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Our Community

September 2013    


In This Issue

Superintendent's Message


TCAPS Bond Information




A Day in the Life


A Piece of the PIE


News & Events

Partners in Education

Click here to learn how you can support TCAPS through The Larkin Group
Click here to learn more about educator's services, a unique membership package designed specifically for school employees.
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Click here to view current community events and opportunities


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Our Community


A warm welcome back to everyone in our TCAPS community. Although the summer was great, our passion is helping students reach their potential, so we are always excited to get back to learning! Our Community is a new district-wide newsletter that will be distributed on a quarterly basis to keep you informed about what is going on across TCAPS. Our Community replaces Late News and monthly school newsletters. We hope that you find it informative and engaging. The information you need on a more regular basis will be shared by TCAPS and school staff through email. This is a new effort, so your feedback is greatly appreciated. If you have comments or story ideas, please contact:


We are looking forward to another great school year! Together, we help our students reach higher.


Steve Cousins, Superintendent

Traverse City Area Public Schools


2 Ballot

Millage Rate

$200,000 Market
Value Property

Main Proposal $35.2 Million .20 mil $20 annually
Central High School Auditorium $12.9 Million .09 mil $9 annually


The goals of the two bond proposals are to provide students with:

• Safe schools

• Equitable facilities

• Technology and transportation

How would the goals be achieved?

• Reconstructing and improving elementary and secondary school facilities


• Increasing access to technology for TCAPS and other area students


• Replacing outdated buses and other equipment


• Replacing visual and performing arts equipment and facilities


• Improving physical education facilities


• Allowing “operational” funds to be directed to toward the classroom

November 5, 2013 - Election Day | Learn more:

SPOTLIGHT: Central High School Debate

Central High School’s policy debate team made their first appearances of the season with new head coach, Sara Kirsch and assistant Evan Hebert. Through debate, students learn how to utilize research techniques and develop critical thinking, presentation and leadership skills, while tackling national issues.


Their first matches took place at the Wake Forest National Earlybird in Winston-Salem, N.C. Central had two teams compete, one in the varsity division and one in the junior varsity division. The junior varsity team of Kristina Curtiss and Abbie Crick finished with a 4-2 record, and made it to the octo-finals. Abbie Crick also was also 8th speaker in the division and sophomore Nathan Jeschke debated for the first time at the varsity level.


Central’s local premiere was held at the West Bloomfield High School debate tournament. Seniors and team captains Alaina Chela and Clara Trippe won the varsity division, and received 2nd and 3rd place speaker awards. Senior Tristan Burke received 7th speaker.


Central's debate team has won the state varsity championship the last two years in a row. Looks like this year’s team is off to another great start!


What does a typical morning look like?

I get up at 4:00 AM, and get to the bus garage at 5:00 AM. I clock in, check my mailbox for route changes or notes from the office staff. I run through the morning safety and maintenance checks early in case there are issues so I have ample time to get headlights or turn signals repaired prior to departing. My first student pickup is at 6:10 AM.


Are the buses safe?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school. Buses are designed to protect the students inside by compartmentalizing the seats, having a higher passenger ride height, multiple mirrors for the driver to check blind spots, reflective tape on the side, overhead lights and a stop arm. Our entire bus fleet just received 100% passing rating as part of an annual inspection done by the Michigan State Police. On top of that, our bus technicians are not only widely recognized as the top techs in Michigan, but they will also be going to Washington to compete in a national competition. Our drivers are highly trained and they take pride in their safety records.


What is the typical life-cycle of a bus?

Our buses run for about 10-12 years or 225,000 miles. We typically retire them at that point for a number of reasons: 1) Michigan winters will eventually rust out the chassis; 2) they will no longer be able to pass inspection; 3) we still have an opportunity to sell them and get some small return. For at least the last 10 years, we have had the bus replacement program in place. It uses bond dollars to ensure that we have a safe fleet to transport our students.


There are some criticisms about changes to the bus routes. What were the changes and why were they important for the district to make?

