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February 2020
The Peak of Performance

News & Events

Partner in Education

Superintendent's Message
TCAPS Families and Staff,

A big point of pride for me as superintendent of TCAPS 15 years ago was the incredible music program we offered K-12. Now that I am back in the role, I am proud to be able to say that today, it is even stronger and more robust than ever.

This month’s video features some of our incredible student musicians and teachers whose expertise in music instruction is regularly recognized at the state level (see recent recognition of Wendee Wolf-Schlarf, Erich Wangeman, and students qualifying to participate in the Michigan Music Conference).

High quality music and performing arts instruction is one of the many things that makes TCAPS great. I invite you to watch the video and enjoy listening to our students’ musical talent.


Jim Pavelka
Interim Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools

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




Partner in Education

Feedback Survey
TCAPS News & Events

"The TCAPS Board would like to seek input on the desired characteristics and skills members of the community would like to see in the next superintendent."

TCAPS Superintendent Search Survey Now Open

The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education has asked the firm, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to assist the district in its search for a new superintendent. As one of the initial steps in the process, the board would like to seek input on the desired characteristics and skills members of the community would like to see in the next superintendent. The survey is being conducted by the search firm and individual responses will be kept anonymous and confidential. To take the survey, visit: For additional information, please visit:

Registration for Tuition—Based Preschool

The early online registration period for TCAPS’ 2020-2021 tuition-based preschool programs is open now through March 31, 2020. All interested families are invited to sign up during this time. Families who register during the early registration period and have completed all required forms will be notified in early April of their approval/placement status. Families interested in enrolling in TCAPS’ Montessori program should contact the school directly at 231.933.6420 to enroll their child. Visit for registration and program information.

Arby's Supports TCAPS

Summer Explorers Club—Online Registration Open

TCAPS’ Summer Explorers Clubs are designed to engage preschool through fifth grade learners during the summer months. Clubs run Monday through Friday, June 22 - August 28, 2020. Each week features different theme-based activities, field trips and/or special guests. For more information about TCAPS’ Summer Explorers Club and/or the registration process, please visit

Summer Explorers Club

Team from Traverse City West Senior High School Wins 2020 Academic World Quest Regional Competition

Teams from Traverse City West Senior High School participated in the 2020 Academic World Quest regional competition on February 6, 2020, at the campus of Northwestern Michigan College. The "Temple Runners,” Alex Eveleigh, Ryan Hozak, Brennan Burns and Michael Riccobono, from TC West won the competition and have earned the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC, to compete in the national competition on April 25, 2020. In addition, TC West took home two more of the top spots in the competition. The "Louis the XVI" team, Jessie Chan, Angela Green, Sommer Motley, and Sydney Smith, finished in 2nd place, and the "WAAC" team of Chloe Ricker, Ainsley Rosenburg, Will Stanton, and Audrey Michaels finished in 5th place.


Students from Traverse City East and West middle schools recently competed at the 2020 MATHCOUNTS regional competition held at Northwestern Michigan College. MATHCOUNTS is a national program that provides students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to compete in live, in-person contests against and alongside their peers in both team and individual categories.


The TC East Middle School team of Daniel Kotsekon, Alex Lamphier, Cooper Clark, Abigail Houghton, Bridget Belden, Jackson Price, and Lillian Taylor (not pictured) took first place and will move on to the state championship meet on March 14, 2020. TC West Middle School’s Kyle Johnston placed second in the region, competing against individual students from schools around northern Michigan. Kyle will also move on to the state competition.

The top four individual competitors from each state competition receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the national competition, which takes place in May. These 224 students combine to form 4-person state teams, while also competing individually. The national champion is determined during the Countdown Round. This individual receives the $20,000 Donald G. Weinert College Scholarship.

A huge thank you to our Math Club coaches, Mrs. Rundio and Ms. Hall from TC West Middle School and Mr. Sagan from TC East Middle School, for their efforts in growing student math skills each and every day.

Blair Elementary School Students Defend Vasa Title

Congratulations to Mrs. Grahl and the Blair Elementary School students who participated in the Junior Vasa and took home the trophy for the second year in a row for most elementary school participants. According to Vasa Ski Club, nearly 100 kids participated from around the region including three groups of Nordic skiers, ranging from 5-12 years old.

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Make a Difference in the Life of a Child—Become a Volunteer Today

TCAPS values the many ways our community members contribute to ensuring an enriching learning journey for our students. Connecting students with caring adults promotes success, healthy behaviors, and a stronger community.

We invite community members to share their time and talents with our students by becoming a volunteer in our schools. All adult volunteers are background checked for the safety of our children.

