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Our Community

September 2014    

In This Issue

Superintendent's Message


News & Events


Guest Post


How I Spent My Summer


Farm to School


Partner in Education

Partners in Education

Learn more here
Learn more or register now!


View current community events and opportunities


TCAPS students heading in for their first day of school.



TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,


On behalf of the Board of Education and Traverse City Area Public Schools, I would like to welcome everyone to the 2014/15 school year. It is going to be a great year!


I would also like to extend a warm welcome to the families and staff members who are new to the district this year. We are happy to have you in our community of lifelong learners, parents, educators and advocates who work to ensure that the students across our region receive the best education possible.


We invite you to get informed and get involved. Together we make our community and our schools great.










Paul Soma

Interim Superintendent

Traverse City Area Public Schools


Back-to-School Kickoff Event

TCAPS staff, volunteers and coaches celebrate the start of a new school year

at the August Welcome Back-to-School Kickoff at Thirlby Field.

On August 26th, TCAPS hosted a welcome back-to-school event for all staff, volunteers and coaches. More than 550 people attended the event at Thirlby Field. It is the only time during the year when all of the people who work or volunteer for TCAPS have a chance to be together in one place. New staff were introduced, student musicians from TC West’s marching bands performed and event sponsors/Partners In Education brought wonderful giveaways to share.

Millage Renewal Information

Election is Tuesday, November 4th


Request is for renewal of current millage
   - No increase


Same since 1999
   - 18 mills on non-homestead properties
   - 0 mills on homesteads


Not paid by most taxpayers
   - Levied on most second homes and businesses
   - Required to receive the state's full foundation allowance per pupil


TCAPS cannot fully operate without it
   - Approximately 36% of TCAPS budget


Learn more:

Saving Energy with Cenergistic

This summer, the Board of Education approved the use of a performance-based contract with Cynergistic to help the district save money, while saving energy. An energy specialist will begin working with the district in mid-September and will provide expertise on how TCAPS buildings can be better energy consumers. The energy specialist salary is paid for through the energy savings that TCAPS receives.

Security Updates

Parents and visitors are reminded to please sign in and sign out at the main office when visiting a TCAPS building. You will be given a temporary visitor badge to wear while at the building. Any building visitor who is not wearing a badge will be asked to return to the main office. Some buildings may also require visitors to buzz in at the door.

GUEST POST: Doug Luciani

TCAPS is Good for Business and Community


As the curtain rises on the 2014-15 school year, it’s an excellent opportunity to reflect and remind ourselves of the important role and responsibility of Traverse City Area Public Schools. The continued success of TCAPS and its students is critical to the long-term prosperity of Northern Michigan, its residents and businesses.


TCAPS impacts our community in so many positive ways: as an educator and caretaker of our region’s most precious resource – its young people; as a major employer and economic engine; as a significant source of the region’s arts and cultural offerings; and an ally for our business community to generate a talented and capable workforce.


A solid public education system is crucial to the economic success of our region. Good schools help draw new companies and ventures to our region. They help attract young families needed to keep our community vibrant. We’re fortunate to have a school district that’s ranked among the top schools in the nation in preparing students for college and professional careers, and offers top-notch programs in robotics, performing arts and music. Its advanced placement, dual rnrollment and early college classes are saving local families an estimated $2 million annually in college tuition costs. Its early childhood development placement has more than doubled in the past year. TCAPS is a true community investment that pays dividends every day.


We hope your family enjoys a safe and productive school year.


About the Author: Doug Luciani is the President and CEO of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.


Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They are not intended to reflect TCAPS policy, endorsement, or action.


Engaging Young Minds at Camp Invention

Camp Invention was held at Cherry Knoll Elementary School and

Willow Hill Elementary School this past summer.


This summer, TCAPS offered families a new way to keep students learning over the summer months. We hosted Camp Invention, a five day program at Cherry Knoll and Willow Hill Elementary Schools. Nearly 150 young minds participated. Over the course of one week, students explored science, math and engineering principles, while working both independently and collaboratively. They constructed their own hybrid vehicle, pinball machine and other creative inventions.


As educators, seeing students’ creativity and problem solving skills grow was especially rewarding. Teaching at Camp Invention not only got the students engaged in their learning, but it inspired us to want to try a few new things in our classrooms this year. We hope to share this amazing program with even more students this next summer!


Learn more about TCAPS summer programs.


About the Authors: Erin Jongekrijg has been a kindergarten, third grade and fourth grade teacher for 12 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Hope College and a master’s degree in reading and writing literacy from Central Michigan University. She served as the director of the Willow Hill Camp Invention site.


Kate McKellar has taught kindergarten and second grade for 6 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary and early childhood education from Saginaw Valley State University. She is currently seeking her master’s degree in educational technology from Grand Valley State University. She served as the director of the Cherry Knoll Camp Invention site.


What’s New for the 2014/15 School Year


This year, TCAPS Food and Nutrition Services and Goodwill Industries have teamed up to introduce some new “farm to school” products in our cafeterias. Goodwill will be supplying TCAPS with breakfast muffins that use local blueberries and the chefs at Goodwill have created a marinara sauce for our schools. It will be prepared using local tomatoes, which were roasted and frozen this summer, to ensure that healthy, local products are available year round. The recipe was taste tested by students, and we expect it to be a big success in the lunchroom as well as a win for local farmers and the community.


In addition to teaming up with Goodwill Industries, TCAPS will be working with Between the Bays Orchards to supply food to Old Mission Peninsula School. The orchard surrounds the building, so OMPS students will be able to watch their food grow and be harvested.


We hope to continue “farm to school” and local purchasing programs by introducing new recipes at our schools and by expanding our efforts into TCAPS concessions and catering operations.


About the Author: Tom Freitas is the director of TCAPS Food and Nutrition Services.


Traverse City Youth Triathlon


The Traverse City Youth Triathlon is a fun and challenging event for school aged kids. Young athletes swim, bike and run in a race that not only promotes fitness, but also improves children’s self-confidence as they cross the finish line on their own.


The event includes a short swim in a lap pool, followed by a safe bike ride and a run on a path. Participants ages 12 and under will compete in a 100 yard swim, 3 mile bike ride and a .5 mile run. Participants ages 13-18 will compete in a 200 yard swim, 6 mile bike ride and a 1 mile run.


All events will be held at the Grand Traverse Civic Center (1213 W. Civic Center Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686). Register online before 12 p.m. on Friday, September 5th, or at Friday evening’s package pick-up at the Civic Center from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. for $30. Registration will be available at the event Saturday morning beginning at 7 a.m. for $40. Learn more

TCAPS Partner In Education Program


TCAPS’ Partner In Education (PIE) program works to connect community members, businesses and organizations to our schools. This year, the program has continued to grow and has helped TCAPS better serve students by offering free, reduced or low cost programs that could not be provided without partner support. Learn more:



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Traverse City Area Public Schools

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