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December 2019
Season to Celebrate

News & Events

Partner in Education

Superintendent's Message
TCAPS Families and Staff,

In a few short weeks, we will be ringing in the new year and the start of a new decade. As we mark another 10 year milestone with the arrival of 2020, I am proud to know that our students are learning the foundational skills and are gaining valuable experience that will help them become productive contributors to our economy and society after graduation. The district’s focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning is one key way that TCAPS schools are helping students prepare for college, career, and life.

Please enjoy this month’s video featuring the Hour of Code and STEM activities.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday!


Jim Pavelka
Interim Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools

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




Partner in Education

Supreme Court with Students
TCAPS News & Events

"Hour of Code is designed to help teach foundational 21st-century skills and to bring computer programming activities to students."

More Than 2,000 Students Participate in TCAPS Hour of Code

We live in a world surrounded by technology and know that whatever field our students choose as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly depend on understanding technology. Computer Science Education Week was December 9-15, 2019. During this week and throughout the month of December, more than 2,000 TCAPS students have participated in the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code.
Hour of Code Certificates

More than 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code and many more will begin their coding journey this year. Click here to learn more.

Hour of Code Graph

West vs. Central Hockey STEP Up & Make a Play—Tonight!

Come and watch a great hockey game and help the Trojan and Titan hockey programs support the TCAPS STEP program by donating goods worth $5 or more. Donations also cover the cost of admission to the game. Items needed include: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine products, soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair brushes, socks, hats, gloves, school supplies, healthy snacks, granola bars, trail mix, peanut butter (ind. wrapped), beef sticks, crackers, instant oatmeal, ramen noodles, soup, applesauce (small), fruit/veggies, cash, gift cards(Meijer, Target, Walmart), gas cards, checks (payable to STEP-TCAPS). STEP is a grant and donation-based program for students birth to 20 years old experiencing homelessness, housing instability and/or living in inadequate situations. Donations of household items, food or money will go to help the youth in our area. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Howe Arena (1125 W. Civic Center Dr.).

TC West Hockey Giving

adidas - Earn Money For Your Schools

Traverse City Area Public Schools is pleased to announce they have been selected by adidas to be the recipient of a special holiday promotion. For the entire month of December, TCAPS staff, students, families and friends are being offered this limited time 30% off discount code. The discount code is TRAVERSECITYADP30. For every purchase made, in addition to your discount, adidas will donate 10% of the sale back to TCAPS athletics. The holidays are just around the corner! Visit before December 31st.

Adidas Earn Money For Your School

Upcoming Board Office Hours—December 19th

The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education will host “Office Hours” on Thursday, December 19, 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.

Traverse City High School Artists Participate in Mural Contest—Vote Now – January 1st

Art students from Traverse City High School have again shared their talents with the community as part of the 3rd annual neighborhood holiday display along Spruce & 6th Streets in Traverse City. Along with a 12 Days of Christmas display, there are also Holiday Movie Scene murals created by area schools and Holiday Songs displays depicted in 3D. Traverse City High School is entered into the mural contest with their “Home Alone” painting. To vote for TC High text XMAS 3 to 484848. TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis also participated this year as part of the Holiday Songs display. The displays will be up from December 14th until January 1st. Lights will come on each night at 5:00 p.m. and be turned off at 10:00 p.m.

TC High Mural

Next Extended Day Change Request Period - New Dates - Jan. 1st-3rd

Due to software upgrades taking place over winter break, the extended day schedule change request period has been changed to January 1st through January 3rd. Families who need to make a change to their extended day schedule may submit their requests during the schedule change request period which will open Wednesday, January 1st, at 8:00 a.m. and close at midnight on Friday, January 3rd. Families will be notified whether their request can be accommodated on January 10th. Any approved change requests would not take effect until January 20th. For more information, visit

