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October 2019
Marching Into Autumn

News & Events

Partner in Education

Superintendent's Message
TCAPS Families and Staff,

As I begin my first week as interim superintendent, I am excited to share the following newsletter with each of you. It contains example after example of the high quality teaching and learning experiences our schools - with the strong support of our community - make a reality for our community’s children each and every day.

From TCAPS Montessori’s Stone Soup Day to the Michigan Supreme Court Oral Arguments to Super Science Saturday, the students in our region have access to some of the most impactful and unique opportunities around. I am excited to join this journey with you and I am proud to be able to highlight some of the great work of our school district.


Jim Pavelka
Interim Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools

Jim Pavelka
pictured: Jim M. Pavelka

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Partner in Education

Supreme Court with Students
TCAPS News & Events

"Students had the opportunity to learn about the case and about court procedures from local attorneys."

Michigan Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Traverse City

On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, Traverse City Area Public Schools, the City of Traverse City and Grand Traverse County Judges, hosted the Michigan Supreme Court as they heard oral argument in Maniaci v Diroff, Supreme Court Case No. 158005. The Court typically hears oral argument at the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing, Mich. However, as part of the public education program aimed principally at high school students, justices and staff travel around the state through the “Court Community Connections” program. The Court’s visit to Traverse City was its 25th community event. In addition, students had the opportunity to learn about the case and about court procedures from local attorneys. The event can be viewed via livestream at:

Court Community Connections

National Walk to School Day

On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, Traverse City Area Public Schools participated in the National Walk to School Day. For some of the district’s schools, walking may not be a safe option for students. Instead, schools like Courtade Elementary School asked students and families to join them as they walked or ran the track at the school before the morning bell rang. The principal, all classroom teachers, school support staff, 216 kindergarten through fifth grade students (more than 80% of the student population), and even some parents participated. Great job, Courtade Cougars! Thank you for finding fun solutions to help keep students “walking” to school.

Walk to School Day

Central High School Robotics Super Science Saturday

On Saturday, October 19, 2019, Traverse City Central High School’s Raptors 1711 robotics team hosted Super Science Saturday. The hundreds of area students in attendance enjoyed activities such as slime making, marshmallow cannons, elephant toothpaste, hour of code and experiments by the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers. The event also featured conversations with Astronaut Col. Greg Johnson live via Skype. The event was sponsored by Newton’s Road.

Super Science Saturday

TCAPS Middle School Students Participate in Manufacturing Day

TCAPS middle school students were among the more than 1,000 area students - predominantly eighth graders - who participated in the region’s sixth annual Manufacturing Day. Students learned firsthand about the type of work being done by local business, how they contribute to the local and global economy, and the opportunities available in the manufacturing industry.

Eastern Elementary School Students Host Book Drive for Munson Manor

After reading and learning about how young people can make a difference and how difficult it can be for some children to have access to books, the students in Mrs. Nelson’s 4th grade classroom at Eastern Elementary School decided to hold a book drive. Led by students Owen Rupard and Brayden White, who wanted to help children in the hospital, they selected Munson Manor as the beneficiary. Munson Manor is a hospitality house for in and out-of-town patients and family members who face the added stress of a loved one being in a hospital or needing care. It is the perfect place to have books readily available for children or for adults to read to children. Great leadership, Eastern Stars! Watch the UpNorthLive Report here.

Shop Your Community

TCAPS Bus Technicians Earn 100% Pass Rate for School Bus Safety Inspections

For the 6th consecutive year, TCAPS buses have received a 100% pass rate on school bus safety inspections conducted by the Michigan State Police. TCAPS is fortunate to have experts on staff who work each and every day to ensure the district’s bus fleet is safe and ready to transport students.

