Frequently Asked Questions:
Are you really going to open in the Fall of 2018?
YES, without a doubt! The school will open on September 4, 2018. Our “to-do” list is lengthy and we are making progress daily toward its completion. Our team is working closely with Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and the National Charter School Institute (NCSI), charter start-up veterans, to ensure we are ready for your family on the first day of school! According to the experts, we are “ahead of schedule”. We can’t wait to see you!
TCAPS closed Old Mission Peninsula School. How do we know that the “new” OMPS will be here in the future?
One of our guiding principles is to create a school that will stand the test of time. This was, and continues to be, part of our commitment to the community that supported purchasing the building from the district and bringing it back to the Old Mission Peninsula.
Our charter school authorizer also believes in establishing sustainable schools. When Grand Valley State University enters into a charter contract with a school, it is for the long-term. There are very high standards that schools must meet or exceed in order to be granted a charter through GVSU. According to the GVSU Charter Schools Office, roughly 15% of applicants are ever granted a charter. Once established, those charters typically remain in operation for many years. The average age of the schools in GVSU’s portfolio is 12 years, and approximately 25% them have been open for at least 20 years.
If OMPS were to show struggles, GVSU would work directly with our school to increase its operating capacity and, if needed, to strengthen its academic program to improve results for students. GVSU shares the high standards we have for our school and wants to make sure they are met. GVSU is hands-on with support and works closely with the school community to drive improvement. They have only closed 12 schools during their 20+ years of authorizing charter schools, and of those 12, eight were closed by the choice of the schools’ boards of directors.
We are pleased that after carefully assessing multiple factors about our school, GVSU approved our application and became our authorizer. They share our vision and see OMPS as a “forever school” for our community.
What role does GVSU play in your school?
GVSU is our authorizer, which means that they hold the contract that allows OMPS to operate as a tuition-free public school in the state of Michigan. GVSU oversees our compliance data, ensuring that we are meeting all state reporting requirements. They continuously monitor our educational and financial data to guarantee we are providing a high quality education to your child, while keeping a close eye on our financial health. GVSU supports OMPS by providing an expert liaison, Dan Warren, who connects us with a multitude of GVSU based services such as consultation, classes, and board training. Stop by and meet Dan at our next school board meeting!
In addition, as a charter school within the GVSU portfolio, all of our teachers can attend GVSU professional development courses at no fee. This demonstrates GVSU’s commitment to continuing education and encourages our staff to continue their training.
We have never heard of EL Education, has it been tried elsewhere?
One of the reasons GVSU granted our charter was based on the curriculum we selected: one that they have experience with at other schools in their portfolio; one that has demonstrated high student achievement.
EL Education (Expeditionary Learning) partners with school districts and charter school boards to open new schools and/or transform existing schools at all grade levels (K–12), and in all settings — urban, rural, and suburban. Since their start in 1992, EL schools have grown from a small group of ten schools into a diverse national network of more than 150 schools serving 50,000 students, with exceptional results.
How does EL curriculum compare to other curriculum?
EL Education K–5 Language Arts curriculum has received the highest review score ever given to a K–5 ELA curriculum by EdReports! Out of a total possible score of 696 points, EL Education K–5 Language Arts earned 668 points, making it the highest-rated K–5 ELA series ever reviewed by EdReports. The nationally-acclaimed comprehensive core curriculum combines lesson materials and text study to challenge students to think critically about real-world topics. Considered ‘the Consumer Reports of instructional materials,’ EdReports is an independent nonprofit that reviews K–12 curricula for standards alignment and quality.
What about your staff?
We have hired our leadership team and they began working in April 2018! Dena Schweitzer will serve as our Director of Academics and Jeremy Stringer is our new Director of Operations. We are excited about the energy and expertise of our founding leadership team.
Now that leadership is in place, our recruitment work group is reviewing applications and interviewing certified candidates for the positions of K-6 teachers, a special education teacher, an office manager, a para-professional and we will soon be recruiting “specials instructors” and facility maintenance staff. To date, OMPS has had a tremendous response from high quality teaching candidates. We know what it takes to fill the team with the best crew and we look forward to creating our very own founding team of educators who believe in our mission and vision and choose to make OMPS their home! We can’t wait to share our team with you in the near future!
