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December 2017
News & Events

hOurs to Give

Partner in Education


“It has been incredible to see the many ways our district connects with and supports our community.”

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

During this holiday season, it has been incredible to see the many ways our district connects with and supports our community through community service, fundraisers, and learning opportunities. As much as our district gives back to the community, we are just as fortunate to receive ongoing support from numerous individuals and organizations. Below and throughout the newsletter are recent examples to warm your heart as we head into winter break. Visit the hOurs to Give webpage to see the collective impact our students and staff make throughout the year.

Students in schools across TCAPS are learning to open their hearts and minds to music. They also learn valuable lessons about understanding, tolerance and respect through Building Bridges with Music.

Students had an opportunity to hear from Amy Ranger, MD, Caryn Owens, an environmental engineer, Suzannah Tobin, an architect, and Roberta Wagner, a mechanical engineer, as part of a panel of women in science, technology, engineering and math—or STEM—fields hosted by Central High School’s Tech Girls program.

Representatives from Hagerty last week delivered 100 gift boxes to students at Traverse City Area Public Schools as part of the Hagerty CARes program. The gift boxes came filled with books, crafts and more, and a $25 gift card for parents to further assist their families during the holiday season. The Hagerty CARes program has been providing gift boxes to TCAPS schools for more than 10 years. It is a true display of how local businesses help support our students and families.

Finally, may your holidays be filled with the sounds of the season. Visit our YouTube page to view the entire playlist.

TCAPS Schools' Holiday YouTube Playlist

Wishing you a safe and joyful break!

Paul A. Soma, Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools

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News & Events

Partner in Education

Inaugural Hockey Fights Cancer Game Raises $13,000 for Cancer Research

The TC West Titans and TC Central Trojans faced off in their inaugural “Hockey Fights Cancer Game” to benefit the Michigan based Van Andel Institute’s cancer research programs. The game raised more than $13,000. In addition, players honored friends or family that have been affected by cancer. Each player wore a special pink and purple game jersey with the name of the person they are skating/playing for on their back.

Central High School’s “Can the Principal” Food Drive Collects 9,500 Items

The Traverse City Central High School Student Senate collected 9,500 items during its annual "Can the Principal" food drive. Food and toiletry items donated during the drive are used to stock the pantry at Traverse City High School. The school surpassed its goal of 8,500 items by 1,000, making a huge difference in the lives of those who depend on our school pantries.

Principal Jessie Houghton's office was overflowing from the generosity of Central High School staff and students.

West Senior High School Students Lend their Support to the Salvation Army and Community

A number of groups from Traverse City West Senior High School spent much of this holiday season supporting the Salvation Army and the community.

The TC West Student Senate organized a movie night to help the Salvation Army during the holiday season. More than $215 was donated along with several bags of canned goods.

Pictured with Senate students is Ruth Blick-Director of Community Resource Development for the Salvation Army.

The TC West National Honor Society adopted two teenagers through the Salvation Army and gathered more than $1,000 in gifts for them.

The TC West Key Club served as bell ringers for the Salvation Army. Approximately 20 students participated working the red kettle at various times and locations in the area.

The TC West National Honor Society also did a series of good deeds for the community. They decorated cookies for local churches and Traverse City Fire Department, and wrote cards to soldiers.

Central Grade School Partners with TC Fire Department to Donate Gifts for Children

On Thursday, December 14, 2017, firefighters from the Traverse City Fire Department helped spread a little holiday cheer as they picked up donations from Central Grade School as part of the 3rd Annual Central Grade School Toy Drive. The school partners with the fire department to ensure area children have gifts to open this holiday season.

Music Department Sock Drive

The TCAPS Music Department hosted its annual sock drive to support students in need. Collection boxes were placed in all secondary buildings. This week, over 10 large boxes were delivered to TCAPS' Students in Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) which serves students who lack fixed, regular and adequate housing. Music staff worked with the STEP specialist at each secondary school to ensure teens in need would be provided clean, warm socks throughout the winter season.

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TCAPS News & Events

“Congratulations to Titan Team 3767X for making it to the West Michigan VEX Tournament Finals.”

TC West vs. TC Central Girls’ Basketball Pink Out Game—December 21st

On Thursday, December 21, 2017, at 7:00 p.m., TC Central High School will host TC West Senior High School in the annual Pink Out Girls’ Basketball Game. Proceeds to benefit Munson Breast Cancer Assistance Fund. A silent auction will also be held for the Abby Mahan Gartland memorial basketball scholarship. Tickets for the game will be available at the door for $5.00.

Central High School Boys’ Basketball Program to Host Santa Camp—December 27th-28th

The TC Central High School Men’s Basketball program is sponsoring a Santa Camp from December 27th and 28th in the high school gym. Second through eighth grade students are invited for drill work, individual competitions and scrimmages. The boys’ session is from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and the girls’ camp will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The cost is $35 and includes a t-shirt (must register by December 18th). To register, visit:

East Middle School to Host Festival of the Arts Night—January 11th

Traverse City East Middle School will host a Festival of the Arts on Thursday, January 11, 2018, from 6 p.m to 8 p.m..  The event will feature both Visual and Performance Art created by Art and Theatre students from first semester.  In addition to a variety of visual art works from the Art Department, the Creative Dramatics class will perform The Great American Talent Show written by Joseph Robinette. Light refreshments and snacks will be available.

