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March 2018
Spring Reading Month
News & Events

hOurs to Give

Partner in Education


“We take our obligation to provide a safe environment for our children seriously.”

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

A wise person recently told me that “It isn’t that life is short, it’s that life is unexpected.” This sentiment has taken on special meaning lately for everyone involved in the education of our children. The sentiment reminds us to embrace every moment, to take time to smell the roses, and to remember that life is a journey, not a destination. For those of us who are parents, I want to implore you to “slow down” just a bit and embrace your children and this special time. Whether you are the parent of multiple elementary children, or your “last one” is a senior getting ready to graduate, make it a point to be present, and to enjoy each and every moment with them for the rest of this school year. Life is too short, I mean unexpected, to “wait until later” to connect at a deeper and more meaningful level with your children.

As we know, “unexpected” has happened too often in schools lately. Schools across our nation have been forced to plan for situations that were considered unimaginable in the not too distant past. We take our obligation to provide a safe environment for our children seriously. The safety and security of our students and staff is our number one priority. While we continue to be recognized as a leader in creating safe and secure environments for our students, we realize that our work in this area is never done. We have many dedicated and knowledgeable professionals constantly working to improve on the work already done with the goal of making our schools safer today than they were yesterday, and safer tomorrow than they are today.

You may be aware that we were one of the first districts in the country to install a barricade system in every classroom called the “BOOT.” Our elementary schools and East Middle School are equipped with buzz in systems with cameras to help protect against unwanted visitors. We have a very comprehensive and collaborative relationship with all local first responders. These incredible partners work with us on safety drills and help us to review and incorporate the most appropriate and effective response system.

Looking forward, we have recently installed buzz in systems with cameras at both West Middle School and West Senior High School, which until now, were operating without such systems in place. These systems will be operational as soon as we return from spring break. Knowing that a good number of our schools serve as polling sites, we have been working to modify our school calendar beginning next year so that schools will no longer be in session on election days, limiting the number of unfamiliar visitors during school hours.

Many of the safety and security measures I mentioned above have been put into place using critical capital needs funds, also known as bond funds. Since 2004, the district has made safety and security upgrades at our schools a standard component in TCAPS bond proposals. As buildings begin to age and advancements are made in materials, construction, and design, those funds provide the district with the resources that make continued safety and security enhancements in our schools possible.

Additional safety and security measures are also a major part of the upcoming August 7, 2018, TCAPS bond proposal. The proposal is for no increase to the current millage rate of 3.1 mills, which has been the same rate for the last 20 years and is 40% lower than the state average of 5.4 mills. Some of the planned projects included in the bond proposal are redesigns of the main entryways at Central High School and West Middle School to improve line of sight and visitor check-in procedures.

As always, the greatest tool we have lies in the voice of students, staff, and parents. Be aware of what you see, talk with children, and maintain open communication. If you see something, say something. If students or parents have a concern, please contact your child’s principal, teacher or use OK2Say. It is important that we – schools, families, and communities – continue to work together to prevent the unexpected and ensure our schools remain safe, secure places to learn.

Wishing you all a safe, relaxing and memorable spring break!

Paul A. Soma, Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools



News & Events

Partner in Education

Peer to Peer

Peer to Peer Program at Central High School Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

On Thursday, March 15th, the Central High School Peer to Peer Program, led by teacher Renee Leiter, gathered to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Students and mentors made green slime, frosted shamrock cookies and decorated shamrock images with the theme of “Why I Am Lucky?” Senior mentor James Asava who plans to pursue a degree in Special Education said, “It’s incredible to see the growth in students involved in this program. Their social comfort level increases so much because they have all of these new friends and familiar faces throughout the school. It’s a really great thing.”

Long Lake Elementary School Peer to Peer Program Spells True Collaboration

View this short video to see how Long Lake Elementary School's Peer to Peer program helps create a culture of kindness and support for students with special needs.

Click here to learn more


hOurs to Give

Partner in Education

TCAPS News & Events

“In every corner, nook and cranny, students celebrated March is Reading month.”

