision was based on the following:

  • Oakland County moved from a rating of ‘C’ to an ‘E’ on the county risk determination chart. That indicator ranges from “Low Risk” which means there are less than seven cases per million and less than 3% positivity in the county, and goes through Levels A-E. The current rating of ‘E’ is the highest risk level and means Oakland County cases are 150 or greater per million, with 20% or greater positivity.
  • Per the guidance for in-person instruction from the Oakland County Health Division, “Building(s) with known cases in staff or students but no ongoing transmission” should “consider remote instruction in (the) entire district”.

"We have excellent mitigation and safety measures in place for when we return to in-person learning," said Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, superintendent Royal Oak Schools. "I applaud our staff for their commitment to the safety and well-being of the district. The rise in cases and subsequent impact on our staff and families are far too great of risks to take at this time."

You can read the resolution here.

Changes To Food Distribution

Food Changes Over The Holidays

There will be a change in our meal service over the holidays. Currently, meals are picked up Monday through Friday at Royal Oak High School and Royal Oak Middle School between 11:00 - 12:30 PM.

The holiday schedule will start on December 18. We will hand out 7 days worth of food on that day from Royal Oak High School and Royal Oak Middle School. Then on Monday, December 28, we will hand out meals from Royal Oak High School only from 11-12:30 PM.

Food distribution will resume on January 5, Monday through Friday at Royal Oak High School and Royal Oak Middle School, between 11:00 - 12:30 PM.

Students will continue to receive free meals through the end of the school year, however, families who may qualify for free or reduced-price meals can help support Royal Oak Schools by submitting an application. The 2020-21 free and reduced-price school meals application is available on the Royal Oak Schools website.

Holiday Break

Holiday Break This Month

Holiday break begins on December 21. There will be no school between 12/21/20 and 1/1/2021. Students will return to remote learning on January 4. During this time all school and administrative buildings will be closed. If you need to get ahold of someone, please call the district office and plan to leave a message.

Thank You For Your Support


At Royal Oak Schools, we believe strong schools make a stronger community, and we want to thank you for supporting our mission.

“We want to thank the Royal Oak community for restoring and extending the non-homestead millage, which will allow us to continue providing a high quality education to all Royal Oak Schools students,” said Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, Royal Oak Schools superintendent. “This affirms the strong support of the school district by our community.“

Restoring and extending the non-homestead millage will help us continue:

  • Providing a safe learning environment for all students, teachers, and staff
  • Preparing kids for the jobs of the future, including in the skilled trades
  • Providing programming for both special education and general education students
“Our core mission is preparing all Royal Oak Schools students for their lives and jobs of the future and passage of this proposal will support our students, teachers and staff in carrying out this mission.”
Changes On The School Board


Voters also elected 4 school board members. Erika Alexander, Timothy Ciechorski and Lisa-Aline Hanes were newly elected to the school board, and MaryAnne VanHaitsma was re-elected to the Royal Oak Schools Board of Education on Election Day.

“I would like to congratulate our newly elected school board members and thank them for being willing to serve on behalf of our students, staff and community,” said Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, Royal Oak Schools superintendent. “I look forward to working together and serving the needs of all Royal Oak students, families and staff. I appreciate all of our school board members and candidates for their passion and dedication to our incredible community.”

These new members will be active on the school board starting in January 2021. They will be members of the board for four years. School board members receive no pay for their public service. The school board is accountable to you, the Royal Oak community, and to the state and federal government.

Current school board members Jeff Brinker (10 years), Gary Briggs (17 years), and Carrie Beerer (10 years) are stepping down. Their last meeting will be December 10, 2020.

Model UN Goes To Greece...Virtually


In its first major conference of the team’s 25th Anniversary Year, the Royal Oak Model United Nations team debated virtually in Patras, Greece, last month against hundreds of students from Europe. The conference ended with all of the team finding commendation for their work. (WATCH)

Two of Royal Oak’s students, senior Connor Brezenski and junior Alex Garcia, each earned Best Delegate awards for their work. Junior Aaron Purrenhage also was recognized by his committee peers as a Keynote Speaker. The awards distinguished the ROMUN delegates among more than 500 students from several countries. The Royal Oak team was the only US team to debate.

The team’s individual awards were also a powerful statement on the quality of the team’s work. All three students represented the small Caribbean island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. While many at the conference initially expected the delegation to quietly align itself with the United States, Royal Oak quickly demonstrated how a small voice might have an enormous impact on a wide range of topics. They debated the future for climate refugees, the precarious peace process in Libya, and the corrupt election process in Belarus.

Because of the time difference, the Royal Oak team began debate as early as 3:00 AM each morning until 8:00 AM, followed by strategy sessions. In preparation and debate for the conference, the students also held conversations with experts in international policy from Greece.

“This conference was like few we’ve attended,” said one of the team’s advisors, Jennifer Crotty. “Our delegates had a great opportunity to understand how European countries viewed the United States, and we earned their respect through the thoughtful and sincere quality of our debate.”

When Brezenski arrived at the debate at 2:30 AM on Sunday morning, his chair quickly invited him onto the virtual stage to answer questions by European students about the recent US election. “They wanted to know how the electoral college worked,” he said, “because it was so different from what they knew.”

