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Our Community

May 2015   

In This Issue

Superintendent's Message


News & Events


Student Spotlight


Education in Action


Partner in Education


Your Input Requested

Partners in Education

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TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,


Last week, we celebrated our annual TCAPS Staff Appreciation Week. To help recognize our staff, many of you submitted truly heartwarming and uplifting stories about the difference our employees make in your child’s life. Whether it’s staying late to provide a student with some extra help or simply answering the phone with a smile, it’s often the smallest things that have the greatest impact.


Here is one of my favorite testimonials from last week that captures exactly that spirit:


Jim Rucker (night custodian at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) goes above and beyond all the time, and most times I don’t think we even know about the little things he does. On April 14th, the 6th grade class and our Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Committee hosted a movie night. Parents assisted in clean up, but Jim went through and cleaned up after us—when asked he said, “It’s just what you do for the community.” So happy he is a part of our team. –Liz Yarch


So are we. Thank you Jim and all of our teachers, custodians, food service workers, bus drivers, office staff and everyone at TCAPS who works so hard to make our district great!


View all Staff Appreciation Week comments here. If you have a story you would like to share, please email us at any time throughout the year.









Paul Soma


Traverse City Area Public Schools


U.S. News & World Report Ranks TCAPS High Schools Among Top 50 in State


Traverse City West Senior High School (#16) and Traverse City Central High School (#45) have been named among the top 50 schools in the state by U.S. News & World Report.


U.S. News & World Report ranked 849 public, charter and magnet schools in Michigan and 19,753 across the nation. Silver medals were also awarded to both high schools, an honor received by only 68 schools in Michigan.


The gold and silver distinctions include the top-performing high schools, based on their College Readiness Index, which measures the degree to which students are exposed to and pass some college-level material while in high school. Learn more about the 2015 U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools rankings:

Joshua Davis Homecoming Features TCAPS Students

Willow Hill Elementary School students welcome Joshua Davis at the Cherry Capital Airport.


Fourth graders from Willow Hill Elementary School and members of the CHS and WSH marching bands were on hand at the Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport to welcome home Joshua Davis, a local contestant on The Voice! Students from his daughter’s class held up handmade signs and the high school marching bands performed. The event was taped and was part of a homecoming show featuring Davis and Traverse City. It was a great opportunity to welcome a TCAPS parent home and to showcase our children’s talent to viewers across the nation. Davis will perform along with the other top four finalists on Monday, May 18th, at 8:00 p.m.

After their welcome performance, Central and West marching band students had the opportunity to speak with Joshua Davis at the Cherry Capital Airport.

TCAPS Earns 4th Consecutive 100% Passing Bus Inspection




For the 4th year in a row, TCAPS’ expert bus technicians have earned a 100% inspection rating from the Michigan State Police. The annual inspection ensures that the TCAPS bus fleet is ready to safely transport students to and from school.





TCAPS Summer Programs – Sign Up Now!


TCAPS offers exciting summer enrichment, athletic and academic programs for youth of all ages in the Grand Traverse region. Whether you’re a Traverse City resident or visiting the area for the summer, there is a program for everyone.


  • Summer Adventure Day Camps (ages 3-12)
  • Camp Invention (grades 1-8)
  • Front Street Writers Workshops (grades 3-8)
  • Robotics Camps (grades 2-8)
  • Bridge Academy (grades 7-11)
  • Summer Academy (grades 9-12)
  • LEAP Enrichment Camps (ages 4-17)
  • Sports Camps (grades K-12)


Learn more:

TCAPS Calendar Reminders


  • May 25, 2015 - No School (Memorial Day)
  • June 10, 2015 - Last Day of School (June 8-10 are full school days)
  • June 11, 2015 - Teacher Work Day


View 2015/16 School Year Calendar

2015/16 School Year Immunization Requirements


As of January 2015, new legislation went into effect that has changed some of the processes in public school attendance and immunizations. Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) now requires that all children must be up-to-date or present an authorized waiver form prior to attending a TCAPS school. Michigan recently revised the immunizations rules to require all individuals who wish to waive one or more vaccines to: 1) seek an authorized waiver for medical contraindication from your family physician; 2) seek an authorized waiver for all non-medical concerns from a county health department. The Grand Traverse County Health Department can be reached at (231) 995-6111.


