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Back to School 2022
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Welcome Back to School!

Dear TCAPS Families,
Whether you are a first year family or the parent of a senior student, I welcome you to the 2022-2023 academic year. As with every new school year, there are a handful of important initiatives to share on behalf of the district. We have had a busy summer, and I am excited to share some of our top action items underway this fall.

Safety and Security
As we enter a new academic year, safety and security remain a top focus. TCAPS has hired Secure Education Consultants (SEC), a Grand Rapids based security firm, to provide a building-by-building assessment of all our safety initiatives and protocols. This work will begin in mid September and will provide an overview of current conditions in order to form recommendations for improvement of safety protocols and initiatives.

TCAPS has also hired Patrick McManus as the new Safety and Security Coordinator. This new position will oversee all safety initiatives and protocols to ensure we do everything we can to make TCAPS as safe as possible every single day. Please note one immediate safety initiative required at all buildings is limiting the use of exterior doors. Most exterior doors will remain closed at all times other than for emergencies. This expectation will limit interior access points, therefore increasing safety efforts district wide.

TCAPS Compass

2022-2025 COMPASS Strategic Plan
Crucial Objectives and Metrics to Plan for Actionable Student Success
Approved in July by our Board of Education, the three year COMPASS Strategic Plan outlines our mission, vision, values, and 12 goals for TCAPS to focus upon and achieve. While this will be a multi-year approach, it is important work that will address critical topics important to our families, community, students, and staff.

Health Initiatives
Mental health remains a heightened concern for everyone, and TCAPS takes this topic extremely seriously. We remain committed to providing access to mental health support and working to reduce the stigma attached to mental health. As parents, I ask for you to have an open conversation with your children and encourage them to ask for support if they need it. Ask them to check on their friends and make sure they are also doing ok. TCAPS has resources available within every building. If your child is struggling, or if they know of someone who may be struggling, let your child’s building know so we can assist.

TCAPS is also committed to ensuring students have access to physical health resources. We are currently exploring the addition of an in-district health clinic that would accept all forms of insurance and work on a sliding scale fee (or no fee) to those who do not have health care coverage. We hope this new effort will assist families in a positive way and increase the overall well-being of our school community. More information will be shared as it becomes available!

Student Support Network
The Student Support Network (SSN) is a combination of resources and services available to students and families who may be struggling with access to housing, food, clothing, or basic daily needs such as school supplies or personal hygiene products.

We are all a part of TCAPS because of our students, and meeting their needs remains our first priority. The SSN can confidentially assist students and families in need. For assistance, or to inquire about donating to the SSN, please reach out to the SSN office at 231.933.1789 or via email.

TCAPS Academic Excellence Endowment
The mission of TCAPS Academic Excellence Endowment is to enhance the classroom experience by providing opportunities that may not otherwise be available through the district’s limited general operating budget. The endowment is stewarded by the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation (GTRCF) which partners with a committee of community members to award annual grants to TCAPS employees for student programs. We hope you will consider supporting this effort. Together, we can enhance teaching and learning at Traverse City Area Public Schools! Donations can be made online at

Student Success
I am constantly impressed by the amazing work of our students and staff. Recently, TCAPS shared news of 1,399 students who participated in Advanced Placement tests. I would also like to recognize the 474 students and over 30 staff members who participated in TCAPS summer programs this year. It is an honor to be part of a community that supports quality public education and its students. I look forward to seeing how all of our students find success throughout the upcoming school year.

As we enter into the holiday weekend, I hope you and your family are excited for the new academic year ahead and have confidence in knowing TCAPS will continue to provide the best in education, opportunities, and resources for your child. Thank you for being a part of our success, and thank you for your support of Traverse City Area Public Schools. See you September 6!

John R. VanWagoner II, Ph.D.


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Partner in Education

Middle School Athletics

TCAPS News & Events

TCAPS educates, inspires, and supports all learners to maximize individual excellence and success.

TCAPS Middle School Athletics Joins MHSAA

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Middle School athletes will now participate under the umbrella of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), a change that provides additional eligibility opportunities for teams and individual athletes to participate in post-season events, such as regional level tournaments. Previously, middle school athletics operated under the district’s Learning, Enrichment and Athletic Program (LEAP). Read more…

TCAPS Sex Education Advisory Committee Volunteers

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is recruiting volunteers to serve on the Sex Education Advisory Committee. This advisory committee meets on a monthly basis to review sex education curriculum and materials as required by law, Public Act 226 and our local bylaws. Membership on the advisory board includes:
  • Parents whose children attend the TCAPS District
  • Students in the TCAPS District
  • Educators
  • Clergy
  • Community Health Professionals
If you are interested or would like more information, please contact the Sex Education Coordinator (231.933.6982).


2022-2023 Enrollment Information
Enrollment is still open for the 2022-2023 school year! For general enrollment information, please visit, or follow the links below for more information about specific programs:
Great Start

Great Start Readiness Program Now Enrolling
Preschool is the first step to a lifelong love of learning and all children deserve access to quality preschool programs. Many TCAPS families are eligible for free preschool through the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). To learn more or to apply, or contact the TCAPS GSRP coordinator at 231.933.1734. Classrooms are filling quickly; apply now!