Royal Oak’s Model UN team enters its 25th Anniversary Year virtually, of course, but this has not slowed them down. Instead, the team saw the limitations as an opportunity. “We can travel to Singapore as easily as Lansing now,” says Secretary-General Connor Brezenski. The team will debate “in” Singapore next month. It will also compete in the prestigious and enormous debates in Chicago, at Yale, and at the UN in New York. The team will run its own virtual conference for local debaters next weekend, partnered with a technology firm in Germany. The first leg of the team’s new advocacy project is based upon US race relations, and the team has already created live streams of its own Presidential and international policy debates; it plans to meet this winter with various elected officials in advocacy on topics of mutual interest to the students.

To find out more about ROMUN, see photos of the conference, and sponsor its work, go to romun.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@ROMUNNews).

By Steven Chisnell, Royal Oak High School

National Merit Scholars


Naia Peters, Mason Solecki, Tim Stanley, Danya Sahib, Alex Hoyer, and Royal Oak High School Principal, Mike Giromini

Five students from Royal Oak High School have been recognized by the National Merit Organization for their outstanding academic achievement.

The five commended students are:

  • Alexander Hoyer
  • Naia Peters
  • Danya Sahib
  • Mason Solecki
  • Timothy Stanley
"We are incredibly proud of these students and their achievement in the National Merit program. To an individual, they are hard working, determined, excellent students. Even better, they are kind, thoughtful, and caring young adults, all of whom will have a positive impact on this world." - Mr. Giromini, Royal Oak High School Principal

There were no National Merit semifinalists this year.

Childcare Openings


If you are interested in 3 or 4 year-old childcare please contact the Addams Early Childhood Center at 248-288-3220. They currently have openings for 2021. The programs are State Licensed and include play-based and pre-kindergarten readiness activities. The center is open all year round and offers both Full Time and Part Time programs.

Check out the Early Childhood page for more information.

Enrolling Now

Churchill Community Education Enrolling New Students

Churchill Community High School - Alternative High School Program

Churchill Community High School is currently making enrollment appointments for new students to begin trimester 2 on December 7, 2020. If you or your student are 16 or older, behind in credits and in jeopardy of not graduating consider Churchill Community High School to get back on a path that leads to receiving your diploma. CCHS operates on trimesters, providing more opportunity for students to make up credits than a traditional high school program. Currently, trimesters are broken down into two portions, or mini-trimesters, in order for students to focus on 3 classes at a time while still offering the opportunity to take 6 classes each trimester. Students are presently attending classes remotely, with limited opportunities for in-person support when allowable. Although working remotely, students will still be receiving support from CCHS teachers. Finally, there is no “synchronous” learning component, students can work on their classes when it fits into their schedules, independently without required live class sessions. If you or your student are interested in learning in an independent, remote setting with teacher support to continue working towards graduation please contact Danielle or Karen to schedule an enrollment interview.

  • Danielle: danielle.bildson@royaloakschools.org (248)588-5050, ext. 1502
  • Karen: karen.powell@royaloakschools.org (248)588-5050, ext 1505

Churchill Community High School Completion - Adult Education Program

If you or someone you know is over 19 and would like to pursue high school credentials (High School Completion or GED), please contact Joy for more information. Classes begin January 4, 2021. Joy: joy.zug@royaloakschools.org (248)588-5050, ext. 1520

Additional information can be found on our website regarding all of the programs offered at: https://www.royaloakschools.org/churchill-center/

The Discovery of the Lincoln Time Capsule


With great anticipation, WOAK, our student broadcast channel, announced the airing of “The Discovery of the Lincoln Time Capsule.” The documentary showcases a time capsule that was buried in 1965 by then Lincoln Elementary School students. The time capsule, which included items from many of the classmates, was opened on June 13, 2019 at a Royal Oak Schools board meeting.

WOAK produced this documentary that includes footage of the time capsule being opened, reaction from a few of the original students that put items into the capsule, and comments from 6th graders with their take on the items from over 50 years ago.

“Discovery of the Lincoln Time Capsule” premiered on Friday, November 13 at 6:00 PM on WOAK. It is available for viewing via the Royal Oak Schools YouTube page using this link.

Items from the time capsule can be seen at the District Office in display cases located outside of the boardroom. If you have any memories or know anything about the time capsule, please email communications@royaloakschools.org.

Need Toys?


The Salvation Army is working hard to provide gifts for children age 0 -14 this holiday season and needs your help. Their toy drive is underway, but this year, they need more toys than ever.

You can purchase a toy for a child and donate it to the Salvation Army of Royal Oak by December 11. They will do the rest, including the passing out of the gifts to families through an organized drive up.

If you are a family in need, and would like to be considered for receiving gifts, the Salvation Army of Royal Oak is conducting phone interviews. You can call 248-585-5600 to apply.

Holiday Guidance

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services wants to remind us all to take care when traveling and gathering over the holiday season.

“Celebrating the holiday season with family and friends is one of our most cherished traditions,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Even though the way we celebrate may have to be different, the guidance issued today shows there are still many ways to spend quality time with family and friends safely during this festive season.”

They suggest you continue to maintain social distancing and to wear a mask when around others. But they are also urging Michiganders to consider hosting holiday gatherings virtually. For more details on COVID-19 guidance for holiday travel and gatherings, click here.



We're hiring substitute teachers. Red Rover is the district’s partner for substitute teachers, paraprofessionals and secretaries. If you are interested in learning more, please go to app.redroverk12.com 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 now 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 - Royal Oak High School's Academic Honors ceremony went virtual this year. The event celebrates student academic achievements from the previous school year. Students with a grade point average of 3.0 or high are honored with Academic Honors, Academic Excellence, and Academic Distinction. The ceremony can be seen on our Royal Oak Schools YouTube page.

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.


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