Our Community

March 2017

Superintendent's Message

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

March is Reading Month. It’s the time of the year when we shine a spotlight on one of the most fundamental skills our children need to learn in order to be successful. We mark the occasion with fun events in our schools, like breakfast and a book, dress up days, guest readers, and special activities. We also have a lot of work going on behind the scenes to increase our students’ achievement and ignite their passion for reading.

As you may have heard, the state’s Third Grade Reading Law, which goes into effect next year, focuses on developing literacy skills at an early age. It also potentially penalizes families and schools if they fail to achieve these targets. The reason for the focus on third grade is that by fourth grade, students are expected to read to learn, not be learning to read. It is a critical juncture in a child’s education and one that we must continue to focus on and accelerate. We have been actively supporting our students and our schools as they prepare to meet the proficiency benchmarks in the law and, as importantly, help instill in our students a love of reading. We are making impressive strides and will continue to advance our efforts to improve literacy skills and help students achieve mastery.

Here are some examples of the coordinated literacy efforts occurring in the district:

  • Piloting two elementary and two secondary English Language Arts (ELA) core curriculum programs to identify the best option for the district’s learners,
  • Providing literacy coaches to support the middle schools,
  • Targeting At-Risk funding toward K-3 literacy efforts,
  • Using data as a way for teachers to collaborate, problem-solve, and identify action plans to help students grow, and
  • Increasing physical education at the elementary level because data shows the link between movement and reading proficiency.

Wishing you and your family a safe and relaxing Spring Break! It’s a great time to enjoy a good book!


Paul A. Soma
Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools

Student Spotlight

March is Reading Month

Blair students, staff and families celebrate Reading Month with "Breakfast and a Book."

Cherry Knoll super heroes wear their F shirts in honor of their friend Finn.

Eastern student celebrating in style.

Silver Lake staff prove celebrating Dr. Suess' birthday is not just for students.

Traverse Heights students "Read Around the Halls."

Willow Hill's "Ideas Will Take You Places" Wall




TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis Students Use Technical Reading Skills to Assemble Wheelbarrows

TCAPS Montessori students assembled 65 wheelbarrows before hand delivering them to Maxbauer Ace Hardware on Front Street.


Students at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis had the opportunity to participate in a three day technical reading activity that was held March 8th-10th as part of “March is Reading Month.” Maxbauer Ace Hardware donated 65 wheelbarrows for students to assemble. The students began by conducting a parts survey, completed a technical review of instructions, and then assembled the wheelbarrows from the ground up. Each wheelbarrow had to pass a final inspection before students could attach an “assembled by” tag to their finished product. A delivery parade of the freshly assembled and inspected wheelbarrows was held on March 10th, which was led by an escort provided by the Traverse City Police Department.

News & Events

Careers in STEM Speaker Panel & College Fair—March 15

On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, Traverse City Central High School will host a speaker panel highlighting careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (1150 Milliken Dr.). Local professionals, including doctors, engineers, scientists and technology professionals, will talk about where they are today, why they chose their profession and the future of their professional field. The speaker panel will include a brief presentation by each panelist followed by a question and answer session. Representatives from seven colleges and universities around the state will be available before and after the presentation (5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.) to talk with students and parents about their STEM programs, including available summer experiences. This event is sponsored by the Friends of SCI-MA-TECH and is open to all area students and families.



TC Central High School Choirs present “Disney and Desserts”—March 17 and 18

On Friday, March 17, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 18, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. students from Traverse City Central High School’s Chorale and Choral-Aires choirs will host “Disney and Desserts” (1150 Milliken Dr.). Student entertainers will perform favorites from Disney movies, stage and TV shows. Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters. A dessert reception will follow the show along with coloring and face-painting activities. Attendees can take photos with their costumed performer friends. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children and students 18 and under. Families can purchase a 4-ticket bundle for $30. Cash or check only. Tickets will be available at the door beginning one hour before each performance.



TCAPS is Hosting a Free Screening of the Movie “Screenagers”—April 9

On Sunday, April 9, 2017, TCAPS will host a free screening of the award-winning documentary “Screenagers” at Central Grade School’s Lars Hockstad Auditorium from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (301 W. Seventh St.). The movie probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director's own, and depicts messy struggles, over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world. A panel discussion will follow the movie. Learn more: www.screenagersmovie.com.



TCAPS Receives 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 buses have received 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.



Seeking Nominations for Outstanding Educators


The Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD), in collaboration with the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce and TBA Credit Union, is seeking nominations for outstanding educators, administrators and educational support staff for the 2017 Outstanding Educator Awards. Anyone can submit a nomination. Nominees should have a minimum of five years of experience in education, contribute to the academic success of students, and work collaboratively with other educators in the region. Each nomination should include a letter of support from the nominee’s supervisor as well as supporting documents from parents and students. The letters of support will be used by a panel of judges in selecting the 2017 honorees. Nominations are due April 17, 2017. Nomination forms are available at: www.tbaisd.org.



TCAPS Preschool Raffle

Preschool student crawling through a tunnel.

