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

In This Issue

  • Return To School Plan
  • Annual Registration Underway
  • Cultural Competence Engagement Committee
  • Free And Reduced Lunch
  • Happy Retirement
  • Kits 4 Kids
  • Churchill Gym
  • Available Positions at the District
  • Social Media
Return To School Plan

The closure of school buildings last spring was an abrupt change for all of us. In preparation for this fall, we have obtained feedback from parents via surveys which assisted staff members to create a more robust and supportive learning environment for the 2020-21 school year. We have prioritized adherence to strict health and safety protocols issued by Governor Whitmer and in some cases have gone beyond the basic requirements. Under the guidance of many professional organizations and from health professionals, our administrative team assembled five key committees to address the plans for learning. Those groups included: Instruction, Operations, Facilities, Health/Wellness and Extracurricular activities. Over 180 staff members from across the district have been collaborating with district leaders to prepare the recommendations.

In a Board of Education Workshop held on July 29, 2020, the team presented their work and recommendations on a wide variety of topics including school schedules, types of learning (online/virtual or in-person), cleaning protocols, health related issues such as screening and notifications, food service, special education, technology needs and student social and emotional health and well-being. The full presentation can be accessed here.

The recommendations made and those supported by the Board offer varying degrees of face to face and online learning. These plans exist so long as the district and our region remain in at least Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan. Phases 1-3 would require complete closure of school buildings where no in-person instruction can take place.

Elementary: Alternating days where students are brought to school 2 days a week, with half of the school attending at a time. This maximizes the ability to social distance in the classrooms with reduced student numbers at any one time. The other three days will be online learning from home. While in school, students will remain in place in their homeroom classes as special area teachers and lunch will be provided to them in their classroom. Contact with other students within the halls and other areas of the school will be limited. Activities and lessons will be held outdoors, weather permitting.
Middle School: Similar to elementary school, students will attend on alternating days where students are brought to school 2 days a week, with half of the school attending at a time. This maximizes the ability to social distance in the classrooms with reduced student numbers at any one time. The other three days will be online learning from home. Fask coverings will be required for all staff and students at all times. Lunch will be organized to maximize social distancing.
High School: The primary delivery of instruction will be online for all students, all classes. Students will have an opportunity to utilize office hours to meet in person with teachers. There will be scheduled synchronous (live) instruction opportunities in AM (8 - 1:15). One day a week (Mondays) are being recommended for teachers to launch all six classes for the week.

A "Virtual Academy" option is designed for students and families who are unable to attend school in the manner we have recommended above. Families will have a chance next week to formally enroll in this online option which will be facilitated by Royal Oak teachers aligned with the district curriculum. At this time, it is recommended that families make a semester commitment when enrolling in the online school so that the learning can be continuous regardless of how the face to face options may fluctuate this year. This option continues to be developed. We want everyone to have as much detail as possible so that parents can make an informed decision for their child(ren) to either join the hybrid schedules or remain fully online.

Other key points:

  • The district will use a new Learning Management System as an interface to online learning called Canvas. Staff will begin to be trained on the product and guides for parents and students will also be provided.
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols will be in place for all spaces used by staff and students using specific materials and equipment for cleaning including classrooms, lockers, bathrooms and other common areas. Notifications regarding potential or confirmed exposure or cases are being finalized. Oakland County will be provided two nurses for Royal Oak Schools. That program and assignment is being finalized in early August.
  • Services via special education will be provided to all students per their IEP. Special consideration will be made for teaching and learning opportunities for specific special education programs that require different approaches.
  • Extracurricular activities and athletics are under review including Young Oaks latchkey programs, clubs, athletic teams, childcare and preschool. Each group will follow guidelines as presented by their organizations such as Michigan’s LARA (Licensing and Regulatory Affairs department) and the MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletic Association). Updates will be provided directly from Don Watchowski, ROHS Athletic Director and Angela Ashburn, Supervisor of Early Childhood Programs.

The Board of Education will consider the Return to School plans again at a special meeting on Thursday, August 6, at 6:00 PM in a virtual meeting setting. For more information including the presentations, and a link to ask questions can be found on our district website. An FAQ document will be added shortly.

This is a fluid and ever changing situation. Plans are subject to change.



