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August 2018
Back to School
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News & Events

Partner in Education


“Understanding that dreams become reality when we are intentional in our pursuit of them can be very powerful, and TCAPS is here to help.”

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

Welcome to the start of a new school year! It has been a great summer for TCAPS. I want to thank each and every one of you who helped us pass a bond issue by more than a two to one margin! Generations of children will benefit from your work! Additionally, we opened Eastern Elementary School on time and under budget, and our student achievement, based on multiple measures, show our children are growing and achieving at rates and levels that outpace regional and statewide benchmarks. Our work has been intentional, and it has paid dividends. I have always said that TCAPS is an amazing school system. The data confirms this is true!

Ribbon Cutting
The ribbon is officially cut marking the grand opening of Eastern Elementary School on August 27th.

Now it is time to turn our attention to the new year. Every new year is filled with so much hope and excitement. It is a great time for students to think about and dream about their future. I believe in dreaming, and I further believe that TCAPS helps turn dreams into reality. One does not become a doctor, teacher, mechanic, artist, or musician overnight. It starts somewhere. We take a step in the direction we think we want to head, and then take another step. Sometimes we step backward, or change directions, but eventually we get somewhere. I believe being intentional about our journey gives us the best chance of achieving our dreams.

You can help your child be intentional about achieving their dreams. Taking the simple step of having a meaningful conversation with your child about their future can have a profound impact. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up, what they are passionate about, and what their hopes and dreams are. Then ask what they hope to accomplish this school year to help them achieve their dreams.

Understanding that dreams become reality when we are intentional in our pursuit of them can be very powerful, and TCAPS is here to help. Working in conjunction with supportive families and our community, we can and do help make dreams come true. In so many ways, that’s what our job is, and it is something that every employee takes great pride and joy in doing. We cannot wait to get started!

Thank you for choosing and trusting TCAPS with your child(ren) and their dreams! It is an honor for TCAPS to be part of your child’s educational journey.

Together, let’s make dreams come true this year!

Paul A. Soma, Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools



News & Events

Partner in Education

Mexico Service

High School Students Travel to Mexico Over the Summer for a Language Learning and Service Trip

Twenty seven TCAPS students spent some of their summer vacation working in a orphanage and dog refuge in Mexico as part of a language learning and service trip. The trip focuses on Spanish language study, volunteer work, and building global friendships with high school students learning English in Mexico. Students volunteered at Corazon Canino Dog Refuge, Buen Pastor Orphanage for girls, and worked with the students in La Escuela Secundaria in Leon.

Mexico Service
Students volunteer during a language learning and service trip.

Learn more about TBACU Smart Option Student Loans


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TCAPS News & Events

“Our rigorous, research-based curriculum, taught by highly qualified teachers and supported by new textbooks and skilled curriculum leaders, provides TCAPS students with the very best education.”

TCAPS Celebrates Students’ Academic Success

The results of Traverse City Area Public Schools students’ MSTEP scores continue to outpace regional and state averages. In addition, SAT, NWEA and AP scores have improved and continue to outpace state and national norms.

“These results demonstrate that our rigorous, research-based curriculum, taught by highly qualified teachers and supported by new textbooks and skilled curriculum leaders, provides TCAPS students with the very best education,” said Paul Soma, superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools. “While assessments are only one type of measure of student success, they provide important benchmarks and indicate college and career readiness. We are incredibly proud of our dedicated staff who help make our students’ achievements possible.”

TCAPS uses multiple measures to determine student proficiency and growth at the individual, classroom, grade, building and district levels. In each measure, TCAPS student results are demonstrating higher levels of growth and proficiency over the state, regional, and national averages against which they are compared. Read more

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Seeks Donations

Looking to support a cause that is out of this world? The Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP) at Traverse City West Senior High School is seeking donations to participate in Mission 13 to the International Space Station.

More than 800 West Senior High School 9th - 12th grade students will learn about microgravity experiment design and proposal writing as part of the SSEP project. It is expected that over 200 flight experiment proposals will be submitted by West’s student teams. From those proposals, one of the experiments will be sent into space to be performed on the International Space Station.

Whether you are an individual or business looking to sponsor the program at the Ground Crew Level ($50), or you are able to give at the Galactic Level ($10,000), every donation helps aspiring student scientists engage in STEM learning and have the potential to have their experiment conducted in space.

To donate, visit: (indicate SSEP in the program description).