TCAPS' annual preschool raffle is underway. The raffle was designed as a way for TCAPS to help offset the cost of preschool for families. Its success has allowed TCAPS to continue to offer reduced tuition and scholarship options to qualifying families. To purchase a ticket, please stop by the Early Childhood Office (412 Webster St., 2nd floor) before April 4th. Tickets are $10. Proceeds benefit TCAPS' tuition-based preschool scholarship fund. The raffle will take place on April 7th. The following prizes are being raffled:


  • First Place: One full year of preschool tuition (up to $6,000 value) or $1,500 cash
  • Second Place: One half year of preschool tuition (up to $3,000 value) or $1,000 cash
  • Third Place: $500 cash



TCAPS Board Coffee Conversation—Mar. 30

The TCAPS Board of Education will host its monthly Coffee Conversation on Thursday, March 30, 2017, at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The topic will be: Respecting the Rights of Students and Staff. Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss other topics of interest with a TCAPS board member.



Celebrating the “End of an Era”

These two Eastern alum enjoyed finding their photos in old yearbooks displayed in the library.

This Eastern alum "left her mark" on the Eastern wall as did many others during the End of an Era Celebration.


Eastern Elementary School is preparing to move to its temporary location at Bertha Vos (3723 Shore Dr.) beginning on April 3rd, but first, they celebrated the school’s 60 year history with an “End of an Era” celebration. The school invited the community to an event held on March 10th to remember the building and the generations of students, staff and families who passed through its doors before its reconstruction begins.



Eastern Elementary School Reconstruction


Plans are moving forward for the reconstruction of Eastern Elementary School. Below is the reconstruction timeline and photo of the draft building designs.

Reconstruction Timeline


Activity Deadline
Transition to Bertha Vos April 3, 2017
Abatement Work April–Mid-May, 2017
Bid Process May–June 2017
Utility Disconnect June 2017
Mobilize Construction Site June 2017
Construction Begins July 2017
Construction Completed August 2018




Local Harvest of the Month: Dried Beans

Dried beans are part of the “Legume” family, a class of plants that produce seeds, or “fruits” including dried beans, jicama, field peas, lentils, and peanuts. Legumes grow underground, while the surface plant blooms with flowers. Dried beans provide protein, fiber, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc) and folate.



TCAPS Calendar Reminders


Education in Action

VEX IQ Team Gets a Special Peek into the da Vinci Robotic Surgery System at Munson Medical Center

Wired Wonders team member testing out the da Vinci Robotic Surgery system.


Students on the Wired Wonders VEX IQ team received a unique experience courtesy of the medical professionals at Munson Medical Center. Students were given a short lesson about how the robot works and how it helps the hospital use less invasive methods to treat patients. They then had a chance to practice on the da Vinci Robotic Surgery system. Through the STEM learning they gained on the team, the Wired Wonders knew the basics about robotics and programming, so they picked up how the nearly $2 million robot functioned quickly and understood what it took to operate it. The students were able to sit in the operator’s station like a surgeon would. They used the head set to view the feed from the camera that was setup inside a practice operation chest cavity and grasped the controllers to take command of the robotic arms. The Wired Wonders, their mentor Kris Schafer, the da Vinci Robotic Surgery system representative, and the Munson team are a great example of the amazing educational experiences that can take place when students have the opportunity to learn about the world and innovations around them from the highly trained professionals who design and use them.



TC West Senior High School Student Travelling to 20 Countries

Emily Falconer making friends in Indonesia.


Traverse City West Senior High School junior, Emily Falconer, has dedicated one year to travelling to 20 countries for the purpose of highlighting the United Nations 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. She’s on a quest to see what these goals mean for young people and what they can do to reach them.


“Being young presents great opportunity when looking at a problem,” said Falconer. “A problem is not always bad news; it is an invitation for innovation. I have many years to invest in new ideas that may appear at first to have small impact, but with time, these ideas could serve as a catalyst for significant systemic change. I want to explore both the roadblocks and strengths of situations interrelated to the 17 Global Goals, and hopefully discover ideas that my generation can cultivate in the many years ahead of us. By building off of strengths, we can empower a person to improve one life, then one small community and ultimately, one world.”


On March 1, 2017, Emily represented Traverse City at the 3rd annual NEXUS USA Summit in Washington, D.C., which brings together young philanthropists and social impact leaders. They discussed challenges facing our country and the world today and innovative solutions to address them. Emily spoke on a panel about Go Global Goals, the importance of experiential learning, and new innovative forms of education.


Emily has been to 10 countries from Poland to most recently Indonesia where she participated in a project to promote the importance of drinking clean water for supporting kidney health. The project called “Hometown” raises funds for water pumps to go into rural communities. She is currently on her way to Peru and Brazil and still has plans to visit Egypt.


Visit www.goglobalgoals.com to see all of the impactful activities Emily has done in each country, all while maintaining a full-time student virtual schedule at Traverse City West Senior High School.

Partner in Education

Students Teach Technology Use through the Senior Center Network’s Tech Club

TCAPS students visit the Senior Center Network to help adults with their technology devices.


TCAPS students began volunteering this month for the Traverse City Senior Center Tech Club (801 E. Front St.). Tech Club is a free offering that meets the second Monday of the month at 4:00 p.m. The students will meet once per month with Senior Center members to help them with the finer points of their cell phones, tablets and laptops. “We do ask that people pre-register by calling 231-922-4911,” said Program Manager Ericca Hovie. “We are very excited about providing this inter-generational opportunity to our community.”


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