The 2020-2021 Annual Registration is happening now. This routine process takes place every year for parents to verify their child's return to the district or to update their information. You can access the back to school forms by logging onto Parent Connect to complete and submit the required documentation officially next week. Parents can find out more on our website and be able to view parent resources, quick links, district information and more. Our Annual Registration forms will be available starting August 7, 2020. All components of the online registration must be completed to gain access to student class information.

This registration is not to be confused with signing up for the Virtual Academy. That online option is a separate process or choice by parents that will launch next week.



Royal Oak Schools is deeply committed to the ongoing work of ensuring a safe and nurturing learning environment for all students. Since 2019, the Royal Oak Cultural Competence Engagement Committee (CCEC), a group of district parents, staff, community members, board members, and administrators, have gathered to discuss and suggest ways to improve the district’s cultural competence work as we examine areas of equity, inclusion, diversity and social justice. Our committee last met in March to write specific improvement goals in professional development, hiring practices, diversifying and updating curriculum and resource materials, and supporting students while responding to behavior. Due to the school closure during the spring months, we had to postpone the next phase of our work, which is the development of specific tasks and action items to reach our newly updated goals.

The CCEC is making plans to engage our group members virtually throughout August in the hopes of being together face to face once school starts this fall. All parents are invited to join our efforts. If you are interested in joining the CCEC as we continue our work, please send an email of interest to Mr. Joe Youanes, Principal of Addams Elementary at joseph.youanes@royaloakschools.org

To learn more about the district's work to date and the work of the committee, please visit https://www.royaloakschools.org/community/forward-together/


Our goal is to provide nutritious, well balanced, student preferred, economical meals. We participate in the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. In accordance with Federal regulation, meals are available for free and reduced rates to families that apply and qualify. You can fill out an application for this program here. New for the fall is an online application that eliminates the paper one.

Parents can access the application by doing the following:

Parents will be notified via mail and/or email once the application has been processed. If you have any questions about completing the application, please contact us.

Happy Trails and Thank You!


Congratulations to the 9 employees who retired at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. We are happy to recognize the following retirees for their dedicated service to Royal Oak. Thank you!

  • Bertha Arribas, Spanish Teacher, ROHS
  • Diana Barber, Grade Level Secretary, ROMS
  • Amelia Cooper, First Grade Teacher, Addams
  • Catherine Downey, Elementary Music Teacher, Addams and Upton
  • Adria Filips, First Grade Teacher, Addams
  • Pam Grier, Accountant, Board Office
  • Kathy Knapp, Counselor, ROMS
  • Thomas McLeod, Math Teacher, ROMS
  • Karen Sirovy, Speech and Language Pathologist, Addams ECC


The COVID-19 crisis has affected they way students share supplies in the classroom and prompted two Royal Oak High School seniors to come up with a plan to get supply kits in the hands of over 500 kindergarteners. Class of 2021 students Nadia Weller and Danya Sahib reached out to Royal Oak Schools with the idea of raising money and getting items donated for students. Their grassroots efforts are behind, "Kits 4 Kids." They created a wishlist with the help of Keller Elementary Principal Marcie Dryden. They researched the items needed and put together cost points to determine how much a kit of the supplies would cost per student. They created the marketing for the project, created a gofundme account for donations and an Amazon wishlist.

The ladies will collect the donations and make needed purchases for the student kits and put together all donated items into usable, individual supply kits for kindergarteners for the fall. Their goal is to raise $5000 or to receive all of the items needed for the 525 kits. We hope you'll join this community driven team to help build individual kits of school supplies for kindergarteners in Royal Oak Schools and help to preserve their safety and education.

gofundme link to help purchase supplies - - Amazon wishlist link to purchase supplies


Not all students achieve their fullest potential in a traditional high school setting and with that fact in mind, Royal Oak Continuing Education has provided "alternative high school" classes and programs for over 30 years at Churchill. Classes are offered during both daytime and evening hours at the Churchill Community Education Center located on Girard Ave. in Royal Oak.

The Churchill gym has been the home to high school teams, Churchill students, Head Start kids, and is available for rent. And it just recently received a makeover. Check out the difference!

...and AFTER

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 contact 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.

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 and Instagram@roschools for more updates and other news. Check the district website, too, for information.

Speaking of Social Media - you can watch the Royal Oak High School Class of 2020 graduation ceremony with this link.

ROHS Commencement Ceremony on Royal Oak Schools YouTube Channel

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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