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Oakland University Pontiac Initiative

North Foundation Hall, Room 121
318 Meadow Brook Rd.
Rochester, MI 48309-4454
(location map)
(248) 370-4455
[email protected]

group of students in burgundy scrubs with stethoscopes around their necks, posing with instructors

Birth to Grade 16 Education

The Birth to Grade 16 Education Committee focuses on supporting Pontiac PK-12 students' education, as well as helping parents and families to be partners in their children’s education. In addition, the partners work to strengthen the connections between Pontiac Schools and Oakland University, particularly regarding bridging high school graduation and initial college experiences.

Pillar Leads

Headshot of Jon Margerum
Jon Margerum-Leys
OU Lead
School of Education and Human Services
[email protected]
Derrick McDonald head shot
Pastor Derrick McDonald
Pontiac Lead
Prospect Baptist Church
Retired VP of HR, Comer Holdings
[email protected]
Headshot of Kelley Williams
Kelley Williams
Community Partner
Pontiac School District
[email protected]
  • Continue to help parents and families to be partners in their children’s education through the development of Parent University
  • Support middle school students’ algebra skills through algebra workshops and other experiences
  • Provide field experiences to Oakland University students and educational experiences to Pontiac Schools students
  • Support the success of Pontiac School students who face challenges such as English language learning, post-traumatic stress and poverty
  • Strengthen the connections between Pontiac Schools and Oakland University, particularly regarding bridging high school graduation and initial college experiences
Patient Care Technician Program
The Patient Care Technician (PCT) training program at Pontiac High School offers high school students the opportunity to prepare for the healthcare workforce. Students gain competencies as nursing assistants while also learning diagnostic procedures through clinical rotations. “This program has eliminated barriers for many of our students,” said Kelley Williams, superintendent of Pontiac School District.

For more information regarding this program, please contact: Celia Knobelsdorf [email protected] (248) 364-8716
Pontiac Middle School/OU Tutoring Program
Oakland University supports more than 350 Pontiac middle school students’ academic growth by providing Math and English tutors to work with students two days per week. The tutoring program is designed to improve Pontiac middle school students’ performances on standardized tests, classroom/homework assignments and to bolster student attendance at each grade level. The tutor program was sponsored by ty the OU - Pontiac Initiative Community Impact Sponsorship Award and the Oakland County Links, Inc.
OU - Pontiac Initiative's Early Childhood Education group was established to address disparities within Pontiac pertaining to early childhood learning and development and maternal and infant health. Through grants, OUPIECE has hosted several screenings of the documentary “Resilience: The biology of Stress & the Science of Hope” throughout Pontiac to discuss impact of trauma on learning and development.

For more information about OUPIECE, contact:
Dr. Shannan McNair: [email protected]
Dr. Tomoko Wakabayshi: [email protected]
Pontiac Parent University
Parent University is a nationally recognized program designed to empower parents to be strong advocates and partners in their child’s education. Parents are encouraged to participate in free workshops throughout the school year. A variety of workshops fall under Pontiac Parent University’s four focus areas:
  • Health & Wellness
  • Positive Parenting
  • Navigating the Educational System
  • Personal Development
Past workshops included: Zumba with Beaumont Hospital , Healthy Cooking classes with Gleaners, FAFSA workshops with Oakland University Financial Aid Office, Mental Health Series with CNS Healthcare and more.

To learn more about Pontiac Parent University and how to be involved, contact Paola Nkwuzor at [email protected].
Outcome Data

Oakland University’s Reading Language Arts (RLA) Department provided 710 hours of one-to-one instruction to Pontiac youth

  • RLA faculty members participated in three parent nights
  • Oakland University student provided one-on-one tutoring to a child who was struggling with reading at Whitman Elementary School via an undergraduate independent study (16 hours of instruction provided)
  • Provided monthly after-school activities that integrated literacy at the Baldwin Center
  • Exposed 6,916 Pontiac students to careers