Email not viewing correctly? View it in your browser

Our Community

February 2015   

In This Issue

Superintendent's Message


News & Events


Student Spotlight


Education in Action


Partner in Education

Partners in Education


View current community events and opportunities


TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,


At the Board of Education’s meeting on January 26th, they took the next step in what will likely be a 12-18 month process to review district priorities and to determine the best ways to meet our students’ needs today, tomorrow and into the future.


The challenge the Board faces is to bring a laser focus to how we can continue to improve and support student achievement efforts in the face of declining revenue, declining enrollment and aging buildings. In order to ensure that there is enough time for the district and community to do this work, the Board of Education has decided not to put a capital bond request on the ballot this year.


In the coming months, the Board of Education will be reviewing information about student achievement, how budget decisions can help drive student achievement and how district buildings and capital investments impact student success. We welcome your feedback and will be seeking your input along the way.









Paul Soma

Interim Superintendent

Traverse City Area Public Schools


Superintendent Search


The TCAPS Board of Education is currently accepting applications for the position of Superintendent of Schools. Applications must be submitted before 4:00 p.m. on Friday, February 20th. The position announcement can be viewed here.


Search timeline:


  • February 20, 2015—Application deadline
  • February 24, 2015—Candidate screening
  • Week of March 9, 2015—First interviews
  • Week of March 16, 2015—First and second interviews
  • Week of March 23, 2015—Candidate selection
  • July 1, 2015 or soon thereafter—Start date


Opportunity to Provide Input


Members of the Board of Education will gather community input and feedback about the superintendent search at the next Coffee Conversation on February 26th. The Coffee Conversation will be held at Horizon Books (243 East Front Street) from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Superintendent Search Frequently Asked Questions:


Measles: Information for Parents


As the risk of measles (also called rubeola) increases after the Disneyland-¬related outbreak, we wanted to share some important information with you from the Grand Traverse County Health Department.


Measles is caused by a virus and was formerly a common childhood disease. It is one of the most contagious diseases known. It is characterized by fever, runny nose, cough, “pink eye”, and eventually a total¬ body rash. Additional complications include diarrhea, pneumonia, and inflammation of the lining of the brain. Two or three of every 1000 cases are fatal. An infected person puts the virus into the air just by breathing ¬ no coNCugh is necessary. The measles virus will live in the air and on objects for at least 2 hours, infecting 90% of susceptible people even after the infected person has left the room.


A concern for schools is that a child who develops measles can pass the virus to others even before that child becomes sick. A child who is susceptible (unvaccinated) and exposed to the virus may not develop the typical symptoms for as long as 21 days. This means that if your child is not up to date with the MMR vaccine and a case is diagnosed at your child’s school, your child will not be able to attend school for at least 21 days.


Fortunately, there is a highly effective vaccine against measles. Ordinarily given at 12¬15 months of age with a second dose at 4¬6 years, the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine will prevent measles for 90¬95% of people who contact the virus, and the protection is life¬long. There is general agreement in the scientific community that the vaccine is very safe. Like any vaccine, it takes some time after it has been given before the body develops a reliable immunity, which could be up to 6 weeks. So, if you or your family members are considering getting the vaccine, don’t wait.


To learn more about thNe measles virus, visit:


Public Health nursing staff from the Health Department are also available to answer further questions you may have, call 231-995-6125.

NCAA Signing Day for TC West and TC Central Athletes

Central High School's Seth Tice and Ethan Campbell on signing day.


Traverse City West Senior High School's Zack McGuire committed to Northwood University to play football and TC West’s Cameron Sipple will play men’s soccer at Western Michigan University. Traverse City Central High School’s Seth Tice and Ethan Campbell have both signed to play football at Michigan Technological University.

TCAPS Educators Selected to Conduct State Honors Choirs


Wendee Wolf-Schlarf, TCAPS Music Coordinator, has been selected by the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) to conduct the SSAA Women’s State Honors Choir at the Michigan Music Conference next year. An SSAA choir is composed of two Soprano sections and two Alto sections. In addition, Tamara Grove, Traverse City Central HiTCgh School Choir Director, was selected by the MSVMA to conduct the SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass) State Honors Choir at the 2017 Michigan Music Conference. Congratulations to these exceptional educators who are recognized across the state for their talent.

Boardman Building Celebrates 100 Years

Parker Hobbs classroom at the Boardman School.