2022-2023 Start of School Year Bus Route Assistance Hotline Families who have beginning of the school year bus route questions or need routing assistance may call the temporary Start of School Year Bus Route Assistance Hotline at 231.933.1956 the week of August 29th through September 2nd during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit

Important Free and Reduced Meals Application Reminder
Congress is not extending free meals for all students for the 2022-2023 school year. Due to this decision, we are asking all TCAPS families to complete a free and reduced meals application so that if your child is eligible they can receive free or reduced meals this coming school year. We ask that all TCAPS families complete an application whether your child would be eligible or not. All application information is used to determine eligibility for many grants and other financial resources that TCAPS receives.

Complete the Free and Reduced Meal Application at: Families can also get a copy of the application in their school's main office. Please complete one form per family.

TCAPS Food Services Rolls Back Meal Pricing
TCAPS knows that some of our families are currently experiencing financial stress with inflation and having to pay for school meals this year. To help reduce some of that burden on our families, TCAPS Food Service is rolling back all meal prices to the 2019-2020 school year prices!
Please join us for nutritious, delicious meals at a great price!

Meal Prices
Elementary - $1.50
Middle School - $1.75
High School - $1.75

Elementary - $2.85
Middle School - $3.05
High School - $3.25

TCAPS Elementary Open Houses
  • Blair Elementary School: September 1, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Central Grade School: September 1, 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Cherry Knoll Elementary School: Kindergarten - 5th grade Open House: Thursday, September 1 (Last names A - L 5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., Last names M - Z 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.)
  • Eastern Elementary School: September 1, 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (PTO Ice Cream Social from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.)
  • Long Lake Elementary School: Pre-K & Kindergarten: September 1, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., 1st-5th Grade: 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Silver Lake Elementary School: September 1, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. for Pre-School and GSRP Open House, 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. for Kindergarten (Including Junior Kindergarten) through 5th Grade Open House
  • TCAPS Montessori: September 1, 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Traverse Heights Elementary School: September 1, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Willow Hill Elementary School: Grades 1-5: September 1, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Important Calendar Dates:
  • September 5: Labor Day (No School)
  • September 6: First day of school
  • September 9: Half day for all students
  • October 6: Count Day

Superintendent Office Hours

Held Monthly, Open to the Community
Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Superintendent, Dr. John VanWagoner, will have monthly “office hours”, alternating each month between in person and virtual meetings. In person office hours will be held at Horizon Books, 243 E. Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49684 on the second floor (Mezzanine level). 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, September 13, 2022 - Horizon Books
Tuesday, October 11, 2022 - Google Meet
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 - Horizon Books
Tuesday, December 13, 2022 - Google Meet
Tuesday, January 10, 2023 - Horizon Books
Tuesday, February 14, 2023 - Google Meet
Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - Horizon Books
Tuesday, April 11, 2023 - Google Meet
Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - Horizon Books
Tuesday, June 13, 2023 - Google Meet

TCAPS Academic Excellence Fund

TCAPS Board of Education Monthly Office Hours - September 22, 2022

The Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Board of Education will host its next monthly “office hours” in person on September 22, 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 (second floor) of the bookstore. TCAPS Board office hours provide community members with the opportunity to talk to a school board trustee. This month, Board Trustee Andrew Raymond will be attending. Visit for additional information or to view the full Board schedule.

Upcoming Events:

Join Our Team

Now Hiring

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is seeking qualified candidates for the 2022-2023 school year to serve as:
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Athletic Coaches
  • Building Subs (Full Year Guest Teachers) & Long-Term Guest Teachers (click here to learn more about subbing)
  • Bus Drivers & Bus Behavior Aides
  • Campus Security Assistants
  • Custodians
  • Extended Day Program Managers and Assistants
  • Food Service Employees
  • Building Assistants
  • School Social Workers
For more information and to apply online, please visit the TCAPS Employment page. TCAPS offers excellent benefits, retirement benefits, staff discounts, flexible work schedules (opportunity to work the same schedule as your student's school day!), and sign-on and referral bonuses at the end of the probationary period! Questions? Contact or call 231-933-1710, or join us for open interviews for all positions.

Upcoming Open Interview Dates
Tuesday, September 13, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 29, 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, October 12, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 27, 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

This Just In….

  • TCAPS Reads Celebrates Summer Readers! The TCAPS Reads Program distributed over 5,000 books to PreK-12th grade summer readers at TCAPS summer programs and community outreach over the summer, including keeping neighborhood lending libraries throughout the region stocked with new and gently used books. Learn more at
    Summer Reading


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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.”

Staples Gives Back

Wade Scott, General Manager of our local Staples, stopped by with this amazing surprise; a car load of school supplies for the 2022-23 school year! "This is the first of more to come," he said. A total of 310 boxes were delivered! Thank you for being a Partner In Education!
Staples Donation

Back to School Donations

If you or your organization are thinking about doing a school supply drive, please use the following list for what is currently needed. It is easier to distribute these items to schools as is, so please avoid grouping items together in individual packages as needs for each school/classroom varies.
  • Pencils
  • Tissue
  • Clorox Wipes
  • Dry Erase Markers - black, thin preferred
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Colored Pencils
  • Glue Sticks
  • Sticky Notes
  • Underwear - Children’s size XS, S, M, L
  • Snacks - Please be sure to avoid anything with peanuts.
  • - Goldfish crackers
  • - pretzels
  • - applesauce/GoGoSqueez
  • - fruit cups (not in syrup)
  • - graham crackers
  • - dried fruits, raisins
  • - granola bars
  • - sugar free pudding
  • - 100 calorie snack bags
  • - low sugar juice boxes

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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