In the News

Eighth Grade Ski Trip

On February 12th, the 8th graders had a very fun and successful day downhill skiing at Alpine Valley, White Lake Township.  We were blessed with a rare sunny and dry day with temps above single digits.  After spending a couple hours in the beginner area teaching a new skier we ventured all over the mountain.  The day ended with us exhilarated and wanting more!

Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch

Our first through sixth graders enjoyed an outing to Foglers orchard, on a beautiful Fall day!

5th and 6th grade Canada Trip

As part of their study of Canada, our 5th and 6th rgaders enjoyed a 2-day 1-night trip to Kitchener Ontario and Niagara Falls. In Kitchener they visited various historic sites with the Carmel New Church School students, and in Niagara Falls they enjoyed the Maid of the Mist, Journey Behind the Falls, and the new bird sanctuary.

8th Grade Community Service and trip to Lake Huron

Our 8th graders started the year by slicing apples at the OPC in Rochester, so that the residents could make apple pies to sell at the Art & Apples festival.

Then they had a 2 day getaway to Grand Bend, Ontario, to get to know each other and start the year off right!


Previously at Oak Arbor School

Here are some of the activities that our students enjoyed during the 2012-2013 school year.

Middle School News

Our 7th & 8th graders went on a history field trip to Washington DC and Gettysburg PA.

They have been fencing for an elective on Friday afternoons, and will have a tournament at the end of May.

Spring Musical Revue

“Everything Grows and Grows” was the theme for this year's spring concert.  The students have certainly grown in their musical abilities this year under Miss Bartell’s instruction.  It was great to see so many parents and friends in attendance.  Thank you students for sharing your work with us, to Miss Bartell for her enthusiasm, and the parents for their support of the children.

Spring Celebrations

The first and second graders held a Writer's celebration in their classroom, where they each read their own stories to parents and friends and each other. Then they recited poems and sang songs about spring.

Thry also visited some brand new baby goats as part of their study of baby animals.



The 1st through 4th graders enjoyed a trip to the Detroit Museum of Art. A docent took all of the children on a wonderful "Thinking Through Art " tour.   They were fully engaged in discussions about works of art that encourage observation using visual thinking strategies. The first and second graders enjoyed seeing real artifacts from Ancient Egypt after learning all about this in class as well as beautiful examples of Native American handiwork. The third and fourth graders enjoyed seeing the museum's large suits of armor and weaponry display, which complemented their study of medieval life.


Colonial Night

The 5th and 6th graders each researched and demonstrated a different colonial profession, including tinsmith, gun smith, cooper, milliner, sheep farmer, dairy farmer, chandler, and seamstress.


Pre-K/K update:

 The Pre K/K class enjoyed a class at Dinosaur Hill focusing on the four seasons.


Writing Celebration -The kindergarten shared a personal narrative of their choice with their parents.


The 1st and 2nd graders enjoyed testing their pinwheels that they made, as part of their study of weather.


Middle School Science

The 7th and 8th graders are studying the 10 systems of the human body. Recently they did a brain-mapping activity as part of their unit on the nervous system.


Mitten Tree

Our student donated hats, gloves, and scarfs to our mitten tree in our schol foyer. All donations were taken to Rochester Area Neighborhood House to be given to local children in need.

Writer's Celebration

The 3rd and 4th graders held a writer's celebration, in which they read their "published" stories to the kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students.

Christmas Poetry Tea

The 5th & 6th graders held their second poetry tea of the year on December 13th. They recited Christmas poems by other authors, and some recited their own poems or ones written by classmates. Hot cider and cookies followed!

Science Fair

It was very exciting to see the science boards made by the students and even more impressive to hear the students speak about their research and what they learned about their chosen topic.  Congratulations to the students for their work and thank you parents for your support of this endeavor.


Poetry Tea

The 5th & 6th grade recited poems from memory, about Fall, the harvest, and Halloween. Some recited their own original poems! Everyone enjoyed some hot cider afterwards. Events like this help build confidence in public speaking.


