Our Community

April 2017

Superintendent's Message

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

This is an exciting time of year! We are getting ready to celebrate the end of another school year with concerts, convocations, graduations, and more. Prior to final preparations for these culminating events, however, we celebrate our teachers, administrators and support staff who make this all possible. In recognition of their hard work, the Board of Education has formally declared May 1st-5th Staff Appreciation Week.

Educating students is not an easy job. It takes a personal commitment to serving the unique needs of each individual student. It takes a never ending pursuit to improve one’s own skill set. It involves early mornings and late nights. It takes caring professionals who are focused on advancing our students’ success. I am amazed each and every day by the work performed by our staff and the impact they have on the lives of our students. The product of their work is the greatest possible gift to the future, a prepared and productive next generation.

In advance of Staff Appreciation Week, we would like to invite you to share your stories about how our dedicated staff make a difference in the life of your child. You can share your “thank yous” by emailing info@tcaps.net or by sending a private message to our TCAPS Facebook page. We will be compiling responses and sharing them throughout the week. A little story goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. Thank you in advance for taking the time to recognize our wonderful staff.

Board of Education Staff Appreciation Proclamation


Paul A. Soma
Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools

Student Spotlight

TCAPS Teams Compete at VEX Robotics World Championships


Two teams will be representing Traverse City at the VEX Robotics World Competition in Louisville, Kentucky, April 23-25, 2017. The West Senior High School Team 3767, the Titans, and the RoboRunners Team 1313, from Long Lake Elementary School, will join hundreds of the top teams from around the world as they use their STEM skills as part of this fun, challenging, robotics competition. Learn more: www.vexrobotics.com/competition.


Congratulations go out to all of the TCAPS FIRST Robotics Competition, VEX Robotics, and VEX IQ teams participating in this year’s exciting robotics season. Teams like, Team 2048E, the Wired Wonders, put their dedication and passion into this year’s practices, qualifying tournaments, and State Championship competition, ultimately reaching 18th in the state. Many others took home top honors including excellence, teamwork, design, judges' awards, and more.



Children’s Book Author Visits Willow Hill Elementary School

Author and illustrator Philip Stead reads to students and talks about the illustration process.


On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, nationally recognized, award-winning children's book author and illustrator Philip Stead visited Willow Hill Elementary School. The school’s students prepared for the visit by reading Stead’s books and creating art inspired by his work. In addition, when the school hit their reading goal of 90% readership in one night during March is Reading month activities, they earned a school-wide pajama day in honor of one of Stead's characters in the Caldecott winning book, “A Sick Day for Amos McGee.”

Willow Hill students earned a school-wide pajama day for reaching their reading goal.

News & Events

April is Social Host Awareness Month


Traverse City Area Public Schools recognizes April as Social Host Awareness Month. Social host awareness is about educating parents and the community about the dangers of hosting activities that allow for underage drinking. With upcoming events, like prom, it is important to remember that there are liabilities and dangers with parents allowing young people to use alcohol in their homes. Learn more: www.michigan.gov/doyourpart.



TCAPS Board Coffee Conversation—April 20

The TCAPS Board of Education will host its monthly Coffee Conversation on Thursday, April 20, 2017, at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The topic will be: STEM Learning. Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss other topics of interest with a TCAPS board member.



West Senior High School Presents “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach”—April 21st-22nd

The Traverse City West Senior High School Theatre Department presents “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach,” April 21-22, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. (5376 N. Long Lake Rd.). Two popular children’s books by author Roald Dahl have been adapted for the stage and will be performed as part of one magical night of theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students. Tickets are available at the door or may be purchased in advance at mynorthtickets.com.



Students for Environmental Advocacy Host Benefit Concert and Silent Auction—April 21st


On Friday, April 21, 2017, the Students for Environmental Advocacy (SEA) will host a benefit concert and silent auction at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Grand Traverse (6726 Center Rd.). Admission is donation of your choice. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with live entertainment and refreshments from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Performers include Aili Simpson and Amelia Burke, Jon Timm, Glen Chown, and The Minor 6. Proceeds benefit travel expenses for SEA to attend the Citizen's Climate Lobby Conference in June.



