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May 2022
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May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During the month of May, Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) joins the national movement to raise awareness around mental health. With the help of community partners, TCAPS strives to fight stigma, provide support, educate, and advocate for students with mental illness and their families.

North Country Community Mental Health (NCCMH) and Northern Lakes Community Mental Health (NLCMH) have teamed up to present a free virtual education series to celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Month.

Mental Health Awareness

The webinars will be held each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday throughout May from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. The programs feature mental health professionals from both organizations as well as community partners.

The collaboration focus on mental health issues around the theme #Tools4Resilience and emphasize a variety of tools individuals can use to promote their own mental health and self-care. After the presentations, there will be time for questions and answers with the speakers.

To register and receive links to attend one or more sessions, visit

Central and West High Schools Ranked Among the Nation’s Best High Schools

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School have been recognized among the nation’s best high schools by U.S. News and World Report. Nearly 18,000 schools were ranked on six factors based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

U.S. News and World Report ranked 17,843 public high schools out of more than 24,000 that were identified. Rankings include both state and national measures. Traverse City Central High School ranked 46th in Michigan with an overall score of 91.9 (out of 100) and #1,445 in the nation. Traverse City West Senior High School ranked 55th in the state with an overall score 90.02 and #1,780 in the nation.

“The U.S. News and World Report rankings recognize unbiased academic success,” said Dr. John VanWagoner, Superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools. “Effective teaching and learning requires passionate teachers, dedicated students, and ongoing support and care from parents and the community. This achievement represents the success of our entire district. Our community should feel proud.”

The goal of the U.S. News and World Report “Best High Schools” rankings is to provide a clear, unbiased picture of how well public schools serve all of their students – from the highest to lowest achieving and in preparing students to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills as well as readiness for college-level work. To learn more about the rankings, visit:

Interlochen Arts Discovery Camp


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Partner in Education

Library Time
Library time at Silver Lake Elementary.
TCAPS News & Events

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

Five TCAPS Educators Named 2022 Outstanding Educators

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce five TCAPS staff members earned 2022 regional Outstanding Educator Awards from Northwest Education Services (formerly Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District).

Northwest Education Services, in collaboration with Traverse Connect and TBA Credit Union, annually seek nominations for teachers, administrators, and school support staff who make outstanding contributions toward the education of students throughout the five-county Traverse Bay region. The regional Outstanding Educator Awards honor the top individuals selected from a pool of candidates who are nominated by community members, professional peers, students and parents. The five 2022 TCAPS honorees are:
  • Sherry Ekins - Support Staff, Courtade Elementary School
  • Minda Nyquist - Teacher, Traverse City West Senior High School
  • Maria Taplin - Teacher, Traverse City West Middle School
  • Ann Thaxton - Teacher, Long Lake Elementary School
  • Emily Witte - Teacher, Blair Elementary School
The top ten Outstanding Educators of Northwest Michigan will be honored at a reception on Wednesday, June 1 at the City Opera House. For more information about the regional Outstanding Educator Award, click here.

Seven TCAPS Students Earn 2022 Breaking Traditions Awards

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce seven TCAPS students are recipients of the 2022 Breaking Traditions Awards (BTA). The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced 57 high school and five college students statewide as award recipients this year.

Each student overcame stereotypes to succeed in career and technical education (CTE) programs considered non-traditional for their gender. These students are “breaking traditions” by pursuing careers in which their gender represents less than 25 percent of people working in that field. Applicants provided two letters of support and wrote a brief narrative explaining the career obstacles that they faced and key accomplishments.

“The Breaking Traditions Awards extend beyond individual students. These awards also represent the quality of the school culture,” said Dr. Brian Pyles, Director of CTE at the Michigan Department of Education. “Clearly, these schools embrace an inclusive student-focused instructional environment supported by staff, students, and community.”

“This award recognizes the value of diversifying the career fields for all,” added TCAPS Superintendent John VanWagoner II, Ph.D. “This accomplishment will help promote career and technical education choices as options for all students to consider, regardless of gender.”

