Our Community

May 2017

Superintendent's Message

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

TCAPS is an incredible school system. We are known for our high quality and comprehensive curricular and extracurricular offerings. We provide these offerings in a fiscally responsible, low cost, low tax manner. If you ask me, TCAPS is the number one school system in the state of Michigan. Of course, as the superintendent, that’s probably what you would expect me to say. That is why I’m excited to share the following objective, third party recognition of TCAPS’ educational excellence and fiscal responsibility.

Earlier this month, TCAPS' educational excellence was once again recognized by The Washington Post as being among “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.” The annual rankings look at the number of students taking Advanced Placement or other college level courses while still in high school. Both Traverse City Central High School (#18) and Traverse City West Senior High School (#19) not only made it onto the list of the top 20 in the state, but both moved up in the 2017 rankings from the prior year. In 2016, TC Central was ranked #25 and TC West was ranked #30. It takes a strong pre-K-12 team to prepare students for college level rigor.

Also this month, TCAPS was awarded our 12th consecutive Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International. We received the certificate for our Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The CAFR provides more detailed financial information about TCAPS than is required by a standard financial report. It also includes a statistical section that provides the reader with ten years of historical financial information related to TCAPS. In their letter, the ASBO described the award as “a significant achievement and reflects your commitment to fiscal integrity and high-quality financial reporting.”

Being recognized for offering challenging learning opportunities to all students and for supporting our schools with transparent, responsible handling of finances are honors our entire community can celebrate.


Paul A. Soma
Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools

Student Spotlight

55th Annual Michigan Youth Arts Festival to Feature TCAPS Students—May 18th-20th


Students from Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School will be among the 1,000 high school student artists who have been invited to attend the 2017 Michigan Youth Arts Festival. The students were chosen from a pool of more than 250,000 student musicians from across the state. The invited scholars represent multiple artistic disciplines, including creative writing, dance, film/video, instrumental and vocal music, music composition, theatre, and visual art. The event will be held from May 18 – 20, 2017, at Western Michigan University.



TCAPS’ Student Publications Win Spartan Awards

TC West Senior HIgh School's newspaper students win the Spartan award.


The student staff of Traverse City West Senior High School’s newspaper, The Occidentalist, won a Spartan award. The award is the highest recognition given to student media outlets in the state and is awarded by the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. Jillian Avis, Hannah Ashbury, Billy Joe Kyser, Spencer Elkhart, Derrick Schwind, and Ashley Diehl also took high awards for individual submissions.


The staff of the Traverse City East Middle School student website, The Link, was also awarded a Spartan award. Students Ethan VanderRoest and Andrew Ford manage the site, which serves as the common electronic platform for East Middle School’s broadcasting, newspaper, and yearbook photography, making it one of the most diverse and unique school websites in the state. Student’s also received a number of individual awards.

News & Events

West Senior High School Choir Organization to Host “Go Fly A Kite!” Fundraiser—May 20th

On Saturday, May 20, 2017, join the Traverse City West Senior High School Choir Organization for the “Go Fly a Kite!” fundraiser. The day begins with a showing of “Mary Poppins” at the State Theatre at 10:00 a.m. for .25 cents. Then proceed to the Open Space to fly a kite from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Bring a kite or purchase a custom event branded kite for a $10 donation. The event will feature food trucks and a bake sale with donations going to support the TC West Choir Program.



5th Annual Yard Sale to Support TCAPS Global Adventures to Mexico and Spain—May 20th

On Saturday, May 20, 2017, TCAPS Global Adventures Mexico and Spain will host the 5th annual yard sale to support students' study abroad programming from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Oak Park Elementary (301 S Garfield Ave). 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. The community can support these educational experiences abroad by attending the event, donating items to sell on Friday, May 19th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., or by making a monetary donation by visiting: www.tcaps.net/donate (Once on the donation page, scroll down to select MEXICO-Student Exchange or SPAIN-Student Exchange.).



Northern Michigan Partnership to Host 1st Annual Spring Fair—May 20th


The Northern Michigan Partnership will hold its 1st Annual Spring Fair on Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the former Interlochen Community School (3113 M-137). The event will include a student talent show, project showcase, silent auction, potluck, and student arts and crafts sale.



