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June 2018
TCAPS Graduation
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“I extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who has helped to positively impact the life of a student this year.”

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

The last few weeks have been incredible. More than 750 students crossed the stage at Kresge Auditorium and Lars Hockstad during Central High School’s, West Senior High School’s, and Traverse City High School’s graduation ceremonies. Those ceremonies represented the culmination of years of hard work, academic achievement, and personal growth for each student. Receiving a high school diploma demonstrates a student’s readiness for the challenges of college, career and life. It is an important accomplishment and a well-deserved milestone in the lives of our students. Congratulations to this year’s graduates!

In addition to the celebrations of the TCAPS Class of 2018, there have also been lots of other important and memorable moments as students across the district were recognized for taking the next step in their educational journey. Whether it is moving from preschool into kindergarten, 5th grade into middle school, 8th grade into high school, or anywhere in between, seeing our students learn, mature, and grow into independent and critical thinkers is one of the true joys of working in education. But, we can’t do it alone.

It takes a team of dedicated professionals—which I am very proud to say that we have within TCAPS—, involved parents and families, and a community of support to achieve our highest levels of success. On behalf of our entire organization, I extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who has helped to positively impact the life of a student this year. Our volunteers, Partners In Education, and collaborating organizations all play a critical role in the academic success of our students. Those efforts are truly appreciated.

Before we head into the summer, I ask that you consider taking one other important action: mark your calendar to vote on August 7, 2018. TCAPS has a capital bond proposal on the August 7th ballot. The proposal would provide $107 million over 10 years at an estimated tax rate of 3.1 mills (no increase to the current rate). TCAPS’ debt millage rate has been the same for the last 20 years and is 40% lower than the state average of 5.4 mills. Visit to learn more. If you think you or others you know may be out of town on election day, then please consider applying to receive an absentee ballot. Secretary of State Absentee Voter Information can be found here.

TCAPS Bond Video
Click the image to play.

Thank you for another great school year and wishing you a safe, fun, and relaxing summer.

Paul A. Soma, Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools



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Partner in Education

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Student Senates and Student Council Rotary Interact Club Support the Community

During the 2017-18 school year, the Student Senates at Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School, and the TC High School Student Council Rotary Interact Club supported a number of organizations in the community and beyond. Through these activities, students exhibited good citizenship, helping to raise funds and awareness about issues impacting our community and world, and volunteered their time on behalf of important causes.

TC Central Student Senate
  • Children’s Advocacy Center
  • Cherryland Humane Society
  • 22-2-None (TC Patriot Game)
  • Food Pantry for S.T.E.P. and TC High School
  • TCC Senior Party
  • International Program

TC West Student Senate
  • American Red Cross
  • Salvation Army
  • Lymphoma Research Foundation
  • Van Andel Institute
  • Munson Breast Care Assistance Fund
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • 22-2-None (TC Patriot Game)

TC High School Student Council Rotary Interact Club
  • Michigan Blood Drive
  • American Cancer Society Relay for Life
  • Staff "Habits of Mind" nominations
  • Arts for All of Northern Michigan event volunteers
  • Raised TCHS senior scholarship dollars
  • Facilitated all-school day-camp trip to Lake Ann Camp
  • Mentoring at TBAISD ASD, Traverse Heights and East Middle schools
  • Cherryland Humane Society
  • Food Pantry volunteers
  • Grand Traverse Baby Pantry volunteers
  • Traverse Manor & Tendercare convalescence home visits (sang, give away art)
  • Hosted civics forums with local, state and federal politicians
  • Recycling
  • Veteran's Day Project

West Middle School’s Project Greenagers Makes an Impact

On Thursday, May 24, 2018, the 8th grade class at West Middle School participated in the 8th annual community service project called Project Greenagers. Each 8th grade team worked with a different community organization on projects that service the region’s natural resources. The goal of the project is to nurture a sense of stewardship and personal pride in 8th grade students by providing them the opportunity to serve the community in a hands-on way, and to connect the experience to classroom curriculum. In addition, all students had the opportunity to visit some of the area’s amazing natural resources.

This year’s teams worked with the following nonprofits:
  • National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes
  • Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes
  • Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear
  • Our Neighbor’s Garden
  • The Leelanau Conservancy at Clay Cliffs
  • The Leelanau Outdoor Center
  • Botanic Gardens at Historic Barns Park
  • Inland Seas Education Association
  • Grand Traverse Conservation District at Kids’ Creek
  • MSU Horticultural Extension at the Leo Creek Preserve
Project Greenagers

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“Congratulations to the TCAPS Class of 2018”

Total Graduates - 768
Presidential Education Awards - 265
Magna/Summa Cum Laude - 253
Academic Honors - 333
National Merit Scholars - 15
Local Scholarships - $115,500
College/University Scholarships - More than $6.5 Million

To watch video of the graduation ceremonies and to view graduation and convocation programs, visit:

Traverse City High School

TCAPS Launches e911 Safety and Security Efforts - District-Wide Phone Changes Coming Soon

TCAPS has been working on a district-wide effort to update phone systems to new e911 compliance standards. The improvements will allow for increased safety and reduced responder response time in the event of an emergency.