TCAPS schools serve a total of 300 square miles. That’s a huge area geographically. In 2010, the district did a review to determine the most efficient ways to run our routes. The changes to depot stops that resulted from the review has significantly helped to close TCAPS budget gap. While it may have caused some inconveniences to some families, it was a change we felt that we ultimately needed to make to improve how we do transportation overall. Transportation is not a requirement, so in order to keep providing it, we need to remain efficient.


What do you find most rewarding about your job?

The children. I enjoy watching them grow and develop. I’ve been here long enough to provide transportation to kindergartners who are now getting ready to graduate. I’ve also transported the children of some of the students I’ve transported in the past. It is so rewarding to be recognized both on the bus, in the school, or out in the public.


About the author: LeeAnne Murchie has been a bus driver at TCAPS for 21 years.


Our community is always looking for ways to support its schools. Through the Partner In Education program—or PIE—area businesses, families and organizations become a piece of the PIE by giving their time, talents or treasures to help make our community and our schools great! We have made some changes this year to make partnering with TCAPS even easier. Learn more:




There are so many great ways that area businesses support our schools. One that you may not know about is the Give Back program. Through the Give Back program, area businesses choose a percentage of their sales to give back to our schools. Our newest Give Back offer comes from Grand Traverse Pie Company. From Oct. 1st through Dec. 31st, GT Pie Co. will donate $1 back to TCAPS for every pie gift order or gift certificate purchased. View current give backs



TCAPS was selected to participate in Downtown Traverse City’s Shop Your Community Day. On Saturday, November 9th, when you make a purchase at one of the participating downtown businesses, just indicate to the sales associate that you are true to your school and are "shopping for TCAPS." When you do, 15% of your sale will go toward scholarships for preschool to ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn and grow. It’s another great way to support our schools while getting your holiday shopping done.



With the support of our Partners In Education, more than 1,600 students received free or reduced fees to participate in the Learning Enrichment and Athletic Programs (LEAP). Not a single child was turned away from the opportunity to participate in KidzArt, athletic programs, Drama Kids or Taste of the Arts during the 2012-2013 school year. Thank you!

NEWS & EVENTS: Focus on Global Competency

One of our top goals for TCAPS graduates is that they will be able to learn, adapt, live and work in our global society. By providing opportunities to experience other cultures, learn foreign languages and participate in exchange programs, we are helping our students become globally competent and ready for college, career and life.



Go Global, an event held in partnership with NMC, is a one day event celebrating the globe. The fun-filled event features a lecture series, ethnic food vendors, dance and music programs and an opportunity to learn more about international program offerings for students.


Come experience our world on November 16th at the Dennos Museum. The event is free and open to the community.


TCAPS to Welcome Students from Dalian

As early as October 1st, we anticipate welcoming up to 13 new students from Dalian, China into our high schools. The initial 4 week program last year where students from TCAPS visited China and students from Dalian visited Traverse City was such a great and positive experience for everyone that both sides were eager to explore a year-long option. Learn more


Partnership with Weiming

On Monday, September 23rd, the TCAPS Board of Education approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Weiming Education Group to develop a Chinese exchange program at TCAPS. The next step is to finalize and sign the MOU. Representatives from TCAPS will then make a second trip to China. It will be paid for by Weiming and substitutes for principals will be covered at no additional cost to the district.


In June, the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District received a $3.3 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation to implement International Baccalaureate (IB) programs in four school districts–TCAPS, Leland, Kalkaska, & Elk Rapid–over the next three years. IB is a high-quality education program designed to develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.


TCAPS received $626,000 of the grant funds to pilot the primary years programme (PYP) at one elementary school and the middle years programme (MYP) at both middle schools. Interlochen Community School will pilot the program at the elementary level and East Middle School and West Middle School will begin the process to pilot IB at the 6th and 7th grade levels. 8th grade would be added in the second year of the grant.


Parent and community information nights are being scheduled. The first will be held in Interlochen on Oct. 8th at 6:00 PM at Interlochen Community School.


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Traverse City Area Public Schools

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