Bus Safety

Blair Elementary School and Boomers Bootcamp Fuel Up to Play 60

Blair Bobcat Fuel Up
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On Friday, October 11, 2019, kindergarten through fifth grade students at Blair Elementary School teamed up with local gym Boomers Bootcamp, a results-driven, energetic fitness workout program, to help get students moving. Students participated in a number of activities for an hour to help them learn healthy habits. The event is part of the school’s efforts under the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school health and wellness program that empowers students and educators to work together to build healthier schools and create healthy, high achieving students.

TC Central Debate Team Competes at Wayne State University Debate Tournament

The Traverse City Central Debate team participated at the Wayne State University Debate Tournament on October 11 and 12, 2019. Team trophies went to Grace O'Connor and Ethan Schweitzer, 4th Place; Amelia Shotwell and Lily Jenkins, 2nd Place; and Regan O'Connor and Erin O'Donnell, 2nd Place; in their respective divisions. Individual speaking trophies went to Henry Huschke, 10th Place, Regan O'Connor, 7th Place, Ethan Schweitzer, 6th Place, Lily Jenkins, 4th Place, Grace O'Connor, 3rd Place, Erin O'Donnell, 3rd Place, and Amelia Shotwell, 2nd Place, in their respective Novice, Varsity, and Public Forum Divisions. The team tied with a 1st Place sweepstakes trophy, a representation of combined team points for speaking quality. Varsity members Oliver Phillips, Guo-jin Swartz, Shane Taylor, Leilani Sigzbey, and co-captains, Sara Fox and Henry Huschke helped coach the team to victory. StepUp Northern Michigan was a team sponsor, helping students cover the costs to attend.

Central High Debate Team

Long Lake Students Participate in Annual Apple Crunch

For the fourth year, Long Lake Elementary School's preschool through 5th grade students participated in the Great Lakes Apple Crunch. The apple crunch is an annual event to celebrate locally sourced produce. The Gallagher family, who have three students who attend Long Lake, generously donated an apple for every student. It was a beautiful day for apple tasting.

Annual Apple Crunch

MSBOA District II Marching Band Expo at Thirlby Field

On October 14th, TCAPS hosted the MSBOA District II Marching Band Expo at Thirlby Field. Each band had 10 minutes to perform and received feedback from two judges, one in each of the following categories: music, marching, and general effect showmanship. Eighteen marching bands from northern Michigan participated including both Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School. View a complete list of participating high schools.
MSBOA Band Expo

Tuition-Based Preschool Openings Available - Register Today

It's not too late to register for TCAPS' tuition-based preschool programs. TCAPS has openings in most locations. Please visit for registration information or to learn more.

Preschool Registration

Upcoming Board Office Hours - October 24th

The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education will host “Office Hours” on Thursday, October 24, 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.

Global Service Trip to Mexico - Registration Deadline Extended

Any students interested in participating in the annual TCAPS Global Service trip to Guanajuato, Mexico, the registration deadline has been extended through October 31, 2019. This trip is open to all incoming 9th to 11th graders, regardless of language study. The focus of the trip is language study, volunteerism, building global friendships, and cultural awareness through the arts. Search TCAPS Global Service on YouTube to view videos from previous trips. Limited spaces are available, please contact Kate Hansen at West Senior High with questions at

TC West Senior High School National Honor Society Halloween Candy Collection - through Nov. 6th

The Traverse City West Senior High School National Honor Society, in partnership with Operation Gratitude, is seeking donations of leftover Halloween candy to donate to Veterans, Active Duty and First Responders. Through November 6, 2019, collections will be accepted in the school's Library Media Center (5376 N. Long Lake Rd.).