In order to help 911 service personnel know exactly where someone is located should they call from a district building, some employee and school phone numbers will change. These changes will take place during the summer.

Based on staff assignments, room numbers, and phone extensions available, some buildings/staff will experience greater changes than others. Buildings/staff that will experience a complete change in numbers (including school offices) are:

  • Central Grade School
  • Central High School
  • Eastern Elementary School
  • Montessori at Glenn Loomis
  • Oak Park
  • Silver Lake Elementary School
  • Traverse Heights Elementary School
  • Westwoods Elementary School

An auto-attendant will be activated at the start of the school year to help families navigate the new system and to ensure families are able to reach the appropriate school offices. In addition, those employees and schools with phone number changes will be communicating those to families.

The efforts to fully comply with the e911 rules will be completed more than a year ahead of the December 31, 2019, required compliance date.

TCAPS Bond Election

2018 TCAPS Retirees Recognized

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, the TCAPS Board of Education hosted the 2018 Retirement Reception to honor all district employees retiring this school year. There were a total of 40 retirees who served TCAPS and our community for a combined 882 years of service! Thanks to each and every staff member who is moving on to the next journey in life for their incredible commitment to our region's children and to future generations. The reception included refreshments provided by TCAPS food service, entertainment by Central High School’s Quantum Quartet, and the Master of Ceremonies was the Voice of the Trojans, Mr. John Sonnemann.

Retirement Ceremony
Photo courtesy of TBAISD

2018 Outstanding Educators Honored

The Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, and TBA Credit Union honored five TCAPS employees among this year’s 2018 Outstanding Educator Award recipients. The recipients received the honor for making exemplary contributions to the academic success of students, educational collaboration, and professional development.

Tara Denherder – West Middle School Science Teacher
Joe Esper – West Senior High School Principal
Brenda Meindertsma – Central High School English Teacher
Angela Stricker – TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis Lower Elementary Teacher
Sue Vance – Willow Hill Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher

Established by the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce in 1984, the Outstanding Educator Award program is facilitated by Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District in partnership with TBA Credit Union and the Chamber. Each year, nominations are submitted by public, private and parochial school administrators, colleagues, students, parents and community members throughout the five-county Traverse Bay region. Nomination materials are reviewed by a selection committee representative of school and community leaders and scored based on points awarded for demonstrated educational excellence.

Toilet Paper Drive
Photo courtesy of TBAISD

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International Students Sail on the Tall Ship Manitou

On Saturday, June 9, 2018, students participating in the TCAPS International Program went on an adventure aboard the Tall Ship Manitou. The ship, a replica of an 1800’s “coasting” cargo schooner, is similar to those that were once common on the Great Lakes. Sailing on a tall ship is one of our area’s unique experiences that affords students the opportunity to learn about the region’s history, while enjoying an experience on the bay and a scoop of Moomers ice cream. If your family is interested in learning more about hosting an international student, contact Kristel Rodriguez Peacock at or (231) 933-1766.  

Tall Ship Manitou

Eastern Elementary and Old Mission Peninsula School Students Participate in Joint Field Day

On May 31, 2018, students from Eastern Elementary School and Old Mission Peninsula School participated in a joint Field Day at Central High School. Field Day activities were coordinated by PE teacher Wendy Richmond, who serves both schools. Each station was run by 5th grade students from Eastern and Old Mission. In addition to the standard field day activities, students also had the opportunity to decorate a hard hat and learn more about the new Eastern Elementary School construction. Click here for more information about the Eastern Elementary School reconstruction and progress.

Eastern Field Day

Traverse Heights Book Mobile—June 27th - August 1st

Families in the Traverse Heights neighborhood will again have the chance to receive book deliveries over the summer months from the Traverse Heights Book Mobile. The book mobile operates on Wednesdays making stops at homes between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to bring free books, food bags, and sack lunches. The book mobile is operated by Traverse Heights Elementary School social worker Sue Chapman and aide Pam Cuthbert and is made possible through the generous support of the Elks Lodge 323, Serra Traverse City, and Jimmy John’s. New and gently used book donations for the mobile library can be dropped off at the school on Mondays and Thursdays (except during the week of July 2nd) between 9:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (933 Rose St.).

TCAPS Summer Academy Enrollment Now Open

The TCAPS Summer Academy is now accepting enrollments for 2018. The Summer Academy is open to all 9th-12th grade students. No residency is required. Students wishing to enroll in the program need to possess and demonstrate a willingness to achieve by completing a course for the first time or completing a course in which an incomplete, withdraw or failure was received. Classes will be held Monday through Thursday, July 2 – July 31, 2018 (no classes July 4th -6th) at Central High School (1150 Milliken Dr.). Highly qualified teachers will be available to provide individualized support and small group instruction. Online registration is available at:

TCAPS Summer Adventure Day Camp Registration Open to All Area Students

TCAPS’ Summer Adventure Day Camp registration is open to all area students as well as summer visitors, ages 3-12. TCAPS offers three camp locations, Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., beginning June 20th through August 16th. Come join the fun! Registration and program information available at:

Calendar Reminders
August 7th Election day (TCAPS proposal on ballot)
September 4th First day of school for students



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