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October 2021
Focusing On Students

News & Events

Partner in Education

Superintendent's Message
TCAPS Families and Staff,

Last week, TCAPS began the strategic planning process with stakeholder focus groups. Invitees were identified through a computer-generated program representing students, parents, community members, and staff. Northwest Education Services will moderate the 24 focus groups between October 20 and October 28, 2021.

In addition to the focus groups, comprehensive needs assessment surveys will be shared in the coming months. The result of this multi-step process will be an extensive, multi-year strategic plan for the district. Results and information will be shared along the way online.

Questions about the strategic plan can be emailed to


Dr. John R. VanWagoner II, Ph.D
Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools

Grand Canyon University

Activating Your Parent Portal

Need to activate your Parent Portal account? Click here for instructions on how to sign up for a PowerSchool Public Portal account. For technology assistance, email or call 231.933.3328.




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TCAPS News & Events

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Traverse City Area Public Schools Transfers Property to Blair Township

Discussions began in 2019 among Traverse City Area Public Schools Administration and Board of Education with the Oleson Family, Blair Township, TART trails, and Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy regarding 208 acres of TCAPS property, located behind Blair Elementary School. Blair Township expressed interest in developing a portion of the land for the purpose of meeting their Master Plan goals, which includes developing and expanding an interconnected non-motorized trail system for recreational, civic, and commercial services within the Township and connectivity to the ongoing development of the Traverse Area Regional Trail (TART) system, preserving open spaces and scenic views in the development of recreational opportunities and facilities, encouraging the development of neighborhoods parks, and constructing a new Township Fire Hall.

"TCAPS property is in the exact area that I have truly envisioned. The trail possibilities and outdoor activity possibilities are endless for Blair Township," explained Blair Township Supervisor, Nicole Blonshine. "The support, collaboration and excitement shared between Blair Township, TCAPS, the Oleson Family, TART Trails, and the Land Conservancy has been nothing less than incredible," continued Blonshine.

The Township has performed the necessary surveys of the land and shared renderings and plans for future development. After review of the plans for the Township Fire Hall and future trails at the Board Meeting on Monday, October 25, 2021, TCAPS Board of Education moved to officially transfer 130.44 acres of the land to Blair Township.

"This is an important project for Blair Township and for Southern Grand Traverse County,” stated TCAPS Board Treasurer Matthew Anderson. “Nicole Blonshine and Christine Thomas-Hill (TCAPS Associate Superintendent) have led the way in this collaborative effort along with long-time community benefactors, the Oleson Family and TART Trails to realize the exciting future uses and potential of the property.

Supporting members of the collaborative project include Brad Oleson, The Oleson Family, Eric Somsel, Blair Township Emergency Services Director, Chris Sullivan, Director of Land Protection at Grand Traverse County Land Conservancy, Julie Clark and Chris Kushman with TART Trails, Chistine Thomas-Hill, TCAPS Associate Superintendent of Finance and Operations, and Paul Thwing, TCAPS Director of Capital Projects.

TCAPS will now begin the process of transferring the agreed upon portion of land to Blair Township with work slated to begin in 2022.

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Board of Education Extends Mask Mandate Through End of Year

On Monday, October 25, 2021, TCAPS Board members voted 5-1 to extend the district’s universal mask mandate through December 31, 2021, with the order set to expire by the time students return from winter break in early January.

TCAPS Superintendent Monthly Office Hours – November 16, 2021

Based on feedback from the community, Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Superintendent, Dr. John VanWagoner, is providing a monthly opportunity for community members to attend “office hours” alternating each month between in person and virtual meetings. In person office hours will be held at Horizon Books, 243 E. Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49684. Virtual office hours will be held via Google Meet and can be accessed here or by calling +1 707-785-6547 and entering PIN: 692 435 167#. All meetings begin at 5:00 p.m.. The alternating schedule will be as follows:

Tuesday, November 16 - Horizon Books
Tuesday, December 14 - Google Meet
Tuesday, January 18 - Horizon Books
Tuesday, February 15 - Google Meet
Tuesday, March 15 - Horizon Books
Tuesday, April 19 - Google Meet
Tuesday, May 17 - Horizon Books
Tuesday, June 14 - Google Meet

TCAPS Board of Education Monthly Office Hours - October 28, 2021

The Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Board of Education will host its next monthly “office hours” in person on Thursday, October 28, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Boardman Administration Center (412 Webster St., Second Floor, Conference Room C). TCAPS Board office hours provide community members with the opportunity to talk to a school board trustee. This month is V. Flournoy Humphreys. Visit the Board calendar to view the board schedule in its entirety, or visit:

2021-2022 School Year Calendars

Please review the 2021-2022 school year calendars. To assist families in planning for next year, please review the finalized 2021-2022 school year calendars linked below. Dates to pay special attention to include: half days, early release days, winter and spring breaks, last day of school, and potential inclement weather make-up dates.