Host an International Exchange Student—Information Session April 25th


The TCAPS International Exchange Program will be holding an information session for families interested in learning more about hosting an international exchange student on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the Boardman Administration Building (412 Webster St., 2nd Floor Curriculum Rooms). Host families may now choose to host for one quarter, a semester or a full school year. Qualified host families will receive a $600 per month stipend per (hosted) student. The information session will discuss frequently asked questions, the application process, host family stipends, and introduce the TCAPS Host Family Coordinators. Light refreshments will be provided.



Traverse City West Senior High School to Host Trashion Fashion Show—April 29th

On Saturday, April 29, 2017, Traverse City West Senior High School will host the 10th Annual Trashion Fashion Show at 8:00 p.m. (5376 N. Long Lake Rd.). Students from all over northern Michigan will gather to showcase their one-of-a-kind creations in a runway style event. The public is invited to attend and tickets are $5 at the door with proceeds going to benefit the Women’s Resource Center –Doula Teen Parent Program and Scrap TC. The Trashion Fashion Show is sponsored by Scrap TC, and Global art.Fashion.HAIR, Green Island, and American Waste.



High School Spanish Students Host Cinco de Mayo Fundraiser—May 5th

On Friday, May 5, 2017, TCAPS high school Spanish students will host a Cinco de Mayo community dinner from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Traverse City Masonic Temple (13360 S. West Bay Shore Dr.). The event will feature a traditional Mexican meal, music, crafts, silent auction, games, prizes and more. The funds raised will be used to support 40 TCAPS Spanish students who are participating in two separate trips, one global service volunteer trip to Guanajuato, Mexico, and the other language learning trip to Spain. The trip to Mexico will include students attending an immersion language school while performing community service work at an orphanage and dog refuge. Students participating in the Spain trip will spend four weeks in an immersion program with host families while attending high school classes in addition to hosting students from Spain in September 2017. Tickets are $10 per person. Kids 10 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased from a student traveler or at the door.



TC West Titan Softball to Host Bubble Soccer Fundraiser—May 5th

On Friday, May 5, 2017, Traverse City West Senior High School’s Softball Team will host a bubble soccer tournament at Thirlby Field from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The fundraiser is a 3-on-3 bubble soccer tournament. Each team may have four players registered. The cost is $100 per team and it includes four tournament shirts. Event sponsors include Schulz Orthodontics, TC Orthopedics and Planet Fitness. Teams can register at: www.tcbubblesoccer.com/fundraisers.



West Senior High School’s Community Outreach Council to Host Carnival Fundraiser for Inland Seas—May 13th


On Saturday, May 13, 2017, Traverse City West Senior High School’s (WSH) student-led Community Outreach Council will host a carnival fundraiser to support the Inland Seas Education Association. The carnival will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Discovery Pier and the Greilickville Park. It will feature games, food trucks, and live music. Entry by donation. The WSH Community Outreach Council is made up of students who were selected for their leadership skills to organize and sponsor an event that benefits the Traverse City area community. Students surveyed, researched, presented ideas before selecting an area/organization that they felt most needed support. The funds raised from the event will be used to purchase bikes for tours that Inland Seas will give to student groups visiting the region to learn about the importance of the Great Lakes. For more information, contact baysidebash2017@gmail.com.



Central High School Presents Rendezvous—May 26th-27th

On Friday, May 26, 2017, and Saturday, May 27, 2017, Traverse City Central High School Choirs presents “Rendezvous” at 7:00 p.m. (1150 Milliken Dr.). The event is an exciting, high-energy performance of popular music showcasing the incredibly talented students of the Traverse City Central High School Music Department. Featured groups include the TC Central High School Jazz Band and Strings, Choral-Aires, Vocal Majority, Men of Note, and solo performances. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for students 18 and under and can be purchased at www.mynorthtickets.com.



TCAPS Students’ Art Selected for Top 100 at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival


Traverse City High School student, Justice Gazell, and TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis students, Madison Wakeman and Lindsey Greenfelder, had their artwork selected for the 2017 Michigan Youth Arts Festival Art Show. Gazell had two of her pieces selected for the festival and Greenfelder’s artwork placed in the top 15 in the state.


