Newsletter August 25, 2020

Hello OLR families,

It’s hard to believe but after months of being away from school we are now down to single digit days!  I want to welcome all our new families, as well as welcome back all our returning ones, as we prepare for yet another fantastic year at Our Lady of Refuge!!  As with everything, our year will be starting off much different than usual, beginning with tonight.  In place of our regular “Parents Night” where you come and visit our classrooms and meet the teachers, we have posted videos from each grade level 1-8 talking about this upcoming school year.   Hopefully this will give you a little insight regarding what you and your child can expect.  In addition, please remember that your child’s classroom placement will be shared this Friday on our website, which is why the grade level videos are from both teachers about the general information regarding that grade. 

And once again, please use this link to record and send in your child’s temperature EVERY SCHOOL DAY.  Thanks again and we will see you for tomorrow’s supply drop off.  Please do NOT enter the building without an appointment, but rather go to the classroom window of your grade level to make the handoff of supplies through the window.  If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to email me or the teachers to get more information. 

See you all soon!
Mr. Rapal 

Parents Night Videos, Slideshows and PDF Files


Note: The playlist includes a number of videos. You can play them all or select individual videos by clicking on the three lines with a right arrow in the upper right hand corner of the video window above


You can view each slideshow by clicking on the “play” button or by stepping through each slide by clicking on the “greater than” arrow to the right of the play button

You may wish to step through the following Middle School slideshow slide by slide in order to take time to play the embedded videos on Slide 2 and to read the content on the other slides

PDF Files

Click on the individual images or the download links after each image to download the PDF files

Newsletter August 14, 2020

Dear OLR families,

After a long time away, we are now only a few weeks from welcoming students back into the building!  There will be many changing policies and practices as we approach our first official day back at OLR, so please watch your emails for any updates regarding the 2020-2021 school year.  For the time being, please use this link to view our plans to begin in person learning during the ongoing pandemic.  As always, if you have any questions, call our office at 248-682-3422 or email me at  Enjoy the remaining days of summer break and we look forward to having our building bustling once again!

Mr. Rapal

Newsletter June 8, 2020

Dear OLR Families, 

I am happy to announce that with the completion of 8th grade graduation and our drop off/pick up last week, we have successfully closed out the 2019-2020 academic year!  I know there have been many questions and discussions regarding what the 2020-2021 school year will look like and I can assure you that our main priority is to welcome back students for in-person learning starting August 31, 2020.  

The Archdiocese has created a task force to work with the Federal and State representatives to establish guidelines and prepare all AOD schools for a safe return in the fall. It is the goal of Our Lady of Refuge, as well as all Catholic Schools, to continue to provide an excellent academic experience to our students and families. To that end, we have been diligently working to put together various plans to ensure this is a possibility. However, some aspects of our traditional learning days may look different at the start of the upcoming year. 

Our plans center around how to best reorganize classrooms to minimize student contact, the implementation of extra cleaning and additional measures to disinfect and sanitize our building, as well as possible changes to our large gatherings; such as Mass, lunch, and Leadership assemblies.  

In addition, as I mentioned in my last correspondence, we are transitioning to Freckle™, our new on-line learning platform for Math, Science, ELA and Social Studies that aligns with the Star360 assessment which the AOD will be using in place of the Iowa Assessment in the fall. Teachers have already started their professional development training on this program, which will give us the ability to quickly transition the curriculum to online learning should another mandatory shutdown be implemented by our Governor. More information on this will be forthcoming as the school year progresses.

Please know that the details of the plans we are developing, as well as the calendar you received during the drop off/pick up, are tentative pending the updated directives we will be receiving over the summer months from the AOD task force. Once definitive measures are ready to be put into place, they will be shared with all our families. I thank you again for all of your continued support and patience as we all navigate together through these unprecedented times. Have a wonderful summer and we look forward to having all our students return to school in school in the fall!

Stay safe,

Mr. Rapal


Hello OLR families,

Despite the snow this week, we are more than halfway to May, which means warmer temps and hopefully the start of the transition away from quarantine are right around the corner!  A huge thank you to all families who filled out the teacher surveys regarding how we can help you more at home. The overwhelming support and gratitude you shared makes our difficult jobs worth it, and please know that we are taking all your comments, suggestions and kind words to heart as we tirelessly work to improve our distance learning.  

Another huge thank you to our wonderful National Junior Honor Society students who willingly took time to record themselves saying our morning and afternoon prayers so any families who want to start and end the school day much like we normally do are able to view them on line.  Watch your child’s Google Classroom for those videos and use them to practice our daily routines. 

Keeping with thanks, I appreciate everyone who sent in pictures of our first Virtual Spirit Day, it was so nice to see all the students supporting our “home school”!  Look for our first of many video montages coming soon. To continue this celebration of students, Mrs. McElyea has created the following “Spirit Day Calendar”.  

