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.

Work So Far:

Black History Resources  - as put together by our Restorative Practices Coach, Nicole Reynolds


With input from administrators, teachers and the community, "Forward Together" led to prioritizing a list of goals related to the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. The Cultural Competence Engagement Committee was the next iteration of that forum intended to share progress related to those goals and provide an educational resource for the community.

As a group we will serve as an advisory committee of community members, students and staff to discuss and improve the district’s cultural competence work. Together, we will explore topics affecting students and families along the lines of race, religion, sexual orientation, special needs, language and poverty.

Cultural Competence Engagement Committee Information


at royal oak elementary schools:



  1. Continue to support student learning and teachers by providing equitable resources.
  2. Professional Learning-Raising awareness of implicit bias and building capacity on how to address it in our schools and classrooms.
  3. Communication- Raising teacher awareness of SJ happenings/resources

Goal #1: Activities: Curriculum

  • Attend Social Studies DIT Meetings to discuss needs: books that need to be purchased to support student learning.
    • Create a book list for grade levels that provide equitable viewpoints
    • Purchase social studies books for grade levels
    • Addressing misconceptions: Columbus Day, Thanksgiving
    • ELA Focus: Identifying specific diversity books to be substituted for ELA books listed in ELA curriculum. Grades K-5
    • Create list of books for DK. 

Goal #2: Activities: Professional Development

  • Strengthen group norms and ground rules to have conversations about bias and prejudice
  • Enhance understanding of bias with a group activity
  • Develop a shared definition of bias and understand how it manifests inside and outside of school
  • Experience a shared reading and discussion of biases
  • Reflect on bias and how it lives in our school community and in our classrooms.
  • Select one actionable step that could address an implicit bias in our classrooms- How does it impact your instruction and what action can you take?
  • Check in email in January with a touchpoint- Admin

Goal #3: Activities: Technology Communications 

  • Using Social Media to share resources/spread awareness/ share district and school level events. 
  • Developing and analyzing Teacher Survey (What resources are needed?/Identities we want to see represented, feelings about appropriateness?)
  • Developing and analyzing Student Survey
  • Sharing apps/websites/strategies that support CRT 
  • Collaborating with MS/HS groups and students to share stories on social media

maNY Student-led diversity groups

One Upton Diversity Club:

This is a student club at Upton that began in the fall of the 2019-2020 school year. Each student at Upton was welcome to join.  Once a month, students meet at lunch to celebrate diversity. Students share their family traditions, holidays, food, art, music, photos, stories and more. We create art projects, hear stories and share our experiences with one another. We share our ideas with the school by creating bulletin boards featuring the projects we create during our meetings. We hope to involve families in some of our meetings as well.

Topics we have discussed at past meetings include: 

  • Sharing a family photo
    • What makes your family special or unique?
  • Playing Diversity Bingo to get to know one another
  • Color/Symbol/Image Thinking Routine about a holiday your family celebrates
  • Creating a group snowflake to show how special we are.
    • Just like no one single snowflake is the same…. .we are not the same 
  • Roots and Wings
    • Share the quote “There are two lasting gifts we can give our children. One is roots, the other, wings.”
  • Students created leaves of the people in their life who helped shape and support them
    • Created a Tree of Love using all of the leaves
  • Sharing a family recipe (plan is to make a 'One Upton' cookbook!)

One Oakland Diversity Club:

This group began in the 2016-2017 school year. They meet once a month and each time the meetings center around a theme. Students can bring in items to share based on whatever the theme is that month. The group is almost completely student-led. Each year 3-4 upper elementary students lead the group. They plan what the theme will be each month, create activities, and facilitate every meeting themselves. The group consists of a wide range of kids from all grade levels and backgrounds. The amount of students participating has grown quite a bit over the past few years. 

Some activities in the past included:

  • Students brought in various games and toys that they played with in their home or are important to their culture to share.
  • We discussed holidays, and students shared photos of themselves celebrating different holidays or shared traditions their families participated in.
  • We talked about language, and students spent time teaching each other basic phrases in the languages they speak. 
  • We learned about different types of art around the world and students created self-portraits to display how they are all unique.

The year always ends with a picnic and all of the families are invited to attend. Everyone brings a dish to share that is a tradition in their family.

Northwood is heavily focused on training the staff in Restorative Practices (Principal Knipper is a certified RP trainer). They have also included restorative questions and circles in daily life at Northwood with students. There is a student SMILE club that includes diversity work with students. And they are starting a diversity, equity and inclusion team with staff to build on the work of the social justice league. 