Summer Camp and Preschool Enrollment Process Upgrades—Coming Mid-January

In mid-January, the Early Childhood and Extended Day programs plan to share information about the enrollment process for the 2018 summer camp programs and preschool enrollment for the 2018-19 school year. These programs will be moved to the upgraded system that was used for extended day enrollment for the 2017-18 school year. It includes an electronic sign-up and date stamping on when enrollments are received.

WSH Band Together Food Drive

The Traverse City West Senior High School Band hosted their annual "Band Together" food drive to support the pantries at TC West and Traverse City High School. Collections were held at concerts and a “stuff the band trailer” campaign was held last weekend. Monetary donations and gift cards were also accepted. Lead by Band Parent Organization members Mary Friar, Andy Richards and Blythe Skarshaug, the drive was a huge success. Not only were the pantries filled at both TC West and TC High School, boxes of food were given to student families in need right off of the trailer throughout the drive. Also, many donations of gift cards for gas and personal hygiene items were donated.

It is important to note that though the pantries are full, they very quickly become empty, so giving is welcomed year-round. Over 40% of TCAPS students are on free and reduced lunch and approximately 500 students are homeless. Give a gift any time of the year at

East Middle School Teens and Technology Series—February 6th

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, East Middle School will host its third Teens and Technology Series from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the East Middle School Library. Students and families are welcome to attend this free informational meeting. Below are the presentations and resources shared at the first two events.

November 2017 Teens and Technology Presentation and Notes

December 2017 Teens and Technology Presentation and Resources

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West Senior High School Band Director Receives Olivet College Leadership Award

Photography by Odyssey Yearbook photographer - Kristyn James
Traverse City West Senior High School band director, Pat Brumbaugh, was awarded the Olivet College Leadership Award. Olivet College representatives, Jason Dubey and Lisa Furman, made a surprise visit to the school to announce the award. The Leadership in Individual and Social Responsibility Award honors individuals or organizations of character and competence that exemplify the Olivet College Compact and academic vision, Education for Individual and Social Responsibility.

The award recognizes leaders who contribute to the state of Michigan through their work in its civic, business, and community organizations, or who have contributed to the growth and development of Olivet College.

Lisa Furman, Pat Brumbaugh, Jason Dubey - Photography by Odyssey Yearbook photographer - Kristyn James

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TC West VEX Robotics Team Qualifies for Regional Finals—Next Competition January 27th

Congratulations to Titan Team 3767X which made it all the way to the finals yesterday at the In the Zone West Michigan VEX Tournament - Winter Luau held at the Grand Traverse Academy on December 16th. Team 3767X also won the Design Award. The Design Award is based on two components: the team's engineering notebook and the judges’ interview. Good Luck Team 3767X as you move on to compete at the Michigan West Regional High School VEX Championship on January 27th. There are 20 spots from this event that earn invitations to the Michigan High School State Championship at MSU.

TCAPS Students Selected to Perform at the Michigan Music Conference, January 25 – 27, 2018 in Grand Rapids

Congratulations to the following TCAPS students who auditioned at the district and regional levels and have been selected to perform with ensembles at the 2018 Michigan Music Conference (MMC) held in Grand Rapids. They will join other musicians from around the state and rehearse at MMC for two days and give a final concert in DeVos Performance Hall on Saturday, January 27. The ensembles will be conducted by nationally-known conductors. Students who are being honored have shown great dedication to their preparation of the audition materials as well as their consistent contributions to the programs at their respective schools and music program.

The following students have been selected to participate in the MMC by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) and Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA).

MSBOA Middle School Percussion, All-State
Sam Hicks, WMS
Ben Lohr, WMS

MSBOA Middle School All-State Band
Benjamin Wilson, EMS, French Horn
Anna Racine, WMS, Trombone

MSBOA High School All-State Orchestra
Kaysen Mortensen-Chown, CHS, Viola

MSBOA High School All-State Band
Omar Nadji, WSH, Percussion

MSVMA High School SSAA Honors Choir
Lily Ahlstrom, WSH, Alto I
Daniela Castillo, WSH, Soprano I

In addition, the following students received recognition for being members of the MSVMA Region A Honors Choir and honorable mention for the All State Ensembles.

MSBOA Middle School Percussion, Honorable Mention
Riley Jass, WMS, Percussion
David Oosse, WMS, Percussion

MSBOA High School Band, Honorable Mention
Elizabeth Kozlowski, WSH, Bass Clarinet
Ian Beck, WSH, French Horn

MSBOA High School Jazz Band Honorable Mention
Kyle Skarshaug, WSH

MSVMA Region A High School Honors Choir
Lily Alstrom, WSH, Alto I
Daniela Castillo, WSH, Soprano I
Camryn Calderwood, WSH, Soprano II

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Calendar Reminders

December 22nd - January 2nd No school, Holiday recess
December 26th - December 28th Tompkins Boardman Administration Building closed
January 3rd School resumes



News & Events

hOurs to Give

TC Track Club
Partner in Education

“Shared time services offer a win to the private and parochial schools as well as a win to TCAPS.”