The 2017 Michigan Arts Education Association (MAEA) Statewide High School Art Show will be held May 18-20, 2017, at Western Michigan University, Richmond Gallery, Kalamazoo, Mich. The Top 100 Exhibit can be viewed from May 8-20, 2017.


The 2017 MAEA Statewide Middle and Elementary Art Show will be held June 10-17, 2017, at Western Michigan University, South Kohrman Hall, Kalamazoo, Mich.


More information: www.miarted.org.



West Senior High School Launches Fresh Point Company to Learn Business Skills and Raise Funds for Fresh Water


Fresh Point Company is a new school business created at Traverse City West Senior High School and sponsored by Junior Achievement. The company sells long-sleeved shirts for $20 with the Fresh Point logo on the front and a northern Michigan illustration on the back. Matching stickers are also bundled with the shirts. Stickers can be purchased separately for $5 each. The company’s mission is to share the love of fresh water in Traverse City with others around the world. For each shirt sold, $1 will be donated to The Pump, a non-profit organization that strives to provide people with access to clean, sustainable water. Learn more: https://squareup.com/store/freshpoint.



TCAPS Schools Named 2017 GREEN School Awardees


Traverse City Area Public Schools had seven schools named 2017 Grand Traverse Regional Michigan GREEN School Awardees.

Eastern Elementary School
(7th Year) – EVERGREEN


TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis
(6th Year) – EVERGREEN


Westwoods Elementary School
(4th Year) – GREEN


Willow Hill Elementary School
(6th Year) – EVERGREEN


West Middle School
(8th Year) – EVERGREEN


Central High School
(2nd Year) – EMERALD


West Senior High School
(7th Year) – EVERGREEN


West Senior High School’s AP Photography Students Earn Awards

Traverse City West Senior High School AP Photography students Abigail Jean, Jeff Zhao, and Liam Kaiser earned Certificates of Excellence in the Oliver Art Center Student Art Exhibition in Frankfort, Mich. Their photos and the artwork of all WSH AP Studio Art students will be on display during WSH student-led conferences on April 26th and 27th. Student photographs will also be available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the school’s photography program.


STEP Program Receives Grants from TC Optimist Club and Cherryland Electric Cooperative


TCAPS’ Students in Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) received a $500 grant from the Traverse City Optimist Club’s Youth Foundation and $2,000 from Cherryland Electric Cooperative's Cares Fund. STEP provides free supportive, education-related services to students, ages 3-20, who lack fixed, regular and adequate housing. STEP ensures the educational rights of families and youth by working with eligible students who have lost permanent housing due to foreclosure, eviction, or reasons related to economic hardship to locate and coordinate available services based on each student’s individual needs. The goal of the program is to ensure school stability, remove barriers to full participation in their education, and support academic achievement while children are in residential transition.



2017 Summer Adventure Day Camp Enrollment Now Open

TCAPS offers Summer Adventure Day Camps for children ages 3 – 12 and enrollment is now open. Camps are licensed by the state of Michigan and staff members are certified in CPR/First Aid and have met training standards. Camps are open to all area-wide residents and summer visitors and include weekly field trips, games sports, arts and crafts and so much more. Registration information may be dropped off or sent to the school at which you are enrolling your child(ren), or the TCAPS Tompkins Boardman Administration Center, Attn: Summer Adventure (412 Webster St.).


Dates: June 15 – August 24, 2017

Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Full and Half-day Options Available

Locations: 4 Convenient Locations

  • Cherry Knoll Elementary School
    (1800 Three Mile Rd. N.)
  • Long Lake Elementary School
    (7600 N. Long Lake Rd.)
  • Traverse Heights Elementary School
    (933 Rose St.)
  • Willow Hill Elementary School
    (1250 Hill St.)
  • Possible 5th Location: Old Mission Peninsula School (2699 Island View Rd.)—Interested families should call the Early Childhood Office at 231-933-1759 to indicate their interest in attending this location by May 19th. A minimum number of enrollees will be required to run this camp location.


