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April 2022
Child Abuse Prevention Month
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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

During the month of April, Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) recognizes National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM) and the importance of working together to help families thrive and prevent child maltreatment. Throughout the month, staff and families are encouraged to increase awareness about child and family well-being and work together to implement effective strategies that support families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Below you’ll find additional information about TCAPS-sponsored initiatives this month, as well as additional information and resources to help protect your child and facilitate conversations.

Pinwheel Gardens
TCAPS has partnered with the Traverse Bay Child Advocacy Center to display pinwheel gardens throughout the community! Why pinwheels? In 2008, Prevent Child Abuse America introduced the pinwheel as the national symbol for child abuse prevention. By its very nature, the pinwheel signifies the joy of childhood. Pinwheels are currently on display at Blair Elementary, Central Grade School, TCAPS Montessori, Silver Lake Elementary, Traverse Heights Elementary, Willow Hill Elementary and TCAPS Administration Building.

Child Protection Registry
The Michigan Child Protection Registry is a free program through the State of Michigan that stops adult advertisements from reaching kids through email, text, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. This registry is an excellent resource for making sure children aren’t being served ads for alcohol, tobacco/vaping, online gambling, pornography or marijuana. This registry is a do-not-contact service. Families can quickly and easily sign up at

Staff Appreciation Week 2022

In alignment with National Teacher Appreciation Week, Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education publicly acknowledges and recognizes all staff members of Traverse City Area Public Schools.
TCAPS Staff Appreciation

On behalf of our greater community, we acknowledge the dedication and commitment of all employees, including those who teach, clean the schools, drive the buses, answer phones, provide meals, design curriculum, enhance technology, coach, direct, communicate, train, hire, support, finance and lead the daily operations of our district.

Schools are the hub of a community and TCAPS is no exception. Our community takes great pride in the ongoing successes of our students and all programming. Today, we honor all staff of Traverse City Area Public Schools who make our district a vibrant, safe, and rewarding place for children to learn and grow.

Thank you for all you do!
  • Submit A "Thank You"
    You can submit your “thank yous” by emailing or by sending a private message to our TCAPS Facebook page. Notes of staff appreciation will be shared with school district employees and the community throughout the week.


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Partner in Education

Story Walk
Congratulations Titans Robotics!
TCAPS News & Events

We exist to educate. Education improves the quality of life for all.

Do It For Daniel

Traverse City Area Public Schools, in partnership with EverGROWTH Consulting and the Good Works Lab, presents a free community screening of Do It For Daniel at West Senior High School on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.

Do It For Daniel

Do it for Daniel is a documentary about Daniel Olson's life. An All-State quarterback for the Ishpeming football team, Daniel appeared to have it all. A great family and great friends, few people knew the battles of depression and anxiety Daniel was fighting on the inside. Daniel ultimately took his own life, not because he wanted to die, but because he just couldn't live with the pain any longer.

This movie is saving lives as it can be hard to tell who is suffering from the disease of mental illness—perhaps someone you love.

Coach Jeff Olson, Daniel’s father, has taken the documentary to 80+ schools in the midwest and facilitated hundreds of presentations in the Olson family’s quest to erase mental health stigma. Jeff will present the documentary and then be joined by a panel to facilitate a conversation on local youth mental health issues. Learn more here.

TC Central High School FIRST Robotics Team Advances to World Championship

It was an incredible weekend for the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) high school FIRST Robotics teams at the Michigan FIRST Robotics State Competition. The State Competition was held April 14-16 at Saginaw Valley State University, where the TC Central Raptors #1711 were selected as the 7th seed and accumulated enough points to earn a bid to the World Championship in Houston, Texas this coming weekend.


The Raptors advanced to the State Competition after winning the FIRST Robotics District Competition, hosted at Traverse City West Senior High School April 8-9. The Raptors went undefeated and won the overall district competition, also receiving the District Chairman’s Award, the most prestigious award given out by FIRST Robotics. The TC West Titans #3767 battled against the TC Raptors on the #2 alliance and were defeated in the finals, placing 2nd at the competition. The Titans also received the Innovation in Control Award, which celebrates the innovation and application of control components (electrical, mechanical or software) to provide unique machine functions.

