Arbor Intermediate School

September 2023 Issue

School Leadership Team

School Leadership Team

Heather O’Donnell, Principal

Janell Smolk, Assistant Principal

Amy McLaughlin, Counselor

Ruby Schridher, Counselor

Karen Hoeg, Secretary

Corinne Fender, School Nurse

Marcela Ridley, Attendance Clerk

Kenneth Dzurilla, Custodian

Big picture

A Message from the Principal

Dear Arbor Families,

The year has been off to a busy start, with students meeting new friends, acclimating to new classrooms, and participating in class and school events. Fourth graders had an opportunity to meet one another and tour the building during the August Meet and Greet event. All new students to Arbor listened and learned about all of the instruments they can choose from this year in band or orchestra. They have also been enjoying the weather outside at recess meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends.

We are looking forward to a great year, with opportunities both inside and outside of the classrooms. Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to Back to School Night. It was wonderful to get the chance to meet so many families. There are a lot of dates to be aware of this month, beginning with Rutgers Spirit Day on Friday, September 29. There will also be a PTO meeting on October 10, a Dine to Donate fundraiser at Panera on October 11, a Family Fun Night October 19, and both Breakfast with your Child week and the Scholastic Book Fair from October 16-20. On October 19 at 8:30am, we will also be having our first “Coffee with the Counselor” event with our school counselor, Mrs. McLaughlin. More information on all of those events and more will be forthcoming through both email and my weekly Sunday phone calls.


Heather O’Donnell

Principal, Arbor Intermediate School

Counseling Corner

Dear Families,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself! My name is Amy McLaughlin and I am Arbor’s School Counselor. What I love most about the grade 4 & 5 level is the genuine curiosity students have in their learning and the world around them. It is very rewarding to be able to have the opportunity to provide support that can have a lifetime positive impact on a child.

As a School Counselor, my primary responsibility is to promote the academic, and social/emotional development of all students. I look forward to offering support to the Arbor students, staff, families, and community. I will be meeting with students individually and in small groups, conducting classroom lessons, meeting with parents, collaborating with teachers and staff, and consulting with community organizations to benefit and meet the needs of all Arbor Intermediate students.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call at 732-752-8652 or email

I am so excited to work with your children and get to know you throughout the school year! ☺

All the best,

Amy McLaughlin

School Counselor

Big picture

Nurse's Corner

Welcome back to school! Let’s have a great year!

I want everyone to remember 2 important things.

1.Handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs.

2.Breakfast is very important. After a long night of sleeping, your fuel tank is empty.

Breakfast is the fuel that gets you going to start your day.

What should you eat? Just like with other meals, try to eat a variety of foods, including:

fruit, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.

Kids who eat breakfast do better in school, are more likely to participate in physical activities, and eat healthier overall. So tomorrow morning, don't run out the door on an empty stomach.

Fuel up with a healthy breakfast!

Arbor Welcomes New Teachers

Michael Blumenthal- 5th Grade Teacher

Background: This past year, I completed my M.A.T. degree while student teaching at Park Avenue Elementary in Freehold, NJ. Prior to teaching, I worked as a graphic designer for ten years in the pharmaceutical and book publishing industries. I also hold a B.A. degree in Theatre & Dance from Keene State College in New Hampshire.


Food: pizza or sushi

Color: blue

Place in New Jersey: Cape May

Place in the United States: NYC

Place in the World: Florence, Italy

Music: Bill Frisell, Sakanaction, Thelonious Monk

Books: any book related to the history of NYC

Hobbies: drawing and playing piano

Movies: comedy

Big picture

Ms. Rosado- 5th Grade Teacher

Background: I was raised in Old Bridge, New Jersey and still reside there with my parents, younger sister and dog. I received my bachelors in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Marymount Manhattan College in 2017 and recently just completed my Masters of Education at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education May of 2023. This is my first full year teaching and I am so honored and excited to call Arbor my second home. Outside of school, I love to travel and experience new cultures. I love to try new foods and learn about other countries traditions. Traveling is a big part of my life as it connects me with the diversity of my students here in Piscataway.


Food - Any food my mother makes

Show - Gilmore Girls

Movies - How the Grinch Stole Christmas & My Sister’s Keeper

Music Artist - Beyonce

Subjects - Math and Science

Season - Summer

Place to Visit - Puerto Rico

Vacation - Hawaii

Color - Pink

Book Genre - Realistic Fiction & Mystery

Person - My younger sister, Sara

Big picture

Ms. Crawford- ESL Teacher

I have been teaching at Piscataway schools since 2017 as an English as a second language teacher. Before joining Arbor school, I taught at Knollwood, Grandview, Randolphville and MLK. I grew up in North Brunswick New Jersey and recently moved to Piscataway. I have my English as a second language teaching certificate from Rowan University and my bachelor's from Virginia Commonwealth University. On the weekends, my two-year-old daughter and I enjoy going to the park or apple picking in the fall. I also have a 9-year-old gray and white cat named Ollie and a 4-year-old Chocolate lab named Loki.

