view in browser

June 2019
Finishing Strong
hOurs to Give

News & Events

Partner in Education

Superintendent's Message

Greetings TCAPS Friends, Families, and Community Members,

We finally made it to the last week of school and the official start of summer! There aren't too many days more exciting in the life of a child than the end of the school year. Perhaps, the only day comparable to this for adults is the START of the school year! Do not worry parents, it will be here before you know it.

When the new school year arrives, you may know that I will no longer be the TCAPS superintendent. As such, this is my very last newsletter. As I considered what to say, I kept coming back to this word: Gratitude! Holding this position for the last five years has been an honor greater than I could have imagined, and has provided memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have been blessed to meet and work with so many incredible people during my time at TCAPS. There is simply no way to communicate the depth of my appreciation for each person that I have had the pleasure to meet and work with over the years. Please know my gratitude extends to each one of you. Thank you!

The communications department put a brief video together highlighting some of the moments that I will always cherish. I hope you enjoy it. It captures some pretty special moments.

Finally, I wish new Superintendent Ann Cardon nothing but the best as she takes the reigns of the most amazing and special school system in Michigan. She is a wonderful leader and is looking forward to meeting our community. I know you will give her a warm welcome.

I look forward to seeing you around as I plan to stay in the area. While I will no longer have an official title with TCAPS, you can bet I will remain a strong advocate and cheerleader. TCAPS is simply the best.

With deep and sincere appreciation,

Paul A. Soma

Click to view Our:TCAPS video
Click the image to watch the message.

To view previous Our:TCAPS episodes, please click here.



News & Events

Partner in Education

Wildflower Garden
Students planting wildflowers

Courtade Elementary School 5th Graders Help Plant Wildflower Garden

Courtade Elementary School has partnered with AuSable Institute of Environmental Studies for the past two years to teach fifth grade students about ecosystem restoration. Biologist Paul Wiemerslage has worked with the students throughout the school year, culminating their learnings by planting a wildflower garden consisting of 1,000 native plants.

Fifth grade students help restore ecosystem
Fifth grade students help restore ecosystem

West Middle School Students Participate in Annual “Project Greenagers” Community Service Project

On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Traverse City West Middle School 8th grade class participated in its annual community service project called Project Greenagers. Each 8th grade team works with a different community organization on projects that service local natural resources. The goal of the project is to nurture a sense of stewardship and personal pride in the school’s 8th grade students by providing them with the opportunity to serve the community in a hands-on way, and to connect their experience to classroom curriculum. In addition, all students had the added bonus of visiting some of the area’s amazing natural resources. Watch this 9&10 News story to hear from students directly.

Annual Greenagers Project
West Middle School students participate in Project Greenagers



hOurs to Give

Partner in Education

Year-end celebrations
TCAPS News & Events

"Open doors for others, you will make the world a better place, and the world will provide you opportunities you didn't know existed."

Our Community Newsletter Returns in August

We hope you enjoy the last edition of this school year’s Our Community newsletter. Editions will resume in August. Thank you for reading and helping us celebrate our students and staff!

Graduation & Year End Celebrations

Traverse City High School Class of 2019
Traverse City High School Class of 2019

Central High School Graduation
TC Central High School Graduation

West Senior High Graduation
TC West Senior High School Graduation

Silver Lake Alumni
West Class of 2019 Silver Lake Alumni

Long Lake Graduates
Long Lake Elementary Graduates

Long Lake Preschool Graduates
Long Lake Elementary Preschool Graduates

Long Lake Dunes trip
Long Lake students visit Sleeping Bear Dunes

Blair Beautification Day
Blair Elementary School Beautification Day

East Middle School Parent Student Luncheon
East Middle School Parent-Student Luncheon

Eastern, Old Mission Alumni
TC Central Class of 2019 Eastern / Old Mission alumni

Eastern All School Picnic
Eastern All School Picnic

Employee Retirement Celebration

On Thursday, June 6, 2019, the TCAPS Board of Education hosted the 2019 Retirement Reception to honor all district employees retiring this school year. The reception included refreshments and entertainment by the West Middle School Jazz Band. Congratulations to all our retirees. You will be missed. View list of 2019 retirees.