Did You Know? TCAPS Offers Shared Time Services

TCAPS offers Shared Time services to area private and parochial schools. Shared Time provides TCAPS' high quality teaching staff to give instruction in non-core classes, including art, music and foreign language. Shared time services offer a win to the private and parochial schools as well as a win to TCAPS. The result is simply beautiful!

Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools' student artwork currently on display at the Boardman Administration Building.

GTARSP Grant Awarded

Congratulations to TC East Middle School Eastern Hemisphere and U.S. History teacher Jeff Leonhardt! He received a $100 mini-grant from Grand Traverse Area Retired School Personnel to purchase atlases for his students. Thank you very much to all of the GTARSP members for being a Partner In Education.

Community Foundation Awards More Than $14,000 in Total Grants to TCAPS

Traverse City Area Public Schools received a total of $14,954 in grant funds to support its programs and activities. The list of awards includes:

Blair Elementary School
Empowering Students through Technology - $500, Assisting Children’s Education Endowment

TCAPS-Northern Michigan Partnership
Purchase Mats for Aikido Course - $5,000, Assisting Children’s Education Endowment

Traverse City Central High School
Purchase a New Tent for Cross Country and Track Teams - $2,821, Traverse City Track Club Endowment

Traverse City West Middle School
Project Greenagers - $1,200, Land Use Conservation and Planning Endowment
STEM Documentary Challenge for AT Science - $3,048, Assisting Children’s Education Endowment

Traverse City West Senior High School
The Craft Club- Creative Crafting - $320, Titan Excellence Fund
Literacy in a Second Language - $130, Titan Excellence Fund
Free Volunteer Reading - $120, Titan Excellence Fund
Mediation Center - $200, Titan Excellence Fund
History Field Trips - $665, Titan Excellence Fund
The Deskless Classroom - $950, Assisting Children’s Education Endowment

The grants to TCAPS were part of a total of $180,971 awarded by the Community Foundation in its 2017 fall grant cycle.

At-Risk Needs Fulfilled

Perhaps you saw the Facebook viral message from Grand Traverse Deputy Matt McKinley regarding the need for clean underwear for students in need at schools. This message triggered an even greater campaign. Today, representatives of Grand Traverse Metro Fire, the Associations of Grand Traverse Metro Fire Stations 8, 9, 11 & 12, Traverse City Quota International of Traverse City and a few of their neighbors delivered over 2,000 items to the schools in their jurisdiction, Silver Lake Elementary, Courtade Elementary, Cherry Knoll Elementary, East Middle School and TC High School.

Items included winter gear, underwear, clothing, snacks, school supplies, toiletries, blankets and cleaning supplies. Many thanks to Fire & Life Safety Educator Jennifer Ritter for helping to organize this wonderful surprise and to all who contributed to support our students in need. We are so incredibly grateful for our generous community.

Central High School Students Awarded Michigan Youth Arts Festival Arts & Culture Trek Grant

Traverse City Central Choir Council students received a $500 grant to fund their trip to the State Choral Festival. The festival, which will be held on May 7th and 8th at Central Michigan University, offers opportunities for students to hear and learn from experienced performers and choral clinicians. The grant will help fund the cost of the busing for all four Central High School choirs to attend. More information about the festival is available at:

YMCA Raising Funds for SPLASH Youth Water Safety Program

The YMCA has been partnering with TCAPS to offer water safety instruction to all third grade students. The course teaches potentially life-saving techniques and is showing results. Pre- and Post- tests are given to each student and have shown improvements in five key areas that are proven to help save lives:

Face in water: 61% to 96%
Back float: 29% to 86%
Front float: 34% to 78%
Swim 10 ft.: 27% to 79%
Reach, throw, do not go: 16% to 94%

If you or someone you know would be interested in helping to keep this important program going, the YMCA is currently running a fundraising campaign. Just $2 per month can help sponsor a local child’s participation in this program. Learn more

Blair Elementary Students Team Up with Detroit Lions Players at Fuel Up to Play 60 Rally at Ford Field

Six students and three teachers from Blair Elementary School recently traveled to Ford Field in Detroit for the 8th Fuel Up to Play 60 Rally for School Health Event. They returned to school inspired with ideas for incorporating healthy new recipes into meal programs and boosting physical activity during the school day.

Students played an interactive nutrition trivia game with Detroit Lions tight end Tahir Whitehead, ran through the tunnel to “Play 60” with Detroit Lions safety Miles Killebrew, Tahir Whitehead, and tight end Eric Ebron, enjoyed a “taste test” lunch, learned about the importance of nutrition on brain health, and learned from Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah how to eat healthy, be active, and make a difference.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a partnership between the National Football League and the National Dairy Council in collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture. For more information contact, Caitlin Lorenc, MSU Extension, at (231) 882-9671 ex. 514 or

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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