The Westwood Elementary Unidentified Flying Robots VEX IQ Robotics Team and other local VEX IQ Robotics Teams have also advanced to the VEX IQ Robotics World Championship, which will also be held in Texas, but in May.

The Raptors are now enroute to Houston, preparing for this weekend’s World Championship. Check out this video of them shipping their robot to Houston! If you would like to support the TC Raptors and other TCAPS FIRST Robotics teams, you can follow FRC Team 1711 Raptors on Facebook or watch the livestream of the competition here. Additionally, you can make a donation in support of the team(s) by making a Partner In Education (PIE) donation and putting “FRC #1711 or WW VexIQ” in the designation section. The Westwoods Elementary VEX IQ team is also fundraising via a bottle and can drive. Please contact Kristi Docktor at for more information. Thank you to all who have and continue to support these teams, especially the Raptor team alumni! The team has received so much support from alumni that they have decided the top Raptor Alumni supporter will receive a Raptors T-Shirt.

Congratulations to all of the amazing TCAPS Robotics teams and good luck to the TC Central Raptors at the World Championship!


A cybercrime, known as sextorion, is circulating again online and targeting teens, primarily teen males. Recent forms of sextortion involve a predator posing as a teen who is interested in forming a friendship or romantic connection. The online relationship will eventually lead to manipulating the victim to exhange sexual texts and pictures. The teen will then be told this content will be posted to the internet unless a large sum of money is sent to an overseas account via Western Union or PayPal. If the teen says no, the threat escalates. Exact details of the scam vary case by case.

Although we are not aware of this issue in Traverse City, it is happening across our state. It is necessary for parents and teens to have an awareness and engage in age-appropriate conversations with their children as a preventative measure about internet safety and sextortion.

If your child becomes a victim of this scam, it is important they understand they are a victim and should not feel shame. Do not comply with the request, stop all communication with the predator, and report the situation.
  • Report Online
    Trustworthy websites work hard to keep off sexual images of minors and will remove them if notified. You can also report anyone who is posting or sharing images of you.
  • Report to
    This tip line can connect you with the experts best suited to work on your case. They may contact the website or the police, or reach out to you for more details. You can report without sharing your name and can even make a report for a friend if they need help.
  • Report to Law Enforcement
    Law enforcement can help stop an image from spreading by working with websites/apps and will talk with the people sharing it.

TCAPS Releases 2021 Community Report

Traverse City Public Schools (TCAPS) has released their 2021 Community Report. The report includes information on the 2021 curriculum, student support services, technology, capital projects, and more! Learn more and read the full report.

TCAPS Social Host Awareness Month

At its March 14, 2022 Board of Education meeting, board members signed a proclamation stating April 2022 is Social Host Responsibility Month and calls upon all parents, citizens, homeowners and property owners to host gatherings responsibly and to take measures to eliminate access to alcohol to persons under the age of 21. Read the full proclamation.

Help Your Teen Stay Focused While Driving

In April, traffic safety advocates across the country join to promote National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, stressing the importance of drivers keeping their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their minds on the drive. According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, crashes are the leading cause of death among people aged 15-20. Taking eyes off the road even for five seconds could cost a life.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) has provided the following tools and resources to help lead the discussion on teen driver safety:


TCAPS Offers Opportunity for Veterans to Receive High School Diploma

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce the opportunity for Veterans to receive a diploma. Under Public Act 181 of 2001 and Public Act 55 of 2014, the Board of a Michigan school district can award high school diplomas to WWII, Korean Conflict and Vietnam Era Veterans in recognition of their service and sacrifice. The law permits WWII Veterans who left high school between December 16, 1940 and December 31, 1946 for immediate military service, and did not subsequently receive a high school degree, to now apply for a diploma. Korean War Veterans who left high school between June 27, 1950 and January 31, 1955 may also apply. Veterans of the Vietnam Era must have been drafted or enlisted between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 to qualify for this diploma. Family members may apply on behalf of a living or deceased Veteran. For more information, please contact Mary Beth Stein at 231-933-1718.