Traverse City Central High School Presents West Side Story - November 8th-17th

This November, experience the classic hit musical West Side Story presented by Traverse City Central High School. West Side Story is an unforgettable story of heartbreak, passion, and resilience of the human spirit. It has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. Led by veteran Artistic Director, Erin Peck and Musical Director, Tamara Williams, the strong ensemble cast captures the power and emotion of this incredible show. West Side Story will be on stage November 8, 9, 10, and November 15, 16, 17. Tickets are available at

Traverse City West Senior High School Presents Fiddler on the Roof - November 15th-24th

Winner of nine Tony Awards when it debuted in 1964, Fiddler on the Roof has touched audiences worldwide with its humor, warmth and honesty. 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. Tickets for November 15-17 and November 22-24 can be found at

Calendar Reminders

November 1, 2019 - Half day for all TCAPS students
November 5, 2019 - No school for all TCAPS students, Election Day
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

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News & Events

Partners in Education

Friends of TCAPS
Partner in Education

"Help to support our students' non-academic needs through TCAPS' Intense Student Support Network"

Become a Friend of TCAPS today! Over $10,000 given and growing.

Through recurring monthly donations from people just like you, the independent nonprofit Friends of TCAPS provides TCAPS with unrestricted financial support. When you become a Friend of TCAPS today, you are helping to support our students' non-academic needs through TCAPS' Intense Student Support Network (ISSN.)

Join the growing number of Friends of TCAPS by visiting and start giving a little each month!

Anonymous donation and Apple Matching Gifts

An anonymous donation of 9 Refurbished iPads Wi-Fi 32 GB-space gray and 1 Apple Care+ for ipad, ipad air, or ipad mini with a total value of $1,829.56 was donated to the Traverse City Central High School Fitness Technology Program. Used in conjunction with TEAMBUILDR software and PUSH Bands, it provides test results on velocity and power output that can inform future training and recovery decisions as well as show athlete progress. In addition to these gifts, Apple will provide a 2-to-1 matching gift! Through this support, we can help our fitness programs flourish and provide the best opportunities for our students. Thank you for being a TCAPS Partner In Education.

Books-A-Million! Summer Book Drive Donation

HOORAY for Books-A-Million! Our local store, with your help, donated 4 boxes of brand new books for our middle schools. "Thanks-A-Million" for your support and for being a Partner In Education!

BC Pizza Buffet

Traverse Heights Elementary School Family Math Night

On October 7th, Traverse Heights Elementary School families participated in a special evening program designed to help families looking for ways to practice and promote numeracy, calculation, and problem-solving.

To be mathematically specific, 41% of students' and their families were welcomed to explore math to practice at home. For nearly 180 people, activities included five different math games played with a deck of cards, two math activities with food, fractions and measuring, and a station where we learned about math resources found at our local library. Staff also shared additional techniques parents can use at home to support their child’s learning, including math activities with playing cards donated by Grand Traverse Resort and Casinos. Additional thanks to Once Upon A Child for giving away a coupon for a free toy to every child who attended, and to Traverse Area District Library (TADL) for sharing free math resources found just down the street! Thank you to all of our Partners in Education!

Students Shine in Hometown Heroes Tour - Oct 9th

On October 9, 2019, area veterans were honored with a Hometown Heroes Veterans Appreciation Tour and Luncheon. Veterans boarded BATA Transit Official buses to visit area Veteran memorials including the Korean War Monument, Veterans Memorial Park and TCAPS Thirlby Field Veterans Memorial. At Thirlby, attendees were treated to the most special concert from Montessori at Glenn Loomis students under the direction of music teacher Cress Smith. And what has come to be one of the favorite traditions, attendees waved flags as the tour drove by Central Grade School where staff and students applauded and held signs of appreciation to our Veteran community. The luncheon was hosted by U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City. Special thanks to the many students in TCAPS Summer Explorers Club who created the luncheon place mats. They were perfect and made the tables look so special. The Hometown Heroes event was made possible by the Grand Traverse County Senior Center Network and Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home. Thank you to all who have sacrificed for our freedom.

Serra Subaru Book Donation to Central Grade School

As part of the Subaru Loves Learning Program and Serra Cares Initiative, aimed at supporting and enriching the local community through charitable donations and special events, Serra Executive Managers Jerry Zezulka and Jim Tuohy, along with General Sales Manager Mike McFarlan, presented 150 books selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to Central Grade School 5th Grade Teacher Heather VanStratt. This donation is made possible by Subaru of America.

SERRA Loves Learning

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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