Central High School to Host 20th Annual Peace Day Rally—May 24th


On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Traverse City Central High School will celebrate the 20th Annual Peace Day Rally from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (1150 Milliken Dr.). Students from Westwoods Elementary School, Silver Lake Elementary School, Old Mission Peninsula School, Eastern Elementary School, Central Grade School, East Middle School, West Middle School, and Central High School will be participating. The "Building Bridges with Music" program, founded by local musician, Jeff Haas, will kick off the event, which will culminate in a dance featuring 535 students and a U.S. Coast Guard flyover.



7th Annual West Middle School “Project Greenagers” Service Project—May 25th

On Thursday, May 25, 2017, 8th graders at Traverse City West Middle School will participate in the 7th annual community service project called “Project Greenagers.” Teams of students will be working with different community organizations on projects that service the region’s natural resources. The goal of the project is to nurture a sense of stewardship and personal pride in the school’s 8th grade students by providing them the opportunity to serve the community in a hands-on way and to connect their experience to classroom curriculum. Students will be working with the following organizations:


  • National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes
  • Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes
  • Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear
  • Our Neighbor’s Garden
  • The Leelanau Conservancy
  • The Leelanau Outdoor Center
  • Botanic Gardens at Historic Barns Park
  • Inland Seas Education Association
  • Grand Traverse Conservation District at Kids’ Creek
  • MSU Horticultural Extension at the Johnson Preserve



Traverse City Music Boosters Annual Benefit Concert—May 25th

On Thursday, May 25, 2017, the Traverse City Music Boosters will host its Annual Benefit Concert at 7:00 p.m. at Central High School in the gymnasium (1150 Milliken Dr.). The concert features the top orchestra, band, and choir ensembles from Traverse City West Senior High School, Traverse City Central High School, Traverse City East Middle School, and Traverse City West Middle School. In addition to the repertoire presented, the 18 TC Music scholarship winners for 2017 will be recognized. The Music Boosters support TCAPS k-12 music education through classroom grants, student scholarships and annual student award plaques. A suggested donation of $5 per person/$20 per family is appreciated.



TC Central High School Choirs Present the 20th Annual Rendezvous—May 26th-27th

On Friday, May 26, 2017, and Saturday, May 27, 2017, Traverse City Central High School Choirs present the 20th Annual "Rendezvous at the Jazz Club" at 7:00 p.m. (1150 Milliken Dr.). It is an exciting, high-energy performance of popular music showcasing the talented students of the Traverse City Central High School (CHS) Music Department. The event features the CHS Jazz Band and Strings, Choral-Aires, Vocal Majority, Men of Note, and soloists. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for students. Tickets can be purchased at www.MyNorthTickets.com or by calling the box office at 800.836.0717.



TC Central High School’s Quiz Bowl Team to Compete in National Championship—May 26th-28th


The Traverse City Central Quiz Bowl Team will be participating in the 2017 High School National Championship Tournament that will be held in Atlanta, Ga., May 26–28, 2017. The team finished 2nd in the state for the second year in a row at the MSU Honors College Quiz Bowl State Championship. Team members are Clay Myers, Nick Friar, Riley Dorgan, Matt Failor, and Nick Simerson. Dorgan was also named to the Class A All-State Honorary Team.



TCAPS Staff Named 2017 Outstanding Educators—May 31st

Left to Right: Steve Urbanski, Julie Keck, Victoria Derks


Traverse City Area Public Schools is proud to have three staff members among the 2017 Outstanding Educator honorees. Steve Urbanski, assistant principal at Traverse City West Middle School, Julie Keck, art teacher at Traverse City West Senior High School, and Victoria Derks, world language teacher at Central Grade School, were named among the top ten educators in the Traverse Bay region. The annual awards, put on by the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD), in collaboration with the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce and TBA Credit Union, recognizes outstanding educators, administrators and educational support staff. An award ceremony will be held to honor this year’s awardees on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at the City Opera House. A reception will be held at 6:15 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m.



Parents of Class of 2017 Graduates to Host Senior All-Night Parties—June 4th


Parents of students in the Class of 2017 have organized Senior All-Night Parties for the soon-to-be graduates of both Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School. The safe, drug, and alcohol-free celebration will happen the night of Sunday, June 4, 2017. Each event is planned and chaperoned by parents and includes all-night activities, games, food, entertainment, and great prizes. The goal of the Senior Party is to maintain a safe environment for graduates to celebrate one last time as a class. Each graduating senior is encouraged to attend.


