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

In This Issue

  • District News: Have a Healthy New Year
  • Mary Beth on the MegaCast
  • Board of Education Changes
  • Meet Salvation Army Family
  • Touchless Drinking Water Stations
  • Diploma Programme
  • Kindergarten Registration
  • Kits 4 Kids Keeps On Giving
  • Alumni Reach Out
  • Royal Oak 100 Years
  • School Calendar
  • Available Positions At The District
  • Social Media
District News


As we welcome in 2021, we have the chance to reflect upon our school year and look forward to a new year with all the excitement that the season brings. We are confident that the new year will bring additional learning experiences, opportunities, and challenges.

As a district we have a lot to be grateful for, and that list includes gratitude that you are part of the Royal Oak Schools family. As we’ve often heard through this crisis, our school buildings may be closed, but our learning continues. As parents, you trust your children to our care - your most valuable possession - as we partner in their education, safety and well-being.

Thank you to those who engage through strong community service and partnerships and have supported each other in the past several months. Thank you to all of our school professionals for the commitment to the students of Royal Oak Schools.

On behalf of the Royal Oak Schools Board of Education and Administration we wish you a happy, healthy, and safe new year.


Superintendent on MegaCast

In case you missed it... Royal Oak Schools superintendent, Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, was a guest of Ronnie Dahl's on the Oakland County MegaCast.

Dahl, whom you might recognize from local news, focused on questions regarding teaching and supporting staff, students, and families during the pandemic.

You can watch the short interview here.

Changes To The School Board

The new year will bring new faces to the Royal Oak Schools Board of Education. On Thursday, December 10, we said goodbye to three members of the school board at the regularly scheduled meeting. President Jeff Brinker, Vice-President Gary Briggs, and Trustee Carrie Beerer all stepped down after a combined 37 years of service.

Beerer has been on the Board of Education for 10 years. She said that running for school board was the next logical step as a mother with children in the district and an active member of the PTA. She says a highlight during her 10 years on the board was the hiring of two superintendents that, she says, “were the right people we needed when their time came to work with us.”

Briggs has been on the board for 17 years. He has been a part of many successful millage and bond proposals, as were Brinker and Beerer. Briggs first joined the school board in 2003 when he saw a need for schools to consolidate and wanted to be there to help “do it right.” Briggs was also instrumental in the Royal Oak Mural Project, the largest WPA (Works Progress Administration Program in the 1930’s). In the spring of 2004, the Royal Oak WPA Murals were rediscovered after being in storage for over 25 years. Today the three murals proudly hang in the auditorium of Royal Oak Middle School.

Brinker has been on the school board for 10 years. He has served as President, Vice-President, and on various committees. “It’s amazing how fast the years fly by,” he said. Brinker has been a strong leader for the needs of public schools. "Having started on the Board during the recession and ending during the pandemic, it was nothing short of amazing at how well Royal Oak Schools reacted and succeeded during challenging times,” he said. “I am proud to have served on the Royal Oak Schools Board of Education." He has had two children graduate in the district. He says he’ll miss graduations, and that they are “the best times of the year.”

“It has been a pleasure working with such caring community members invested in the education of our young people, as they also supported our staff and families,” said Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick. “Mr. Briggs, Mr. Brinker and Ms. Beerer have selflessly dedicated themselves to the Royal Oak Schools community for quite a few years and they will be greatly missed.”

At the January 14, 2021 board meeting three new members will be present who were elected in November. 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.

“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.”

Erika Alexander is a 17-year resident of Royal Oak. She has a student at Royal Oak Middle School. "I’m excited about the opportunity to serve on the School Board as I am deeply committed to the success of the public school system and ensuring all students and their families access to a quality and supportive education."

Tim Ciechorski has lived in Royal Oak for about 13 years. He says that he is excited to bring his passions and dedication to Public Education, equity, and inclusion to the Royal Oak School District Board of Education. "It is definitely a difficult time, I am ready and eager to get to work, doing what is right by all students, staff, and community members."

Lisa-Aline Hanes has been a resident of Royal Oak for over 20 years. She has two children at Royal Oak High School. She says that she is excited to take on this new position. "I have been a nurse for over 23 years and a lifelong learner," said Hanes. "(I'm) so excited to take on this new role as a Royal Oak School Board Member."

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.

Meet the family behind the SAL

Salvation Army Royal Oak

Closing out their first appointment as Salvation Army officers, Lieutenants Kory and Heidi Strand have served as the corps officers in Olathe, Kansas for the last four years. Prior to serving in Olathe, the Strands lived in the Chicago area where Heidi worked as a teacher and Kory worked in IT at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center.

Heidi Strand said that they loved serving the Olathe community – loving the people and seeing the hope of Jesus Christ shared daily through the family shelter, corps programming, and large social services outreach. And now, the Strands are thrilled to be here in the Royal Oak area and are ready to embrace their new community. They serve alongside their children Jack (14) and Olivia (10) who are also very excited about the move!

The holiday season looked a little different last year but the Strand's made the most of it with successful programs for the Royal Oak Salvation Army. They hosted virtual kettle ringing campaigns, a friends and family Franksgiving, a homemade pastie sale, and a successful toy drive where they collected over 1000 toys. They were able to serve over 275 families with toys and grocery gift cards.

"The goal of this program is to spread hope. We talk so much about the fear of spreading COVID – it is a real danger that needs to be taken seriously. However, due to COVID we are finding a lack of hope in our community," Heidi Strand said. "We are honored that with the generosity of community donors we can meet that need and provide hope through rent/utility assistance, food, case management, childcare, pastoral care, or a box of toys. The goal is that each person we come in contact with receives the hope of sustainability today and an expectation that tomorrow will be better."