Calendar Reminders

December 23, 2019: Winter Break Begins
January 6, 2020: School Resumes
January 17, 2020: Half Day for All Students/Full Day for Staff
January 20, 2020: No School for All TCAPS Students, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
District School Year Calendar
Blair/Traverse Heights School Year Calendar

West Senior High School Hosts Native American Heritage Symposium

TCAPS educators Samantha TwoCrow, Mary Kay Hicks and Heidi Gregory collaborated to organize a Native American Heritage Symposium held at Traverse City West Senior High School for area students. The Native American Heritage Symposium celebrated Native American culture, history, and heritage. It was designed to break down stereotypes while building compassion, empathy, understanding, and respect for a culture that is often misrepresented or underrepresented in mainstream media and in education. Presenters included Native American students from West Senior High School, Suttons Bay Public Schools, and Northport Public School along with many Native American community members. Symposium topics included culture, education, dance and music, history and more. TC West’s Advanced Photography and Photojournalism students also used the opportunity for learning and took photos of the event.

Native American Symposium Dancers

Central High School Debate Team Competes in State Finals

The Traverse City Central High School Debate Team competed in the Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association State Finals for Policy and Public Forum Debate. Team members include: Henry Huschke, Shane Taylor, Regan O’Connor, Erin O’Donnell, Ethan Schweitzer, and Luke Appleford. State finals for competitive debate is a rigorous tournament that involves a significant amount of research, speaking drills, and preparation on the part of the competitors. Varsity members Henry Huschke and Shane Taylor led the preliminary rounds in the policy tournament with a perfect 5-0 record. Huschke and Taylor went on to win 3rd Place in the state for Varsity Policy Debate. Huschke also finished 3rd in Individual Speaking. In Public Forum Debate, Erin O’Donnell and Regan O’Connor finished with a 4-1 record, placing 5th in the state. Individual speaking awards for Public Forum Debate went to Regan O’Connor, 8th Place, Erin O’Donnell, 11th Place, and Ethan Schweitzer, 27th Place.

tcapsloop weekly podcast

TC Central’s “Can the Principal” Food Drive

The Traverse City Central High School Student Senate held their annual "Can the Principal" food drive this month, which at the present time has collected 4,500 non-perishable food items. Student Senate advisor Tim Odette said, "We have gone up almost 1,000 items in the last 24 hours and expect donations to continue over the next few days." The donations help to fill the school's food pantry and will also support the pantries at Traverse City High School and Father Fred.

Grand Traverse Community Foundation Awards Grants

Generations Ahead, a teen parent support program located at TC High School, was awarded a $3,900 grant ($2,200 from the Campbell Endowment and $1,700 from the Healthy Youth and Healthy Seniors Endowment). Grant funds will be used to support Teen Father Services. In addition, Traverse City West Senior High School Spanish teacher Tamara Batcha was awarded a $1,050 grant from the Titan Excellence Endowment. The grant will be used to purchase flexible/alternate seating and workstations for her classroom.

Traverse City Music Boosters Award Classroom Mini-Grants

Every year the Traverse City Music Boosters support music education classroom mini-grants. The grants fund music-related curricular materials. This year, the TC Music Boosters were able to support $3,000 in materials for twelve music classrooms.

The 2019-2020 Music Boosters music classroom mini-grant recipients are:

Central Grade, Todd Vipond, “Get America Singing…Again” classroom set of 30
CHS Orchestra, Michael Markley, Busing cost assistance towards GVSU performance trip
Courtade, Holly Olszewski, “Mallet Madness” and “Percussion Parade” books
Eastern, Carrie Bui, 2 tubano drums; 1 djembe drum; 1 cajon; 8 tone bar sets
EMS Band, Peter Deneen, 1 Gong Mallet; 2 Gong Roller Mallets; 4 Triangle Clips
Long Lake, Nancy Will, “Get America Singing…Again” classroom set of 30
Montessori Strings, Kim Teachout, String Clinicians throughout school year
Silver Lake, Maggie Harrod-Burch, Boomwackers Move & Play Set and 2 Octave Set
Traverse Heights, Holly Olszewski, “Mallet Madness” and “Percussion Parade” books
WMS Band, Doug Downer, 11 Pneumo Pro devices for flutes
WMS Choir, Emerick Dee, 175 Sight Reading Factory student accounts
WSH Band, Chad Mielens, 3 cymbal stands for drum set