Award recipients are listed below in alphabetical order for each BTA category:

Michigan Breaking Traditions 2022 Merit Award:

Riley Adams
North Ed. Career Tech, Traverse City West Senior High School
Information Technology Program

Gracie Curtis
North Ed. Career Tech, Traverse City West Senior High School
Power Equipment Program

Zachary Miller
North Ed. Career Tech, Traverse City West Senior High School
Health Science Program

Joshua Rueckert
North Ed. Career Tech, Traverse City West Senior High School
Business Careers Program

Erin Schworm
North Ed. Career Tech, Traverse City West Senior High School
Drafting and Design Program

Michigan Breaking Traditions 2022 Certificate of Recognition:

Kyra Gray
North Ed. Career Tech, Traverse City West Senior High School
Public Safety Program

Tianna Lemcool
North Ed. Career Tech, Traverse City West Senior High School
Collision Repair Program

Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Student Journalists Earn Michigan Interscholastic Press Association Awards

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce that Traverse City East Middle School (EMS), Traverse City Central High School (CHS), and Traverse City West Senior High School’s (WSH) journalism and media programs took home top honors at the annual Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA) Awards.
MIPA Awards

EMS Digital Media Center (DMC) competed against high school students in Michigan Divisions 2 & 3, with the exception of News Writing, which was a middle school contest. EMS students won a total of 53 team and individual awards, with Trojan TV taking home a Gold in the annual Spartan Competition. Eighth grade student Saydi Kiley beat 19 other high school students to take the top anchor spot in Division 2 for the state of Michigan, with fellow eighth grade student reporter Adelae Nelesen coming in 2nd.

WSH Occidentalist Newspaper students won a total of 38 awards, with their newspaper winning Gold and their website Silver.

CHS sophomore Luca Schwalm represented the Front and Central Broadcast class, earning an Honorable Mention for Video Journalism Diversity Coverage. All TCAPS team and individual awards are listed below.

Founded in 1921 and housed in the Michigan State University School of Journalism, the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association is a nonprofit organization composed of scholastic journalism teachers and publications advisers and their students. MIPA is committed to promoting and recognizing excellence in scholastic journalism at all levels through education, training, and support of student journalists and their advisers. For information about the MIPA awards, visit: To view the full list of all Michigan awards, click here.

Traverse City Music Boosters to Host Annual Benefit Concert

The Traverse City Music Boosters will host their Annual Benefit Concert at Traverse City Central High School on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. The event is open to the public with a suggested donation of $5 per person or $20 per family.

All families and community members who have a student involved in any TCAPS Music Program, grades K-12, are invited and encouraged to attend. The evening will include band, choir and orchestra performances from TCAPS’ award winning middle and high schools, as well as an introduction and recognition of the 24, 2022-23 TC Music Boosters Scholarship winners.

Proceeds from the event will be used to support TCAPS K-12 Music Programs and the Student Scholarship Fund. To learn more or make a donation, click here.

Celebrating The Class of 2022


TCAPS is pleased to announce the dates, times and locations for its 2022 high school honors convocation and graduation ceremonies.

Traverse City Central High School
Monday, May 23, 2022
7:00 p.m.
TC Central Auditorium (1150 Milliken Dr.)

Traverse City West Senior High School
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
6:00 p.m.
TC West Auditorium (5376 North Long Lake Rd.)

Traverse City High School
Friday, June 3, 2022
7:00 p.m.
Lars Hockstad Auditorium (301 Seventh Street)

Traverse City Central High School
Sunday, June 5, 2022
6:00 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium (Interlochen Center for the Arts)

Traverse City West Senior High School
Sunday, June 5, 2022
1:00 p.m.
Kresge Auditorium (Interlochen Center for the Arts)

TCAPS offers families the option to view Commencement and Convocation ceremonies live at Families may also view and/or download archived graduation ceremonies at

View archived graduation ceremonies here
View video download instructions here

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Announces Sponsorship of The Summer Food Service Program for Children

Free meals will be made available to children 18 years of age and under or persons up to age 26 who are enrolled in an educational program for the mentally or physically disabled that is recognized by a state or local public educational agency. The meals will be provided without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Due to federal regulations, food will not be permitted to leave the premises, all children must consume the meals onsite at designated eating areas. Meals will be provided at the site listed below, Monday-Thursday from June 27th through August 11th:

Traverse Heights Elementary School
933 Rose Street
Traverse City MI 49686
Breakfast: 8:00am-8:45am
Lunch: 11:50am-12:50pm
*Closed July 4 & July 5

If you will be traveling this summer, please use the Meet Up and Eat Up Site Locator to find meal locations in other areas.

For more information about TCAPS food services, free and reduced meals, and summer food service programs, please visit

MDHHS & MDE Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Program

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has partnered with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) by creating the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) Program. Students who are eligible for free and reduced paid meals may qualify for additional P-EBT benefits for the months of September through December if the student was absent from school due to COVID-19 or was learning remotely during the month(s).