Students who enroll in a public school who do not have up-to-date immunizations or an authorized waiver will not be allowed to attend school until the appropriate paperwork is on file with the school office.

2015 Homeward Bound 5K to Benefit Pete’s Place—May 17th


The Traverse City West High School National Honor Society is hosting the 2015 Homeward Bound 5K on Sunday, May 17, 2015 at West Middle School (3950 Silver Lake Rd.).


Proceeds from the event will benefit Pete’s Place, a local homeless shelter for teens who are experiencing difficult life situations. Refreshments and a complimentary t-shirt will be provided for race participants. Local musicians will play during the event and food will be available for purchase. Families are welcome to participate. Register online at:

Traverse City West Senior High School Sailing Home Benefit for Child and Family Services—May 19th


On Tuesday, May 19, 2015 students from Traverse City West Senior High School’s Community Service Advisory will host Sailing Home, a fundraiser to benefit the Child and Family Services’ Host Homes program.


The event will include a silent auction/food/music event from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Corner Loft followed by a showing of the The Princess Bride at the State Theatre beginning at 6:00 p.m.


Tickets can be purchased online at (search “Sailing Home”). Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under, and children 3 and under are free. Tickets cover the cost of both events. For additional information, visit

2014/15 TCAPS Retirement Recognition Celebration—May 28th


Traverse City Area Public Schools is pleased to announce the Board of Education’s Retirement Recognition Celebration honoring all 2014/15 retiring employees of Traverse City Area Public Schools.


The celebration will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. at the Tompkins Boardman Administration Center (412 Webster Street, on the second floor in the Curriculum Rooms). Refreshments will be served.


Mr. John Sonnemann, Voice of the Trojans, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. There will also be special entertainment from the Traverse City Central High School String Quartet. TCAPS’ students, families, alumni and friends of retirees are encouraged to attend.


Please RSVP to Kelly Walter at 231-933-1713 or

Community Events & Resources


View current community events and opportunities

Looking for something to do? Check out the TCAPS Community Events & Resources page! There you will find student enrichment opportunities, family-friendly events, services, and support groups available to families in our community.




Eastern Elementary Students Get To Know Real Life Heroes

Larry, a local verteran teaches Eastern Elementary School students about C-Rations.


Eastern Elementary School students have been learning a thing or two about heroes - the kind who wear uniforms as part of a service-learning program. Since the beginning of April, Eastern classrooms have been hosting veterans from all branches of the military who have served in wars ranging from WWII to Vietnam to Afghanistan.


Students are learning about world and U.S. history, and writing about service, bravery and sacrifice. Every class has one or more veterans who meet with them each week.


“The real experiences and stories students are hearing from veterans connect to academic subjects,” says Terri Lutes, 4th grade teacher at Eastern. “It’s head and heart learning that gives students a deeper understanding of the world, and of themselves, and helps them develop empathy and compassion.”


As part of a their service project, Eastern has partnered with Patriot Place (Gaylord) to help veterans in need. Students have created “Heroes Bins” that will be donated to Patriot Place for veterans moving into permanent housing. Students and families are filling each bin with home goods to help recipients get started in his/her own place. Items like sheets, pillows, plates, glassware and silverware are some of the items that will fill each bin.


To view items needed and to pledge a donation:



On May 27, at 10:00 a.m., students will host a Heroes Veterans Ceremony in the gymnasium at Central High School. All local veterans and community members are welcome to attend.

Eastern Elementary School students have the opportunity to meet real life heroes as part of their annual service-learning project.


Math Pilots

Students present a project using the new math curriculum being piloted at Westwoods Elementary School.