How to Become A Volunteer: 
  1. Read the Volunteer Standards of Conduct.
  2. Complete the online volunteer application form. Once submitted, a background check will be conducted.
  3. Complete any additional forms that may be required. Volunteer positions requiring additional paperwork can be found at:

Generations Ahead Teen Parent Program Offers Mentor Training—February 20th-March 26th

Generations Ahead, a support program for teen parents and their babies, will host training opportunities for adults who would like to become mentors for the program. Training sessions will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Traverse City High School (3962 Three Mile Road, N.) Generations Ahead works with moms and dads to help them navigate life's challenges as a young parent. Volunteer mentors provide critical support to young parents and become essential members of a young family’s support team.

Upcoming Mentor Training Dates:
  • Thursday, February 20, 2020
  • Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • Thursday, March 5, 2020
  • Thursday, March 12, 2020
  • Wednesday, March 18, 2020
  • Thursday, March 26, 2020
To learn more about Generations Ahead, visit: To sign up to become a mentor, contact Marjie Rich at or 231.360.0053.

TC West Choirs to Host “The Blues Buffet Mardi Gras Party”—February 22nd

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, Traverse City West Senior High School Choirs will host “The Blues Buffet Mardi Gras Party” at the Presbyterian Church (701 Westminster Rd.). The event will feature student performances and will include a buffet, silent auction, and raffle. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. The event is from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Limited premier seating is available for $30/person. General seating is $25/person, two tickets for $45, or four tickets for $80. Tickets are available at (price does not include processing fee). The event is sponsored by Kiss Carpet Design Center.

Blues Buffet

“Wild Wild Westwoods” Fundraiser — February 22nd

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, Westwoods Elementary School will host a “Wild Wild Westwoods” fundraiser from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the City Opera House (106 E. Front Street). The event will include silent and live auctions, live entertainment, artwork created by students, and country-style food and beverages. Tickets are $45. The event is open to the public and intended for adults only. Funds raised will go to support the social and emotional needs of Westwoods students.

Wild Wild Westwoods

Annual Education Reports Released

The district and school annual education reports for the 2018-2019 school year have been published and are posted on the district’s website. The reports can be viewed by visiting:

West Senior High School’s Titan VEX Robotics Team 3767X Named Tournament Champions, Both 3767X and 3767Y Qualify for State Championship

The Traverse City West Senior High School Titan VEX Robotics teams competed in League Tournament Finals on February 4, 2020, at St. Francis High School. Titan Team 3767X and their alliance partner Team 2446A from St. Francis High School were Tournament Champions. Titan Team 3767Y were Tournament Finalists and were awarded the Design Award. This also qualifies Team Y for the VRC State Championship. Team Y joins Team X and both will compete at the VRC State Championship on February 23, 2020, at Michigan State University.

FIM District FIRST Robotics Competition at West Senior High School—February 27th-29th

Traverse City West Senior High School will host the FIM District FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Competition, February 27-29, 2020 (5376 N. Long Lake Rd.). The event will host 40 teams from the region and is a qualifying event for the 2020 FIRST Championship, which will be held April 29, 2020 to May 2, 2020, in Detroit, Mich. The FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport and beauty of art with the rigors of science and technology. Teams of high school students are challenged to design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform tasks against a field of competitors. This year’s competition is called INFINITE RECHARGE. In INFINITE RECHARGESM, two alliances work to protect FIRST City from approaching asteroids caused by a distant space skirmish. Each alliance, along with their trusty droids, race to collect and score power cells in order to energize their shield generator for maximum protection. To activate stages of the shield generator, droids manipulate their control panels after scoring a specific number of power cells. Near the end of the match, droids race to their rendezvous point to get their shield generator operational in order to protect the city. To learn more about the game, visit: This event is free and open to the public. To view the event schedule, visit:

Traverse City Central High School Student Receives Perfect Score on ACT

Traverse City Area Public Schools is pleased to announce that Elijah “Mac” Chung, a junior at Traverse City Central High School, has received the highest possible ACT composite score of 36.

“Mac is an incredibly accomplished student, taking advantage of numerous opportunities that we are proud to be able to offer to our students,” said Jessie Houghton, principal of Traverse City Central High School. “He is enrolled in AP courses, orchestra and jazz band, is a varsity football player and member of the National Honor Society, participates on the Quiz Bowl team, and is an exceptional worker. He always pushes himself. With that array of talent and focus, it is no surprise to see Mac excelling on the ACT as well.”

In a letter to Chung, ACT CEO Marten Roorda stated, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. Your exceptional scores will provide any college or university with ample evidence of your readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.”

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of 1–36. A student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. Fewer than half of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2019, only 4,879 out of nearly 1.8 million students who took the ACT earned a top composite score of 36.