March is Reading Month

Reading Month

Central Grade School Whooo's Reading
Reading Month

Eastern Bagels and Books
Reading Month

Eastern Bagels and Books
Reading Month

Long Lake PJ Reading Day
Reading Month

Montessori Reading Month Kickoff
Reading Month

Westwoods Hallway Read-A-Thon
Reading Month

Silver Lake Morning Read-In

11th Annual Trashion Fashion Show—April 14th

The 11th Annual Trashion Fashion Show will be held at Traverse City West High School on April 14, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. (5376 N. Long Lake Rd.). Students from area schools will gather to showcase their one-of-a-kind creations in a runway style event. The public is invited to attend and tickets may be purchased at the door for $5. All proceeds will benefit the Father Fred Foundation. The Trashion Fashion Show is sponsored by American Waste, Haystacks, Salon Verve, Crooked Tree Arts Center and Global Stylists.

TCAPS Robotics Teams Earn Top Slots at District FIRST Robotics Competition

Traverse City West Senior High School Titan Robotics were tournament champions at the FIRST Robotics District Competition held in Gaylord over the weekend. It is the first time a Titan team has been tournament champions. The Titans also won the Industrial Design Award, which celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine. The Traverse City Central High School Raptors also competed in Gaylord and won the Engineering Inspiration Award, which celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community. The Raptors were tournament Finalists. The points earned at district competitions will help determine which teams will be heading to the State Championships, April 11-15, 2018, at Saginaw Valley State University.


West Senior High School Student Receives Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission Award

Traverse City West Senior High School senior, Madison Hertel, will be awarded the Governor's Traffic Safety Advisory Commission's (GTSAC) Student Award. The award will be presented March 21, 2018, during the 23rd Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing, Mich. The Student Award recognizes a high school or college student for their work on promoting traffic safety. Madison was nominated by State Trooper David Prichard. The GTSAC was formed by an Executive Order of the Governor in 2002 to provide leadership in the identification of state and local traffic safety issues and promote recommended strategies to address them.

Madison Hertel

TCAPS Middle School Students Advance to National History Day State Competition

Traverse City East Middle School (EMS) and West Middle School (WMS) students competed in the Regional National History Day Contest on Saturday, March 17, 2018. The following students are advancing to the State Competition on April 28, 2018, in Bay City, Mich.

Group Exhibit
Baylor Baldwin & Keegan Sutherland WMS

Individual Exhibit
Alexandria Maxwell EMS
Audrey Michael WMS
Joie Baldyga EMS

Group Website
Anna Childs & Ella Beck WMS
Emily Sprenkle & Sara Bagley WMS
William Haaplala & Andrew Humphrey EMS

Individual Website
Drew Cummins EMS
Julia Flynn EMS
George Parvel EMS

Sam McDonough EMS
Olivia Strom EMS

Historical Papers
Mallory Swope EMS
Ella Mae Rintala WMS
Addison Swanson EMS

Learn more at:

TCAPS Students Receive Honorable Mention in CTAC Youth Art Show

Traverse City Area Public Schools students received honorable mention in the Crooked Tree Arts Center’s annual Youth Art Show. More than 39 schools are represented in the show with floor to ceiling art. The works are on display until March 31, 2018. The following TCAPS students were awarded honorable mention for their art work:

"Birch Trees" by Sarah McSwain, Central Grade School
"Full Moon Owl" by Lydia Day, Willow Hill Elementary
"Surrealist Bird" by Maddy Tessin, Traverse Heights Elementary School
"Cat" by Gabrielle Surprenant, East Middle School
"Giraffe" by Alexis DiPonio, Central High School

TCAPS Arts Gala

TCAPS Participates in Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Veterans Employment Training

Traverse City Area Public Schools was recognized this week for its support at a "boss lift" event at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in St. Ignace, Mich. The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a Department of Defense office that seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. TCAPS is proud of its employees who currently serve or previously served in the military. TCAPS encourages individuals to consider careers in education and support fields understanding that the school district actively supports their applications for employment. Learn more about the fulfilling careers and jobs available serving our communities students at:


TCAPS Board Coffee Conversation—April 26th

The TCAPS Board of Education will host its monthly Coffee Conversation on Thursday, April 26, 2018, at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss topics of interest with a TCAPS board member.