Apple Orchard

 Pre K/K went to Big Red Apple Orchard.  They picked pumpkins, enjoyed a hay ride, and had cider and doughnuts!

Learning About Bees

The 1st and 2nd grade students enjoyed learning about bees. They did a bee dance, visited a hive, and even got to help extract the honey!


Create a Tree

The 3rd and 4th grade students collected tree parts to make an indoor tree for their classroom

Golf Outing

The middle school enjoyed playing golf as part of a PE unit

Mexican Feast

The 5th and 6th graders enjoyed a Mexican feast as part of their study of Mexico

Edible Cells

The middle school students made 3D edible cells as part of their science class.


Field Trip to Morley Candy Factory

To go along with the reading of the entertaining book The Chocolate Touch and their study of seeds, flowers, and fruits, the third and fourth graders visited the Morley Chocolate Factory.  They saw an informative video on the history of chocolate and how it is produced beginning with the collection of the seeds (beans) in the tropical rain forests.  They also enjoyed viewing the people making chocolates on the Morley assembly line.  A "sweet" time was had by all!

Helping at the OPC

The middle school students helped make apple pies at the Older Person's Center in Rochester, on September 4th.


Last Year (2011-2012)


The seventh and eighth grade students of Oak Arbor School participated in a fencing tournament as the culmination of a six week class they took. They were privileged to have as their instructor, D.C. Moons the fencing coach at Oakland University. The students enjoyed fighting each other with foils and each one took home a medal with their ranking.


The 5th and 6th grade students are currently in Chicago. They are visiting a sister school out there and are touring local historic and educational sites.

State Notebooks

The 5th and 6th grade students each completed a notebook on their US state of choice, and presented a power point report to parents and grandparents. They also brought in a food from their state, to share with each other and their guests. This is great practice in research, organization, and presentation skills.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

The Oak Arbor kindergarten, first, and second grade students performed a delightful musical play, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" on Friday May 18th. The audience was treated to a very cute and entertaining play!

Middle School in Arizona

The middle school students enjoyed their big science trip to the Grand Canyon (May 8 - 13, 2012). Each student put together a report on earth science, and presented it along with a power point slide show to their teachers, parents, and friends.

Greek Feast

The 3rd and 4th grade students had a Greek Feast in their classroom on Thursday May 10th, to celebrate the end of their study of Ancient Greece and Greek mythology. They each dressed as a different Greek god or goddess, and ate "traditional" food served to them by slaves (their parents). Each student gave a short report on a god or goddess from Greek mythology, and participated in Olympic games after the feast.

More Professional Development

On Monday April 30th, the students had a day off while the faculty gathered together to hear presentations about the ATLAS online program, which tracks curricular developments in the language arts.  ATLAS will enable teachers throughout our school system to see what other teachers are doing, share work, and continually improve our work in this area.

The faculty also had a workshop focusing on instructional strategies that most significantly enhance student learning. Using references from current educational thinkers, such as Schmoker, Marzano, Hirsch and Silver, the staff engaged in lively discussion about how to best implement these practices into their teaching. 

Spring Musical Revue

The students performed for family and friends on Tuesday, April 24th at the Spring Musical Revue. This "informance" show-cased what they've been learning in music class.


Students Help to "Stamp Out Hunger"

Several Oak Arbor students, alumni, parents, and friends attended the "Stamp Out Hunger" event at Oak Arbor Church on April 21st, 2012. They were preparing the bags for the US postal carriers to distribute to homes for food donations. Together, they prepared 5000 bags; great job everyone!


Students sing at OPC in Rochester

Thank you to our students and their music teacher, Traci Bartell, for entertaining the residents at the OPC ON Friday, April 20th.  The students had a chance to socialize with the residents after their performance.