For more on the Royal oak Salvation Army, click here. Or to reach them call: (248) 585-5600.

Drinking Fountains

Touchless Drinking Fountains

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners announced a 2020/2021 School Drinking Water Station Program in the fall. According to the Board of Commissioners, the purpose of this program is to distribute a limited number of new drinking water stations to schools throughout Oakland County as one of several public safety measures undertaken in response to COVID-19. In the Governor’s Executive Order, #2020-97, she stated a requirement that water fountains in schools be turned off. This shows a continued support by the county for our needs and we are thankful for their generosity.

The Touchless Water Stations are all sensor-operated and do not require the user to touch any part of the machine. Our district applied for a grant to outfit any remaining traditional drinking fountains at Royal Oak Middle School and Royal Oak High School to be replaced with the water bottle filling stations. We were notified in December that we received the grant for 27 water bottle fillers.

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman David T. Woodward said, "These touchless water bottle refilling stations not only filter out toxins and promote healthy water drinking habits among students, they're also helpful in reducing the spread of germs which is especially helpful while we all get through this pandemic together. Oakland County is proud to partner with our local schools to keep our students safe and healthy."

The School Drinking Water Station Program will help to promote public health and establish lifelong nutrition habits by supplying increased access to water for school age children in Oakland County.

Diploma Programme

Diploma Programme Registration Opens This Month

At Royal Oak Schools, we believe strong schools make a stronger community, and we want to thank you for supporting our mission. The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically challenging and balanced program of education with final examinations that prepare 11th and 12th grade students for success at university and in life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical well-being of students.

Students who choose to pursue the full IB Diploma study six subjects over two years and complete three additional components (the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course, the Extended Essay (EE) and Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) activities and reflections outside of the classroom). ROHS students may choose to go this route or may also consider taking individual Diploma Programme courses. We are an "IB for all" school and we firmly believe that all 11th and 12th grade students would benefit from a different kind of teaching and learning and can be successful doing so.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities. Research shows that universities recognize the DP as one of the highest standards in college prep. As such, colleges are eager to admit DP graduates and often offer substantial credits for successful participation in the program.

Use this link for details on the program, how to join, plus much more.

Kindergarten Registration

Time To Enroll For Kindergarten

It's almost time to sign up your little one for kindergarten!

Your child must be a resident and be five (5) years of age on or before September 1 in order to be eligible to attend kindergarten. If your child is not five (5) years of age by the September 1 enrollment eligibility date, but will be five (5) years of age no later than December 1, you may still enroll the child in kindergarten. You must notify the school district, in writing, prior to the beginning of the school year and complete a Kindergarten Age Waiver.

Processing of enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year will begin on Thursday, January 28, 2021. All enrollments will be virtual including the uploading of required documents to the pre-enrollment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be limited enrollments taken in-person at the Administration Building for the school year 2021-2022 and by appointment only. Please see the "How to Enroll" portion of the Enrollment website for more information.

Ideas to prepare your child for Kindergarten:

  • Read to and with your child for 20 minutes a day!
  • Practice writing first name (Capital letter first, the rest lowercase letters).
  • Develop oral language (for example; telling stories, asking questions, answering questions about stories).
  • Practice correctly identifying the majority of letters.
  • Practice identifying basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle).
  • Play with Legos, Playdoh and practice using scissors for fine motor skills.
  • Practice using a zipper, buttons, and tying shoes.

Informational videos will be released on January 20. Watch for them on our website and social media. Use this link to meet your student's principal and to tour the school, as well as information on enrollment. And on January 27, a virtual meet and greet will be offered.

DID YOU KNOW? Michigan law requires a vision screening for kindergarten entrance. A vision screening done by a health department technician, physician or eye doctor fulfills this requirement. The Oakland County Health Division offers free vision screening for Oakland County residents. Call (248) 424-7070 to schedule an appointment.

Kits Keep On Giving


Last fall, two seniors from Royal Oak High School, created a group called Kits For Kids. The two girls, Nadia Weller and Danya Sahib, organized a fundraiser to collect supplies for kindergarteners in Royal Oak Schools. They were very successful and found out that after supplying all of the kits to the children, that they had money left over.

They reached out to the district with an idea to purchase multicultural crayons for approximately 400 first grade students. After pricing that out, they realized that they could still do more. So, with around $1400, they not only purchased these culturally responsive crayons for all of the first grade students in the district, but also for all of the 2nd graders. We applaud them for their efforts and dedication! Thank you.


Alumni Reach Out

We want you! 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 Schools is turning 100 in 2021! We'd like to connect with older alumni and hear their stories about school in Royal Oak over the years. Do you know anyone that graduated from Dondero or Kimball, went to Churchill or Lincoln or one of the other 20 schools? We'd love to talk to them. Or maybe it's a relative of yours and you have old pictures or yearbooks. Give us a call! 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!

100 Years

Royal Oak Celebrates 100 Years


  • As early as 1891, when Royal Oak was a small village, there were only a few hundred residents. In the 10 year span from 1900 to 1910 the population grew to over 1,000. By the time Royal Oak was incorporated as a city in 1921. (ROMI.GOV)
  • The student population in Royal Oak’s district schools had increased to 150 pupils which necessitated the building of a larger school. In September, 1902, the new school was opened. It was named the Union School because it housed all grades from elementary to high school. It was located on the southeast corner of Washington and Lincoln streets where a parking structure now stands. (RO Historical Society)
  • In 1910, the school was enlarged. It was constructed of red brick and was two stories in height. The first and second floors contained nine rooms. The three rooms on the upper floor were devoted to eighth grade through high school. (RO Historical Society)
School Calendar


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.

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.



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 and alumni - did you spot yourself in our #throwbackthursday video last month?

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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