Purchase Tickets:

TC West - Tickets are available for purchase on Wednesdays during lunches, online, or with the mail-in form found at: http://tcwseniorparty.com/tickets-are-on-sale-now.


TC Central - Tickets, t-shirt purchases and/or donations can be made on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the high school cafeteria from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or online at: https://events.bytepro.net/chs-senior-party.



East Middle School Student Advancing to National History Day Finals—June 11th-15th

Matt Ritter advances to the National History Day finals.


Traverse City East Middle School student, Matt Ritter, will be advancing to the National History Day finals to be held in Washington, D.C., June 11-15, 2017. Ritter's documentary about William Loyd Garrison beat 15 other documentaries at the state level competition making his entry one of two to advance to the finals from Michigan. Ritter will now present his documentary and respond to interview questions before a panel of judges. The theme of this year’s National History Day is Taking a Stand in History. Ritter is an 8th grade student at East Middle School who entered the National History Day competition through his Integrated Exploring American History Class, where students are expected to do the project as a capstone of their learning. He is also a 2nd year Digital Media student, which gave him the skills and inspiration to choose the documentary format for his submission.



TCAPS Summer Adventure Day Camps Now Enrolling

TCAPS offers Summer Adventure Day Camps for children ages 3 – 12. Choose from four convenient locations (Those interested in an Old Mission Peninsula School location should call 231-933-1759 to express interest by May 19th.) 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. Registrations may be dropped off at the Summer Adventure Day Camp office located in the TCAPS Boardman Administration building (412 Webster St.) or may be sent to the school at which you are enrolling your child(ren).


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 (Camp is full - wait list only)
    (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



The Young Americans’ Turn Up The Music National Tour Returns to Traverse City—June 20th-24th

The Young Americans’ Turn Up The Music National Tour is returning to TCAPS on June 20- 24, 2017, at Traverse City Central High School. The five-day workshop will include four days of intensive performance instruction and then a performance. The Young Americans’ cast of 35 perform the first act, and then the students perform the second act. The high-energy comprehensive performance workshop covers vocal techniques, dance, comedy improvisation, stage movement, sound, lighting, and more. Any students 3rd grade through college-age in the surrounding area may participate. Registration is $199 per student and includes a tour t-shirt (costume for the show) and event registration for 35 hours of performance, dance, and vocal workshops. Students will be separated into groups to learn age appropriate material. To register, visit: tinyurl.com/youngamericanstc. A limited number of scholarships may be available for qualifying students. Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lefz672AxXU.



Traverse City Area Public Schools Offers Summer Academy—June 28th-July 27th


Traverse City Area Public Schools' Summer Academy is available to all students entering grades 9-12 in the fall of 2017. The Summer Academy is for students who want to accelerate their progress towards graduation by taking a course over the summer, or who are in need of course credit for a class in which an incomplete or failure was received. All Summer Academy courses are aligned to state standards. Classes combine highly qualified teachers with the effective use of interactive technology 24/7 at school or home. All students have access to individualized and small group instruction from certified teaching staff. Summer Academy is housed at Traverse City Central High School and runs Mondays through Thursdays, starting June 28th and ending July 27th (with July 3rd and 4th off), from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Registration and additional information about Summer Academy is available at: www.tcaps.net/summeracademy.



Local Harvest of the Month: Radishes

Radishes are members of the mustard family. They are a great northern Michigan crop to plant in early spring, with many varieties growing in as few as three weeks. To learn more about the different types of radishes and different ways to cook and eat them, visit: www.kids-cooking-activities.com/radish-facts.html



TCAPS Calendar Reminders


Education in Action

West Middle School Students Participate in “A Project With A Heart”

West Middle School students with the pillows they made to support patients at Munson Medical Center.


Students at Traverse City West Middle School are partnering with Munson Medical Center on a service learning project to support cardiac rehabilitation patients. Students are learning the skill of sewing, while creating heart-shaped pillows for patients in recovery. In total, students will donate more than 150 pillows as part of the program.



