Diversity, equity, and inclusion at royal oak schools

“Forward Together,” a cultural competence planning outline that evolved to include a community forum, parent groups, and student-led groups. This idea led to hearing experiences related to Royal Oak Schools and share what the district was doing around diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Created in 2019, the Cultural Competence Engagement Committee was developed around DEI work in the following areas in the Royal Oak School district:

  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Resources
  • Recruitment, Hiring and Retention Practices
  • Staff/community professional Development
  • Responding to student needs and behavior

The next goal of the group was to develop a district-level DEI team. In May of 2022, the Cultural Competence Engagement Committee (CCEC) officially ended.

So where are we now? In June, the new district-level team, called the JEDI Council (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) will be announced. The core council is made up of the District DEI Coordinator, representatives from each school building in the district, PTSA representatives, and students who will continue to do the work the CCEC began.

The initial meeting of the JEDI Council will be held on June 1, 2022.

Work So Far:


April is National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) and celebrates the heritage, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans.


- Resources shared by our Restorative Practices Coach, Nicole Reynolds



April is also "Autism Awareness" month, however many are changing the way they think about Autism Awareness and are opting to refer to the month as Autism Acceptance Month. (See this article in Autism Parenting Magazine.) They state in the article that "World Autism Month evolved from the Autism Society of America’s first National Autistic Children’s Week in 1972 and the United Nations’ official observance of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2."

Autism Acceptance Month

Here are some resources put together by our Restorative Practices Coach, Nicole Reynolds:

Wear Blue for Autism Awareness

World Autism Month resources

Autism Awareness Resources

15 Great Children's Books About Autism 

PBS Kids and Autism Awareness

10 helpful resources for Autism Awareness Month

Autism - Sesame Street in Communities

Black History Resources 

- Shared by our Restorative Practices Coach, Nicole Reynolds



May 10 Meeting:

We hosted the last meeting of the Cultural Competence Engagement Committee on May 10, 2022. This committee was formed in January 2019  to continue the district’s work on diversity, equity, and inclusion for Royal Oak Schools. The CCEC focused on four important goals which were the result of the Forward Together: Cultural Competence Planning group when we worked with Dr. Jay Marks starting in 2016. Those four goals included DEI work within:

  • Hiring Practices: Recruitment and Retention of Staff
  • Curriculum and Resources
  • Professional Development
  • Responding to Student Needs and Behavior

Since 2019, the CCEC has focused on the above goals developing strategies, interventions, and tasks. That work has benefited the students and families of our community. It is now time to move forward with those goals in mind, and broaden our work.  Dr. Kim Martin joined the district last summer as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator in June 2021, and she will oversee the future growth and development via a new steering committee.  Members of this steering committee are invited to attend this important meeting as well. 

A recap of the CCEC’s work was presented, and members of the newly formed DEI council were introduced.  

New DEI Council

We are working on the structure of the new DEI Council which will be made up of staff and administration from all of the Royal Oak schools as well as members of the community. 

At the May 10 meeting, we formally wrapped up CCEC and looked toward the building of the council for the 2022-23 school year. 

I want to thank each and every one of you for the hard work you have done over the past two years.

Thank you.

Dr. Kimberly Martin


In 2016, Royal Oak Schools created “Forward Together,” a cultural competence planning outline that evolved to include a community forum. This forum met to hear experiences related to Royal Oak Schools and share what the district was doing around diversity, equity and inclusion. With input from administrators, teachers, and the community, the forum prioritized a list of goals related to these topics. The Cultural Competence Engagement Committee is the next iteration of that group intended to share progress related to those goals and provide an educational resource for the community.

As an evolution of the “Forward Together: Cultural Competence Planning” initiative, Royal Oak Schools launched a new cultural competence engagement committee. The group serves as an advisory committee of community members, students, and staff to discuss and improve the district’s cultural competence work. Together, the committee explores topics affecting students and families along the lines of race, religion, sexual orientation, special needs, language, and poverty. This group meets 3-4 times a year to ensure long-term progress. 

Cultural Competence Engagement Committee members are...

  • Open-minded
  • Interested in identifying topics to the group and problem-solve around real solutions
  • Looking to learn more about Royal Oak Schools district goals, initiatives, and plans around our social justice, cultural competence, diversity, and inclusion efforts
  • Able to commit to meeting as a group 3-4 times a year to sustain and support long-term goals
  • Excited to engage in learning and share out to the community
  • Wondering how Restorative Justice practices impact discipline processes
  • Inspired to learn about the professional development for our teachers and how new learning ties to the district’s curriculum


  • Ensure diversity is incorporated into the everyday curriculum
  • Encourage staff participation in cultural competency professional development
  • Focus on diversity in hiring
  • Communicate more related to cultural competence


Forward Together


Two high profile incidents that occurred at Royal Oak Middle School in November, 2016, created an opportunity for us to work together towards a more complete realization of our district vision to be a Community of Excellence. Although these events highlighted a need, they did not create it. While we have a great school district in a great community, of which we are rightly proud, we acknowledge that we have work to do with regard to our promise that ALL experience a welcoming and inclusive community. We also recognize that we are not alone among districts and communities needing to do such work.  In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, we will work together to make the promise of our vision a reality for ALL.

