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September 2013


Feature Stories...

  • From the Superintendent
  • A Day in the Life Of...
  • Student Recognition
  • Community Resources

    Click here to view current community events and opportunities

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    • Athletic Opportunities
    • And much, much, more…

    Go to Community Resources

    Partners In Education

    Click here to learn how you can support TCAPS through The Larkin Group Click here to learn more about how you can be a sponsor on TCAPS school e-newsletters


    Please share this newsletter with your friends and neighbors

    From Superintendent Cousins

    A warm welcome back to everyone in our TCAPS community. The summer was great, but our passion is helping our students reach their potential, so we are always excited to get back to the learning.


    Our Community is a new district-wide newsletter that we will distribute on a quarterly basis to keep you informed about what is going on across TCAPS. Our Community replaces Late News. We hope that you will find it informative and engaging. We made this change to encourage more interaction between families, teachers and principals. We felt that for most families, an email containing the information you need to know on a weekly or monthly basis, along with a district-wide quarterly newsletter, is the best way to keep you informed. 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

    TCAPS Bond Update

    TCAPS Bond Proposals - November 5, 2013
    2 Ballot Proposals Dollars Generated Millage Rate Change $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    • Replacing outdated buses and other equipment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

    Learn more:

    Student Spotlight...


    A Day in the Life of...

    A TCAPS Bus Driver


    What time do you start your day?

    XXX o’clock. It’s almost like working a night shift.


    What does a typical morning look like?

    I get to the bus garage, run through the morning safety and maintenance checks, and am on the road by XXX.


    Do your work hours affect your family life?

    Just like with anyone who doesn’t have a nine-to-five job, we make it work. I see my family XXX, but definitely don’t go to the midnight movie at the State Theater during the week.


    What do you do when the students are in school?

    (Are paid for running two separate shifts, shuttle students who are attending field trips or events, attend class at NMC, etc.) I remember the bus being chaotic.


    How do you handle the students and allow them to have fun on the bus without getting out of control?

    One thing that has changed since many of us now adults rode the bus is that we have installed cameras on all of our buses. They help us in the event that something does occur on the bus to quickly and easily see what took place. As a result, we have much fewer incidents than we might have before cameras were on each bus. (Is there an example of where the cameras have been particularly effective that we can describe without implicating or embarrassing any students? Maybe a situation where our cameras picked up a crime going on (not involving our students?)).


    Buses used to be prime bullying time, does that still happen?

    All of the bus drivers, along with the rest of TCAPS staff working in the classroom, recently took Owleus anti-bullying training. The goal is to help us identify it and deal with it before it becomes a larger problem. While some bullying may still occur, the district is proactively working to ensure that everyone involved in ensuring student safety is trained and empowered to take action.


    Are the buses safe?

    Our entire bus fleet just received 100% passing rating as part of an annual inspection done by the Michigan State Police. It’s the XXX time in a row that we have received 100% rating. 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 XXX to compete in a national competition. So, between the video cameras, anti-bulling efforts, and safety rating, the bus ride that you may remember as a kid has changed a lot and is much, much safer.


    What is the typical life-cycle of a bus?

    Our buses run for about 10 years or 225,000 miles. We typically retire them at that point for a number of reasons: 1) because no matter how well we take care of them, Michigan winters will eventually rust out the chassis; 2) at a certain point, they will no longer be able to pass inspection; 3) at the point we retire the buses, we still have an opportunity to sell them for at least a nominal price, which is better than getting no return at all. For the last XXX 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 XXX, 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 saved the district XXX dollars, which 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.


    What do you find most rewarding about your job?

    (Personal story about helping a student/family.)

    A Piece of the PIE...

    It’s safe to say that the Traverse City area has a generous and involved community. Our great community is always looking for ways to support our schools and through the Partner in Education program—or PIE—area businesses, families and organizations can help be a piece of the PIE that makes our community and our schools great.


    At the start of the this school year, more than XXX area businesses, families and organizations have shown their support for our schools by sharing their time, talents and treasures as Partners In Education (PIE). (Include a couple of key examples…last year PIE partner donations ensured that no child needing assistance to participate in the LEAP program was turned down.) We have also made some changes this year to make partnering with TCAPS even easier... To learn more visit:



    There are so many great ways that area businesses support our schools. One that you may not know about is the Give Back program…



    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 want 15% to go to TCAPS. It’s another great way to support our schools while getting your holiday shopping done. Proceeds will go to support scholarships for preschool to ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn and grow.

    Go Global...

    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, international dance and music programs and an opportunity to learn more about international program offerings for students.

    What's New...


    TCAPS in the News...


    Click here to learn how you can be a sponsor on TCAPS school e-newsletters Click here to make payments on your student's lunch account Click here to learn more about the TACS program Click here to learn more about becoming a TCAPS volunteer

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    Traverse City Area Public Schools

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