Central High School Student’s Art to Hang in Congressman’s Office in Washington, D.C.


Traverse City Central High School Student, Alex King, was awarded Honorable Mention by a panel of judges in the “Congressional Art Competition – An Artistic Discovery.” The artwork, titled “Through the looking glass of Michigan,” will now hang for the next year in Congressman Jack Bergman’s office in Washington, D.C. The Congressional Art Competition is a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated.

Partner in Education

Thank You to our Partners In Education


As the 2016-17 school year comes to an end, we ask that when you begin to think about businesses to patronize, that you think about the Partners In Education who have made such a tremendous impact on our students this year.


To our Thirlby Field Title Sponsors, thank you for providing more than $50,000 in support of TCAPS' Learning, Enrichment, and Athletic Program (LEAP). Your sponsorship provided reduced fees and scholarships to over 2,000 students this year. We are grateful for your continued support.



Sponsorships are only one way to support our community’s students. TCAPS also has businesses that choose to do a percentage give-back to the schools. We are grateful for the following businesses that give back what works best for their company.



And, others choose to either make financial contributions directly to a program of their choice or offer their time and talents with the nearly 3,000 active volunteers in our schools.


For more information on how you or your business can become a Partner In Education, please contact Karyn Hertel at 231.933.5654 or hertelka@tcaps.net.



Papa John's Giving Back Fundraiser to Support Food Service Assistance— May 18th

Our newest Partner In Education joining the “give-back” option is Papa John’s Traverse City. Each month, Papa John’s will select a day where 25% of total sales from 11 AM to 11 PM will go to support a Food Service Assistance Fund. These dollars will support families who are in need and have fallen behind due to unforeseen circumstances. This month's event is tomorrow, Thursday, May 18. "It's not something new," said owner Dennis Leach. "I have done this for families in my child's school and thought why not explore making a greater impact."



Giving Back in More Ways than One

Last year, we introduced you to Rod Call and Milk Crate Basketball. His start-up non-profit, partnered with TCAPS Learning, Enrichment and Athletics Program (LEAP) to provide kids with a wide range of items needed in order to play and enjoy basketball -- shoes, basketballs, hoops, athletic wear, camps, etc. This year 100% of his recipients were TCAPS students.


Because of Rod's great story, he was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Traverse City West Senior High School National Honor Society Induction Ceremony. After giving back his story and words of guidance and wisdom, what followed was another one of Rod's blogs titled Noblesse Oblige, the NHS motto which means "the inferred responsibility of privileged people to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged." We found it to be a great read and incredibly fitting for this month's Partner In Education section. Read Rod's Noblesse Oblige blog here.



Traverse City Optimist Club Youth Appreciation Day

Central Grade School students (above) were among the many TCAPS students who attended the Traverse City Optimist Club Youth Appreciation Day event.


The annual Traverse City Optimist Club Youth Appreciation Day was celebrated this month to recognize local youth who embody the key characteristics of an optimist. From achievements at school to dedication to community service, these students were chosen for their positive attitudes, kindness to others, enthusiasm for self and others and for continuously pressing for a better world every day.


Associate Superintendent Chris Parker presented a proclamation naming May 8, 2017, Youth Appreciation Day. Bill Marsh, Jr. delivered the keynote speech.


Congratulations to the following students!


  • Blair: Emma Briggs & Adolfo Gonzalez
  • Cherry Knoll: Jet Miller & LiliAnya Alsobrooks
  • Central Grade TAG: Ava King & Sam King
  • Central Grade: Anh Nguyen, Isaiah Gallegos & Lilly Boals
  • Courtade: Isabel Witteveen & Kathy Budreau
  • Eastern: Reese Cummins & Olivia Forsyth
  • Long Lake: Nia Kashazta & Lucas Anglin
  • Silver Lake: Kira Butler, R.J. Rinal, & Kylee Cooper
  • TCAPS Montessori: Mazzy Johnson & Quinn Waddle
  • Traverse Heights: Jace Harvey & Joel Martinez
  • Westwoods: Ali Stone & Sawyer Vanderlinde
  • Willow Hill: Brielle Balke & Tanner Parsons


Congratulations fifth graders! Remember Mr. Marsh's principles of success and never forget to smile!




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
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