East Middle School Teacher to Present Student Documentary at the National Journalism Education Conference

East Middle School (EMS) teacher, Jody Mackey, has been invited to present at the National High School Journalism Convention sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association, which will be held on November 1-4, 2018, in Chicago, Ill. Mrs. Mackey’s session at the conference is titled “Tackling tough subjects: out of the classroom into the community.” She will be teaching participants about the student created documentary; Predator & Prey: Opioids' Savage Effect On Our Community, which looks at Traverse City's opioid crisis. The documentary catapulted the topic into local media and created a firestorm of community support, criminal investigations, and partnerships with local agencies determined to combat the crisis killing so many. Produced by students in EMS’ digital media class last year, the film continues to make an impact in our community and beyond.

Central High School Tennis Coach Inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is proud to announce that former Traverse City Central High School tennis coach, Larry Nykerk, will be inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) Hall of Fame.

Nykerk retired from coaching high school tennis in 2017 after 50 years of service. He was only the 3rd girls’ tennis coach to serve at Central High School since the inception of the program in the mid-70's. Nykerk earned more than 1,000 career victories (Boys: 542, Girls: 508, Total Wins: 1,050), more than any other tennis coach in Michigan, and 40 Regional Championships. In addition, he has been named Regional Coach of the Year 28 times, State Coach of the Year three times (1984, 1997, 2007), and his teams have consistently qualified for state finals (Boys’ Team 38 years, Girls’ Team 35 consecutive times). There have been 65 players with a 100 wins or more, 13 TC Central players have been named individual state champions, and 42 TC Central players have gone on to play college tennis.

Off of the court, Nykerk has helped fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the construction of new tennis courts, a pavilion, completion of resurfacing projects, and other facility upgrades. Nykerk also founded a youth summer camp in 1976 that will celebrate its 42nd year of providing high quality tennis instruction to area youth.

The 60th Annual Hall of Fame Induction banquet will take place on September 16, 2018, in the Terrace Room of the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University.

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West Senior High School Counselors Receive State Recognition

The Michigan Department of Treasury, Student Scholarships and Grants (SSG) division recognized Traverse City West Senior High School for ranking in the top 50 high schools across Michigan for the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) application completion. SSG identified that only 44.3% of the known Michigan high school seniors from the Class of 2018 completed their required TIP application. SSG officials expressed in a letter recognizing the school’s accomplishment that, “Traverse City West Senior High School should be proud of the success you bring to your students, especially informing them of their eligibility for State financial aid programs.”  

East Extravaganza Craft Show - October 27th, Exhibitor Applications Now Being Accepted

The 27th annual East Extravaganza Craft Show will be held on Saturday, October 27, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at East Middle School (1776 Three Mile Rd. N.). The event features unique and handmade arts and crafts as well as a silent auction. Admission to the event is free and the proceeds from exhibitor fees benefit the school library. Exhibitor applications are currently being accepted. Contact Denise Olson, or Julie Nesky, to reserve your space today.

Transportation Information and Hotline

TCAPS families should have recieved their child’s specific bus route information via email. Families without an email address on file will receive their child’s information this week via U.S. mail. If the information received is not correct, families are invited to contact the TCAPS Transportation Hotline. The hotline can be reached by calling 231-933-1956 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The hotline will operate through August 31st.

Immunization Information

The state of Michigan revised its Immunization Rules on January 1, 2015, to require all individuals who wish to waive one or more vaccines to seek an authorized waiver for all non-medical concerns from a county health department, or seek an authorized waiver for medical contraindication from their primary care physicians. All children new to the district, in preschool, entering kindergarten or 7th grade for the 2018-19 school year, must be up to date with immunizations or present an authorized waiver form (dated after February 2018) prior to attending school.

TCAPS Offers Nutritious Breakfast & Lunch Options

TCAPS is proud to offer delicious, nutritious breakfast and lunch to our students every school day in all of our schools (with the exception of half day lunch at middle and high schools). Please visit for information on our new interactive online menus and mobile app for parents.

Meal costs for the 2018-2019 school year are as follows:

Elementary School Prices Middle and High School Prices
Student Breakfast – $1.50 Student Breakfast – $1.75
Adult Breakfast – $2.35 Adult Breakfast – $2.35
Reduced Breakfast Price - $.30 Reduced Breakfast Price - $.30
Student Lunch – $2.75 Student Lunch – $3.00
Adult Lunch – $3.85 Adult Lunch – $3.85
Reduced Lunch Price - $.40 Reduced Lunch Price - $.40
Milk Price – $.50 Milk Price – $.50

All student meals are free at Blair Elementary School and Traverse Heights Elementary School.

