Our Community

June 2017

Superintendent's Message

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

The end of the school year marks many significant milestones in the lives of our community’s children. Whether it’s celebrating our youngest learners preparing to move from preschool to kindergarten, our 5th graders getting to explore new class options and extracurricular activities as they transition into middle school, our 8th graders readying themselves to step up into high school, or our seniors receiving their hard earned diplomas, these are special moments.

In my commencement remarks to graduating seniors, one key message I shared was that while the world is filled with challenges, there is reason for hope. I based my optimistic outlook on two variables: exponential growth in technology and the empathy, courage, acceptance, and love demonstrated by our graduates.

Technology is growing at an exponential rate. Autonomous vehicles, drone personal transportation, and implantable technologies are just a few of the technological advances that are likely to become commercially available in the not-so-distant future. That is why TCAPS is working to further strengthen and align our science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) offerings to provide students the foundation they need to be successful in the future. Data shows that STEM job opportunities are growing in Michigan, they pay higher wages, and that technology and related fields will be instrumental in solving many of the world’s challenges. It is an important focus that will give our graduates “a leg up” after high school.

However, along with an increased reliance on technology comes the potential to deeply impact the way in which we interact with each other. Technology has the power to change the world, but we need to keep a few points in mind:

  • It’s okay to text loved ones, but it’s better to call or visit.
  • Stay connected not to the “net” or to “cyber space,” but to people…real, live people.
  • Work not only for yourself, but for a greater good.
  • Live by the Golden Rule: treat others, online and in person, as you would like them to treat you.

It will be the challenge of all of us to prepare the coming generations with the skills and training they need to be successful in an ever-evolving and changing job market. It will also be the challenge of all of us to model good behavior, stay connected to each other, and monitor what our kids are doing online as technology enables new ways for growing minds to interact with one another and the world. I believe that by maintaining direct, personal connections and empathy for others, we can learn to leverage technologies to benefit us all.

Enjoy the summer! We look forward to seeing you and your children again in the fall.


Paul A. Soma
Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools

Student Spotlight

Congratulations to the Class of 2017

Traverse City Area Public Schools awarded diplomas to the Class of 2017. The district held three graduation ceremonies, which honored the hard work and achievement of this year’s graduating seniors. The TCAPS Class of 2017 includes:


  • 761 Graduates
  • 231 Presidential Education Awards
  • 221 Magna/Summa Cum Laude
  • 296 Academic Honor Awards
  • 5 National Merit Scholars


Class of 2017 graduates have earned a total of more than $5 million in college and university scholarships, $71,000 in local scholarships, and earned more than $3.5 million in college credit while still in high school through Advanced Placement, Early College and Dual Enrollment courses. In addition, many graduates will be going on to serve our country in the military, to work in the trades, or to begin their professional careers.

Central High School graduation

Traverse City High School graduation

West Senior High School graduation


Here’s to another great school year and wishing the TCAPS Class of 2017 unbelievable success!

Central High School

Graduation Program

Convocation Program


Traverse City High School

Graduation Program


West Senior High School

Graduation Program

Convocation Program


View all graduation ceremonies: livestream.com/tcapslive/graduation


Cherry Knoll 5th Graders Give Back

Fifth grade students show the younger students how to play in the newly built Gaga Ball pit.


The 5th grade classes at Cherry Knoll Elementary School participated in service learning projects as part of their new “5th Grade Gives Back” tradition. Projects included beautifying the school by spreading fresh mulch in gardens and along pathways. Students also built two Gaga Ball pits, including one with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant door, and taught the kindergarteners and first graders how to play. Through service learning, students are able to show pride in their school and community and model good behaviors for their peers.

Before and after photos of the 5th Grade Gives Back project.



End of Year Events

Students at Blair Elementary School take part in the “Run for Reading.”

Courtade Elementary School students visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Graduation time for Eastern Elementary School 5th graders.

Old Mission Peninsula School pre-K and kindergarten classes celebrate with each other at their annual picnic.

