Insight Into Learning

MAY 2024


The Justice 101 Program provides children in elementary schools in Royal Oak with the opportunity to gain knowledge about the court system and experience a tour of the courthouse, including observing open court proceedings.

Throughout the school year, Judge Meinecke engages with elementary school classes to educate them on the various levels and functions of the judiciary, clarify legal terminology, caution against succumbing to peer pressure, and prepare them for their visit to the courthouse the following day.

The next day, students are also given a guided tour of the courthouse, including a visit to the judge's chambers. They have the chance to witness open court proceedings, with select children invited to sit in the jury box to get an up-close look at some of the court proceedings, which really engages the students.

Following the court session, the judge engages in a discussion with the children to reflect on their observations and emphasize the significance of the experience. Subsequently, the children are escorted to the Royal Oak police department for a tour and discussion.

The Justice 101 program provides a valuable opportunity for our students and helps strengthen their understanding of our court and judicial system and process. Judge Meinecke takes the time to get to know all of our students in 5th grade and engages them in some conversations and learning.


Our IB Diploma Programme (DP) offers students at Royal Oak High School an opportunity to take part in a two-year program that allows them to go beyond traditional learning and deepen their understanding. Students engage in six classes as part of our DP program. Classes included are Language Acquisition, Language and Literature, Individual and Societies, Mathematics, Science, and the Arts.

Students who take part in our IB Diploma Programme will gain increased confidence, stronger communication and reasoning skills within specific content areas, and the ability to make specific connections between multiple content areas.

We are proud of the work that our teachers have done to provide these IB Diploma Programme opportunities for our students at Royal Oak High School. Our students benefit from the IB Diploma Programme and are progressing greatly!


APRIL 2024


During the week of February 26-March 1, the IB Diploma Programme at Royal Oak High School hosted its program evaluation visit. The visitation was virtual and included interviews with the DP Coordinator (Leah Barnett), DP teachers, Board members, students, and administrators.

At the conclusion of the visit, the evaluators gave a verbal report praising our teachers, students, and program design. Of course, they were impressed by Barnett's hard work during the visit and her coordination of the program.

As with all IB visits, we are awaiting the written report that will reiterate the accolades and identify opportunities for growth. We’re excited about the opportunity that our students in Royal Oak have to engage in the IB experience and look forward to supporting them as they learn and grow.

MARCH 2024

This month’s Insight Into Curriculum video series focuses on our after school programming. Beyond the Bell was created to provide students at all levels with opportunities to participate in some after school learning experiences. Some of the opportunities focus on online math tutoring for students in grades K-12. Students participating in these online math tutoring sessions will receive targeted instructional support based on their academic needs.

Also included in our Beyond the Bell programming offerings are Cranbrook Science experiences and our Pretty Brown Girls program, which focuses on positively impacting, promoting, and empowering black and brown girls. Self-care, goal setting, building relationships, and being the best you can be are the focal points of this program for students in grades 6-12.

February 2024

In case you missed it, we released a video created for Insights Into Curriculum on Windows and Mirrors at our February board meeting. This video focuses on the concept of "windows and mirrors" for our students in Royal Oak Schools. This concept and philosophy focus on ensuring that our students have opportunities to see themselves (mirrors) and others' perspectives (windows) in the classroom, curriculum, and our instructional approach.

Our goal is to provide a framework for inclusive classroom practices that provide students with these opportunities to grow, learn, and see themselves and others in our schools and classrooms. Students will be more successful in our schools when we can increase these “window” opportunities so that they can learn more about life from a different perspective. Also, it’s equally important to provide students with “mirror” experiences that help them feel more connected to their classroom and school community by seeing a part of themselves reflected in it.

January 2024

As part of the 2023-2024 State School Aid Act, Section 99h appropriated $6,573,200 for the 23-24 school year for competitive grants to districts that provide students in grades pre through K-12 with increased opportunities to improve math, science, and technology skills by participating in events hosted by science and technology development programs.

We have recently completed this annual Robotics grant application that includes seventeen teams of Royal Oak Students! The student robotics teams come from Keller Elementary, ROMS, and ROHS. These students will compete in specific robotics competitions across the state of Michigan.

Each team has a sponsor and coach who works with the students at all levels to help them prepare for the robotics competition and also helps develop their math, science, and technology skills. One of the coaches is a teacher at Keller, Jeanette McLoud; the other coaches work in engineering and technology. Some sponsors include DTE, Lawrence Tech University, and Qualcomm Wireless Technology.

December 2023


As of November, we are proud to report that over ninety teachers and staff were trained in Trauma-Informed leadership practices! As a reminder, during the 2022-2023 school year, two cohort groups of administrators and teacher leaders completed three full-day sessions with a Trauma-Informed consultant and the ten modules in the trauma-informed curriculum. There were a total of sixty-two participants in both cohort groups.

In August, we offered another three-day session for teachers and staff interested in completing the trauma-informed leadership training. A total of 30 teachers and staff members participated in the training in August.

Also, in August, there was a two-day training for anyone who had been trauma-informed trained and wanted to become a qualified trainer for trauma-informed leadership work. We were fortunate enough to have twenty-two teachers, admins, and staff eager to complete the training and become trauma-informed trainers for our school district.