The focus of our work moving forward is on developing capacity that allow all persons in our school community to understand the experiences of each other. Ultimately, bullying, harassment and intimidation are reduced when there are not groups of people or individuals that we view as "other.” Our focus will be on building organizational capacity, leadership training, and developing a long-term strategic plan to increase cultural competence among staff and students.   

Spring 2020 Update

Spring 2019 Update

February 21, 2018 Update

Cultural Awareness Proclamation

June 8, 2017 Update

May 10, 2017 Update

Parents of Children of Color Group

April 13, 2017 Update

March 14, 2017 Community Forum Flyer

March 14, 2017 Community Forum Agenda

March 9, 2017 Update

March 9, 2017 EL Presentation

February 9, 2017 Update

January 12, 2017 Update

January 12, 2017 Past & Existing Work

December 8, 2016  Update

Board Meeting Statement 11-17-16

Statement on ACLU Letter


May is Jewish American Heritage Month. 

Please use these links for resources for your family.

Exhibits and Collections

White House Proclamation 2022

National Archives: Eddie Cantor, Albert Einstein, Sammy Davis Jr., Ruth Bader Ginsburg are just a few of the many Jewish Americans.


Resources to educate your family on Juneteenth

Juneteenth History

Juneteenth also called Emancipation Day, or Juneteenth Independence Day, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, observed annually on June 19.  It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. 

How to celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth has become a popular time for family reunions and gatherings.  As with most social events, food takes center stage.  Juneteenth is often commemorated by other red foods such as red rice (rice with tomatoes), watermelon, and red velvet cake are also popular.

The red foods commemorate the blood that was spilled during the days of slavery.

Churches also join in the Juneteenth celebration with picnics and special services, many of which feature traditional African American music and hymns, barbecues, and the traditional drink - Strawberry Soda - and dessert - Strawberry Pie. 


This list was provided by Restorative Practices Coach, Nicole Reynolds.

forward together

Resources for your family During Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic American Heritage Month

We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success.

The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

National Hispanic Heritage Month - this site includes information and events for families to participate in including learning about art, history, music, or attending a virtual pajama party.

View related records on the Hispanic and Latino Heritage resource page and in the Archives Catalog, including records about Puerto Rico,  prominent Hispanic Americans, and Hispanic and Latino issues in the United States.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 26, 2009, and has served since August 8, 2009. She is the third woman to hold the position. She was born in the Bronx on June 25, 1954, to Juan Sotomayor and Celina Baez, both native Puerto Ricans. 

How to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month With Kids-No Matter Where Your Family's From: This article lists some great fun ways to celebrate with books to read, how to learn the language, movies to watch, and even foods to try. 

Hispanic Heritage Month Activities for Kids: Celebrating Latino Culture with Our Children! This website offers so many fun ideas to do with your family including crafts and activities, musical crafts, paper fiesta flowers, Paper Mache` masks, meals, and treats, or even a do-it-yourself pinata. 




Diverse tree

Dear Families, 

Thank you for reaching out about Royal Oak Schools Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. We understand your concern regarding Critical Race Theory.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is defined as an academic movement of civil rights scholars and activists in the United States who seek to critically examine the law as it intersects with issues of race and to challenge mainstream approaches to racial justice.  Critical race theory examines social, cultural, and legal issues as they relate to race and racism.  CRT is typically taught in graduate-level academia, as the concept arose from CLS (Critical Legal Studies) at Harvard Law and Columbia Law. Here is an explanation from the American Bar Association.

Critical Race Theory is not a component of the Royal Oak Schools curriculum.  We are committed as a district to the work surrounding cultural proficiency, diversity, equity, inclusion, Social Emotional Learning, and creating safe and brave spaces for all groups and individuals.  It is imperative to us that every single student feels a sense of belonging in our schools. 

At Royal Oak Schools we have--and always will--celebrate diversity, work to ensure equity for all of our students, and create a sense of inclusion and belonging for all.  While doing so, we will focus on our state’s curriculum standards.  To learn more about our curriculum, click this link, which is located at www.royaloakschools.org/district/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-at-royal-oak-schools

Thank you for your trust, and continued support as we continue to grow and learn together. 


 Dr. Kimberley Martin

Royal Oak Schools Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator