More than 20 people attended Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick’s Aug. 17 State of the Schools address, and more watched the presentation online, according to the district.

More than 20 people attended Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick’s Aug. 17 State of the Schools address, and more watched the presentation online, according to the district.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Royal Oak superintendent delivers State of the Schools address

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published September 2, 2022


ROYAL OAK — On Aug. 17, Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick delivered a State of the Schools address in which she highlighted district accomplishments, as well as programs, services and ways the school community could get involved.

“Student well-being and support is very important to us, now more than ever,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’re also launching a new long-range planning process for our school district, which means we need community and staff engagement. We need all of our stakeholders participating in that to help us set the trajectory for the district moving forward.”

She said the district has nearly 5,000 students in preschool through post-secondary education, more than 650 personnel, a nearly $72 million annual budget, and is still hiring, even after already hiring nearly 30 new instructional and support staff personnel over the summer.

“We know post-COVID learning looks a little bit different, and we want to make sure that we have resources available for not only our students, but also our staff so they can help our students,” Fitzpatrick said.

She added that “student achievement” is the “core mission” of the school district, and while standardized testing has “been a challenge” over the course of the last couple of years, the district is “utilizing local assessments” and “any data of the students who took those exams.”

With a 97% graduation rate, she said, nearly 400 students graduate from the district annually.

Behind each of the more than 40 high school and 25 middle school clubs and activities are coaches, teachers and mentors who are supporting them, and the middle school and high school both have full athletic programs all three seasons of the school year. The district also has six elementary schools, and enrollment is “very stable,” she said.

“Students have opportunities to be leaders in elementary, middle and high school,” she said. “We have a student diversity club in many of our schools and we’re working on growing that with our students and our staff.”

A new community garden for Royal Oak residents is currently being developed on the west side of the district’s Churchill Community Education Center, as part of a pilot program, and Fitzpatrick said the district is “very proud of that partnership.”

Bond work approved by Royal Oak voters in 2017 to the tune of $59.9 million is ongoing, she said, with all of the district’s buildings benefiting from the initiative.

“This summer, we are finishing construction at Churchill (Community Education Center), Northwood Elementary, (Royal Oak Middle School), and our maintenance and transportation center,” Fitzpatrick said.

By October, she said, the district will form a committee to discuss the future of the district, and she requested that all stakeholders provide input in order to best serve the school district and its community.

“You do not have to be on the committee to be a part of the process,” Fitzpatrick said. “There will be consistent ways throughout the school year to be engaged, give feedback and be informed on progress.”

The committee will then work through the year and offer a presentation to the seven-member Board of Education in late winter 2023.

New for the 2022-23 school year, Royal Oak Schools Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Dr. Kimberly Martin will lead a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Martin, who celebrated her one-year anniversary with the district in June, said the JEDI Council initiative currently consists of parents, teachers and PTA representatives but is also looking to add students this school year.

The JEDI Council, she said, will meet monthly to address any issues of concern from parents, teachers, students and others in the district.

“There have been no major incidents in at least two years,” Martin said.

She said that the district has been working closely with Oakland Schools to do diversity, equity and inclusion training prior to her hire, and that Royal Oak Schools is among the 28 public school districts in Oakland County that has hired a DEI professional.

“I feel lucky because my district did the work before I got here, and that made a big difference,” Martin said. “One of the things I try to do is be more proactive.”

The first day of school was Sept. 6, after press time.

For more information, visit or call (248) 435-8400.

Contact Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at