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A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Old Mission Peninsula School (OMPS) is planned for July 1, 2018. This will mark the official transfer of ownership of the school from Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) to the Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation (OMPEF), as well as the start of operations for the new OMPS.

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Everyone is invited to the ceremony, which will take place on Sunday, July 1, 5:30 p.m., at OMPS, followed by a picnic at Bowers Harbor Park from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. OMP residents are encouraged to bring family and friends, as well as a drink of choice for the picnic.

OMPEF President Allison O’Keefe says that members of the OMP community and OMPS team will say a few words at the ceremony, as well as Thomas Haas, president of Grand Valley State University (GVSU), which awarded OMPS a charter on July 14, 2017.

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“We want this to be a great party for the Old Mission community who fought so hard and are giving so much to make this happen,” says O’Keefe, adding that the event is sponsored by GVSU and hosted by OMPEF.

The new OMPS will open as a tuition-free public school on September 4, 2018. With small class sizes and a curriculum which engages the community and makes use of the school’s one-of-a-kind campus, OMPEF and OMPS officials promise that the school will continue the tradition of high academic achievement.

The new OMPS will also bring back favorite activities using the outdoor campus, such as holding science class at the pond, bottling maple syrup, learning about the stars and solar system, and hosting the annual school carnival with the ever popular “cakewalk.”

Since 2015, a community-based grassroots effort to save the school has been underway. To date, more than $1.75 million has been donated, with donations ranging from $15 to several hundred thousand dollars. This includes $1.1 million raised to buy the school back from TCAPS. This effort has been led by a volunteer group who founded the non-profit 501(c)(3) Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation (OMPEF).

However, additional funds are still needed to cover start-up costs prior to when the State of Michigan sends the new school its per pupil funding, which will not happen until late October 2018.

Specifically, funds will go towards:

  • Upgrading the building’s technology, security systems and connectivity
  • Hiring teachers, school leaders and support staff
  • Purchasing curriculum (read more about OMPS’ curriculum here)
  • Providing professional development for the teachers and staff
  • Developing language, art, music, fitness and media programming
  • Providing food service
  • Purchasing gym equipment

“The Old Mission community and school needs our help to cross the finish line in September,” says Jen Coleman, an alum of OMPS (sixth grade class of 1977) who is now the director, vice-president and treasurer of the new OMPS Board of Trustees.

“Now is your chance to pay it forward and give the next generations the great start we all had. They too, will have the opportunity to not only learn more of who they are, but of who they will become,” says Coleman, adding, “The new OMPS promises to be the school families and staff choose, where students reach their full potential within a community where children love to learn and teachers love to teach.”

Coleman notes that every donation is appreciated and makes a difference. Donations may be sent to the Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation, 4007 Swaney Road, P.O. Box 171, Old Mission, MI 49673. You may also donate online here.

Also, watch for information about walking with the OMPS float in the Cherry Festival. We’ll report it here on Old Mission Gazette as soon as we have details.

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