Retirement Celebration

TCAPS Board of Education Selects Ann Cardon as Next Superintendent

On May 29, 2019, the TCAPS Board of Education voted unanimously to select Ann Cardon as the district’s next superintendent. Cardon is currently the superintendent of St. Joseph Public Schools in St. Joseph, Mich. She holds an Education Specialist degree (Ed.S.) from Grand Valley State University and has 10 years of experience as a superintendent. Cardon also has an additional 14 years of experience as a central office administrator, principal and teacher.

A total of 24 candidates applied for the position, six of whom were invited to participate in interviews held on May 18, 2019. Cardon was the only candidate invited to participate in the final round of the process. Cardon is expected to begin her new role on August 1, 2019. She will take over for current TCAPS Superintendent Paul Soma, who is retiring this summer.

West Senior High School Student Recognized for Study Abroad in Germany

Traverse City West Senior High School student, Hailey LaBonte, received a full scholarship to study abroad in Germany from the U.S. Congress and German Bundestag. LaBonte was recognized in May along with other scholarship winners at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and at the German Bundestag. She was recognized for her participation in the program and met with German officials and the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell. In addition to exploring Berlin, she was able to watch a vote in Parliament. When she returns at the end of June, she and the other scholarship winners will be recognized by the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.

Studnets study abroad

22nd Annual Peace Day

Approximately 240 fourth and fifth graders from Cherry Knoll, Silver Lake, Traverse Heights, and Westwoods elementary schools attended the 22nd annual TCAPS Peace Day held on Thursday, June 6th, at Central High School. More than 60 high school helpers and football players led students through a series of activities designed to promote a commitment to making positive choices among multiple age groups. The activities included learning and performing a dance, a parade around the school led by Central High School’s drum corps, a fly over by the U.S. Coast Guard, a performance by Jeff Haas with Building Bridges through Music, and an inspiring speech by bully prevention advocate Anthony Ianni.

Ianni has been visiting as many schools as possible as part of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights Initiative to eradicate bullying in Michigan and beyond. Learn more about Anthony Ianni’s own struggles with bullying and how he overcame adversity to go on to become the first known athlete with autism to play Big 10 basketball (including two Big Ten Championships and a Final Four) at
Peace Day Celebration

Summer Programs

TCAPS offers many exciting summer learning and camp opportunities for children of all ages. All programs are available to children living in the Traverse area as well as those visiting the area for the summer. Learn more about TCAPS’ Summer Explorers Club, sports camps, and more at: Additional summer opportunities can also be found on our Community Events & Resources webpage.

Register for Summer Explorers Adventure Camp

Athletic Physicals Required for 6th-12th Grade Fall Sports

Students in grades 6-12 planning to try out for any sport this fall will need to have a current athletic physical form on file with the school prior to participating in any tryouts or practices. Athletic physicals must be dated on or after April 15, 2019, to be considered current. Forms can be turned in at the high school athletic offices or middle school main offices. Most fall sports begin August 12th. View athletic websites for more information: Central High School | West Senior High School | LEAP

TCAPS Schools’ Summer Office Hours

Summer office hours will begin for TCAPS schools beginning Monday, June 17, 2019.

Elementary Schools
Blair, Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Central Grade, Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Cherry Knoll, Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Courtade, Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Eastern, Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Long Lake, Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Montessori, Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Silver Lake,* Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Traverse Heights, Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Westwoods, Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Willow Hill,* Mondays & Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Secondary Schools
East Middle, Mondays - Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
West Middle, Mondays - Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Central High, Mondays - Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
LEAP Office at CHS, Mondays, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
West Senior High, Mondays - Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
TC High, Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

*Due to construction at these sites, summer office hours will be held at the Tompkins Boardman Administration Center (412 Webster St.).

All school buildings will be closed on Thursday, July 4, 4019, for the Fourth of July holiday. The following schools will be closed the full week of July 1st: Blair, Central High, East Middle, TCAPS Montessori, Silver Lake, TC High, Traverse Heights, West Middle, West Senior High, Westwoods and Willow Hill.

The Tompkins Boardman Administration Center will be closed on Fridays June 17th-August 8th and the full week of July 1-5, 2019.

Historical Society Presented Awards to East Middle School National History Day Honorees

On May 23, 2019, a local representative of the Historical Society of Michigan presented awards to students from Traverse City East Middle School who advanced to the state and national levels of the competition. Eighth grader, Evan Stegenga, received a special award for advancing to the national finals, which will be held in June. View a complete list of TCAPS East and West middle school students who advanced to the state level competition.