Free & Reduced School Meals

All TCAPS families are encouraged to apply for free or reduced meals. Whether or not your child plans to participate in the free and/or reduced meals program, gathering information on the number of students who qualify is still vital for the district. It is used not only to determine meal prices for qualifying families, but it is also used as part of the application process for a number of grants and other opportunities TCAPS participates in. We are pleased to be able to offer qualifying families with free or discounted meal rates, so if you think your family might qualify, please apply today. To apply online, visit and follow the instructions for Traverse City Area Public Schools. For more information about free and reduced meals, visit

West Senior High School Student Receives Journalism Award for Excellence

Hope Thompson, a junior at Traverse City West Senior High School, received an Award for Excellence for column writing at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp in journalism. Hope will be co-editor of the school’s newspaper, the Occidentalist, in the upcoming school year, and studied under Bobby Hawthorne at the MIPA camp. Hawthorne is the author of "The Radical Write," a textbook about reporting and writing for student publications that is used nationwide, including within TCAPS journalism programs.

WiredTC 2018 Educational Technology Conference a Huge Success

More than 250 educators from TCAPS and across the state attended the 3rd annual edtech conference at West Senior High School on August 13th.


Calendar Reminders

September 4th First day of school for students
September 7th Half day of school for students
October 3rd Student Count Day

View the school year calendar here.



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Partner in Education

"The T.C. Patriot Game honors Veterans, first responders, active-duty military and area heroes who have died while serving their country."

Welcome Back Kick-Off Sponsors

On Monday, August 27th, TCAPS held its annual Back-to-School Kickoff which gathers its entire staff to celebrate our successes and look to the year ahead. Each year, area businesses join in the fun to network with staff and offer giveaways to say thanks for educating our future leaders. Many thanks to this year’s sponsors TBA Credit Union, Shift Chiropractic, Buffalo Wild Wings, Peace, Love and Little Donuts, United Way, Michigan College Planning, Bookbrokers & Kramer’s Cafe, Bill Marsh Auto, Munson Medical Center, MESSA, Jimmy John’s and adidas.

Welcome New LEAP Sponsor

You’ll see a new banner hanging at Thirlby Field this year! Our newest LEAP sponsor is Critter Control, the nation’s leading wildlife control company. Whether it’s getting rid of raccoons or squirrels from your attic, removing moles that are ravaging your lawn or preventing geese from making a mess on your property, you can count on Critter Control to get the job done in a safe, effective and humane manner. Call (231) 929-9321 or visit Thank you for supporting our students!

7th Annual T.C. Patriot Game T-shirts On Sale

Did you get your commemorative t-shirt for the 7th Annual TC Patriot Game yet? If not, visit Bill Marsh Auto, Serra Subaru of Traverse City, Fox Motors, 4Front Credit Union, or online at to get yours today! Both high schools will also be selling shirts beginning September 4th. This year, Trojan supporters will wear red shirts while supporters of the Titans will wear blue. The minimum shirt donations are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

The T.C. Patriot Game takes the annual football clash between the TC West Titans and TC Central Trojans and uses it to honor Veterans, first responders, active-duty military and area heroes who have died while serving their country. The sale of commemorative shirts earmarks proceeds to a Veteran organization selected by Student Senate members from both schools. Proceeds from this year's sales will support Warrior Sailing, a new Veteran competitive sailing program in Grand Traverse Bay.

Game day is September 14th! We'll see you there in red or blue! In addition to the shirt selling locations, other sponsors include the Biederman Family Foundation, Traverse Catholic Federal Credit Union, Traverse City Area Public Schools and Meijer. Other support comes from Allen-Kent Photography, Jimmy John's (1217 E. Front St., Traverse City), Buffalo Wild Wings (Traverse City), Gallagher's Carpet and Flooring and McMillen's Custom Framing.

Toilet Paper Drive
Special thanks to Armour Siding for purchasing t-shirts for students who are unable to afford them.

TCAPS Graduate Gives Back

TC Central High School 2001 graduate Mandy Foulon Toomey wrote a book titled “Goodnight Traverse City". A take on Goodnight Moon, it's a children’s book that says goodnight to things specific to the area and it's giving back to TCAPS.

"When we brought our daughter back to TC for the first time I looked for a "Goodnight Traverse City" book to complete our collection and it didn’t exist. My husband jokingly said, "well you should write it", said Toomey. "Local illustrator Jim Dewildt did all of the pictures and I am so pleased with how it turned out. This colorful book visits all of the great places that make TC so special."

For every book purchased, Mandy will donate 10% back to TCAPS in support of the food assistance program. Thank you, Mandy, for giving back to your school district and for being a Partner In Education.

Goodnight TC

Back to School Help for Students

Each year, our generous community donates many items to help students start the school off right with all of the items needed for learning. Books-A-Million did a book drive, Sunrise Rotary did it’s annual Backpacks for Kids campaign, and Shift Chiropractic and Hagerty held school supply drives. Thank you to all!

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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