Oak Ridge is also focusing on Restorative Practices and plan to start a diversity club. The Oak Ridge Student Senate does much of the student-led SEL and Diversity work with students at the school.

K-5 diversity book list

Provide elementary students with a diverse library of books to learn from.
Click here to see the complete list.

at royal oak middle school:

Culturally Relevant Teaching (CRT) is an embedded priority focus, along with Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), within our school improvement plan.  

Continued priority on hiring practices to recruit, sign, and retain professionals with diverse backgrounds/experiences

Continual goal in building on student connections so students entering ROMS and its classrooms do so culturally intact on a daily and hourly basis, without feeling external pressure to sacrifice individuality.

Each ROMS employee, regardless of job title, receives two full days of IIRP (Restorative Practices) training.

Past and planned school-wide book group studies, including "Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students" - Zaretta L. Hammond

SAGA - Sexuality Acceptance and Gender Alliance Group

SAGA  is a student-led, teacher-supported club that celebrates all forms of diversity in ourselves and each other.

The goal of this club is to promote equity and acceptance at ROMS so that all students feel comfortable and supported in their school environment.

Advisors: Sarah Bockhausen, Hannah Mathes


AT royal oak high school:

Development of ROHS Diversity Club. Multiple events supporting cultural responsiveness led by Diversity Club students, including Black History Month events, Women in Power Career Fair, Break the Silence Week, Night of Noise (LGBTQIA+ rights), and Black Lives Matter protest.

Development of Equity Team as part of School Improvement process. Equity Team guides our cultural responsiveness work as part of the ROHS School Improvement Plan. They work directly with Dr. Jay Marks to develop plans as well as skills to lead staff development.

Staff-wide professional learning sessions with Dr. Marks. Two to three sessions during 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22 school years.

Cohort sessions with Dr. Marks. Five half-day sessions each. All staff will participate in a cohort between 2019 and 2022.

Optional staff-wide book study: "Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain," by Zaretta Hammond during 2019-20 school year. Offered again during 2020-21 school year.

Development of Restorative Practices Advisory Team. Each member has completed full two-day RP training. This team led professional learning for all staff during 2019-20 school year, with plans to continue 2020-21 and beyond.

Introductory training: Trauma-informed practices (Fall 2019).

Curriculum and resources revisions in English Language Arts and Social Studies.

ROHS Diversity Club

The mission of the Diversity Club is to celebrate diversity and create a safe environment where people can be proud of who they are - no matter the skin color, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability or religion.  We aim to empower our members and educate our community about our differences and how they make us unique. Our goal is to create a community, educate, and promote positive change.
The events below are some of the events the ROHS Diversity Club/Council host each year.
The student group is constantly growing and changing to extend their reach. Please follow @ROHSdiversity on Twitter and Instagram for updates.


  • Black History Month
    • Speaker
    • Open Mic Night
    • Movie Night
    • DIA African American History
  • MLK Day of Service
  • Women's Month
    • Women in Power Career Fair
  • Break the Silence (LGBTQIA+)
    • Fundraiser - collaboration with local restaurant(s)
    • Movie Night (in-house or collaboration with Emagine)
    • Night of Noise
    • Day of Silence
  • Canned Food drive
    • Thanksgiving Baskets
  • Black Lives Matter Protest
  • RO Live

Twitter - @rohsdiversity
Alyssa Reimold, Advisor

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 pin"ata. 




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

What is restorative practices? Royal Oak Schools Restorative Practices Coach, Nicole Reynolds, explains. 


Royal Oak Multicultural Parent Association

ROMPA’s mission is to be a voice of equity, diversity, and inclusion for children of color. As a group, we work to educate, empower, and facilitate actions with our school district in order to nurture a school environment that allows all children to excel. We are dedicated to growing the culture of ROSD to be one that is actively inclusive and to be a safe place for multicultural families to gather and share their experiences.

Since 2016, ROMPA parents have pushed for the district to address the needs of all of its students by:

  1. Implementing and teaching a culturally competent, responsive, and accurate curriculum across ALL subject areas, including specials, electives, and field trips.
  2. Eliminate racial disparities in achievement and discipline by vigorously implementing restorative practices, and by actively confronting racial discrimination in school discipline and its impact on our students' ability to learn in a safe and nurturing environment.
  3. Use research-based best practices to actively recruit and retain BIPOC teachers and administrators.

Facebook - @ROMPApublic

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