Music Master Class

A big thank you to Jesse Elder and Blanca Gonzalez for working with our 5th through 8th grade students on Wednesday, April 11th. Jesse is an Oak Arbor Alumnus, and a noted jazz pianist in New York City. He and Blanca were in town for a CD release performance on April 13th, at the Karen Joy Theater at Upland Hills School. It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to connect with them!


7th Annual School Benefit - Another Smashing Success!

Thank you to everyone who helped, donated items, bid on items, worked on the play and attended this fun event held on March 24th, 2012. The attendance was great and our 5th - 8th graders who did an awesome job "working" the event for us. Also, special thanks to the Oak Arbor alumni and young adults who helped at the event as well.  It's a real highlight event for us in many ways! Click here for more information about this event.

OAS students greet guests at the door with appetizers

3rd & 4th grade play

Congratulations to the 3rd and 4th graders for a very entertaining performance of "Hi, Ho, Robin Hood" on Friday March 2nd. The students did a great job!

100th day of School!

The Pre-K - 2nd grade class celebrated the 100th day of school on February 13th. All the students brought in 100 of something such as, legos, m & m’s, puzzle pieces, etc.  They enjoyed some stories about 100, made pictures with 100 beans and ate some snacks. 


The 3rd and 4th grade made lion puppets, after reading "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C. S. Lewis. Thank you to the moms and grandmas who helped with this fun project!

5th & 6th Grade goes to the DIA

The fifth and sixth grade students enjoyed a trip to the DIA to see the Rembrandt "Faces of God" exhibit, as well as the permanent collections.



Scrapbook Fundraiser

Congratulations to our students in 5th through 8th grade, who helped out at our recent scrapbook fundraiser on January 21st. Our fundraiser guests had many nice things to say about how polite and helpful they were. Great job!


Mitten Tree

Thank you to all our students for donating to the mitten tree! It was full of scarves, gloves and hats, which have now been taken to Rochester Neighborhood House where they can be distributed to needy children in the area.

Another Successful School Play

The Oak Arbor School 5th - 8th grade students performed The Ransom of Miss Elverna Dower on November 17th and 18th. The students worked hard on memorizing their lines and presenting their characters. It was a great experience for them to practice speaking in front of a large crowd of people, and working on something together with their classmates. And, the crowd was thoroughly entertained. Great job students!

The cast of The Ransom of Miss Elverna Dower

Congratulations Oak Arbor School LegoBots!

The LegoBot team attended the Thunderquest Regional competition at Henry Ford II Highschool in Sterling Heights, on Saturday November 13th. They were given the "Inspiration" award for team spirit and enthusiasm!  The team has had a great season learning to program the robot, working as a team, and researching food safety (the First Lego League theme for the season). Good work team!

Oak Arbor LegoBots at the regional competition

Teacher Professional Development

Writer's Workshop

Julie Elder (grades 3&4) and Nathaniel Brock (grades 5&6) spent another useful day continuing to develop their skills (and subsequently the skills of the other staff members) as teachers of Lucy Calkin's writer's workshop model of writing instruction. This time they were observing in one of the Novi public school's third grade classrooms, watching writer's workshop teaching in action, then debriefing about what they saw.

Reader's Workshop

Nathaniel Brock has just completed a four session, five hour webinar focused on reading instruction in the upper grades via what is being called "Reader's Workshop", lead by a professor at the University of Phoenix.  Very interesting work!                                                                            

Fall Season Fun

Oak Arbor School Students have enjoyed the following seasonal events this Fall:

A Harvest Moon Hoedown on Friday October 21st. The school sponsored this fun evening event for all ages. A professional caller was hired to lead everyone in several square dances and line dances. A good time was had by all!

Oak Arbor students enjoy square dancing at the hoedown


A Trip to a Local Pumpkin Patch on Friday October 21st. The students had an afternoon trip to Foglers Orchard, where they enjoyed a hayride to the pumpkin patch. They found their way through the corn maze, and then chose their own pumpkins to take home.


