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March 2021
Positively TCAPS

News & Events

Partner in Education

Superintendent's Message
TCAPS Families and Staff,

As we prepare to head into the spring recess, I have been reflecting on how fortunate we have been within the TCAPS school community to have been able to work with our local health department and other partners in a way that has allowed us to hold more in-person school this year than in many other parts of the state. However, we need to remain vigilant and continue our COVID-19 procedures in order to be able to continue our face-to-face school offerings with the least amount of disruption for the remainder of the school year.

In recent weeks, we have seen COVID-19 cases reported, in particular at the middle and high schools, that are resulting from activities taking place outside of the school day. We all want things to return to normal as quickly as possible, but the COVID-19 safety measures we have put in place, including wearing masks, washing and sanitizing hands frequently, cohorting and social distancing where possible, etc., are the measures that have allowed us to continue many of our school activities as safely as possible. It is important to remember that COVID-19 continues to be present in our community and many are still awaiting the opportunity to be vaccinated, so we can anticipate COVID-19 cases will continue to have an impact on our schools.

In addition to a reminder about the important COVID-19 safety protocols we continue to have in place in our schools, I also wanted to share some updated resources and information from the Centers for Disease Control that offers guidance and best practices for families to consider related to Travel During COVID-19 and Considerations for Events and Gatherings, which you may find useful. Please also note that we will be sending computers home with students over the spring recess in order to allow access to learning resources while students are out of school. It is also good practice for our schools to ensure our students have the resources they need should there be a need to teach remotely for any reason.

Wishing you and your family a safe and pleasant spring break.


Dr. John VanWagoner
Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools





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TCAPS News & Events

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TCAPS Food Service Providing 25,000+ Free Meals a Week

In honor of National Child and Adult Care Food Program Week, we would like to take a moment to thank our food service staff for their outstanding and tireless efforts in ensuring our students and families have access to healthy meals. Throughout the pandemic, TCAPS has been providing meals at no cost to all children 18 and younger or adults with disabilities under 26 and will continue to do so throughout the school year. Currently, the district is serving more than 25,000 meals a week.

TCAPS Food Pick-Up

Bulk Meal Distribution - Saturdays, 9 AM - 11 AM

Families may pick up free meals on Saturdays at West Middle School from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. on the bus ramp off of Franke Rd. behind Meijer. Students who are face-to-face will receive breakfast and lunch for Saturday and Sunday. All virtual students and other children not in school will receive food for seven days worth of breakfast and lunch. Meals are at no cost to all children 18 or younger or adults with disabilities under 26. Please take advantage of this wonderful program to feed our community children. For additional information, please visit

TCAPS and MTU Sign Memorandum of Understanding - Includes $1,000 Renewable Scholarship Opportunity

TCAPS and Michigan Technological University (MTU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that formalizes a partnership to explore and develop collaborative opportunities, deepen engagement in areas of mutual expertise, and promote educational opportunities and career exploration for students enrolled in the TCAPS SCI-MA-TECH Program. The agreement will also provide $1,000 renewable scholarships to SCI-MA-TECH students who enroll at Michigan Tech after graduation.

“We are pleased to be partnering with a top-rated university that specializes in engineering and other in-demand STEM fields,” said Dr. John VanWagoner, superintendent of TCAPS. “The opportunities for our students to receive lectures and other curricular extensions from Michigan Tech professors, to receive support for robotics programs, and to have the opportunity for a renewable annual scholarship are incredible benefits for our SCI-MA-TECH students. We are proud to be embarking on this collaboration with Michigan Tech and look forward to what we can build together.”

"The SCI-MA-TECH program is unique in both its real-world relevance and rigor. These are incredibly talented, dedicated students and the establishment of this scholarship pathway is in recognition of both their academic achievements to date as well as their capacity to succeed at Michigan Tech," said John Lehman, vice president of university relations and enrollment at Michigan Tech. "Formalizing our partnership with TCAPS is another demonstration of Michigan Tech's commitment to educational collaboration with the Grand Traverse Area and all of the new energy and momentum that has been building in recent years."