Interlochen Arts Discovery Camp

TCAPS Receives Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting

The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) has awarded Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) its Certificate of Excellence (COE) in Financial Reporting for the fiscal year 2021.

“TCAPS has attained this high level of reporting and transparency for 17 consecutive years,” Superintendent Dr. John VanWagoner stated. “Receiving this award reaffirms our ongoing commitment to accurate financial reporting.”

By participating in the COE program, school districts demonstrate their commitment to financial transparency. Applicants submit their Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for review by a team of financial professionals who provide feedback to improve future documents. If the report meets the requirements of the program, it may receive the Certificate of Excellence. A district’s participation in the COE program can facilitate bond rating and continuing bond disclosure processes.

“The COE’s mission is to promote and recognize excellence in financial reporting,” ASBO International Executive Director David Lewis says. “The Annual Comprehensive Financial Report informs stakeholders about the financial and economic state of the district, making it an important communications tool for building trust and engaging with the school community.”

View the 2021 TCAPS Annual Comprehensive Financial Report

TCAPS Bus Inspection Receives 100% Pass Rating

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) received a 100% passing rating on its school bus safety inspection from the Michigan State Police (MSP).

"As our school district continues to work through the challenges of staff shortages, the one thing we have never wavered on is the importance of student safety,” said TCAPS Director of Facilities and Transportation Tyson Burch. “I am incredibly proud of our mechanics and transportation staff for their hard work and commitment to keeping our buses well maintained and ready to safely transport our students to school.”

Bus service is provided to approximately 70% of TCAPS students and local private and parochial school students. Routes include more than 3,000 bus stops and buses travel over 7,000 miles each day. The annual MSP inspection ensures the TCAPS bus fleet safely transports students to and from school and events.

Tech Tip of the Month for Parents from the TCAPS EdTech Loop


emoji Cartoon
A healthy relationship with screens depends on the types of activities kids are doing online as well as balancing screen time with other activities like sleep, connecting with family and friends, exercise, and time outdoors. Screen time limits for older kids and teens can be helpful -- but how they are using screens (verses for how long) is even more important.

Try these tips and questions from Common Sense Media to start conversations with older kids and teens about their screen time habits.

For more tips on Parenting Digital Kids, check out our Parenting Digital Kids Guide. We are here to share tools and resources to support you in whatever decisions you make about the role of digital devices in your home.

Join Our Team

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is seeking qualified candidates to serve as custodians, extended day care assistants and managers for the current school year. For more information, please visit the TCAPS Employment page. Full Year Positions, Sign-on Bonus $1,000, Employee Referral Bonus $1,000, Excellent benefits package + Retirement Benefits!

Custodial Position

Student Breakfast and Lunch Reminder

Don’t forget! Breakfast and lunch are FREE for ALL students at all TCAPS buildings this year. TCAPS Food Service has also now reintroduced salad bars and hot lunch meals at all schools, every school day. Be sure to take advantage of this wonderful program and opportunity for your child(ren) to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals every day. For more information, click here.
Free Lunch

Grand Canyon University

TCAPS Board of Education Monthly Office Hours - April 28, 2022

The Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Board of Education will host its next monthly “office hours” in person on April 28, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Horizon Books, 243 E. Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49684. The meetings will be located on the mezzanine level of the bookstore. TCAPS Board office hours provide community members with the opportunity to talk to a school board trustee. This month, V. Flournoy Humphreys will be attending. Visit the Board calendar to view the board schedule in its entirety, or visit:

TCAPS Superintendent Monthly Office Hours – May 17, 2022

Based on feedback from the community, Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Superintendent, Dr. John VanWagoner, provides a monthly opportunity for community members to attend “office hours” alternating each month between in person and virtual meetings. In person office hours are held at Horizon Books, 243 E. Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49684. Virtual office hours will be held via Google Meet and can be accessed here or by calling +1 707-785-6547 and entering PIN: 692 435 167#. All meetings begin at 5:00 pm.