Students at the pumpkin patch

Harvest Party on Friday afternoon October 28th. The students dressed in a variety of fun and creative costumes, and enjoyed games, crafts and snacks together.

Students pose in their fun and creative costumes before the games and activities begin


Career Awareness for the Middle School

As part of the curriculum the students visit various businesses throughout the year and learn about what education is required, the work environment and other aspects of the job. So far this year they have visited Dirty Deeds Diaper Service to learn about entrepreneurship and the laundry business. They also visited a corporate air travel service and met with a pilot. They learned about the differences between corporate and commercial transportation, including the education and experience needed and the job experience. Thank you to Oakland Air for allowing the students to visit. Other trips have been to Wolcott Mill Farm to learn about animal husbandry, and Fitness 19 to learn about personal training.


Oak Arbor Middle School students with a private pilot at Oakland Air


Teacher Professional Development

Date: September 28, 2011

Place: Rochester Hills Public Library

Two of our teachers, Judi Pafford and Julie Elder, participated in a very worthwhile seminar entitled "Every Child Ready to Read". It was presented by Sarah Smith-Conlan, an Early Childhood instructor who works in the youth room at RHPL. Her talk was about early literacy and how essential reading is to school success. Learning to read begins before school begins. Developing early literary skills makes it easier for children to read once they begin school. Children learn language and other literacy skills by lots of talking with a parent or other significant adult, singing, reading (shared reading, interactive, etc.), writing (begins with scribbles) and playing. The teachers have some literature from this program that they would be willing to share with anyone who's interest more information. There is also a website:


Celebrating the Memorization of the Ten Commandments

Date: Mar. 17, 2010

Time: 9:00 am

Place: School Chapel

Congratulations to each and all of the 3rd and 4th grade students for memorizing the entire Ten Commandments from Exodus 20:1-17! They did an excellent job accomplishing this goal. Over the years I’ve noticed that some students start out thinking it is so long and it will be so hard, but every student I’ve had in these grades has risen to the challenge and succeeded.
In morning chapel on March 17, these students recited the Commandments all together for all the other students and teachers to hear. Then in class we celebrated the achievement. Each student received a set of very special rewards for their accomplishment - including a tiny version of the Ten Commandments and a handsome red garnet gem cut in a triangular shape. Gems are symbols of truth, to remind them of the very valuable truths of the Lord that they are learning.

Thanks also to Paul Haig, owner of "Haig's of Rochester" for supplying these beautiful gems at a reasonable cost. ~Nathan Gladish

Middle School History Presentations

Date: Mar. 3-4, 2010

Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Place: School Lobby

Each year our Middle School students present their history studies to an audience of students and parents. This gives them additional experience in public speaking. Once again, our students did a fabulous job, each of them growing in their facility with the slideshow feature of the OpenOffice software they use on a regular basis in class. Mentors also worked with each student in their preparation. Congratulations to all students and thank you to their History teacher, Mrs. Genzlinger.

Cup Stacking in PE

Recently our PE teacher, Mrs. Pitcairn led a unit on Cup Stacking in all her PE classes. Ask your kids about it! This is a sport that involves stacking cups in specific formations partnered with physical activities. Sport stacking helps students develop bilateral proficiency - equal performance on both sides of the body. By increasing bilateral proficiency, a student develops a greater percentage of the right side of the brain, which houses awareness, focus, creativity and rhythm. Stacking also helps train the brain for sports and other activities where the use of both hands is important, such as playing a musical instrument or using the computer. Sequencing and patterning are also elements of sport stacking, which can help with reading and math skills.

Annual Student Luncheon and Program on the Growth of our Church Around the World

Date: Jan. 29, 2010

Time: 12:30-1:30pm

Place: Social Hall

Last year we learned about the growth and development of our affiliated churches in Brazil. This year we had a very informative presentation about the church "down under" - in Australia. Thanks to our guest speaker, Alex Sandstrom.