Why two leaders? What do they do?
Unlike traditional school models where there is one principal or superintendent leading the school, the OMPEF and the School Board determined early on that their community school would be different. To ensure dedication to both academics and operations at the school, two leaders have been put in place.
The leaders are dedicated to providing an educational program the engages students in hands-on learning and energizes them to discover all that they can be. Working closely with our partner in Human Resources and the National Charter School Institute, the first choices in candidates were secured for the positions of Director of Academics and Director of Operations.
Their experience uniquely qualifies them for their jobs and provides a tremendous skill set for the school’s leadership.
Since you are opening a new school, all of the staff will be new. How are you going to support your staff?
Our staff will be supported in a variety of ways. Thanks to the generosity of the Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation (OMPEF), OMPS will be working closely with EL Education who will provide high quality professional development with both materials and face to face training. EL Education’s transformative professional development is a cornerstone of the EL Education model. EL Trainers are known for their skillful delivery of powerful professional development.. EL’s Language Arts Curriculum is supported by professional development that engages teachers and leaders in the same deep reading, thinking, and writing that they will expect of their students. OMPS staff will also receive high quality training in Math in Focus, our math program. This math program was recently used in the region with impressive results.
My child currently receives special education support, will OMPS offer this too?
Yes! OMPS will have a certified special education teacher on staff. In addition, we will work with our partners at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District to offer ancillary services such as Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech/Language Therapy, in addition to many other services.
Will you have “specials”?
Yes. We are recruiting certified teachers in physical education, music, art, and foreign language. If you know of any favorites, please encourage them to apply as we are just getting started with our recruitment efforts for “specials”.
Will you have bussing?
Not at this time. Transportation was not identified in our surveys as a priority. However, we will continually assess the need for transportation. Fortunately, with our location in the middle of the Old Mission Peninsula, for those of you living on OMP, you are just a short, beautiful drive away from our campus.
As done with other schools, there is a group working on developing carpool options for next school year. Stay tuned for details!
Will you have hot lunch?
It is our goal to have a tasty hot lunch program available on the first day of school. We are currently evaluating providing our own service or partnering with vendors in the community to provide high quality food service at our school. We anticipate having this decision made soon and will share the news when we do!
Our child is significantly behind in reading. As a new charter school, how would reading being addressed, especially for someone coming in behind.
At OMPS we will collect reading data very early in the year. If a student is behind in reading, our intervention team will create an IRIP (Individual Reading Improvement Plan). We will utilize the power of the TBAISD team and their award-winning action plan to devise appropriate interventions based on the student's needs. Data will be collected and analyzed at specified intervals to monitor the student's response to the prescribed intervention. Interventions will be adjusted based on data analysis by the intervention team.
We value academics, but also believe in the socio-emotional skills development being integrated into the learning process. How will that happen at Old Mission?
The EL Education model focuses on student excellence in three areas: Mastery of Knowledge and Skills, Character, and High-Quality Student Work. Socio-emotional skills are integrated throughout the day. Students will learn to become effective learners by developing the mindset and skills for success (initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration). They will also work to become ethical people by striving to treat others well and stand up for what is right (empathy, integrity, respect, compassion). Finally, our students will contribute to a better world by putting their learning to use to improve the community around them (citizenship, service).
With new teachers in a new system at a new school, how are the teachers going to be supported prior to the start of the year? Throughout the year?
We have secured a contract with EL Education for professional development. We have been working with their team of experts to develop a solid professional development plan. In addition to face to face professional development that will be held in the summer, there will be continued support throughout the school-year. We will also utilize the expertise of our authorizer, Grand Valley State University to supplement with additional professional development. We will also have professional development provided by the publisher of our math curriculum, Math in Focus.
What are the accountability standards the school and teachers being held to?
