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Why I Support Orchard Park Elementary

Over the last several weeks I have had the pleasure of meeting many families and individuals from the South Central Carmel/ Home Place neighborhood concerned about the possibility of closing the current Orchard Park elementary. While attending one such meeting, I was struck with the realization that this issue is about much more than the relocating of an elementary building. It is about removing a vital and connecting component of a neighborhood and community.

Orchard Park Elementary has been the neighborhood school for 62 years. It is the only school in the recently annexed Home Place neighborhood. It has been a common bond that has tied past generations to current ones. It has been the focal point for neighborhood activities and gatherings. Friends and neighbors walk their children to school together. They see their children to the bus stop together. They attend plays, open houses, PTO meetings all together as a neighborhood.

Orchard Park elementary is an important part of the larger community of Carmel as well. It is the most diverse elementary in Hamilton County ( with 31 languages represented. It has been the host of several highly successful and important community events such as Taste of Carmel, International Night, and Literacy night. OPE is one of only 30 Indiana schools recognized for placing a high priority on student health by Indiana Action for Health Kids. OPE Consistently performs above average on educational assessments. It is truly an example for the rest of the state, that high academic achievement is possible, no matter what challenges face our children. Orchard Park Elementary is a source of pride for all of Carmel.

Orchard Park elementary success is in no small part due to the pride and dedication of the neighborhood that surrounds it. We have civic organizations that spend millions of dollars across this state, to instill this pride back into neighborhoods. To risk losing that pride, is a serious consideration. I encourage the Carmel Clay School board to implement a plan that would save this valuable resource for the children of the community.

Mark Hinton

If you support Orchard Park Elementary and want to show your support, please write to with your thoughts on this issue.

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