Winter Parent-Teacher Meeting

Date: Jan. 28, 2010

Time: 7:00pm

Place: School foyer

We had a full agenda of useful topics at our winter Parent-Teacher meeting. Thank you for your attendance and participation.  ~Nathan Gladish

Middle School Ski Trip

Date: Jan. 27, 2010

Time: 9:00am-4:00pm

Place: Pine Knob

Thank you to our PE teacher, Kristin Pitcairn, for organizing and facilitating this trip. It was another success. The weather cooperated, the sun was out, and the students learned a lot. And they left wanting more! The students also enjoyed mingling with a group of blind skiers who were skiing in the same area.

All day Scrapbooking Fundraiser

Date: Jan 23, 2010
Time: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Place: Oak Arbor Social Hall
More info @ Scrapbooking Fundraiser

Liane De Chazal did an amazing job as the new coordinator for the annual all day scrapbooking fundraiser. She and a host of volunteers are to be commended for another very successful event. The passing of the baton from our awesome original leaders – Pam Steen and Amy Elder – was smooth and efficient. So many people helped in so many ways that I won’t even try to list them here. I have heard through several attendees and vendors that this event at Oak Arbor is the BEST of its kind in the area. People comment that it’s the most beautiful setting, the best food, the friendliest atmosphere, and many other things. Congratulations to everyone! ~ Nathan Gladish

Middle School Students Go to Court

November 30, 2009

Our students in grades 7-8 took a field trip to the local district courthouse in Rochester Hills. This was a very educational experience including a mock trial led by one of the District Judges and a tour of the Sherriff’s substation. They rated this trip a resounding “10” and would like to go back for more!
The tour of the Sherriff’s station was very informative. The officer was excellent, engaging, and educational. Ask your students:

• How do you stay out of jail? (two part answer) 

• What is the most powerful thing an officer has in his possession?

The mock trial was completely overseen by Judge Carniak in her courtroom, using a script which the students read aloud. Each of the students took a role and sat in the appropriate places in the courtroom as the trial proceeded.

Mitten Tree Service Learning Activity

Christmastime, 2009

Oak Arbor School coordinated a program to accept donations to a Mitten Tree again this Christmas season. The tree was decorated with many new hats, scarves, and pairs of mittens. They were donated to the Rochester Area Neighborhood House on Monday, Dec. 7. Thanks go to Julie Elder for organizing this activity.

Award winning LEGO Robotics Teams

Fall semester, 2009

Another Successful Season! Congratulations to the two Oak Arbor Lego Robotic Teams - the Legobots and the Ecobots - for their work this year! Both teams competed at the State level in December. The Legobots placed in the top 5 for Teamwork and placed 2nd for Innovative Solutions to the problem they selected to work on. It is quite an honor for our small school to be represented by two teams! Congratulations again!

Thank you to the coaches who supported this effort - Francis van Loosbroek, Craig Steen, Dale and Pam Steen. Also, congratulations to Chandler Clay for once again receiving the award for outstanding Young Adult Mentor. Thank you to the sponsors of the team for their tangible support. Corporate Sponsors: Andrew Madak, DO, PC; Curtis Insurance Agency; Innatech; Steen Photography; Family Supporters: Mark & Julie Elder, Todd & Sue Elder, Mike & Suzanne Green Family, Paul & Kathy Rogers.

Oak Arbor 5th-8th Graders Take the Stage
"A Monster in My Closet"

November 20, 2009

Audiences delighted in Oak Arbor's rendition of this lighthearted fantasy during two performances on Thursday, Nov. 19 and Friday, Nov. 20. Congratulations to the cast, crew and directors Nathaniel Brock and Dawn Genzlinger!

Thank you Veterans!

November 11, 2009

Special thanks to Mr. Robert Bradin who spoke to our students on Veterans Day - Nov. 11, 2009 - after our morning chapel service. His talk was thoughtfully accommodated to all ages. Using memorabilia as visual aids, he helped give us an appreciation for his service to our country during the Vietnam War. In addition, he spoke of the value of his faith during his time in the military and the important perspective that his religious convictions gave him.