Third graders at Westwoods host a science fair.

Central High School students engage with TCAPS elementary school students during the annual Peace Rally.

East Middle School Trojan mascot duties are passed on to the next generation.

West Senior High School students test their Rube Goldberg Project. The annual project is a favorite among the students.



Victory for MSU: TCAPS Graduates Deliver Graduation Speeches at the College of Education

Left to Right: Laura Krieber and Marie Rapson


TCAPS was pleased to hear that two Traverse City West Senior High School graduates, Laura Krieber and Marie Rapson, were selected by the Michigan State University College of Education board to be the speakers at their graduation ceremonies. Laura represented Elementary Education and Maria represented Kinesiology.


Both Laura and Maria were very involved in their high school experience with fond memories of teachers and lifelong friendships. “Student Senate with Mr. Baumann is where I thrived,” said Krieber. “The autonomy of Senate gave us incredible leadership skills and made learning fun.” Rapson said, “I loved high school. My best friends today are my friends from high school. My best curricular memory is the dedicated support from Mrs. Chargo who worked with me to be sure my grade was high enough to get into MSU. Both she and Mrs. Holstad worked tirelessly to help me get into MSU. I am forever grateful.”


Laura will spend this summer working at the Munson Summer Camp and in August will head to Grand Rapids to do her student teaching at Burton Elementary School. Maria is taking a year off to work at Teeter Orthotics then will decide on a graduate program of either a Physician’s Assistant at Grand Valley State University or a Masters in Prosthetics and Orthotics at Northwestern.


Congratulations to both and best wishes on your very bright future!

News & Events

Eastern Elementary School Groundbreaking Ceremony and Memorabilia Sale

Parents and students participate in the Eastern groundbreaking ceremony.


Eastern Elementary School hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the soon-to-be reconstructed Eastern Elementary School on Thursday, June 1, 2017. The ceremony was held before work begins on the demolition of the old building and construction starts on the new building. The groundbreaking ceremony was followed by a memorabilia sale that allows families and community members to take a piece of Eastern home with them.

Map shopping at Eastern's memorbilia sale.



West Senior High School Student’s Art to be Displayed in the Capitol Tunnel

False Face, digital photograph


Liam Kaiser, an AP Photography student at Traverse City West Senior High School, won the congressional 1st district Grand Prize in the 2017 Congressional Art Competition for his digital photograph titled, False Face. Liam and a guest will be flown to Washington D.C., for the 36th Annual Congressional Art Competition Winner's Reception held at the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Liam's photograph will hang with artworks from across the country in the heavily trafficked Cannon Tunnel which connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol.

Liam Kaiser (center) with Photography Teacher, Melissa Clone, and WSH Principal, Joe Esper.



TCAPS Calendar Reminders


Education in Action

Long Lake Elementary School Hosts Book Swap to Help Prevent the “Summer Slide”

Students selecting books during the Long Lake Book Swap.


What’s the best way to prevent the “summer slide”? Keep learning! To help tackle the issue of learning gains lost over the summer months, Long Lake Elementary School hosted a Book Swap. Every Long Lake Elementary School student went home with books for summer. All preschool-2nd grade students selected at least 3 books and 3rd-5th grades students took home at least two books, and many had more. The goal is to allow students to choose reading materials that interest them and to get them excited about reading outside of school. Guests from the Traverse Area District Library came in to talk to students about their summer offerings and students learned strategies to stay engaged in reading like, swapping books with friends and neighbors, visiting the Little Free Library houses throughout Traverse City, and knowing where they can find reading material they will enjoy, including books, comics, newspapers, online resources, and even reading billboards and maps. Students who were not able to attend the book swap received a bag of books with a note encouraging them to keep reading this summer. The school hopes to see a noticeable difference when students return in the fall.



Traverse Heights Summer Bookmobile Begins June 12

Students receiving a visit from the Roadrunner Bookmobile last summer.