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.

Student Support Network

TCAPS Students Compete in Annual MathCounts Competition, Two Advance to State Competition

Traverse City West Middle School students Helly Taylor and Tucker Ballenger will advance to the MathCounts State Competition on March 25, 2021, after successfully competing in both the Chapter Competition and the Chapter Invitational Competition. The top five students from each chapter and the 10 next highest scoring students in the state advance to the State Competition.

The following students participated in the Chapter Competition held virtually on February 5-6, 2021:
  • Helly Taylor, 2nd place, West Middle School
  • Tucker Ballenger, 3rd place, West Middle School
  • Landon Rice, 8th place, West Middle School
  • Trey Stewart, 9th place, West Middle School
  • Sylvia Coulter, East Middle School
  • Abigail Houghton, East Middle School
  • Saydi Kiley, East Middle School
  • Alex Lamphier, East Middle School
  • Ethan Rademacher, East Middle School
  • Nathan Stawski, East Middle School
The top student from each school and the top 20% of students from each chapter advance to the Chapter Invitational Competition. The following students participated in the Chapter Invitational Competition held virtually on February 25, 2021:
  • Helly Taylor, 1st place, West Middle School
  • Tucker Ballenger, 3rd place, West Middle School
  • Ethan Rademacher, East Middle School
Helly Taylor and Tucker Ballenger

The 2020-2021 MathCounts competition series was modified due to the pandemic to include four levels of official competition—chapter, chapter invitational, state and national—and 4 unofficial online practice competitions. The competition is comprised of four rounds—Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown Round. However, Team and Countdown Rounds will not be conducted officially in the 2020-2021 Competition Series until the national level. Learn more:


Preschool Early Registration Period Ends April 9th

The early registration period for TCAPS’ 2021-2022 tuition-based preschool programs will run through April 9, 2021. Families wishing to enroll in tuition-based preschool (ages 3-5), toddler Montessori (18-36 months) or the primary preschool Montessori program (ages 3-5) are encouraged to register during the early registration period. Families will be notified mid-April of their placement status. For program information or to register, visit:
TCAPS Preschool

Young Fives Kindergarten Enrollment Open

Online enrollment for the 2021-2022 Young Fives kindergarten program is open. The program will be offered at Courtade, Eastern, Long Lake and Silver Lake elementary schools, pending enrollment.

The Young Fives program is for young learners turning five years old with late birth dates (between July 1 and December 1). The program is designed to provide younger children additional time to develop their abilities and skills prior to entering kindergarten the following year. Young Fives is a five day, full day program and is provided at no cost. Students are eligible for transportation if they live within the boundary area of the school they are attending. For additional enrollment and program information, visit

2021-2022 Virtual Kindergarten Parent Meetings Continue

Virtual kindergarten enrollment meetings continue to be held for families interested in learning more about TCAPS’ kindergarten programs and the enrollment process. Virtual meeting dates, Google meeting links, and more information about kindergarten can be found at

The remaining meeting dates are as follows (in the event of a snow day, meetings will be rescheduled):
  • March 22 - Westwoods Elementary School, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • March 23 - Courtade Elementary School, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • April 12 - Blair Elementary School, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • April 13 - TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

TCAPS Music Teacher Receives Traverse City Sunrise Rotary Grant

Eastern Elementary School music teacher Carrie Bui received a grant from Traverse City Sunrise Rotary. The grant of $949 was used to purchase a device that converts her classroom whiteboard into a digital, interactive whiteboard. She and her students can use it to interact with digital learning materials. The grant project is called “Using an Interactive Whiteboard to Increase Musical Understanding.”