In addition to his accomplishment on the ACT, Chung also received a perfect score on the Math 2 SAT subject area.

The ACT was previously offered to all students in Michigan. In 2016, the Michigan Department of Education changed the college proficiency test offered to all students to the SAT. ACT scores are accepted by all major four-year colleges and universities across the US.

Read the recent Record-Eagle article on Elijah.

Maverick Minds All Arts Fair: Giving Back—February 27th

On Thursday, February 27, 2020, Traverse City High School will host its annual “Maverick Minds All Arts Fair: Giving Back” from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Maverick Activity Center (3962 Three Mile Rd. N.). The event is held in honor of the school’s supporters and donors and features an art exhibit, an “appreciation station” with tokens of gratitude, and dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Mitchell Creek Café.

West Senior High School Hosts Snack Drive for Safe Harbor—Through February 28th

The Traverse City West Senior High School National Honor Society is hosting a “Safe Harbor Snack Drive” through February 28, 2020. They are collecting protein bars, snack-sized packages of nuts and trail mix, peanut butter crackers, fruit snacks, and hand warmers to support Safe Harbor. Donations can be dropped off in the school's Library Media Center (5376 N. Long Lake Rd.).

TCAPS Students Participate in Crooked Tree Arts Center Youth Art Exhibit — On Display Now

The Youth Art Exhibit will be on display until March 14, 2020, at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Traverse City (322 Sixth St.). Forty-two schools are represented in the exhibit, which includes more than 650 pieces. Along with the display, awards were given by the Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) Jury, including: $100 cash awards, scholarships to KCAD, and swag bags for honorable mention winners.

Student Award Winners:
  • Hailey Taylor, 3rd grade, Westwoods Elementary School, KCAD Awards
  • Madison Vandenberg, 7th grade, East Middle School, KCAD Awards
  • Roxy McClellan, 7th grade, East Middle School, KCAD Awards and Honorable Mention
  • Sophie Covert, 7th grade, East Middle School, Honorable Mention
  • Ava Venezia, 8th grade, East Middle School, Honorable Mention
  • Hannah Coy, 8th grade, West Middle School, Honorable Mention
  • Jack Griffiths, 8th grade, West Middle School, KCAD Awards
  • Kobe Mandoka, 6th grade, West Middle School, Honorable Mention
  • Dana Bacon, 8th grade, West Middle School, Honorable Mention
  • Annika Bushbaker, 8th grade, West Middle School, KCAD Awards
  • Bella Kearney, 11th grade, Central High School, $100 Award
  • Cloe Wallman, 11th grade, Central High School, $100 Award
  • Arielle Jean, 11th grade, West Senior High School, $100 Award
  • Parker Jenkins, 11th grade, West Senior High School, Honorable Mention
  • Nicholas Zenner, 11th grade, West Senior High School, KCAD Awards and Honorable Mention
  • Jamie Pittinos, 12th grade, West Senior High School, KCAD Awards

TCAPS Shared Time Teachers Making a Difference

Did you know that TCAPS has 32 shared time staff members who teach non-core classes at many of Traverse City’s private and parochial schools? Through the Shared Time Program, TCAPS teachers are able to work directly with non-public school students in their own buildings and classrooms. Currently, TCAPS’ shared time staff are teaching classes at Immaculate Conception, Montessori Children’s House, St. Francis High School, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, TC Christian and Trinity Lutheran. We are very proud of the work they are doing and the additional services they are able to provide to our community’s children.

We’d like to take a moment to celebrate the hard work of TCAPS shared time teacher Carol Johnson and the recent achievements of her students. Johnson is serving as a STEM and computer instructor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Francis High School. Last May, Taylor Blackmore, Director of Constituent Relations for Congressman Bergman, came to her STEM and computer classes to invite students to be a part of the Congressional App Challenge (CAC). The CAC is an initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science.

Two students from Carol’s Advanced STEM class, Rylee Duffing and Tucker Krumm, created and submitted their “MI Food” app to the CAC and won the M-1 District. Congressman Bergman skyped into the classroom to congratulate the students and answer some American history questions. You can see more about their app at

View the February 10, 2020, 9&10 News Story highlighting the students’ award.

SCI-MA-TECH Application Window Now Open—Deadline March 1st

Current 8th grade students who will be attending Central High School or West Senior High School next year are now welcome to apply for the SCI-MA-TECH program. The purpose of TCAPS’ enhanced science, math and technology program called SCI-MA-TECH is to enrich the quality of education by inspiring and challenging students through an individualized and integrated curriculum. SCI-MA-TECH has a rigorous curriculum that engages students through participation in exciting and innovative explorations designed to fully prepare them for success in post-secondary education and beyond. To learn more about the program, watch the SCI-MA-TECH Video.