More information is available at: www.tcaps.net/summeradventure



East Middle School Students Take Top Spots in Munson Stroke Awareness PSA Contest


Students at Traverse City East Middle School have taken 1st and 2nd place in Munson Medical Center’s annual Video Contest for Stroke Awareness. The contest allows students to help educate the general public about how to recognize stroke symptoms and the importance of calling 9-1-1. Winners are chosen by a juried panel and recognized during National Stroke Month in May. East Middle School’s video production program will be awarded $1000 and $500 dollar prizes for taking the two top spots in the contest. Representatives from Munson Medical Center will be at East Middle School on Monday, May 1, 2017, at 12:30 p.m. to present the awards.


1st Place: Hunter Hawes and Max Kellogg - View Video


2nd Place: Vanessa Johnson, Lauren Kiss, and Rachel Tolfree - View Video



TCAPS Elementary Teacher Librarian Named 2017-2018 Lilead Fellow



Stephie Luyt, Elementary Teacher Librarian for Traverse City Area Public Schools, was selected as one of 22 new Lilead Fellows from a competitive, nationwide pool of applicants. The Lilead Fellows Program is a unique, nationally recognized professional development opportunity designed to empower, enable, and equip school district library supervisors to think differently and creatively about library programs and education and to be effective and inspirational leaders in their districts. Funding and support for the program come from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. More information about the Lilead Project: http://lileadproject.org.



Eastern Elementary School Transitions to Bertha Vos

Principal Biz Ruskowski and administrative assistants Jill Jenkins and Missy Waskiewicz


Eastern Elementary School moved to its temporary location at Bertha Vos (3723 Shore Dr.) on April 3rd and will continue there through the remainder of this school year and through the 2017-18 school year during the reconstruction. The new school is expected to be completed in August 2018.


TCAPS Bus Technicians Recognized for Earning 6th Consecutive 100% Passing Bus Safety Inspection

TCAPS bus technicians receive recognition for earning their 6th consecutive 100% passing bus safety inspection rating.


Each year the Michigan State Police inspects and rates school buses across the state. For the 6th consecutive year, TCAPS has received a 100% passing rating on its school bus safety inspection. The annual inspection ensures that the TCAPS bus fleet is ready to safely transport students to and from school and events.



Local Harvest of the Month: Frozen Fruits

Local produce can be hard to find in April. Luckily, we have frozen options. Many local grocery stores carry Goodwill Industries’ “Farm to Freezer” foods, providing the opportunity to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables year-round. View a list of participating retailers.



TCAPS Calendar Reminders


Education in Action

TC Central and TC West Launch National Business Honor Societies—Membership Applications Due April 21st


Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School are proud to announce the approval of charters for the National Business Honor Society. Students interested in applying to be a member of their school’s chapter must fill out an application by April 21, 2017. In order to be a member, students must be a junior or senior, have taken or currently be enrolled in three qualifying business classes, and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and have a GPA in businesses classes of 3.5 or higher. Interested students should request an application and submit the completed form to one of their school’s business teachers.



TCAPS Business & Computer Arts Classes Help Students Launch Their Own Business

Left to Right: Co-owner Josh Barresi and Founder Nick Ohanesian


Traverse City West Senior High School senior Nick Ohanesian spent last spring developing the concept for his new business, Northern Fresh Apparel (NFA). As an avid outdoors man, Nick wanted to share his love of northern Michigan with branded clothing that represented a spontaneous and adventurous lifestyle. Nick was able to use the skills he learned in his classes at TC West Senior High School to help him get the business off the ground.


During his graphics design class last year, Nick created his business logo, a heron, because it was his vision of the outdoors. He began selling the product out of the back of his car but it wasn't until this year when business really started to pick up. Nick was taking the class Computer Arts with teacher Melissa Clone and really loved it. "Ms. Clone gave me a great amount of help on the NFA website design, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and on designing the t-shirts," said Nick. “I'm so excited to see his Adobe Illustrator heron from class all over the branding of Northern Fresh Apparel," said Ms. Clone.


In February, NFA grew as Traverse City Central High School junior Josh Barresi became an investor and business partner. Josh brought his experience from his TC Central Marketing: How To Start A Business class where he and his classmates created UpNorthBundles and learned first-hand how to start a business and sell product. "It was a great experience and I learned a lot," said Barresi. "Mrs. Rutt was a huge help to me in writing press releases and information about NFA." "I am glad Josh is able to use his Junior Achievement Company Program experience to fan the fire of his entrepreneurial spirit," said business teacher Patt Rutt.