Important information:
  • P-EBT benefits are only available for free/reduced students.
  • P-EBT benefits are automatically issued for any month your school has virtual or hybrid learning.
  • The program includes any month(s) that benefits were NOT issued.
  • If your student did not have access to school meals during the month listed (ie: was out ill or had to quarantine) you may be eligible for additional benefits.
    • Request a “proof document” by emailing Keri McCumber in the TCAPS business office at by Friday, June 24, 2022, so it can be returned to you in time to submit to MDHHS. Please be sure to include the student name, birthdate and school location.
    • You must submit the proof document and reconsideration form to MDHHS by Wednesday, June 30, 2022.
For more information, visit or call 1-833-905-0028.

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


What if something out there had your kid begging you to turn off the TV or tablet, put away the video games, and listen to a story? It seems practically impossible in today's media environment. But with podcasts, "no screens" becomes "no problem." Podcasts made for -- and even by -- kids are popping up all over the place. Looking for a great podcast for your kids? Check out Common Sense Media’s podcast reviews and dive into this awesome form of entertainment.

Learn more: Parents' Guide to Podcasts | Common Sense Media

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.

Custodial Positions at TCAPS

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is seeking qualified candidates to serve as custodial staff 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!
Now Hiring

Enrolling Now for TCAPS Summer Academy

Enrollment for the TCAPS Summer Academy program is now open. Summer Academy is open to all incoming 9th-12th grade students. No residency is required. The program is a great opportunity for students needing to recover credits, wanting to accelerate, or looking to free up an hour for electives next school year. The Academy is a hybrid model of an online platform with in-person teacher support and/or workspace. Sessions are open July 6th through August 3rd. Learn more about available courses and how to register at:

Grand Canyon University

TCAPS Summer Building Hours

All TCAPS school buildings offer summer office hours to assist families with enrollment questions and paperwork. For more information, please contact the school directly.


Thursday, June 16th • 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Friday, June 17th • 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Monday, June 20th • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Thursday, June 23rd • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Monday, June 27th • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Thursday, June 30th • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

The school offices will be closed during the month of July. If you need to register your child in school, please complete the student registration forms found online at Completed forms should be mailed, emailed, or dropped off, along with a copy of your child’s birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of residency to TCAPS - Enrollment, 412 Webster Street, Traverse City, MI 49686. For more information, please call 231.933.1710, or visit

Monday, August 1st • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Thursday, August 4th • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Monday, August 8th • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Thursday, August 11th • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM


TC East Middle School
Monday – Thursday • 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

TC West Middle School
Monday – Thursday • 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM


TC Central High School
Monday – Thursday • 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Traverse City High School
Tuesdays • 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

TC West Senior High School
Monday – Thursday • 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

LEAP Office
Call for assistance

The Tompkins Boardman Administration Center* will be open to the public from 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, June 20th - August 8th.

* All buildings will be closed the full week of July 4th - 8th. Normal Monday-Friday school hours will resume on August 15th.

TCAPS Board of Education Monthly Office Hours - May 26, 2022

The Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Board of Education will host its next monthly “office hours” in person on May 26, 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, Andrew Raymond will be attending. Visit the Board calendar to view the board schedule in its entirety, or visit:

TCAPS Superintendent Monthly Office Hours – June 14, 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.

Important Calendar Dates

May 30: No school, Memorial Day holiday
June 15: Last half day for students
June 20: Building summer hours begin

2022-2023 School Year Calendars

Please review the 2022-2023 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.

Please note TCAPS Montessori will follow a separate 2022-2023 calendar to allow necessary time for a mid-year move to the new TCAPS Montessori building. TCAPS Montessori will begin August 23, 2022. In exchange, families will have four additional days off January 3-6, 2023. This calendar adjustment only applies to TCAPS Montessori. The new TCAPS Montessori building will open officially for classes on Monday, January 9, 2023.

If you have questions about the district calendar, please contact your school’s front office or email
*Please note the updated calendars above reflect a RSDD (Teacher work day/Regional training day) date change from 11/7/22 to 11/1/22.

Important 2022-2023 Enrollment & Registration Dates:

Enrollment has begun for many 2022/23 TCAPS schools and programs. TCAPS will continue to offer both LIVE and On Demand options for the 2022/23 school year, pending sufficient enrollment. 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! Whether watching for the first time, or watching it again, enjoy these impressive performances.
Want to see more amazing TCAPS performances, events, and videos? Check out TCAPS Media on Youtube!

This Just In….

