Our Community

November 2016

Superintendent's Message

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

As we head into the Thanksgiving season, it is a good time to reflect on all of the things we have to be thankful for in life. For me personally, the list includes my family, friends and colleagues, our award-winning school system, and the opportunity to live in our beautiful community. I am also grateful to have access to daily essentials, like food and shelter. But for many in our community, those basic necessities remain out of reach.

This week is Homelessness Awareness Week. While homelessness may seem like an issue that only affects adults, in our community we serve more than 550 students each year who lack access to adequate or fixed housing. Instability around where a child will rest their head at night has profound impacts on other parts of their lives, including on the ability to focus in school. Thankfully, we are able to offer the Students in Transition Empowerment Program—or STEP—through a federal grant and generous donations from our community to help support students experiencing homelessness stay on track with their learning.

Having a caring community that is involved in its schools is vitally important to the success of our children. If you are interested in helping students who deal with the challenges of uncertain and unstable housing situations, visit www.tcaps.net/step to learn more. Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


Paul A. Soma
Superintendent Traverse City Area Public Schools

Student Spotlight

West Senior High School Students Perform in Honor of Veterans Day

Watch the TC West Senior High School Westmen perform the national anthem as a tribute to our local veterans.



Eastern Elementary School Trick or Treat for Troops Weigh In Assembly

Students donate nearly 288 pounds of candy as part of their 2016 Trick or Treat for Troops event.


Eastern Elementary School held its 8th annual “Trick or Treat for Troops” event on November 14th. Students collected nearly 288 pounds of non-chocolate Halloween candy and many boxes of personal care items to be sent overseas to active duty soldiers. The Traverse City VFW partnered with the school to help deliver the care packages. Since the school began the program, it has collected more than 1,500 pounds of candy. The school held a weigh in assembly that included a very special guest, Mr. Lewis, who is 98 years old and a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge (pictured in the center of the photo).



West Middle School Student Wins Local Patriot Pen Competition


Traverse City West Middle School student, Benjamin Sulecki, earned 1st place in this year’s VFW POST 2780 Patriot's Pen competition. The VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views about a patriotic theme. The top three award winners locally receive a scholarship, plaque and certificate. The awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held at the Traverse City Michigan VFW POST located at 3400 Veterans Drive at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 7, 2017. Congratulations!


News & Events

TCAPS Releases 2016 Community Report

Click here to view the 2016 TCAPS Community Report

Traverse City Area Public Schools is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 TCAPS Community Report. The report contains stories and information about the district’s successes over the last year.


“As a community, we can be proud of the education our children receive,” said Paul Soma, superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools. “There are so many notable achievements in our schools that are only made possible because we live in an invested, supportive community. We want to ensure that everyone is aware of the important work happening in our schools and is able to share in our collective successes."


The report is available electronically and in select locations throughout the region. View the report at: www.tcaps.net/communityreport.



TCTA Drive for Socks—Nov. 14-18



TCAPS Board Coffee Conversation—Nov. 17

The TCAPS Board of Education will host its monthly Coffee Conversation on Thursday, November 17, 2016, at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The discussion topic will be “Old Mission Peninsula School.” Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss any other topic of interest with a TCAPS board member at the meeting.



West Senior High School Presents The Comedy of Errors—Nov. 18-19

Click here for Comedy of Errors tickets

Traverse City West Senior High School's Advanced Theater class presents the William Shakespeare classic, The Comedy of Errors. The play features a world of mistaken identities and witty humor. The production is staged with a circus theme and includes aerial artists and acrobatics. Performances are November 18th and 19th at the West Senior High School auditorium beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at: www.mynorthtickets.com.



TC Central High School Presents Beauty and the Beast—Nov. 18-20

Get your tickets now!

Traverse City Central High School presents Beauty and the Beast. Based on the Academy-Award winning animated Disney feature, the stage version includes all of the memorable songs from the animated film plus a few new songs written especially for the Broadway musical. You are invited to “Be Our Guest” at Central High School’s auditorium as this classic French fairy tale is brought to life. Performances are November 18th at 7:00 p.m., November 19th at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and November 20th at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available at: www.mynorthtickets.com.



Central High School Students Launch Junior Achievement Company—“Up North Bundles”


Students from Traverse City Central High School’s Marketing: How to Start a Business class are selling unique local food products bundled into sweet and salty pairings. These tasty gift bundles are available now through December 23rd, just in time for the holiday gift giving season.