The students’ goal is continuous improvement. They know the more they sell and the leaner they operate, they can reinvest revenues on higher quality materials. The goal is to have 100% eco-friendly materials in their products. For now, sales have been to their circle of family, friends and community members but they are actively seeking retail partners.


This weekend, in observance of Earth Day, NFA will sell a limited edition t-shirt. As part of their ongoing commitment to the environment, NFA will donate $1 per article of all clothing sold to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. For more information or to order products, visit https://www.northernfresh.co.

Partner in Education

Financial Survival Guide for your College Student—April 19th


On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Traverse Area District Library (McGuire Room), Front Street Foundation’s Money Series will host Pamela K. Boyce, former MSU instructor of personal finance, for a presentation where she’ll share her secrets on how students can be smart with their money during college and beyond. The goal of the series is to bring open-access to financial education, for all. Presentations are delivered by currently-practicing and retired professional experts through both interactive workshops and live interview-style discussions on a wide-range of personal financial planning and public finance topics. The event is free to attend.



Lids for Kids Bike Helmet Giveaway Rolls into Traverse City—May 13th

On Saturday, May 13, 2017, children from the Traverse City area can stop by F&M Park from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., get fitted with a free bicycle helmet, learn bike safety tips and enjoy other family-friendly activities. The event is for children ages 4-12 and their families. The event emphasizes the importance of bike safety and gives children the most important tool in preventing brain injury while riding a bike: a properly fitted helmet. Trained volunteers will be on hand to custom-fit every helmet. Children must be present to receive a helmet. The event is sponsored by Agevix, the Sinas Dramis Law Firm and the Brain Injury Association of Michigan. In addition to getting fitted with a free helmet, children who attend can register to win a free bicycle from McLain Cycle & Fitness, cruise a bicycle obstacle course provided by Norte Youth Cycling, and learn some cycling safety tips. They can also meet local meet police officers and learn about a police car, plus they’ll get to know firefighters and tour a fire engine. More information is available at: www.lidsforkidsmi.com.



Let's All Do the Barbecue—May 21st


Get your tickets for the NMC BBQThe Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) BBQ draws in 10,000 people each year on average, and raises about $40,000 for special projects around the college.


Last year’s funds supported program and equipment needs including a NexGen 3D printer for the engineering club, a water quality monitoring equipment upgrade for GLWSI, auditorium curtains in Milliken Auditorium, and news gathering equipment for WNMC.


This year’s barbeque will be held on Sunday, May 21, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on NMC's main campus. It will feature the same great menu items as in years past, including buffalo burgers, hot dogs and sides, provided courtesy of Oleson’s Food Stores. This year’s event will also support TCAPS' Students in Transition and Empowerment Program (STEP). NMC will donate $1 for every TCAPS ticket sold to STEP, which provides free supportive, education-related services to students, ages 3-20, who lack fixed, regular and adequate housing. STEP ensures the educational rights of families and youth by working with eligible students who have lost permanent housing due to foreclosure, eviction, or reasons related to economic hardship to locate and coordinate available services based on each student’s individual needs. The goal of the program is to ensure school stability, remove barriers to full participation in their education, and support academic achievement while children are in residential transition.


To purchase your ticket and support STEP, visit https://mynorthtickets.com/events/nmc-bbq. Select the 4th option of “Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS)" and one dollar of each ticket purchased before 5 p.m. on Friday, May 19th, will be donated to STEP. See you at the BBQ!



TCAPS Partner In Education Program: An opportunity to support schools, teachers, programs, teams and clubs!

The TCAPS Partner In Education (PIE) program works to connect community members, businesses and organizations to our schools through sponsorships, financial contributions, in-kind donations or givebacks. Your sponsorship or donation can benefit the school, teacher, program, team or club of your choice. Sponsor space is available at all TCAPS schools, Thirlby Field stadium and electronically via our e-newsletter. Contact Karyn Hertel at 231.933.5654 | hertelka@tcaps.net or visit www.tcaps.net/PIE to learn more.



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Traverse City Area Public Schools
Contact Us: info@tcaps.net