Principal’s Page

September 4, 2018

Mr. Pyles

This past year has been a very busy and successful year for all of us at Our Lady of Refuge.  We have accomplished so much.   I want to welcome our new Assistant Principal, Denny Rapal.  Together we will give your students the best educational experience possible.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has volunteered, contributed, and supported our school in so many ways.  Your efforts truly make a difference and are appreciated.  I would like to thank our staff who have worked hard this year and are committed to the success of every one of our students.  As a result of our hard work, OLR students have shown a significant increase in their IOWA scores, and 80% of our eighth graders scored in the top 25% nationally on their High School Placement scores.  We are extremely proud to tell you that over half of our graduating students have received academic scholarships for high school and their average GPA for the year was a 3.5.  Additionally, last year’s eighth grade graduates achieved an average GPA of a 3.3 as freshmen in high school.

It is our goal to provide an excellent academic and Catholic centered education to our students.  All of our teachers are state certified and highly qualified in their subject area.  To keep current with educational best practices our teachers participate in many professional development opportunities throughout the year.  Some of this year’s curriculum and academic enrichment highlights at Our Lady of Refuge are:

  • Our Lady of Refuge has an enrollment of 329 students, 3PreK through eighth grade, with a class average size of 17 students.
  • Our drama program for grades 4-8 gives the students the opportunity to learn valuable public speaking skills and demonstrate their abilities through plays in our new Performing Arts Center. Performances this year include a Christmas musical, “Jungle Book” “ and “Little Mermaid”.  They also participate in a forensic competition through the local Optimist Club.  The winners will go on to participate in a statewide competition.
  • We increased our technological capabilities through the use of interactive boards, Clever Touches, projectors and iPads in all classrooms. We have audio enhancement systems for grades K-5 and a wireless network to support the technology for the entire school.
  • Advanced math classes are offered in grades 5-8, and this year we offer a High School Algebra 1 class to our advanced eighth grade students through use of iPads.
  • This year’s theme, “Be Kind”, is demonstrated by so many of our students through their actions and exemplary dedication to God.
  • The “Be Kind” leadership assemblies, held every other Monday, gives us the opportunity to communicate school expectations with all students and allows teachers to recognize individual students
  • Our Media Center includes an iPad Lab with thirty iPads to enhance students’ learning.
  • OLR offers computers, band, art, drama, Spanish and physical education as electives which are incorporated into the students’ daily schedule.
  • An interactive science curriculum and lab.
  • The continuation of DRA (Developmental Reading Assessments) to analyze and instruct our students to become proficient readers.
  • Team sports through our physical education program, with football, basketball, soccer, volleyball and softball with our CYO sports program.
  • We have band for all fifth grade students and an elective class for middle school students.
  • OLR students have leadership opportunities through our National Junior Honor Society.
  • Several of our students were honored at the Michigan Week Breakfast for their leadership and contributions to the community outside of our school.
  • OLR hosted an art fair to showcase students’ art.
  • Our students participate d in the LURES Program.
  • Internet safety training was offered to both students and parents through the Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative Program.
  • Our after-school Homework Clinic continues to be a valuable support for our students, hosting an average of 8 children per session.
  • Students displaying positive attitudes are recognized through Raven Rewards.
  • Our school offers assistance through our instructional and academic center.
  • Our Mother Mary courtyard has been beautifully upgraded.

As a school community, we are always evaluating our curriculum and looking for ways to enhance learning for our students.  Our math programs have been fully implemented as well as our reading program – Literacy by Design.  Our teachers participated in professional developments to become proficient with the reading process that is aligned with this curriculum.  Literacy by Design is a strong reading program that incorporates key elements such as whole group, small group, and individual instruction at each student’s own reading level.  Computer technology options and evaluation tools such as iPads and White Board components help monitor student progress.  The goal of any reading program is to guide students to comprehend what they are reading and provide them with the higher level thinking skills necessary to become independent readers.

With an enrollment of 329 students, we are a small, student centered school with the resources and programs of a very large school.  Our Lady of Refuge is a Catholic school family committed to celebrating our personal love for Jesus Christ through our spiritual and academic life, as we ask our Blessed Mother for guidance every day.