The Boardman Building, which currently houses TCAPS’ central office, turns 100 years old this year. Formerly an elementary school, the building was converted into administrative offices in 1970. The current Boardman Building was built in 1915, after the original building burned down a few years earlier.


The Boardman Building has seen the school district grow from what was once called the Public Schools of Traverse City into Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) in 1979. Over the last 100 years, the area has changed and TCAPS has grown with it. From serving 1,500 students in 1960, to the 10,000 students TCAPS serves today, Traverse City has had a proud tradition of offering high quality educational opportunities for all.

The Boardman Building turns 100 years old this year.

TCAPS/YMCA SPLASH Program Set to Launch


TCAPS, in partnership with the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA, will launch the SPLASH program, which provides in-pool water safety and confidence training to third grade students at no cost to families. Students will attend five, forty-five minute sessions at the new YMCA pool, once per week. The program will begin in mid-February and will focus on the following:


  • Week 1 Pool Safety
  • Week 2 Backyard Pool Safety
  • Week 3 Boating Safety
  • Week 4 Beach Safety and Cold Water
  • Week 5 Celebration, Water Parks and Diving Tips


The dates and times for each elementary school classroom will be shared with families by the classroom teacher. Transportation will be provided by TCAPS. The SPLASH program has been generously funded by members of the community and the YMCA.

February Local Harvest of the Month


Local Harvest of the Month


FoodCorps and NW Michigan Farm to School will be featuring beets in classrooms and cafeterias during the month of February. Click here to find fun facts, a craft idea and a recipe featuring the beet. For more information about FoodCorps in the classroom, visit:


Bus Safety

School buses provide the safest transportation to and from school.


Did you know that school bus riders are safer than vehicle passengers when traveling to and from school and school-related events? A bus’s size, structure, and safety components provide the greatest passenger protection. Plus, the TCAPS bus technicians are nationally recognized and we have a professional team of bus drivers who make getting students to school safely their number one priority. For more information about bus safety, visit:

Snow Days

A snow drift covers a local roadway. Large drifts can make driving on area roads difficult or unsafe.


Tough winter weather is a part of life in northern Michigan. TCAPS covers 300 square miles and a wide variety of terrain, including hills, highways and back roads. In order to get real-time information about weather conditions, including reports on road conditions, visibility, blowing and drifting, “road checkers” are sent out to survey the conditions beginning at 3:00 a.m. Drivers provide reports from areas across the district and TCAPS communicates with the Grand Traverse Road Commission and meteorologists from the National Weather Service to ensure the best information possible is gathered before making a school closing decision. A decision to close school is made by 4:30 a.m., if possible, or by 6:00 a.m. at the latest.


Once the decision to hold school has been made and transportation is in progress, the district must uphold the decision. While it may seem to make sense to cancel school after 6:00 a.m. or to turn buses around if the weather worsens, TCAPS does not do this for a number of important reasons:

  1. Students cannot be returned to empty homes. Some TCAPS students are as young as 3 years old.
  2. Students who have not been picked up by a bus would be left waiting at a bus stop.
  3. On inclement weather days, the bus is still the safest mode of transportation for students to get to and from school.

Local media outlets, the TCAPS website and the TCAPS Transportation Hotline (231-933-1955) are all ways to get information about Traverse City area snow day closures. The Transportation Hotline also has information about individual buses that are running more than 10 minutes behind.


Will snow days have to be made up?


The state of Michigan currently allows schools up to six snow days. TCAPS has had four snow days so far this year. The decision to make up additional days would happen at the beginning of April, after the majority of snow days are expected to have occurred for the year.


TCAPS 24/7


TCAPS 24/7 is a resource designed for students, grades K-5, to use when school is closed due to inclement weather. Students can access a number of age and grade appropriate lessons using a computer or mobile device. Many of the lessons come from resources that students are already using in the classroom, including math lessons from Khan Academy. It also allows students to continue lessons they were working on in class or to try something new. Participation is voluntary, but students can submit their work to their teacher when they have completed a lesson. TCAPS plans to continue to add to the site and welcomes feedback from parents and students about how to make the resource as useful as possible.