GIS Pilot Program Offered at West Senior High School

Traverse City West Senior High School and Northwestern Michigan College have partnered to offer a new program to TC West students. Students have the opportunity to earn six college credits, participate in an internship, gain certification as a drone pilot, and earn a GIS professional certification. To learn more about the pilot, watch the GIS Pathway Video.

Upcoming Kindergarten Parent Meetings—March 5th-25th

TCAPS elementary schools will host kindergarten parent meetings beginning in March for families interested in learning more about TCAPS’ kindergarten programs and the enrollment process for the 2020-2021 school year. Meeting dates are as follows (in the event of a snow day, meetings will be rescheduled):

  • March 5th, Traverse Heights Elementary School (933 Rose St.), 5:30 p.m.
  • March 11th, Eastern Elementary School (1600 Eastern Ave.), 6:00 p.m.
  • March 11th, Long Lake Elementary School (7600 N. Long Lake Rd.), 5:30 p.m.
  • March 11th, Silver Lake Elementary School (5858 Culver Rd.), 5:30 p.m.
  • March 12th, Cherry Knoll Elementary School (1800 Three Mile Rd., N.), 5:30 p.m.
  • March 12th, Willow Hill Elementary School (1250 Hill St.), 6:00 p.m.
  • March 16th, Courtade Elementary School (1111 Rasho Rd.), 5:30 p.m. (a Young Fives presentation will be held at 5:00 p.m.)
  • March 19th, Central Grade School (301 W. Seventh St.), 5:30 p.m.
  • March 19th, TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis (1009 Oak St.), 5:30 p.m.
  • March 19th, Westwoods Elementary School (1500 Fisher Rd.), 6:00 p.m.
  • March 25th, Blair Elementary School (1625 Sawyer Rd.), 5:30 p.m.

For more information, visit

Disney, Desserts, and Broadway!—March 6th & 7th

Traverse City Central High School’s Vocal Department will host Disney, Desserts & Broadway! Performances will be held Friday, March 6, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., and Saturday, March 7, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. in the school’s auditorium (1150 Milliken Dr.). The event features performances of classic Disney and Broadway hits followed by desserts, face painting, book coloring, photo booth, story corner and more. The audience (both children and adults) is encouraged to dress as their favorite Disney character. Tickets are available at the door one hour before each performance and cost $12/adults and $6/children and students 18 and under. A family of four bundle is also offered for $30. Cash or check only. For more information, call 231.933.6984.

Disney & Desserts

TCAPS Offers Career Technical Education Courses

TCAPS offers Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities at Central High School and West Senior High School. TCAPS offers a few select CTE courses on site, which are in addition to the opportunities offered at Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District’s Career-Tech Center. Programs at the high schools are one hour per day and allow for flexibility for students who want to participate in CTE experiences, but otherwise could not fit a half day attendance at the Career-Tech Center into their schedule. CTE courses offered at the high school are in the following areas of study:




News & Events

Partners in Education

Student Support
Partner in Education

"The ISSN has helped support my work in connecting resources and funding student needs, which directly benefits our students."

The Art and Mary Schmuckal Foundation Awards TCAPS Grant for Student Support

Traverse City Area Public Schools is pleased to announce it is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from The Art and Mary Schmuckal Family Foundation. Funds will support TCAPS' Intense Student Support Network (ISSN) which works with social workers and school staff to help remove barriers to learning for all students.

"The Foundation is happy to contribute to this student support initiative," said Foundation Board Vice President Don Schmuckal. "We support education and knowing our support can make learning easier for students in need, we find that worthwhile."

Last year, in its pilot year, the ISSN supported 35 non-academic needs for students. This year, to date, the district has received triple the amount of requests for assistance at just over half way through the school year. These grant dollars will provide the foundation necessary to support the increased amount of requests received and ensure the district can support the work of its team of social workers and teachers who see students’ non-academic needs on a daily basis.

"From backpacks, school supplies, food, clothing, extracurricular activities and cost of transportation, our ISSN has been able to help support students in so many ways," said Sara Sovis, Traverse City East Middle School Students in Transition Empowerment Program Specialist and Social Worker. "The ISSN has helped support my work in connecting resources and funding student needs, which directly benefits our students."

To learn more about the Intense Student Support Network at TCAPS or to donate, visit:


Willow Hill Preschool is Cooking In Style

Thank you very much to Dr. Ron Lints for the generous donation of $200 to Ms. Brynn Still’s preschool classroom at Willow Hill Elementary School. Ms. Still was so thrilled and humbled by this contribution to her classroom! She used the funds to purchase a play kitchen for her students.

Preschool Gift

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