  • The Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) held its All-State Vocal Festival at Michigan State University, May 13 - 14. The All-State Festival features large and small ensembles as well as soloists who were selected through adjudicated festivals held at both the district and state level.
    Choir Festival

    The following Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School performers were featured at the All-State Festival:

    Katy Haag, 10th grade, Central High School
    Audrey Michael, 12th grade West Senior High School

    Small Ensemble:
    Katherine Brazee and Piper Dee, 10th grade, West Senior High School

    Large Ensembles:
    Bella Voce, West Senior High, Stephanie Schall-Brazee, Director
    Choral-Aires, Central High School, Tami Williams and David Boswell, Directors
    Choral-Aires, West Senior High, Erich Wangeman, Director
    Westmen, West Senior High, Erich Wangeman, Director

  • The Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan hosted its annual Italian Songs and Arias Vocal Competition on May 1 in Clinton Township. Soloists from around the state of Michigan submitted preliminary recordings with 10 being selected to compete in the finals recital. All finalists received a cash prize with the opportunity to be awarded the top prize of $1000. TCAPS students walked away with the top three places.
    Verdi Competition

    $1000, 1st place - Audrey Michael, 12th grade, West Senior High
    $500, 2nd place - Lily LaFaive, 10th grade West Senior High
    $300, 3rd place - Bella Wiliford, 11th grade, West Senior high
    $100 finalists -
    Lillian Gray, 12th grade, West Senior High
    Katy Haag, 10th grade, Central High School
    Lily Jenkins, 12th grade, Central High School
    Caleb Mienk, 10th grade, West Senior High

  • The CHS FIRST Robotics team 1711 RAPTORS competed at the FIRST Robotics World Championships in Houston, Texas, April 22-24. The Raptors competed in the Newton Division at Worlds. They ranked 58th out of 76 teams and met robotics teams from across the world! Great job to the team, staff, sponsors, and the community for supporting the team and helping them get to the World Championship!

  • Westwoods Elementary School fifth graders who are learning from Interlochen students about how they can grow their own gardens. The school received their own “hoop house” for gardening and plans to create a greenhouse and garden not just for students, but the entire community. Great job to all involved in this awesome project! Learn more here:
    Green House


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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.”

Grand Canyon University Donates Much Needed Supplies

Our local Grand Canyon University representative, Brandee Hutchinson, has come through again with an incredible donation of pencils and water bottles just in time for the heat wave we experienced last week. Thank you, GCU, for this awesome donation!
Grand Canyon University

BC Pizza Gives Back

BC Pizza of Traverse City (3186 LaFrainer Rd.) is hosting its 4th Annual Pizza For a Cause on Sunday, May 22! 🍕🤝

BC Pizza will gift 100% of the day's proceeds to TCAPS' Student Support Network, which provides assistance to students in need and helps to remove barriers that may create obstacles to student learning.

The restaurant is open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and the offer is good for delivery and pickup. Everything counts! In addition, BC Pizza of Traverse City will be giving away free pizza for a year (1 large pizza per month for 12 months) to one lucky winner! Simply use the hashtag #bctcgivesback and share photos enjoying pizza that day on social media to be registered to win. To order online, visit or call 231.995.9900.

Introducing: Art Around Town

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is excited to introduce Art Around Town: a new program that invites TCAPS families and community to explore artwork created by talented TCAPS student artists!

New displays will be shared throughout Downtown Traverse City every 6-8 weeks, exhibiting beautiful K-12 student art from around the district. Student art can now be found at Espresso Bay, Rocket Fizz, Darling Botanical Co., Brilliant Books, and the M22 store, with more displays coming soon! For more information, visit

Art Around Town

Biggby Traverse City Donates to Kickstart 715 Trojan Coffee

Introducing 715 Trojan Coffee: a classroom run coffee pick-up and delivery service that serves coffee and tea to school staff on Fridays! Students in Ms. Rachel Fernandez’s Mildly Cognitive Impaired (MICI) classroom worked together to develop their logo and brand design earlier this year. Students then worked on resume building, identifying personal strengths and job interests, applying for jobs, and participating in formal interviews. Jobs include: manager, cashier, accountant, marketing director, barista, greeter, server, cleaner, and stocker.

Upon a formal job offer, students sign a contract that includes the rules and expectations of 715 Trojan Coffee employees. The coffee business is designed to help students develop early vocational skills, including money management, time management, collaboration, appropriate communication, and overall confidence.

The classroom worked together to decide on an appropriate name. They decided 715 because that is their classroom number and who doesn’t love coffee at 7:15am?! Join us in congratulating the students and staff of 715 Trojan Coffee and wishing them luck! Many thanks to Biggby Coffee Traverse City for the product donations to support this incredible opportunity.
Trojan Coffee

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