This summer, 2nd grade teacher Cindy Andersen-Schwartz and teaching assistant Lisa Seeley will provide access to summer reading to families living in the Traverse Heights neighborhood through the Roadrunner Bookmobile, donated by Fox Motors. The Roadrunner Bookmobile goes directly to Traverse Heights Elementary School students’ houses to deliver books and will have five scheduled visits over the summer months. The visits are Mondays, June 12 & 26; July 10 & 24; and August 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The bookmobile is stocked with gently used books that are donated by TCAPS teachers and community members. Books are sorted in the Traverse Heights Elementary School library and put into labeled boxes for delivery. A full tank of gas is donated by Fox Motors.


Records are kept of how many children use the service. “We see between 70-90 children each time,” said Andersen-Schwartz. “We have books for baby through 8th grade reading levels and have them sorted by genre to help the children and their families find books that they are interested in and at the right reading level. We knock on their doors and the children come out to choose books." Traverse Heights Elementary School staff and the Traverse City Education Association coordinates with several churches in the area to also donate sack lunches to families. In addition, the Traverse City Elks Club, Lodge 323, has written a grant to supply Care Packs for Kids, which supplies weekly food bags for 50 families at Traverse Heights. The Bookmobile will assist in delivering these on the weeks they have scheduled visits. New or gently used, infant to pre-teen book donations can be dropped off during the summer months at Traverse Heights Elementary School (933 Rose Street) on Mondays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Partner in Education

Image 360 Named 2017 Hagerty Small Business of the Year

Sponsor banners at Thirlby Field.


Congratulations to Andrew Kohlmann, 1997 Traverse City Central High School graduate and owner of Image 360, on the company being named the 2017 Hagerty Small Business of the Year. You can see Image 360’s work on the title sponsorship banners at Thirlby Field. Read more about the award here.



Boots for Kids Fundraiser—June 14th

Boots for Kids and its Director, Mr. Don Schmuckal, are one of our most valued Partners in Education. For the past 17 years, Boots For Kids has championed the local effort to find and deliver boots, socks, hats, and mittens each winter to area children in need, including over 5,000 pairs of boots for TCAPS students.


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. Consider supporting Boots for Kids by attending a fundraiser on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Talbots (148 E. Front St.). View fundraiser flyer. Ten percent of pre-tax sales will be donated to Boots for Kids. For more information, go to bootsforkids-tc.org.



Volunteer Profile: Enrichment Days at Traverse Heights

Students participate in agility training (4-H MSU Extension).


Under the leadership of teacher Alicia Rowney, students at Traverse Heights Elementary School have participated in programing dedicated to exposing them to new experiences. The activities ranged from healthy living to technology, including smoothie making, yoga, martial arts, STEM, coding, gardening, and art. The program also included visits from farmers, the DNR, local authors, food science, and a video conference with NASA!

Building and testing solar power K'NEX machines (SEEDS).


We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the following people and organizations, most of whom volunteered their time and energy:


  • Karin Stevens, 4H Program Leader, MSU Extension
  • Kevin Summers and Justin, SEEDS Education
  • Master Chris Pline, ATA Martial Arts
  • Bonnie Gotshall, Whitney Daily, and Julie Tiesworth, PE-NUT
  • Julia Paige, FoodCorps
  • Edward Agee, Salvation Army
  • Travis Nash and Crew, U.S. Coast Guard
  • Devin Moore, Oryana, Community Education
  • Groundworks
  • Kathleen Keen, DNR, Wildlife Communications Coordinator


As well as our own TCAPS Specialists:


  • Danielle Brostrom, TCAPS Technology
  • Shelly VanderMeulen and her TC West Senior High School tech crew (Granite Winowiecki, Owen Bulliss, Cole Simon, Jacob VanderMeulen), TCAPS EMC
  • Stephie Luyt, Wini Bell and Pam Farrell, TCAPS LMC


The experiences this great group of community members provided to our students was like no other. Thank you!

Learning yoga (PE-Nut).

Students participating in coding (Danelle Brostrom).

Deconstructing machines with high school students (TCAPS EMC).





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