2021-2022 District School Year Calendar
2021-2022 Blair/Traverse Heights School Year Calendar

Traverse City Central High Schools, Mrs. Lisa Taylor Named MHSCA Coach of the Year

Congratulations to Mrs. Taylor, the Girls Cross Country coach at Traverse City Central. It is a great honor to be selected as the MHSCA Coach of the Year in Girls Cross Country from the entire State of nominees. Click here to read more.

TCAPS Students Named National Merit Scholars

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce that six students have been selected as Semifinalists and seven were named Commended Students in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Click here to read more.

TCAPS Lead Bus Mechanic Awarded School Bus Technician of the Year

Traverse City Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce Dean Councilor, Lead Bus Mechanic for TCAPS Transportation, has won the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT) School Bus Technician of the Year Award. Click here to read more.

Inclement Weather Alerts and School Closures

Winter is coming! Families of TCAPS students will be notified of inclement weather school closures through news media and if opted-in, a district text message. Announcements will also be posted to the TCAPS website, social media, and bus hotline. The determination is typically made by 5:00 a.m., if possible, and by 6:00 a.m. at the latest. If you do not already receive texts, you can always opt-in at any time by texting the word YES to 87569, as long as your phone number is already on file with the school. If your cell phone number is not on file with the school and added to your child's account, you will not be able to receive text messages. Texting is limited to contact numbers tied to the district’s staff and student databases, and therefore is not available to the general public. At any time, families may also call the Bus Hotline at 231.933.1955 to hear a daily message with information about school closures or transportation delays. For additional information about inclement weather closures, alerts, and snow day FAQs, click here.

Upcoming Events

Fall Music Concerts:
Fall band, orchestra, choir, and ensemble concerts are coming up! Check the school calendars below for more information.
West Senior High Band Calendar
West Senior High Vocal Calendar
West Senior High Orchestra Calendar
Central High School Events Calendar
East Middle School Events Calendar
West Middle School Events Calendar

Cheer on your favorite team!   See the school athletic calendars below for more information.
West Senior High Athletic Calendar
Central High School Athletic Calendar

Nov. 19 & 20: Disney Extravaganza

Nov. 20: West Senior High School Annual Craft Show

For more information about community events and resources, click here!

This Just In….

  • Congratulations to Traverse City Central High School - senior Evan Reister, whose photograph was named to the top 100 for the 2021 Audubon Photography Awards. According to Audubon editors, more than 2,000 photographers from across the U.S and Canada submitted more than 9,000 images. (Picture is Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, taken on the beach of Whitefish Point Bird Observatory).
    Sand Piper

  • Students from Long Lake Elementary School raised more than $23,000 over the last month during their Olympic fundraiser event, surpassing their goal of $15,000. On September 29, each class participated in 15 different Olympic events to celebrate their success.
    Long Lake Olympics

  • Students at Westwoods Elementary School enjoyed team building and outdoor activities during their Fall L.O.C (Leelanau Outdoor Center) field trip.
    Westwoods Team Building

  • Students from Courtade Elementary School have raised nearly $28,000 during their Jog-A-Thon, surpassing their goal of $24,000. The Jog-A-Thon continues through October 29.
    Courtade Jog-a-Thon

  • TCAPS Indigenous Education Program Shares Monthly Rotating Exhibits: Each month the Indigenous Education Program creates a new, rotating exhibit to be displayed in school libraries. This month’s topic is Regalia.
    Indigenous Education

  • 2021 MSBOA District II Marching Band Exhibition: Students from Traverse City West Senior High and Traverse City Central High School participated in the annual MSBOA Marching Band Exhibition on October 11th at Thirlby Field.
    Band Expo

  • TCAPS Introduces High 5 Friday Social Campaign: Introducing High 5 Friday! A new way to celebrate five great people or happenings each week at Traverse City Area Public Schools. Visit the TCAPS Facebook and Instagram pages every Friday to see who or what we’re highlighting.
    High 5 Fridays

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Bus Safety Reminders

October 18-22 was National School Bus Safety Week
School bus safety tips for drivers:
  • Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing
  • Stop at least 20 feet away from buses when red lights are flashing, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway
  • Slow down in or near school and residential areas
  • Look for clues-such as safety patrols, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds-that indicate children might be in the area
  • Watch for children between parked cars and other objects
School buses are like traffic signals:
  • When overhead lights are flashing yellow: Prepare to stop
  • When overhead lights are flashing red: Stop
  • When hazard warning lights are flashing: Proceed with caution
School Buses Are Like Traffic Signals

School bus safety tips for students:
  • Always stay in sight of the bus driver
  • Don't hurry off the bus; check traffic first
  • Don't go back to the bus after exiting
MDE: Frequently Asked Questions
School Bus Danger Zones

Student Support Network



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Intense Student Support Network
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“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.”

Over 900 Backpacks Distributed through Backpack for Kids Program

A huge thank you to the Sunrise Rotary Club for the annual Backpacks for Kids event held in August. Each year local Rotarians fundraise for, pack and provide hundreds of backpacks and school supplies to area families to ensure students have the tools they need for a successful start to the school year. We are so grateful for this ongoing community partnership and the support it provides to our families! Thank you, Rotarians, you truly make a difference!

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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