The alternating schedule will be as follows:
  • Tuesday, May 17 - Horizon Books
  • Tuesday, June 14 - Google Meet

Important Calendar Dates:

April 21: Two hour early release for students, full day for staff
May 17: Two hour early release for students, full day for staff
May 19: Half day for BL/TH students, full day for BL/TH staff
May 30: No school, Memorial Day holiday
June 15: Last half day for students

2021-2022 School Year Calendars

Please review the 2021-2022 school year calendars linked below. Dates to pay special attention to include: half days, early release days, spring break, last day of school, and potential inclement weather make-up dates.

Important 2022-2023 Enrollment & Registration Dates:

Enrollment has begun for many 2022/23 TCAPS schools and programs. For general enrollment information, please visit, or follow the links below for more information about specific programs: TCAPS First Steps: Kindergarten Guide
Important Enrollment Dates

Upcoming Events

TCAPS Media: In Case You Missed It

With so many amazing TCAPS events and performances happening, it's hard to catch them all! So, please enjoy these impressive performances again, if you’ve already seen them, and for the first time, in case you missed it…
Want to see more amazing TCAPS performances, events, and videos? Check out TCAPS Media on Youtube!

TCAPS Hiring

This Just In….

  • Students at Central High School had some fun and got creative with “anything but a backpack” day during their Spirit Week!
    Anything but a backpack

  • Mrs. Wilson and students from Traverse Heights Elementary School helped with spring clean up. They collected over 10 lbs of debris, and the playground is looking great!
    Traverse Heights Clean-up

  • A number of student artists, including Ray Bell from Traverse City West Senior High School have been named finalists in the National Cherry Festival Art Competition! The 2022 Theme for Artwork is cherries and pollinators. The top three winners will receive a scholarship. Check out the top 30 finalists.
    Cherry Festival Art

  • Second graders at Long Lake Elementary School created a box of "joyful jokes" and gifted them to Joy Givers Senior Homes. What a wonderful act of kindness!
    Joyful Jokes

  • Traverse City Central High School student, Evan Reister, recently had an article published in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, showcasing his awesome owl photographs. Great job, Evan! Read the story here.
    Awesome Owl

  • The current National Cherry Festival Cherry Queen, Miss Allie Graziano, visited Mrs. Vanderford's 1st grade class at Silver Lake Elementary School. Allie read the students a story and played Cherry Trivia with them!
    Cherry Queen

  • Congratulations to Caleb Lewandowski, sophomore at Traverse City West Senior High School, who qualified for the U16 US Nationals ski races, which were held in Sugarloaf, Maine the first week of April. The Titan finished in the top 10 out of the Rocky Mountain/Central US Ski & Snowboard regions, which encompass 19 states. Caleb is the only skier from Michigan to qualify. Lewandowski is also a two-time First Team All-State selection by the Michigan High School Ski Coaches Association and the 2022 Record-Eagle Male Skier of the Year.
    Caleb Lewandowski


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News & Events

Partners in Education

Partner in Education
Partner in Education

“A TCAPS Partner in Education helps provide the means to effectively nurture and support students whose non-academic needs may create obstacles to high achievement.”

Community Partners Celebrate Reading Month

Many thanks to Structure and Function Chiropractic and Rehab PLC, Traverse City for such a fantastic celebration of Reading Month in our schools. Four lucky classrooms were surprised with a brand new book:
  • Eastern - Ms. Ferguson’s Kindergarten - “The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Traverse Heights - Ms. Lautner's Kindergarten - "The King of Kindergarten" by Derrick Barnes
  • Willow Hill - Ms. Gosney's 2nd grade - "Donut Feed theSquirrels" by Mika Song
  • Central Grade - Ms. DeMarsh’s 2nd grade - “Lift by Minh Lê”
Author Visit

Robotics Team Support

TCAPS would like to thank the many community members who donated funds to support the Robotics teams at TC Central and TC West for their State competition, and now World competition for TC Central. We are grateful for the way people jump in to raise up our students so that they can be a part of these out-of-classroom experiences.
Robotics Thank You

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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