The bundles are available in two sizes, premium and deluxe, and can be purchased by calling 933-3685 or online by visiting the Up North Bundles Facebook page. The Premium bundle sells for $34.99 and includes: Cherry Republic milk chocolate covered cherries, Cherry Republic sour cherry patches, Uncle Gene’s butter pretzels, and Cherry Republic cherry artisan mustard. The Deluxe Bundle sells for $54.99 and includes: Cherry Republic milk chocolate covered cherries, Cherry Republic sour cherry patches, Uncle Gene’s butter pretzels, Cherry Republic cherry artisan mustard, West Coast brownie mix, Pop-kie’s butter popcorn, and West Coast hot cocoa mix.


Orders will be delivered directly to customers. A 10% corporate discount is available to customers purchasing 25 bundles or more. For every bundle sold, one dollar will be donated to the Grand Traverse Land Conservancy.


Through the valuable process of researching demand for a product, collaboration, branding, marketing, selling, managing finances and liquidating a real company, students gain practical experience running a company.



Eastern Elementary School Reconstruction Update


The reconstruction of the Eastern Elementary School building is scheduled to begin after Spring Break of the 2016-2017 school year. At that time, the school will move into its temporary location at the former Bertha Vos school. Eastern students will continue attending school at Bertha Vos until the new school is completed. It is estimated that the reconstruction will take 12-15 months for abatement, demolition, construction, commissioning and final occupancy. The construction work is expected to be completed before the start of the 2018-19 school year.



Local Harvest of the Month: Winter Squash

Winter squash is in season and on the lunch menus at TCAPS. The squash is sourced locally from Cherry Capital Foods and is primarily served roasted. Winter squash has a beautiful deep yellow-orange color, and is high in vitamins and minerals. Follow the links below for winter squash recipes.



Michigan Department of Education Survey


The Michigan Department of Education has launched a new survey designed for parents or guardians of children who attend a Michigan PreK-12 school. The survey seeks parent input on student assessment, school accountability, support for struggling schools, teacher and leader quality, and more. The survey is available through November 18, 2016. Take the survey.



TCAPS Calendar Reminders


Education in Action

West Middle School Writing Club Helps Students Pen Novels

West Middle School students warm up as they prepare to write their first novels.


Traverse City West Middle School has a new writing club. Grand Traverse Region Municipal Liaison, Jacque Burke, brought the NaNoWriMo's Young Writer's Program to the school to help students connect with writing and write a novel in a month. The local group, fondly called TC WriMos, started sessions in October to help students get ready to start thinking about their stories, learn some basics about world building, character development, and fleshing out their story. In November, the group began meeting weekly to spend time taking part in “word wars” and “word sprints,” which are games that challenge students to see how many words they can write in an allotted amount of time. It is an exercise that helps young writers turn off their inner editor and focus on just getting the words down. The NaNoWriMo program teaches students that they can write a book, they can become an author, and they can write their own story.


Partner in Education

TCAPS Presents “LEAP Under the Lights” —Nov. 23

Click here to register for the Turkey Trot

On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. join Traverse City Area Public Schools and the UpNorthMedia Turkey Trot for “LEAP Under the Lights.” Turkey Trot participants are invited to pick up their race packets and goody bags at Thirlby Field the day before the event. While at the field, adults and children can enjoy some great food from Peegeo’s and take part in on field contests including potato sack races, forty yard dash, and football pass, punt and kick. All LEAP Under the Lights activities are free. No registration required. To register for the Turkey Trot, visit: www.tcturkeytrot.com.



Turkey Trot Volunteers Needed—Nov. 24

The Traverse City Turkey Trot is NEXT WEEK and is in need of more volunteers! Each year, hundreds of volunteers help make this race happen and we need your help to contunue that success. The greatest areas of need are: volunteer and registration check-in, t-shirt distribution, goody bag distribution, bread station, race route marshals, awards assistants, and finish line clean up.


For more information and to register to volunteer, visit www.tcturkeytrot.com/volunteer. Volunteers receive a special long sleeve t-shirt and other perks including a volunteer appreciation party in December. Non-profit volunteer groups (10 people for three hours) may be eligible for $250 honorariums as part of the Turkey Trot’s Community Share program. Contact Laurie Anderson at laurie@evugo.com to register your non-profit group.


The Turkey Trot is a great way to kick-off the holiday weekend with family and friends while also making a valuable contribution to our community. For more information, visit www.tcturkeytrot.com.



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