Central High School’s Junior Varsity Debate Team Wins State Championship


Traverse City Central High School’s Debate Team won the Junior Varsity state debate tournament. They also had two teams advance to the final round of the tournament. Two different two-person teams entered. The first partnership was comprised of Sam Franz and Will Kunzth. The second partnership was Meredith Allen and Arabel McLachlan. The tournament bylaws prohibit teams from the same school debating each other, whichIn meant they were all declared state champions. They also won individual awards. Will Kunz was 8th speaker overall, Meredith Allen was 4th speaker, Arabel McLachlan was 2nd speaker, and Sam Franz was 1st speaker. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!



Goodwill Bins at WSH Provide a Meaningful Way to Give Back

West Senior High School students and staff are making a difference.


I figured out early in my career that some of the strongest things that happen in schools have nothing to do with official...anything. If you want to find some of the best great stories in education, you have to look between the lines.


The West Senior High School Olympia Neighborhood Class Council is a great example of this. The group is typically tasked with heading up exciting catchall student stuff, like designing Homecoming t-shirts. But, under the new leadership of advisor Ryan Cormier, the group also pushed themselves to think about ways they could be more relevant. That’s when the group stumbled upon something, well, meaningful.


Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the group brought some Goodwill Bins into the school (think big boxes on pallets). The idea was that WSH students and staff could donate new/used items for Goodwill to collect when the bins are full. In return, the school receives in-store credit that is shared back with students/families who may appreciate it.


Now when I see the kids from our Olympia Class Council, I notice a little more pep in their step. When I compliment them on their work, they give you that 'aweshucks' look, but with a twinkle that lets you know that they are proud of themselves and their school neighborhood because they are doing something good.


About the Author: Andy Wares is an assistant principal at West Senior High School in the Olympia Neighborhood.


Interlochen Community School and Eastern Elementary School Receive AEDs

Interlochen Community School receives AED.


The proceeds received from the 1st Annual UpNorth Media Traverse City Youth Triathlon were used to purchase and install an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at Interlochen Community School. In addition, Eastern Elementary School received an anonymous donation of an AED for their school.


“AED’s are expensive and if we could help TCAPS move one step closer to having one in every school, that is a really good thing,” said Brian Hagerty Owner of UpNorth Media. The triathlon was held September 6, 2014. More than 100 youth participants competed against their peers in a three-part race at the Civic Center. The youth triathlon helps provide an introduction to triathlons, giving young athletes a safe and positive environment to build their fitness.


Nine TCAPS schools currently do not have AED’s: Blair Elementary School, Courtade Elementary School, Long Lake Elementary School, Old Mission Peninsula School, Silver Lake Elementary School, TCAPS International School at Bertha Vos, TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis, Traverse Heights Elementary School, and Willow Hill Elementary School. Traverse City West Senior High School, West Middle School and East Middle School each have one AED. However, additional AED’s at these schools would better serve their larger student populations.


Anyone interested in sponsoring an AED for a school should contact Partner In Education Coordinator Karyn Hertel at 231-933-5654 or

Larkin Group Score 20 for TCAPS Offer Expanded


Click here for more infomration

By now you have heard of the success of the Larkin Group’s Score 20 for TCAPS campaign. If you mention the program, the Larkin Group will donate 20% of their revenue for each new auto, home or business policy to Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS). It’s any easy way to support the schools while meeting your family’s insurance needs.


This year, the program is getting even better. If a family signs up for a policy with the Larkin Group (Home, Auto, Umbrella, Life), 20% of the commission generated from those policies will be donated to the TCAPS team, club, teacher, school or booster group of their choice. For as long as that family maintains their policies with Larkin, at renewal time every year that program will get another 20%. Each carrier pays different commissions, but the average account will generate roughly $75-$100 for their selected program every year. Business policies are also welcome to participate.


If you are interested in learning more, please contact Josh Haselton at 231.947.8800 or

TCAPS Partner In Education Program: An opportunity to support schools, teachers, programs, teams and clubs!


The TCAPS Partner In Education (PIE) program works to connect community members, businesses and organizations to our schools through sponsorships, financial contributions, in-kind donations or givebacks. Your sponsorship or donation can benefit the school, teacher, program, team or club of your choice. Sponsor space is available at all TCAPS schools, Thirlby Field stadium, electronically via our e-newsletter and new this year, the TCAPS Food Truck!


Contact Karyn Hertel at 231-933-5654 / or visit to learn more.


Subscribe to Our Community:

Copyright (c) 2014
Traverse City Area Public Schools

Contact Us: