Arbor Intermediate School

October 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

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A Message from the Principal

Dear Arbor Families,

October has been an exciting month for Arbor students and staff. We began the month with our Week of Respect, where students participated in discussions and activities based on learning to respect one another and themselves. Hispanic Heritage Month continued with students completing projects and classroom activities celebrating the historical and cultural contributions of the world’s Spanish speaking countries, and all those who identify as members of the Hispanic and Latinx community. We were also able to hold a Dine to Donate event at Panera, raising money for the PTO. We held our annual Breakfast with your Child event the week of October 16 and our first Family Fun Night on October 17. Pumpkin painting was a huge success, and over 300 students, teachers, and families were able to relax and enjoy a well-loved fall activity. A special thank you is due to the Quibbletown and Schor Junior Honor Societies, who volunteered to assist the PTO and many of our teachers in the set up and clean up that evening. Mrs. McLaughlin, our school counselor, also invited parents in for the first Coffee with the Counselor event, where she discussed internet safety as it relates to students at the intermediate level.

There are a number of dates to save coming up as well. Our Halloween celebrations in the classrooms will happen on Tuesday, October 31. Students can come dressed to school, but should leave props, costume masks, and face paint at home. Schools will be closed November 7, 9, and 10. Parent/Teacher conferences will be November 15 and 16 from 6-8pm, and November 17 from 12:45-2:30. Parents can sign up for conferences on Genesis beginning the evening of October 27.


Heather O’Donnell

Counseling Corner with Mrs. McLaughlin

It has been a wonderful (and busy) start to the new school year!

In the month of October, all students received a lesson on the T.H.I.N.K model to communicate our thoughts and feelings responsibly. Students learned about the model and how it can help them communicate more thoughtfully and kindly in various situations.

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Coffee with the Counselor

In addition, we had our first Coffee with the Counselor event where we discussed internet and texting safety. If you would like to access the presentation, please click the link below. Keep your eye out for our next event!

Nurse's Corner

October is Dental Health Month. Let's FALL into good habits!

You should brush their teeth twice a day, using toothpaste containing fluoride

You should floss once a day

You should see the dentist every 6 months

Avoid sugary foods and drinks.

Choose heathy snacks

Drink water

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Week of Respect

During the Week of Respect (October 2nd-6th), Arbor students participated in school wide activities focusing on kindness and respect. Some of these activities included Everyone Counts Day, Put a Lid on Bullying Day, You've Got Friend in Me Day, and Hero Day. The Week of Respect encourages us to celebrate kindness and respect all throughout the year. Our students did an amazing job demonstrating kindness, encouragement, compassion and respect.

Breakfast with your Child

The Piscataway Township Education Association/NJEA PRIDE sponsored a Breakfast with your Child Week. During this week, a continental breakfast was served each morning in the cafetorium. Caretakers could use this opportunity to come to school to have breakfast with their child. It was fabulous seeing our families join in this event.

Family Fun Night

On Tuesday, October 17th, Arbor staff, students, volunteers, and families participated in a Family Fun Night organized by the PTO. There were over 300 attendees at this fun-filled night of pumpkin painting. A special thanks to the parent volunteers, teacher volunteers, the Quibbletown NJHS volunteers and the Schor NJHS volunteers who helped make this night a huge success!

Scholastic Book Fair

The PTO worked hard to make the 2023 Book Fair a huge success. Students had the opportunity to attend the book fair, peruse the books, and add to their personal libraries. Students were all smiles as they circulated through the book fair! A special thanks to all the staff, parents and community members to helped with the book fair.

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“Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope”

This year, we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month between September 15th and October 15th. During this month, we recognize the achievements Hispanic Americans have made, and continue to make, in our country. During this month, Arbor students celebrate the culture, histories, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

In Senora Garcia's Spanish class, students started Hispanic Heritage Month understanding why the months is celebrated. Students then applied this knowledge as they worked on a project. 4th grade students learned about Spanish speaking countries and then selected a country to research. 5th grade students completed a research project on a Hispanic person of their choosing. Check out some of the projects below!


Dear Arbor Families,

It has been an exciting first two months of the school year and on behalf of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support. Your commitment enables us to fulfill our mission of enhancing our students' educational experience through enrichment and fundraising activities. Your continued support allows us to:

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

Strengthen Our Community: By supporting local and small businesses, we contribute to the growth of our community. This partnership fosters a sense of togetherness and helps local businesses thrive.

Show Appreciation to our Staff: We take pride in recognizing and appreciating our amazing staff, from dedicated teachers to hardworking custodians. Their tireless efforts are essential to the success of our school.

Key Highlights:

Family Fun Night - Painting Pumpkins: Our first Family Fun night of the year - Pumpkin Painting was a huge success. On Tuesday, Oct 17th, we welcomed over 300+ students and family members, making it one of the most attended events at Arbor. Thank you to all the parents, staff and honors society students who made it a memorable night.

Fall Book Fair: Our week-long Scholastic book fair wrapped up on Friday, Oct 20. We are grateful to all the parents, grandparents, and guardians who volunteered and helped us promote the joy of reading to our students. A special call out to our book fair co-chair, 5th-grade parent Ms. Sandy Hegedus for her outstanding leadership, commitment and dedication.

Corresponding Secretary: We are delighted to welcome our newly appointed Corresponding Secretary, 5th-grade parent Ms. Reshu Gupta to the PTO board. Reshu has been actively involved with the recent events and we are thrilled to have her on the team.

Upcoming Activities

Dine to Donate - Taco Tuesday: Mark your calendars for Tuesday, 11/7, from 4 pm to 8 pm, at Chipotle in Piscataway for our Dine to Donate fundraising event. Keep an eye out for communications a few days prior to the event. (CHECK OUT THE FLYER BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS)

Holiday Fair: Our holiday fair will take place from Monday, 12/4, to Friday, 12/8 during school hours. Stay tuned for communications to sign up for available time slots. If you are Interested in co-chairing, volunteering or providing in-kind services, you can sign up here.

Important Links:

Volunteer Sign-Up: link

In-Kind Services: 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

Reshu Gupta, Corresponding Secretary

Check out the Student of the Month Winners- September

Upcoming Events

  • 11/7/23- Dine to Donate (Chipotle)
  • 11/15/23- Evening Conferences (Early Dismissal)
  • 11/16/23- Evening Conferences (Early Dismissal)
  • 11/17/23- Daytime Conferences (Early Dismissal)
  • 11/30/23- Spirit Day (Black and Gold)