The district team of trainers has been meeting, planning, and getting ready to begin their training and are very excited to do so. We have 105 staff members who have shown an interest in getting trained, and our next cohort group will begin in December.

This will also be the first time our Royal Oak teachers, staff, and administrators will provide the training. What a wonderful place to be regarding increasing our understanding of trauma and how it impacts our students and staff!


TRAILS Program- Insight Into Curriculum Video

This month’s Insight Into Curriculum video series focuses on our TRAILS program. The TRAILS program aims to provide students between the ages of 18-26 with an opportunity to focus on functional academics in reading, math, and daily living experiences with an emphasis on applying these skills in the community and into adulthood. Also, a part of the TRAILS program is work cite-based learning. Students have the opportunity to engage in year-long placements within local businesses, fostering genuine real-world experiences in the community. You can watch the video below.


November 2023

English Language Arts Update

This fall, our English Language Arts (ELA) Leadership Team has begun engaging in professional learning, curriculum review, and piloting to identify the best program to meet the needs of Royal Oak students. As a reminder, the ELA Leadership Team comprises of 19 elementary teachers, general and special education as well as instructional coaches representing grades DK - 5, and all six elementary schools. There will also be an opportunity for ancillary staff, Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and School Psychologists, to join the team.

As part of the ELA curriculum review, the team has entered the Research phase of the curriculum review cycle. The research phase will take place from September 2023 to March 2024.

In the research phase, the team will spend some time reviewing our district data to gain a better understanding of where our students are struggling and excelling. This information will help guide some of our next steps and inform our team about past performance. The leadership team will also identify research-based instructional strategies and practices that will help increase student achievement.

The ELA team will also use the strategic plan to review our district goals and values and then make intentional connections to our ELA pilot; in our research phase, we will use specific strategies that support our district goals and values outlined in the strategic plan. A needs analysis is also being conducted so that we can get a better idea of what our teachers need regarding the type of ELA resources that are necessary to support our students best.

The next phase for our ELA leadership team will start in March 2024. The resource phase is the next phase and will allow teachers on the committee to begin the process of analyzing and identifying what components of specific ELA resources are best to adopt and take to our next phase in this process.


This month’s Insight Into Curriculum video focuses on our mentor-mentee program. Our mentor-mentee program aims to provide new teachers to Royal Oak Schools an opportunity to connect with and learn from a current teacher in Royal Oak. The mentor teacher becomes a bridge to learning for our new teachers, creating a foundation that supports new teachers and helps them feel confident, successful, and included in our school community. Watch this month's "Insight Into Learning" edition with this link.




October 2023


In our first month of the 2023-2024 school year, we have witnessed tremendous encouragement and excitement among our students and families as they embark on this new academic journey. Alongside the start of the school year, we are also engaged in the submission of our Consolidated Application grant work for the upcoming year. This grant plays a vital role in providing support in the following areas:

  • Title 1, Part A: Improving Basic Programs
  • Title 2, Part A: Supporting Effective Instruction
  • Title 3, Part A: Language Instruction for English Learners
  • Title 3, Part A: Language Instruction for Immigrant Students
  • Title 4, Part A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment


These grants, funded by the state, are instrumental in enabling our school district to establish and maintain programs in schools that require additional support and funding. They contribute to enhancing instruction, professional development, technological advancements, and supporting our English Language Learners. Additionally, we serve as the fiscal agent for local non-public schools and smaller public school districts, assisting them in successful planning within these focus areas.


This month's "Insight Into Learning" Curriculum video series spotlights our student-athletes. At Royal Oak Schools, we recognize that our student-athletes prioritize their roles as students and excel both in the classroom and on the playing field. This video offers insights into the diverse involvements of our student-athletes. It sheds light on the dedication it takes to be a successful student-athlete. We hope you enjoy gaining a deeper understanding of the student-athlete experience within the Royal Oak Schools community.


Watch this month's "Insight Into Learning" edition with this link.

Professional Development For Staff

Professional development is significant in what we do in Royal Oak Schools. Teachers have monthly opportunities to participate and engage with meaningful opportunities to collaborate with other educators and learn more about how to improve their instructional practice.

Late Start Wednesdays provide the framework and dedicated space for 90 minutes of deep learning to improve instructional practices at all levels. Our teachers have been engaged in the following professional development opportunities during our late start Wednesdays.


Instructional Coaches: Focusing on Essential Practice 3- Differentiating Small Group Instruction
Identifying a student's stage on the reading continuum
Selecting a reading skills from the reading continuum that needs to be learned
Identifying one or two next targeted teaching points (what) and a instructional strategy (how) to teach them.
Review Bridges Math Unit Assessment Rubrics
What's been completed and yet to come.
Complete the "Report Card Standard" and "Problems" Columns
Toolbox for Small Group Instruction
Assess and Plan
Differentiation Resources
STEMscopes inquiry based science program


IB: DP/MYP- Continued alignment with program and school. Assessment, data, and improving instructional practices and routines.
MYP Evaluation and Implementation Targets
Special Ed: Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP) Debriefing and planning
Anti-Bias Training and Practice
MTSS information and Updates/Process
Professional Learning Community (PLC) and 6-12 Vertical alignment (MYP Languages and Arts)