Two West Senior High School VEX Robotics Teams to Head to World Competition

Vex Robotics

Traverse City Central High School Athletic Director Named Regional Athletic Director of the Year

The Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), has selected Mark Mattson of Traverse City Central High School as regional Athletic Director of the Year. Mattson is one of only fourteen administrators state wide to be honored by the MIAAA. He will be presented the award in Traverse City on March 18, 2018, at the annual MIAAA Mid-Winter Conference in which over 500 athletic directors participate. Mattson is in his 21st year as an educator. He has taught and coached at Rhinelander High School in Wisconsin, Marquette High School, where he transitioned into the athletic director position. Mattson became the athletic director and assistant principal at Glen Lake Community Schools prior to taking on the same role at Traverse City Central High School where he has served for the past four years. Mattson serves on numerous committees as part of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, is a member of the Grand Traverse County Drug Task Force Team, and is a member of the TCAPS Nutrition and Wellness Committee.

“Angelo and Michele Vozza More than Robots Scholarship Fund” Announced

A new scholarship called the “Angelo and Michele Vozza More than Robotics Scholarship Fund” was announced at the opening ceremonies for the FIM District FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) held at Central High School, March 1-3, 2018. The new scholarship seeks to support the region’s efforts to increase the number of students pursuing higher education in STEM fields and was named in recognition of the Vozza family’s commitment to the advancement of students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The scholarship fund is for FRC students in the five county region served by the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. The criteria is for 11th and 12th grade FRC students who embody the “more than” robots spirit of FIRST. Students will provide a short essay and two FIRST mentor letters of recommendation to be eligible for the scholarship. The initial awards will be given in 2019 and the minimum goal for the fund is to award a $1,000 scholarship. Additional scholarships will be added, based on available funding. Additional donations to the fund are being accepted through the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation (reference “Vozza Fund” on the memo line of the check).

Nominate an Outstanding Educator

TBAISD, in collaboration with the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce and TBA Credit Union, is seeking nominations from the community and school districts in the five-county region for outstanding educators and educational support staff. The nomination deadline is April 16, 2018. Click here for award eligibility guidelines and the nomination form.

The Outstanding Educator Awards ceremony is May 30, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the City Opera House and is open to the public. For more information about this program or to view a list of past recipients please visit TBAISD's website.

Thanks for considering nominating an outstanding educator and/or educational support staff.

April is Social Host Responsibility Month

On March 12, 2018, the TCAPS Board of Education adopted a resolution proclaiming April 2018 as Social Host Awareness Month. The month seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of providing alcohol to minors and the responsibility parents and adults have in helping to prevent underage drinking.  

tcapsloop weekly podcast

Calendar Reminders

March 23rd No school, Spring recess begins
March 23rd-April 2nd Tompkins Boardman Administration Building closed
April 3rd School resumes



News & Events

hOurs to Give

Partner in Education

“Together, we are showing our commitment to students.”

Partner In Education Online Giving Portal

The Partner In Education online giving portal ( has been really busy this past month with the recent news on the CHS Solar Project and the upcoming VEX Robotics World Competition.

Did you know that you, too, can give directly to any school, teacher, program, sport or club at TCAPS? Go to and you will find a secure, easy to complete form. Simply indicate on the form where you would like your funds to go and we’ll make sure they get there. If we have any questions we’ll reach out to you for clarification.

When students know that a financial burden is lifted, it truly effects the way they feel and perform at school. Together, we are showing our commitment to students by offering the kindness and resources needed to help them to reach their full potential. Become a TCAPS Partner In Education.

Trattoria Stella Hosting “Polenta + Blankets” Fundraiser for STEP—April 8th

On Sunday, April 8, 2018, at 6:00 p.m., TCAPS' Students in Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) and Trattoria Stella invite you to the Polenta + Blankets fundraiser. Enjoy a communal dining experience with polenta, four sauces, two salads, and two desserts. Bring new blankets to donate to STEP and receive a discount. Tickets are $30 (reg. $36) for adults and $12 (reg. $15) for kids. Reservations are required at 231.929.8989. STEP provides free supportive, education-related services to students, ages 3-20, who lack fixed, regular and adequate housing. 

Polenta and Blankets

Ten Cents A Meal Legislative Report

The  10 Cents A Meal 2017-2018 Legislative Report shares stories from across Michigan about the impact the 10 Cents A Meal grant funding is having on students and district-wide food culture. Traverse City Area Public Schools has participated in the 10 Cents A Meal program for several years. Learn how TCAPS has been working to include more local fruits and vegetables into its school meal program.

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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