Similar to traditional public schools, we are aligned with the Michigan Academic Standards and our students will take the M-STEP test.
Not just from a testing standpoint, but how will you know that the curriculum philosophy is being implemented as planned?
We are teaming with EL Education who will provide instructional coaching throughout the school year. These sessions will provide consistent monitoring and allow us to ensure implementation of the program as designed. We will be assigned a dedicated coach who will be on call when we have questions, and will provide virtual/on-site visits. The Director of Academics will serve as both a supervisor and an instructional leader. She will be visible within the building and she will provide coaching support and connect staff with the materials they need to be successful.
What is a Charter School?
Charter schools are part of Michigan’s public education system. They are tuition-free public schools founded by educators, parents, community groups, and others who have a compelling vision for a new school to serve children in their community.
Charter schools operate under a performance-based contract (the charter) granted by a public education institution (an authorizer) and are governed by a local school board appointed by the authorizer. They are also subject to virtually all the same requirements as all other public schools, so charter students take the M-STEP and school leaders will report information to the Michigan Department of Education the same way that all public schools do.
Each charter contract is performance based and contains rigorous educational goals expected to be achieved. Schools that meet these goals can continue to serve kids. Schools that do not meet these goals are subject to corrective measures to help them improve. Schools that consistently underperform can be closed. OMPS was authorized for charter in July, 2017 by GVSU and is working closely with GVSU and the National Charter School Institute to organize our school.
We are a tuition-free, public charter school and receive per pupil funding from the State of Michigan, just as every other public school does.
As a public school, requirements for admission are similar to any other public school. Enrollment is open to Michigan students in grades K-6. Kindergarten students must be 5 years old by September 1st.
How does open enrollment work and when does open enrollment take place?
You must enroll your child(ren) in the new school, students will not automatically transfer from the current school to the “new” Old Mission Peninsula School. Once open enrollment begins, applications will be available in the following locations in both English and Spanish formats:
Completed applications (required for each individual student) will be accepted via email [email@example.com] or postal service at:
Old Mission Peninsula School
P.O. Box 40
Old Mission, MI 49673
Email submissions to admission@OMPSchool.org must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 22, 2018.
Mail must be postmarked no later than Thursday, March 22, 2018.
Please view the complete OMPS Admission and Enrollment Policy and Procedures by request from admission@OMPSchool.org or at www.OMPSchool.org.
Open enrollment will occur annually Class sizes are limited, which sometimes means students may be put into a lottery if there are more applicants than spots available in particular grades. When a lottery is necessary applicants are randomly drawn and the remaining applicants will be randomly selected to be placed on a wait list for the particular grade.
What are the typical hours of the school day?
Monday through Friday the school operates from 8:15 a.m. - 3:15 p.m
We are in the planning stages for options for a program for before and after school care. Please stay tuned for more information.
Are Old Mission Peninsula School Teachers certified?
Yes, Old Mission Peninsula School Teachers are certified and registered with the State of Michigan.
Will OMPS offer special education services?
Yes, OMPS will provide special education services to any student who requires them. We will work in partnership with TBAISD to provide appropriate services for all learners in special education support services such as Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech/Language Therapy, Social Work, as well as, a School Psychologist and Teacher Consultants. Special education teachers partner with regular classroom teachers to reach every student.
How do I enroll for Preschool?
Please contact the Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation at info@OMPEF.org regarding preschool programs at the school.
As a charter school, will OMPS still be part of Traverse City Area Public Schools ("TCAPS")?
No, OMPS will be independent of TCAPS and will be governed by its own school board. Though we will be independent, know that our relationship with TCAPS and the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (“TBAISD”) is strong. Old Mission Peninsula is still in the TCAPS district and our job is to fully prepare our students for their transition to the district's middle and high schools. We look forward to working with them to serve all children. We have and will continue to maintain a positive relationship to ensure our students transition smoothly.
What is the best way to explore Old Mission Peninsula School?
Please contact the school by email at admission@OMPSchool.org or call (231) 492-0327 to make an appointment.