“This will increase student engagement and motivation this year and long into the future as more and more learning materials are available online,” said Bui. “Additionally, I was able to purchase a variety of percussion instruments and songbooks. All of the materials purchased are easily wiped clean with our district provided wipes to help keep students safe and engaged in musical learning.”
Interactive Whiteboard

TCAPS Offers Test Out Opportunity – Application Deadline is April 16th

Under Michigan legislation, high school students may request the opportunity to “test out” of any high school class they select. The intent of Section 1279b is to allow students to demonstrate knowledge and skills they already possess to enroll in higher level courses. A student who successfully tests out of a course will receive credit toward graduation for the course. In order to pass, the legislation requires students to achieve a C+ (78%) or better. The test out grade will simply be a “pass” and will not be included in the calculation of the student’s grade point average. The test out opportunity will be offered at the Traverse City Central High School library (1150 Milliken Dr.) on:
  • Thursday, May, 13, 2021, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 15, 2021, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • Saturday, May 15, 2021, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Students need to declare their intent to Test Out by completing the online Test Out Application on or before the deadline of Friday, April 16, 2021. For more information, visit

TCAPS Students Among Young Playwrights Festival Finalists - Original Works Debut Apr. 18th

Two TCAPS students have been selected as finalists in the 10th annual Young Playwrights Festival. The festival invites regional high school students to enter original works to the juried one-act playwriting competition. Six student works were then chosen to be produced and performed. On Sunday, April 18, 2021, at 1:30 p.m., student works will be performed at City Opera House (106 E. Front Street). This is a tentative date for this free, public event. Updates will be shared on the City Opera House website at

The finalists and their original works are:
One Last Try by Sara Bagley, Traverse City West Senior High School, 11th Grade
Voice At Night by Tyler McNalley, Traverse City Central High School, 11th Grade

In addition, the following students were named semifinalists in the competition:
The Fraidy Hole by Sonny Rogers, Traverse City Central High School, 12th Grade
Tuesday by Megan Speers, Traverse City Central High School, 10th Grade

Young Playwright Festival entrants submit an original one-act play of 9-12 pages. Finalists are then matched with national playwrights who mentor the students as they hone their talents and plays. Finalists also receive a $100 award.

Register Now for TCAPS' Summer Explorers Club

TCAPS' Summers Explorers Clubs are designed to engage preschool through fifth grade learners during the summer months. Each week features different theme-based activities. Sign up for every week or just a few. 2021 Clubs will be held at Eastern Elementary School, Silver Lake Elementary School, and TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis. Clubs will run June 21st - August 27th, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Interested families are encouraged to sign up early as space is limited. For additional program information or to register, visit:
Summer Explorers Club

TCAPS Board of Education Monthly Office Hours – March 25th

The TCAPS Board of Education will host its next monthly “office hours” in person on Thursday, March 25, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Boardman Administration Center (412 Webster St., Conference Room C). TCAPS Board office hours provide community members with the opportunity to talk with a school board trustee. This month’s board member in attendance will be Board President Scott Newman-Bale. Visit the Board calendar to view the board schedule in its entirety.

Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Announces New Name and Rebrands to Northwest Education Services

After two years of research and planning, the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD), which includes TCAPS in its service area, has announced progress toward its strategic goal to establish a common understanding of the organization’s brand identity and clearly represent its goals and values. As part of a multi-phase 2019 strategic plan, the TBAISD Board of Education approved the work of a multidisciplinary team of TBAISD professionals to rebrand the organization after more than 60 years of service in public education. The result of this work is a new name and identity system or logo that embraces the nature of the organization’s purpose to serve students, families, educators, schools and communities in northwest Michigan. Read the complete news release here.
Northwest Education Services

March is Reading Month

March is reading month! Schools across the district have been doing so many creative things to celebrate this awesome time of year. From Read-a-Thons, to outdoor story walks, Pit Spitters Reading Club, Flashlight reading, 5-star book reviews and more! Reading spirit days have added to the fun with schools hosting anything from “Read My Shirt Day” to “Reading Helps Your Brain Hat Day”.
flashlight reading

March is Reading Month

March is Reading Month

The West Middle School Titan Library Media Center held “The Great Titan Read” reading contest with prizes when book tickets were submitted on certain days. While the Trojans from East Middle School held a March Madness reading tournament, much like the NCAA event.