Westwoods Teachers Receive Classroom Grants from Meemic

Two Westwoods Elementary School teachers have earned $1,000 classroom grants from Meemic Insurance Company. Alison Lauters, first grade teacher, will be using the grant to purchase Math Expressions extensions and Journeys small group reading activities. The support materials directly align with the school’s curriculum and will be shared with the whole 1st grade team. Kindergarten teacher, Kendall Yascolt, plans to use her grant to access online teaching tools to help enhance the classroom learning environment.

From Here...You Can Go Anywhere Survey

Did you, your child, or someone you know graduate from Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS)? We are interested in learning more about our graduates' life journeys since leaving TCAPS. If you are a TCAPS graduate or can share some information about a TCAPS graduate, please take a moment to complete this short survey.




News & Events

Partners in Education

Hagerty Cares
Partner in Education

"Hagerty staff members read the book, “If I Built a Car” to TCAPS classrooms and then gave a copy of the book to all 2nd grade students."

Hagerty’s Gives Back

As part of Hagerty’s annual Giving Tuesday effort, Hagerty staff members visited TCAPS elementary schools on Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2019, to provide a new book to each 2nd grader. Hagerty staff members read the book, “If I Built a Car” to TCAPS classrooms and then gave a copy of the book to all 2nd grade students. In addition, the front of each book was inscribed with a special message from a Hagerty staff member. Hagerty's Giving Tuesday program began in 2015. Since then, 3,444 books (includes this year’s count) have been shared with very happy 2nd graders! Click here to view UpNorthLive’s coverage of the event.
Hagerty Staff

In addition, the Hagerty Brand Team adopted a Traverse City High School family in need and the Hagerty Public Relations Team led the drive for holiday cheer to 100 TCAPS students! For over 15 years, Hagerty has provided gift boxes to TCAPS students and a $25 gift card to their families for groceries or other holiday needs. We are so appreciative of the incredible Partners In Education that we have in our community. #GreatCommunityGreatSchools

Hagerty Gifts

Giving Trees Help Area Families This Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, school social workers find themselves needing to reach out for additional support for students who may not be looking forward to the holiday season. We at TCAPS are so grateful for the many individual community members and area businesses who chose to make giving to these children a part of their holiday season.

Thank you to Williams Distributing - HVAC, Shift Chiropractic, Sojourn Church, Archer Contracting, JT Exteriors, and Bayview Insurance for sponsoring families in need. Your kindness has helped Blair Elementary School, Silver Lake Elementary School, Traverse Heights Elementary School and Central Grade School families have a Christmas they will never forget! Thank you for your kindness and generosity.

Williams Distributing Gifts

TBA Credit Union Check Presentation

On Tuesday, November 26, 2019, Partner In Education TBA Credit Union CEO Karen Browne presented a check for $9,000 to TCAPS Interim Superintendent Jim Pavelka at Long Lake Elementary School. The donation will help benefit TCAPS LEAP scholarships and the purchase of 10,000 dry erase markers for every elementary student and teacher in the district. The math curriculum, Math Expressions, utilizes student and teacher whiteboards for instruction.

“TBA Credit Union was founded by Traverse City educators back in 1955 and education is at the core of our mission,” said Karen Browne. “It was such a pleasure to visit Long Lake Elementary and see firsthand how the new markers will be used in the classroom to enhance math and problem-solving skills.”

A $220 million (assets) credit union, TBA Credit Union provides financial services to over 18,000 members across the State of Michigan. In addition to two branches and a call center located in Traverse City, TBA Credit Union members have access to over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide through the CO-OP Network. For more information about TBA Credit Union, visit or call 231.946.7090.

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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