History Day Awards

From left to right: Spencer Cobb, Maci Wilcox, Lola Reimers, Mr. Haines, Avery Taylor and National Finalist Evan Stegenga.

The Traverse Area Historical Society provided scholarships to TCAPS’ state winners to offset registration fees. The Society also paid the $150 registration fee for TCAPS’ national finalist, Evan Stegenga, and provided him an additional $200 award to help with expenses.

Central High School Athletic Trainer Named Secondary School Athletic Trainer of the Year

Traverse City Central High School athletic trainer, Amy Ream, has been named the Secondary School Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Michigan Athletic Trainers Society (MATS). She received this honor in recognition of her ability to meet the needs of students, lead initiatives in health and safety for the Trojans, and for her exceptional ability to relate to families and staff over her 28 years of service. Ream will be recognized at the annual MATS Honors and Awards Presentation at Michigan State University on June 14, 2019.

TCAPS Students Present at the 15th Annual NMMESS

Thirty-two students from across northern Michigan presented research projects at the 15th Annual Northern Michigan Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Symposium (NMMESS) on May 15, 2019.

At NMMESS, students presented projects that answered a scientific, mathematical, or engineering question, or solved a problem. A committee of local secondary educators, college educators, and business/industry professionals reviewed the student projects and presentations.

Students present science projects


Science Projects

Top Honors
Tegan Worthington – Central High School – Project Peanut: Elimination of Contamination – Natural Cleaning Agents Versus Peanut Butter Proteins

Honorable Mention
Jack Kernan – Central High School – The Effect of Absolute and Relative Pitch on Identifying Changes in Frequency
Samantha Thoma – Central High School – What is Lurking in Your Water?

Engineering Projects

Top Honors
Abigail Paul and Evelyn Peterson – Central High School – Green Foil: The Reusable Alternative to Tin Foil

Honorable Mention
Anneliese Ferguson – Central High School – Optimizing Blade Design and Electric Motor Specifications to Power a Personal Bike Light
Maxwell Werner – Central High School – Solar-Powered Desalination System

Outstanding Math and Science Awards

Dylan Gryglewski – TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis
Nicholas Gustafson – West Senior High School
Katie Popp – Long Lake Elementary School
Anna Tabaczka – Eastern Elementary School
Massimo Vozza – Central High School

NMMESS is open to all math and/or science students ranging from upper elementary (grades 4-5), middle school (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12) in the five-county Traverse Bay region. The event is sponsored by Traverse City Area Public Schools’ SCI-MA-TECH program, Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, and Northwestern Michigan College.

TCAPS Board of Education to Host Superintendent Retirement Reception—June 24th

On Monday, June 24, 2019, the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education will host a reception from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to honor TCAPS Superintendent Paul Soma, who will be retiring. Superintendent Soma has worked in the district for 17 years, serving as superintendent for the last five years. The event is open to the public and will include light refreshments and student performances.

Calendar Reminders

Last half day of school - June 14, 2019
Fall sports begin - August 12, 2019
First day of school - September 3, 2019
Half day of school for students - September 6, 2019
2019-2020 District School Year Calendar

2019-2020 Extended Day Registration to Open Mid-July

Extended Day registration for the 2019-2020 school year will open in mid-July once the 2019-2020 student database has been activated. Families will receive an email communication with program highlights and registration instructions in July prior to the opening of the registration period. To utilize extended day care services for the first week of school (Sept. 3-6), families will need to register before August 12th. This deadline is necessary to ensure appropriate staffing. For more information, visit

Upcoming Board Office Hours—June 27th

The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education will host “Office Hours” on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. at Horizon Books (243 E. Front Street). The listening session format is intended to offer an opportunity for community members to have one-on-one conversations with board members in an informal setting.

Register Now for 2019-2020 Tuition-Based Preschool

Registrations for TCAPS’ 2019-2020 tuition-based preschool programs are still being accepted. All interested families who were not able to sign up during the early registration period are invited to sign up. Registration will be accepted through August 1st. Families are encouraged to register early as space is limited. A registration fee of $50 per student will be assessed at a later date. Please visit for registration instructions and/or additional program information.