I am looking forward to working with all the wonderful students of Arbor.


holiday: Thanksgiving

color: pink

food: pizza

dessert: chocolate chip cookie

animal: cat

season: fall​

Big picture

Back to School Night

Arbor Staff welcomed parents and guardians to Back to School Night on Wednesday, September 20th. Parents and guardians had an opportunity to meet with teachers to learn about curriculum and class routines. In addition, Mrs. O'Donnell, Principal, and Dr. Tom Connors, Board President, presented during the evening. Parents and guardians were able to ask questions to learn about Arbor School. It was a great evening filled with enthusiasm by all!

Introduction to Orchestra and Band

Students in the fourth grade, as well as 5th graders new to Arbor, received an instrument demonstration by the orchestra and band instructors. During the demonstration, students listened to a selection of music performed by Mr. Mejias and Dr. Sato from MLK school. After the performance, students were provided details on the program and the process for joining the performing arts. Mr. Mejias and Mrs. Torres are looking forward to making music with all the new band and orchestra members.

Arbor Parent Teacher Organization

Dear Arbor Families,

We extend a warm welcome to all of you as we embark on another exciting academic year at Arbor! The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is thrilled to be part of your journey and is committed to enhancing our students' educational experience through enrichment and fundraising activities. Your continued support allows us to:

Support Exciting Events: We fund events like family fun nights, school trips, book and holiday fairs, informative assemblies and more to enrich our students’ educational experience.

Strengthen Our Community: By supporting local and small businesses, we contribute to the growth of our community.

Show Appreciation to our Staff: We take pride in recognizing and appreciating our amazing staff, from dedicated teachers to hardworking custodians.

Activities Line Up:


Welcome Back Lunch: We kicked off the year by sponsoring a delightful lunch for our dedicated staff.

Gifts and Things Fundraiser: Our fundraiser launched on Monday, 9/11 with an interactive assembly and will run until Wednesday, 9/27. Exciting incentives and prizes await participants:

○ The top 2 sellers will become Principal and Vice Principal for a day.

○ Top sellers will get to silly string Mrs. O'Donnell!

○ Participants have a chance to win fantastic prizes based on the funds raised.

Spirit Wear Sales: This year's spirit wear collection includes some exciting new items. The sale will continue until Friday, 10/13. Please use this link to place your order.


PTO Meeting: Join us on Tuesday, 10/10, at 6:30 p.m. in the school library for our first PTO meeting of the year.

Dine to Donate: Mark your calendars for Wednesday, 10/11, from 4 pm to 8 pm, at Panera Bread in Piscataway for our first Dine to Donate event. Keep an eye out for communications a few days prior to the event.

Family Fun Night - "Painting Pumpkins": Our first Family Fun Night of the year will take place in the cafeteria on Tuesday, 10/17, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 p.m. Flyers will also be sent home with your child to register. We request families register in advance to ensure we have ample paint and pumpkins for everyone. Volunteers are vital for making events like these a success. We encourage you to sign up and show your support.

Fall Book Fair: Our Fall Book Fair will run from Monday, 10/16, to Friday, 10/20 during school hours. Every book purchase earns a raffle ticket, and we have daily prizes for lucky winners. We rely on volunteers to help during school hours. Stay tuned for communications to sign up for available time slots.

Important Links:

Volunteer Sign-Up: link

Board Position Application - Corresponding Secretary: link

Follow Us on Facebook: link

Thank you for your unwavering support. We eagerly anticipate engaging with you throughout the year.

Warm regards,

PTO Officers:

Hesha Patel, President

Aaron Gibbs, Treasurer

Shameeka Gibbs, Recording Secretary


Big picture

Week of Respect

Check out the Week of Respect flyer to see how we are celebrating love, respect and kindness. Each day, students can participate by wearing clothing that represents the theme. We are looking forward to seeing all the Week of Respect Spirit!

Upcoming Events

  • 9/25/23- Spirit Day- Spirit Wear Sale Starts
  • 9/29/23- Spirit Day- Rutgers Day (Wear Rutgers attire and/or Red and Black)
  • 10/2/23-10/6/23- Week of Respect
  • 10/4/23- Picture Day
  • 10/11/23- Dine to Donate-Chipotle
  • 10/5/23-4th Grade Field Trip
  • 10/6/23- 4th Grade Field Trip
  • 10/11/23- 4th Grade Field Trip
  • 10/12/23- 4th Grade Field Trip
  • 10/13/23- 4th Grade Field Trip
  • 10/16/23-10/23/23- PTO Book Fair and Breakfast with your Child Week
  • 10/17/23- PTO Family Fun Night and Book Fair
  • 10/18/23- 4th Grade Field Trip
  • 10/19/23- Coffee With The Counselor
  • 10/27/23- Arbor Day (Wear Blue and Green)