Classrooms in three TCAPS elementary schools have been testing three different math programs in a project that began last fall. The pilot projects began after data showed that students were doing really well in reading, but weren’t having the same success in math. The preliminary results from the first phase of the pilots are in and show promising initial results. The potential to improve student achievement and excitement about math has led to additional schools and classrooms signing up to be part of the pilots during the 2015/16 school year. Moving forward, TCAPS will continue to examine which curriculum options might be the best for the district. To do so, the following metrics will be used:


  • Evidence of students' math learning
  • Parent and teacher satisfaction surveys
  • Academic return on investment calculations (which takes into account the cost
      of the program in relation to the increase in math learning by students).

Local Harvest of the Month



May: Radishes


Radishes are members of the mustard family. They are a great northern Michigan crop to plant in early spring, with many varieties growing in as few as 3 weeks.


To learn more about the different types of radishes and different ways to cook and eat them, go to:


Let’s All Do the NMC BBQMay 17th


Learn more and order your tickets online today!

This year’s barbeque will be held on Sunday, May 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on NMC's main campus. It will feature buffalo burgers, hot dogs and sides, provided courtesy of Oleson’s Food Stores.


This year’s event will also help support the TCAPS Peer to Peer Mentoring program. The program creates opportunities for student mentors to engage with peers with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students work with each other on a weekly basis, creating a consistent, comfortable environment for students to build their skills.


For every ticket purchased online under the “Buy Tickets To Support TCAPS" category before 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15th, one dollar will be donated to the Peer to Peer program.


Let’s all do the NMC Barbecue! To purchase your ticket, visit: (click the tickets link, then select “Buy Tickets to Support TCAPS” to donate $1 to TCAPS Peer to Peer mentoring program).


Traverse City Youth Triathlon—June 6th Registration is Now Open!


Learn more and register here!

It’s the time of year for 5K’s and Fun Runs, but rarely do you find something this special just for kids.


The Traverse City Youth Triathlon, to be held June 6, 2015 at TC Civic Center, is a fun and challenging event for grade school aged kids. Young athletes swim, bike and run in this 3-event race that not only promotes fitness but improves your child's self-confidence as they cross the finish line on their own.


A great introduction to the sport, TCYT offers a short swim in a lap pool, followed by a safe bike ride and a fun run. We strongly encourage friends and family to come cheer on these young competitors for one of the best spectator events of the season. The TCYT benefits the TCAPS LEAP program.


Register today at:

STEP Appreciation Breakfast Celebrates Students’ Achievements and Honors Community Sponsors

Graduating seniors shared art, poems and life stories during the STEP appreciation breakfast.


The Students in Transition Empowerment Program (STEP), a free program through Traverse City Area Public Schools that ensures the educational rights of families and youth, who lack fixed, regular, and adequate housing, hosted a breakfast to celebrate graduating seniors who have participated in the program and to thank the sponsors who help make it happen.


The graduating seniors shared art, poems and life stories. Through many struggles, they have persevered and programs like STEP help support those successes. Special thanks to Barb Lee of Meijer who presented a surprise donation of $5,000 to support transportation needs. Visit to see a list of all Partners In Education who support STEP.

Special thanks to Barb Lee of Meijer who presented a surprise donation of $5,000 to the STEP program.

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.


Board of Education Coffee Conversations Survey


The TCAPS Board of Education hosts a monthly “Coffee Conversation” as a way for parents, students and community members to share ideas and feedback about the school district in an informal, casual setting.


The goal of this survey is to help make Coffee Conversations as useful as possible and to gauge public interest in informal opportunities to engage with members of the TCAPS Board of Education. Please take the survey now:

Safe Routes to School Survey


Norte! has teamed up with TCAPS and the National Center for Safe Routes to School to encourage more kids to bike (and walk) to school and to their bus stops than ever before. In advance of The Great Traverse City Bike Train Experiment this fall, we would like to know a little about how students get to school and why.


Please take a few minutes and answer these six (6) brief survey questions:


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Traverse City Area Public Schools

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