Please note: All schools with the exception of TCAPS Montessori will be participating in online registration. Families interested in Montessori programs should contact the school directly at 231.933.6420 to enroll their child.

Gallery Night and Summer Learning Expo at Courtade

Courtade Elementary School staff and PTO hosted a Summer Learning Expo and Gallery Night for Courtade families. Staff members shared ideas with families on various ways to keep students learning and active during the summer months. Several community partners were also present to share information about their summer programs. Additional activities included art projects, face painting, mini-golf, great food and lots of raffle prizes.

Courtade Gallery Night

Eastern Elementary Students Set Sail in the Name of Science

Fourth grade students from Eastern Elementary School in Kara McConnell and Karen Nelson’s classrooms went sailing on the Tall Ship Inland Seas and Tall Ship Manitou. On board, students pulled up the anchor, hoisted sails, gathered samples (water, benthos, fish, and weather information) using a variety of collection devices, conducted experiments with the samples and learned about biodiversity, stewardship and threats to the health of the Great Lakes. The data collected is added to the years of data the School Ship organization has collected.

This is the 30th anniversary of the School Ship and the 125,000th participant in the program. The 125,000th student, Chloe Houlberg, was given a t-shirt celebrating this milestone and a banner. All students aboard both ships received some School Ship swag from the Executive Director, Fred Sitkins.

Tall Ship science experiments

tcapsloop weekly podcast



News & Events

hOurs to Give

Undy 500 donation
Partner in Education

"We thank our community for the generosity that is shown to our students."

Shift Chiropractic Does it Again - Undy 500 Was A Huge Success

TCAPS would like to thank the staff and patients of Shift Chiropractic who donated to the practice’s recent “Undy 500” campaign. Throughout the month of May, Shift Chiropractic collected new underwear and swimsuits for kids in need in the community. Underwear is something people don't often think of purchasing for those in need, so that is why Shift decided to focus on that item. Last week, they delivered 525 pairs of underwear to TCAPS. We thank you for your generosity and are grateful to share these with our students.

Anonymous Donor Awards East Middle School Top Math Students

An anonymous donor donated $1,000 to be divided and given to the top ten scoring math students at East Middle School. Students with the highest NWEA and classroom scores were awarded $100 to congratulate them on a job well done and to encourage advancing their math education.

TCAPS’ Intense Student Support Network Helps Family in Need

TCAPS social worker Sue Chapman used the district's Intense Student Support Network (ISSN) to help a family who was without power and hot water for three weeks. She knew area human services agencies would help this family but at this time of year when funds are low, she did not have enough to help this family get back on their feet. With the generous assistance of the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Association, we were able to reach the amount needed and get the power turned back on for this family. TCAPS’ ISSN is an effort to immediately address a student’s non-academic needs so they can better concentrate on their learning. It works because caring adults, in a caring school community work together to do whatever it takes to keep students ready to learn. Many thanks to Father Fred Foundation, St. Vincent de Paul, and the many community members who privately donated to support this family.

Blair Elementary School Receives a Silver Award

On May 16, 2019, Blair Elementary School, along with 40 other schools throughout Michigan, was recognized at the Michigan State Capitol building for excellence in creating a culture of wellness in their school. This is the second year Blair Elementary has received a Silver Award for their healthy school endeavors. Blair Elementary School, along with assistance provided by Michigan State University Extension, applied for the School Wellness Award which recognizes schools who are making significant policy and environmental improvements in their environment related to healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco-free lifestyles. Blair Elementary School has had a Healthy School Team since 2016. This team includes staff, students, food service, health instructors, and community organizations. They meet regularly to discuss and implement new programs, activities, and opportunities for students and staff to enjoy creating healthy habits. Among other health initiatives, Blair is an active participant in Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement.

To receive an award, schools are graded on areas such as their School Health Team, wellness assessment and planning, health policies and practices, healthy eating and nutrition education, physical education and physical activity, tobacco-free lifestyles, as well as the school environment and successes.

The School Wellness Award is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Education, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Action for Healthy Kids, and Michigan’s Health and Wellness Education Workgroup. These partners want to honor schools that are working hard to create healthier school environments.

Copyright (c) 2019
Traverse City Area Public Schools
Contact Us: