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November 2019
Center Stage

News & Events

Partner in Education

Superintendent's Message
TCAPS Families and Staff,

We’ve been served a November dose of winter that came a bit earlier than most of us expected this year. It reminds me that the seasons often imitate the challenges of life. We face storms, rough roads, slippery navigation, but hopefully have a little fun along the way, and come out better because of the growth made through the challenges we’ve faced. It’s our resilience that always helps us through to the other side. Let’s stay positive together and remain focused on the greater good of the children in our community.

There are so many great things happening in our schools. It’s enough to keep us all warm through the winter months! I had the privilege of attending a number of events hosted by our schools and throughout the district in honor of Veterans and those in our community who have served. I hope you enjoy this month’s video featuring Long Lake Elementary School’s Veteran’s Day assembly and Trick or Treat for Troops event as much as I did. It is truly a joy to see our youth understand the meaning of service and to see generations come together.


Jim Pavelka
Interim Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools

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Partner in Education

Supreme Court with Students
TCAPS News & Events

"This game began as a way to teach students and the community that men and women from northern Michigan are making a sacrifice every day to protect the freedoms that we enjoy every day."

TC Patriot Game Board Recognition

Interim Superintendent Pavelka and Board President Sue Kelly introduced Mike Kent who represented the TC Patriot Board at the November 11th Board of Education meeting. Mr. Pavelka extended the district’s thanks to the full board for their leadership and commitment to Veterans in our community. What started just over 8 years ago has grown a high school football game into one of northern Michigan's largest events to honor Veterans, Active Duty and First Responders. To date the event has raised over $100,000 for Veteran charities.

This game began as a way to teach students and the community that men and women from northern Michigan are making a sacrifice every day to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. With sponsorships and the sale of commemorative t-shirts, the TC Patriot Board, game sponsors and students work together to raise money to support Veteran organizations. This year's beneficiary is Veterans In Crisis which works in 21 northern Michigan counties as a safety net when veterans need emergency help. A check presentation to Veterans in Crisis was held Monday, November 18th where a record-setting amount of $24,000 was given to the group.

Thank you to the TC Patriot Game Board for your leadership, hard work, and for being a role model for our students.

Mr. Pavelka also addressed the students in the audience regarding the contribution Veterans make to the democracy that is present in our community. Mr. Pavelka thanked Veterans and recognized the many Veterans that now serve our students as employees of TCAPS.

adidas - Earn Money For Your Schools

Only 30 days until the holiday break! When doing your holiday shopping, don't forget about this great give back offer from Partner In Education adidas! For the first time ever, they are offering TCAPS families 30% off to our staff, families and friends. Plus 10% comes back to TCAPS to support high school athletics, athletic trainers and supplies! The promotion begins December 1st and ends December 31, 2019.

Adidas Earn Money For Your School

Parenting in the Digital Age - Cherry Knoll

On November 11, 2019, TCAPS EdTech Team held a workshop to share tips and tricks for helping children develop a healthy relationship with technology, smartphones, and media. Screens and devices are everywhere; around restaurant tables, meetings, and concerts. Devices are changing the way people work, play, and socialize and the full impacts are not yet realized. Our kids are growing up in this digital world and we, as parents and teachers, are learning all we can about this new normal. As this experiment plays out, we have the power to manage and harness the benefits of technology in a healthy and balanced way. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Like so many important topics, teaching digital citizenship is hands-on. So where do we start? View “Parenting in the Digital Age” to see the presentation. Together we can take a proactive approach and help guide our children to be healthy digital citizens.

Upcoming Board Office Hours - November 21st

The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education will host “Office Hours” on Thursday, November 21, 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.

Safe Routes to School Travel Mode Survey

Each November, families are provided an opportunity to participate in a travel mode survey as part of the Safe Routes to School program. Even if parents drive or students take the bus every day, it is helpful to fill out the survey.

Access the survey and instructions here:

Final Weekend Performances of Fiddler on the Roof - November 22nd-24th

Don’t miss the chance to see Traverse City West Senior High School’s Fiddler on the Roof. Final performances are this weekend, November 22-24, 2019. Set in the little village of Anatevka, the story centers on Tevye, a poor milkman, and his five daughters. With the help of a colorful and tight-knit Jewish community, Tevye tries to protect his daughters and instill them with traditional values in the face of changing social mores and the growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia. Rich in historical and ethnic detail, Fiddler on the Roof's universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion, leaving audiences crying tears of laughter, joy and sadness. With iconic and beloved songs such as "Sunrise, Sunset," "Tradition," "If I Were a Rich Man," and "Matchmaker," Fiddler on the Roof is the perfect mix for all ages with audience-pleasing humor and heart. Get your tickets at

Fiddler on the Roof

Long Lake Media Center Offers New Opportunities for Students

Long Lake Elementary School students recently had the chance to experience Makerspace Challenges and found that a makerspace is more about the challenge than the tool you are using. A makerspace is a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build. Makerspaces are not about the tools; they're about enabling making.

Students in 5th grade also had the opportunity to practice mindfulness through breathing exercises after reading the story, I Am Peace, by Susan Verde. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness of the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings and thoughts. Way to go, Panthers!

Long Lake Makerspace

TC West Art Classes Participate in Experiential Learning

The Traverse City West Senior High School Art Department strongly believes in the value of hands-on, experiential and real-world learning experiences. Mrs. Keck and Mrs. Clone's AP Studio Art and Advanced Photography students explored northern Michigan on their field trip on October 23rd. The trip's goal was experiential learning and community-building at its best through the process of experience, reflection, conceptualization and experimentation.

Student Photographers

Courtade Elementary Teacher receives TBA Credit Union Classroom Grant

Congratulations to Mrs. Hendges' 2nd grade class! They were awarded a Classroom Improvement Grant from TBA Credit Union which will supply two classroom iPads and two Osmo kits. Osmo merges tactile exploration with innovative technology, actively engaging children in the learning process. Thank you to TBA Credit Union for being a Partner In Education!

TBA Classroom Grant

Generations Ahead Teen Parent Support Program Needs Your Help

You can support Generations Ahead for the entire month of November at Empireblu Vintage Furnishings on 8th Street. During store hours, you can drop off any of the following items to help young parents in need: diapers, wipes, gas and gift cards for clients, safety items like plug covers, and baby toiletries. Store hours are Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 12 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Michigan Math Prize Competition

TCAPS is pleased to announce that a record number of students have qualified for round two of the Michigan Mathematics Prize Competition (MMPC). A total of 32 students, 16 students from each high school, are among the 1,000 statewide who have been invited to participate in the second round of the competition.

Central High School: Abraham Arends, Isobel Bowker, Elijah Chung, Spencer Crawford, William Galsterer, Francisco Haas, Andrew Humphrey, Lauren May, Samuel McDonough, Benjamin McGuire, Reese Owens, Oliver Phillips, Yuliy Pyshnyuk, Ethan Roe, Evan Soles, and Andrew Zaloudek.

West Senior High School: Ella Beck, Anna Childs, Brian Farrell, Meredith Gallagher, Jaden Mayville, David Oosse, Daniel Peacock, Isabelle Ratcliffe, Lauren Sheffer, Leo Shelp, Alexander Shumaker, Tyler Stone, Hope Thompson, Lane Thompson, Josephine Warren, and Peyton Wilkening.

The MMPC is sponsored by the Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) to encourage students to develop their interests and abilities in mathematics. The students with the top 100 scores in the two parts of the competition are honored at an awards program. Approximately $20,000 in scholarships ranging from $250 to $2,500 will be awarded this year.

Part I of the MMPC is open to all students in Michigan high schools. This exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions involving topics from high school mathematics. From over 6,000 participants taking Part I, the top 1,000 students are invited to take Part II of the MMPC. On Part II of the exam, students work on five challenging problems and write their solutions providing full justification and proof of their claims. 

Traverse City West Senior High School Robotics Teams Host Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction - November 23rd

On Saturday, November 23, 2019, the Traverse City West Senior High School Titan Robotics teams are holding a spaghetti dinner and silent auction from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge (13360 S. West Bay Shore Dr.). The event will feature robotics demonstrations, opportunities to learn about STEM fields, 50/50 raffles, and more. Tickets are $10 (children under 10 are free). Proceeds will support Titan Robotics.

Robotics Fundraiser

Titan Robotics Scores Big at Local VEX Robotics Tournament

Congratulations to the Traverse City West Senior High School Vex Teams. Three TC West Robotics VEX teams competed in the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools VRC Tower Takeover Tournament on Saturday, November 16, 2019. All three teams did well with 3767X and 3767Y reaching the finals and 3767X falling in the semi-finals by a single point. Team 3767X won the tournament Design Award for their robot design and documentation. The Design Award is presented to a team that demonstrates an organized and professional approach to the design process, project management, time management and team organization.

WMS holds 4th Annual Choir Code Celebration

Traverse City West Middle School, under the leadership of choir teacher Emerick Dee, hosted their 4th Annual Choir Code Celebration. This event involved nearly all 250 West Middle School Choir students as well as approximately 30 Traverse City West Senior High School students and over 50 volunteer chaperones.

WMS Choir Code Event

Students enjoyed 12 hours of activities beginning with team building and character building challenges and a special guest musician and speaker, Ken Medema. Though blind from birth, Ken sees and hears with his heart and mind.

WMS Choir Code Event

The day ended with a ceremony for the parents/families/friends with presentations from some of the teams and four theme songs: “Stand in the Light,” “I Have a Voice,” “Just a Single Voice,” and “Why We Sing.” Each of these songs speak to the value and beauty of music and singing and emphasize how important music is as a universal language of peace, hope, and love.

The event included donations from Papa John’s, Qdoba and Moomer’s Ice Cream.

The Results Are In

  • Eastern Elementary School Book Drive for Munson Manor collected nearly 25 boxes full of new or gently used children's books and chapter books to donate to Munson Manor.
  • TC West Senior High School NHS Halloween Candy Collection brought in 147 pounds to give to active duty military and First Responders.
  • Eastern, Silver Lake, and Long Lake Elementary Schools, in partnership with TC Touching Hearts, joined together to collect personal care items and candy to send to deployed soldiers. They collected 556 pounds, surpassing their 500 pound goal.
  • TC West Senior High School “Band Together” Food Pantry Drive filled the TC West Titan band truck to deliver an abundance of food for the pantries at TC West and TC High School.
    WSH Band Together

  • TCAPS Teacher Art Sale to benefit Elementary Art Program Supplies raised $200 to support supplies.
  • Traverse City High School Student Council Rotary Interact Club Coffee and Sweet Treats Drive-Through raised $485 for scholarships, American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, and their club for an all school trip to Lake Ann Camp.

Traverse Heights Elementary School Tree Planting

On Friday, November 1st, Traverse Heights Elementary School students helped plant trees near their school as part of a multi-agency collaboration effort. The tree planting began with a schoolwide assembly. In the afternoon, 4th and 5th grade students watched a demonstration on how to plant a tree and were then split into groups to plant their own trees. Group leaders were Chief Tuller (TC Fire Department), Josh Gray (DNR Forest Fire Officer), DebraAnn Brabazon and Junior Ranger (US Forest Service/USDA), and Steve Largent (Grand Traverse Conservation District). All students enjoyed the special guest appearance from Smokey Bear! The tree planting is sponsored and supported by: TCAPS, US Forest Service - USDA, Grand Traverse Conservation District, Department of Natural Resources, City of Traverse City, ReLeaf, and DTE Energy.

TH Tree Planting

TCAPS Music Department Receives Donation

The TCAPS Music Department is thankful for a $1,000 donation from the Happy Time Banjos, a California Banjo Band non-profit. The funds were used to purchase a set of Malmark Hand Chimes for use in the K-12 music classrooms. We are grateful for Partners In Education near and far for helping us provide the best experiences for our students.

Calendar Reminders

November 27, 2019 - No school for all TCAPS students, work day for staff
November 28-29, 2019 - No school, Thanksgiving Recess
District School Year Calendar
Blair/Traverse Heights School Year Calendar 

TCAPS Offers Opportunity for Veterans to Receive High School Diploma

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) announces the opportunity for Veterans to receive a diploma. Under Public Act 181 of 2001 and Public Act 55 of 2014, the board of a Michigan school district can award high school diplomas to WWII, Korean Conflict and Vietnam Era veterans in recognition of their service and sacrifice. The law permits WWII Veterans who left high school between December 16, 1940 and December 31, 1946 for immediate military service, and did not subsequently receive a high school degree, to now apply for a diploma. Korean War Veterans who left high school between June 27, 1950 and January 31, 1955 may also apply. Veterans of the Vietnam Era must have been drafted or enlisted between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 to qualify for this diploma. Family members may apply on behalf of a living or deceased Veteran. For more information, please contact Mary Beth Stein at 231-933-1718.

Central High School Annual Junior Achievement Store, Primetime Hoodies, Open for Business

The 2019 TC Central marketing class has opened their Primetime Hoodies store, a Junior Achievement Company. Ready to market and sell their newly created brand of Great Lakes influenced sweatshirts, the “Five Lakes” themed sweatshirts will be sold throughout the Grand Traverse Region, through pop-up shops, door-to-door sales, website, and a multi-media marketing campaign.

The class, led by teacher Beckey Harvey, partnered with Flow For Water ™, an area non-profit organization that fights for the cleaning of the Great Lakes. One dollar of every sweatshirt sold will go to their foundation. Primetime Hoodies President, senior Drew Swanson, said that he is “honored to be partnered with such a well-known and humane makes our little company feel like a top tier company.”

Sweatshirts can be purchased at until Tuesday, December 3, 2019. Color choices are white, charcoal and navy blue and come in sizes small to x-large for $28.95 and xxl for $30.95. Deliveries will be made before Christmas! For more information call 231-933-6553.

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News & Events

Partners in Education

TBA Credit Union
Partner in Education

"Providing scholarships and supporting students showing their work to their teacher and classmates."

TBA Credit Union Donates $9,000 to Help Support LEAP Scholarships and Math Program

TCAPS is pleased to announce that it has received a $9,000 sponsorship donation from TBA Credit Union. The funds will go to support scholarships for students participating in the district’s Learning, Enrichment and Athletic Program (LEAP) as well as to purchase 10,000 dry erase markers, which are used by students as part of their math curriculum to be able to show their work to their teacher and classmates. A check presentation featuring TBA Credit Union President and CEO Karen Browne, TCAPS Interim Superintendent Jim Pavelka, and Long Lake Elementary math students will take place in December at Long Lake Elementary School (7600 N. Long Lake Rd).

Arby’s Sponsors New Backboards at Traverse City Central High School

TCAPS is pleased to announce new Partner In Education, Arby’s, will be sponsoring new backboards for the main gym at Traverse City Central High School. Said Zippy Ventures, LLC Partner Shawn Zipser, “We feel that this is a great opportunity for Arby’s to give back to a school that has played such a strong influence in the lives of our children.”

Premium Joy Donates 104 Foam Playmats to TCAPS

Receiving emails like the one we received from Premium Joy managing partner, Hassan Assibldad, are always such a nice surprise. Eleven buildings and over 25 classrooms were able to benefit from the donation of 104 brand new 9' x 9' play mats. The foam mats make for a comfortable cushioning and safe area to play on. The bright primary colors really brightened up the space in the classrooms. Thank you, Premium Joy!

Boots for Kids

Traverse City Area Public Schools “Partners in Education” represent many people and organizations that support our mission and vision. The Boots for Kids program and its Director Mr. Don Schmuckal are one of our most valued Partners in Education.

For nearly 20 years, Boots For Kids has championed the local effort to find and deliver boots, socks, hats and mittens each winter to children in need. Each year, over 300 TCAPS students receive a pair of boots. Since the program began, we have received nearly 7,000 pairs of boots.

One of the most impressive things about the program is the thoughtful way in which boots are measured and delivered. Boots for Kids never puts a child in a position to feel embarrassed about receiving boots. Measurements are done discreetly and boots are delivered privately via relationships with our school’s social work team.

Boots for Kids’ unwavering devotion to children in need exemplifies the emphasis they place on supporting the academic excellence of all children. They are a leader in our community as they support education, mission partners like Golden Shoes and other Traverse City retailers. Traverse City is a warmer place because of Boots for Kids. To donate to Boots For Kids or to learn more, visit

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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