This Just In….

  • Central Grade held the Jump Rope for Heart (Kids Heart Challenge) during PE classes to help the American Heart Association. All students had fun jumping rope during physical education class time. This is a fun event for students to become more aware of how important it is to exercise. Students were able to raise nearly $600 for the cause. Way to go SuperStars!
  • Students in Mrs. Oster’s class at Long Lake Elementary have been participating in mindfulness activities. The calm energy of the room it creates is amazing!
  • Traverse Heights Roadrunners Positivity Project - Roadrunners are learning about enthusiasm and how when we are enthusiastic we approach life with excitement and energy. People who show enthusiasm energize and inspire others by showing their passion. What excites you? How do you feel in your brain and body when others demonstrate enthusiasm?
  • Westwoods WWTV is back! Mr. Steele’s 5th grade class has started producing weekly WWTV news again. A link will be included in the Friday News email each week so families can check it out: Link to news for 2/26/2021
  • Traverse Heights Roadrunner families, students, and staff participated in their first virtual reading Night. They had exactly 100 participants, meeting the goal, and had an absolute blast.
  • Courtade Cougars are holding their Kind Cougar Sighting Campaign for those showing impressive acts of kindness.
    Cougar Kindness

  • Long Lake kindergarteners have been learning about partners of five.
    Partners of Five

  • Traverse Heights students have been learning about 3D objects.
    Learning Shapes

  • Silver Lake is excited to announce that the Silver Lake Soar 4 News is back! Check it out here.

tcapsloop weekly podcast

Important Calendar Reminders

  • Mar. 26: No School for Students/Teacher Work Day
  • Mar. 27: Spring Break Begins
  • Apr. 6: School Resumes
  • Apr. 21: Half Day for Blair, Traverse Heights Students
  • Apr. 22: Early Release for Students (Except Blair, Traverse Heights)

District School Year Calendar
Blair/Traverse Heights School Year Calendar
School Dismissal & Bus Route Drop Off Times



News & Events

Partners in Education

Intense Student Support Network
Partner in Education

“The Intense Student Support Network provides tools for staff to effectively nurture and support students whose non-academic needs may create obstacles to high achievement.”

B.C. Pizza and National Pizza Day Supports Students in Need

B.C. Pizza of Traverse City (3186 LaFrainer Rd.) hosted a fundraiser for TCAPS’ Intense Student Support Network on National Pizza Day, February 9th. This week, we received a check for $2,550! Thank you to the entire team for helping our students and their families.

We are so grateful for our Partners In Education. Even in trying times, people continue to offer support for others. Help us thank these partners by becoming their customer. For the safety and health of everyone B.C. Pizza is strictly offering curbside pickup and delivery only. For your convenience, you can order via phone at 231.995.9900 or online at

Blain’s Farm and Fleet Donates Sanitizer for TCAPS Buildings

Blain's donation
TCAPS received a wonderful surprise from Blain's Farm & Fleet! Thank you to Store Manager Jason Wilson for delivering a massive amount of sanitizers, wipes and masks. We truly appreciate our generous community. Thank you for being a TCAPS Partner In Education.

Target Supports March is Reading Month

Many thanks go out to the Target Store in Traverse City for a wonderful donation of books, gift cards and hand sanitizers. It was the perfect way to kick-off "March is Reading Month" in our schools.
Target Donation

Old Navy Donates to Student Support

Our local Old Navy held a drive for masks for students and the results were a resounding success. Boxes of shirts, leggings and masks were donated to TCAPS to share with students in need. We are so grateful for this support!
Old Navy Donation

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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