  • 4/23 is “Thankful Thursday” – send a picture of what you are thankful for
  • 4/30 is “No Tech Thursday” – show us what your favorite book or board game is
  • 5/5 is “Cinco de Mayo” for grades K-8 – send a picture celebrating Cinco de Mayo for Senora Sheehan (PK can send a picture of them as their favorite Superhero)
  • 5/14 is “May Crowning/Mother’s Day” – send a picture of you praying the Rosary or doing an act of service for your mother (folding laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc…)
  • 5/21 is “Creativity Day” – send a picture of you doing something creative like drawing, building, etc…
  • 5/28 is “Summer Break Day” – send a picture of you in your flip flops and summer attire

Please send these specific pictures on the identified day so we can enjoy seeing one another in a fun way!

And finally, just a reminder, there will be no classes this Friday.  The staff will be attending a virtual Professional Development provided by the AoD.  Have a great week and hopefully the temperatures will continue to rise with each passing day!

Mr. Rapal

AOD update: Coronavirus

Hello OLR families,

As you may have seen, the Archdiocese of Detroit has commented on the topic of COVID-19 (click here to view the WXYZ broadcast) and Our Lady of Refuge is promoting the practice of good hygiene which includes:

  • washing hands regularly, particularly after using the bathroom and before eating
  • using hand sanitizer after touching other people/items
  • not sharing drink or food with others
  • staying home if symptomatic (coughing, fever, runny nose)
  • wiping down items commonly used by other students

Per the above strategies, if you are able and willing to donate hand sanitizer or wipes for your child’s classroom, please contact the teacher to let them know you can send items in for the students. Please DO NOT just send items in without checking first, because we do not have storage for excess amounts. For other information on this topic, use this link to get the latest details from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Remember, COVID-19 is simply a more aggressive virus, so following good safety protocol will go a long way toward keeping this and any other virus from spreading!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year OLR families,

Welcome back!  Hopefully your family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday together.  It was exciting to see all our Ravens come back into school this morning all relaxed and ready to start a new calendar year of learning!  With the completion of the Parish’s new organ, we will return to our regular Wednesday school mass times starting on the 8th, so hopefully we will see you in attendance those mornings, starting at 8:15.  Also, remember to spread the word that we will have our Open House to kick off Catholic Schools Week on Sunday, January 26th from 10 AM – 1 PM.  Our best reference for future students is our own families, so if you know of any great additions we can bring to OLR, let them know to come by and visit!  Have a great week and once again, welcome back!

Mr. Rapal

Newsletter September 16, 2019

Hello OLR families,

It may just be my second year at Our Lady of Refuge, but it’s amazing to see the difference a year makes in recognizing the returning families at our Parent Night last week! We were hopeful to have another chance to see families at our Ice Cream Social on Friday night, but unfortunately, the weather did not make that possible. In lieu of a new date, we will be giving out the ice cream to all students on Thursday, September 19th during the day as well as providing an opportunity for an extra recess with their grade clusters for their socialization.

Also, we have been tracking student tardies a little closer this year, so please make sure you are leaving enough time in the morning to get your child to school BEFORE the 8 AM tardy bell.  There are a few students who are coming in after 8 and that makes for a scattered start to their school day. Additionally, please adhere to the handicapped signs for those families that are in need of those parking spaces due to their circumstances.  If you do not have a clearly identifiable reason to use those spots, you may be asked to move.  

Have a great week and make sure to keep this Wednesday evening open for our first Parent Club meeting at 7 PM in the Media Center, it’s yet another great way to keep updated with everything going on in the school.

Mr. Rapal

First week of school

Hello OLR families! Welcome (back for many of you) to the 2019-2020 school year, hopefully the summer was a restful and relaxing one for you. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there have been some changes at the school, primarily in staff, from last year to this year. In addition to some new students and families, we’d like to introduce our newest staff members (or returning to a different position):

  • 3 year old preschool lead teacher Vanda Watha
  • 3/4 year old preschool assistant teacher Samantha Hannon
  • 3/4 year old preschool assistant teacher Jill Pollard
  • 4 year old preschool assistant teacher Kim Moss
  • 1st grade teacher Katy Knighton
  • 3rd grade teacher Bridgette Gumma
  • 5th grade teacher Val Whalen
  • 5th grade teacher Alli Printz
  • Middle School English teacher Lydia Baron
  • Middle School Social Studies teacher Katherine Naeyaert
  • Electives Drama teacher Howard Andress
  • Instructional Support teacher Tara Mulvaney

While we will miss those staff members who have retired or moved on to other things, we are lucky to have the teachers we have brought in to join our OLR family. We look forward to seeing you either at our Parent Orientation Wednesday evening starting at 7 PM in the church, or at our Ice Cream Social Friday evening in our lunchroom/playground! Have a great week!!

Starting a New School Year!

Hello OLR families,

We welcome all returning and new students and families as we prepare to start a new school year!

The first day of school for K – 8th grade is Tuesday, September 3rd from 8am to 11am. The first day for 3PS/3 and 4PreK is Wednesday, September 4th. The first day for 3PS/2 is Thursday, September 5th.

Please visit our Calendar page for up to date details throughout the school year.

We look forward to seeing you all this coming week. In the meantime, have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend.

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