And a warm thank you from everyone at Oak Arbor School to all our veterans of various branches of the military. 

Teacher Professional Development News

Language Arts Curriculum Meetings
Thank you to two of our teachers, Nathaniel Brock and Judi Pafford, for taking the time to participate in the Language Arts Curriculum meetings held Nov. 12-14 in Bryn Athyn, PA. They reported to the rest of the faculty at our regular Tuesday meeting that the meetings were very educational and productive. Curriculum work is progressive. Each session is valuable not only for our school system as a whole but for each individual teacher. Thank you also to our very capable substitute teachers for filling in.

Physical Education Workshops
Thanks go to our PE teacher, Kristin Pitcairn for participating in several Physical Education workshops this fall. She went to a free mini-workshop several weeks ago in Clinton Township. These are about 4 times/year in the evening at various local schools where PE teachers get together and share ideas. She also attended an all-day workshop on a recent Saturday in Farmington for a first-ever conference on integrating functional physical fitness into PE classes. The speakers are world class experts on the subject. And on Nov. 12-14, she attended the annual Michigan PE professional organization's conference in Traverse City, where she learned a wealth of new information and got supercharged with enthusiasm for all the educational opportunities there are in physical education. Thank you, Kristin for all the energy and creativity you put into developing our PE program! 

Oak Arbor School Alumnus Wins Scholarship

June 4, 2009

Congratulations to former Oak Arbor student, Matthew Childs. In his junior year of high school at Stoney Creek in Rochester Hills, MI, he won a $2,000 scholarship for his film entry in the 2009 Courageous Persuaders competition. Entrants are asked to create a TV commercial targeted at middle school students to warn them about the dangers of underage drinking. This year's focus was on the the dangers of drinking and driving. He won the Adcraft Club of Detroit award in the contest, and his entry can be viewed at

For a pdf of the press release in the Rochester Post, click here

Oak Arbor School Alumnus Pedals Across America

May 21, 2009

Bryan Pitcairn has always been thoughtful and resourceful. In reflecting on his years as a student at Oak Arbor School he says, "I loved my time at Oak Arbor because it really did make me who I am today." Indeed. Today he is planning a two-month cycling trip from Jacksonville, FL to San Francisco with about 30 other young bicyclists to help raise money and awareness for affordable housing organizations. "I hope I am in some way a role model for the kids who are there [at Oak Arbor] now." Bryan is currently a student at Michigan State, majoring in criminal justice.

For a pdf of the full story, click here

Oak Arbor School Alumnus Wins National Video Award

April 16, 2009
His Oak Arbor teachers recognized Matthew's creativity early on. Now as a junior at the local Stoney Creek High School, he has earned national recognition for his creative talent. Matthew Childs is one of only 1000 national Gold Key winners for 2009 and the first from Stoney Creek HS for this annual Scholastic Art and Writing Award from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. He won his award for his video called "Stopmotion Adventure".

For a pdf of the full story, click here

Oak Arbor School Alumnus Plays Carnegie Hall

April 15, 2009
New York, NY
On Wednesday, April 15, Ben Odhner, son of former Oak Arbor School principal Grant Odhner, was honored to play in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra in NYC's Carnegie Hall. Ben attended Oak Arbor School for his elementary education and later graduated top in his class from the Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools in Bryn Athyn, PA. For this concert, he was among only 96 musicians selected out of over 4000 entries from around the world. You can view the whole concert on YouTube. Search for it using the words YouTube Symphony Orchestra Carnegie Hall. (It is split into two acts.)

For a pdf of the full story, click here.
YouTube link
Ben Odhner - Youtube Symphony Audition

For more information on any of these stories, contact:
Mandy Steen, administrative assistant
248. 652. 3420 x 102