For more information please call 248-682-3422, or for a virtual tour of our school visit our website at

Bob Pyles, Principal






Dear OLR Parents:

I would like to welcome all our students and families to a new school year.  I am looking forward to seeing each and every one of you when you return to school on September 4th.  Before you return, I will be meeting with the staff preparing for a successful year.  We will continue to implement new ideas and a vision that we have as a staff for the success of every child.  Some initiatives are being formed before the school year begins and others may take place throughout the school year.

We are very excited and thankful for the beautiful renovation of our Mitchell Family Center from the Dads’ Club fundraising.  Make sure you check out the great job they have completed this summer!

The school theme for this year will be “Reflecting Radiance, Generosity and Compassion”.  We will be incorporating this into our classroom and school activities.  We are busy planning for the 2017-2018 year at Our Lady of Refuge!  We are sending this letter to let you know some of the dates and activities we have planned so far.  Attached you will find an annual school calendar and class supply list.  Please keep these items for future reference.  Supplies should be brought the first day of school.  The annual calendar is an outline of events and vacation time for the school year.  Please remember to always check your monthly calendar, which will be sent home with your child, as the annual calendar is subject to change from time to time.

On the calendar please note that the first day of school, for all students in grades K-8, is Tuesday, September 5th at 8:00 am.  The first day will be a ½ day with dismissal at 11:00 am.  Students are to be dressed in their OLR uniform.  There will be BUSES on this first day of school.  This will be your child’s orientation day and is very important for a good start to the year.  On Wednesday, September 6th we will have a full day, 8:00 am to 3:05 pm, and the 3PreSchool (3 day program) and 4PreK will begin.  Car riders can be dropped off on the car rider side, with the 8th grade valets assisting, beginning at 7:40 am.  If you are a bus rider, you will receive a postcard from the West Bloomfield District during the 3rd week of August telling you your bus number and route pick up time in the morning only.  Reminder, there is no bus transportation in the afternoon.  Also, please be aware West Bloomfield will only provide transportation to those students that are residents of the West Bloomfield school district.   At the end of the day, 3:05 pm dismissal, all students are picked up on the church side of the school.  New this year is our 3PreSchool class for Tuesday and Thursday, and they will begin on September 7th.

The first monthly folder will come home with your student on the first day.  It will contain information and several forms that need to be completed and returned to the school.  If you have not finalized your FACTS Program information yet, please do so as soon as possible as the deadline for the first payment was June 20th.  If you have any questions or problems, please call the school office and Mrs. Richards will assist you.

Our Latchkey Program will be held in a different location this year.  Instead of the Science Lab, it will be in the Performing Arts Center and Cafeteria.  The drop off and pick up will be through the doors of the Performing Arts Center.  The timing will still be 7:00-7:45 am and 3:00-6:00 pm, Kindergarten through 8th grade.  The sign-up forms will be sent home the beginning of the year.  Be sure to return them to ensure a spot for the year.

Effective immediately, students will no longer be able to have cell phones in the building (on their person or in their lockers) during school hours.  Cell phones will not be used in any class for any purpose.  While we understand there may be an occasional situation that parents may need students to bring cell phones to school for the purpose of communicating with their student after school, those students will need to check their phone immediately upon entering the building into the front office to be turned in along with a note signed by the parent.  These phones can then be picked up at dismissal at the end of each day. Cell phones brought to school and not turned in, will be confiscated and held by Mr. Pyles until a parent meeting can be scheduled.  The staff and I appreciate your support with this as cell phones have become our #1 distractor from students learning in class.  As always, if you need to get a hold of your student during school hours, or notify them of a change in plans, please call the office at (248)682-3422. Please do not text, email or call the teacher directly with arrangement changes, as they will be teaching and not necessarily checking their phones during the school day.

Parent Orientation, for students Kindergarten-Eighth grades, will be Wednesday, September 13th at 7:00 pm.  This is a mandatory school function.  There will be attendance taken.  It is very important for the start of your student’s year that you attend, meet the teacher and get all the information you will need to make this school year the best it can be for your child.

We will continue with Grade Link this year, which allows you to keep up to date with your student’s grades.  Class lists will be available on our web site beginning September 1st.  In the interest of OLR becoming more “green”, and to communicate as much information as we can, we will again be sending out email blasts.  There will be a form in the first monthly folder home asking for your email so that you can be included in all the communications.  Your email will not be used for any other function than to get information home.

As always, I will be very visible and responsive to your concerns and/or needs. My door will always be open.

God Bless,

Bob Pyles, Principal

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