Our Community

October 2016

Superintendent's Message

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

Great schools have great principals. That’s the motto of the October 2016 National Principals Month. It’s a month that celebrates the building leaders who go above and beyond the call of duty every day to prepare our students for success.

From working countless hours to creating safe, collegial and fun places to learn and grow, we are fortunate in TCAPS to have some of the best. To quote just one section of the Michigan Principals Month proclamation, “principals serve as educational visionaries, instructional leaders, assessment experts, disciplinarians, community builders, facility managers, special programs administrators, and guardians of various legal, contractual, and policy mandates and initiatives.”

It’s a big job and one that is critically important. Without high quality professionals leading our schools, our students wouldn’t be able to achieve such great heights. I hope you will join me this month in saying “thank you” to your school’s principal and take a moment to recognize their service to our students, schools, staff, and community.


Paul A. Soma
Superintendent Traverse City Area Public Schools

Student Spotlight

TC West Senior High School Student Spends Year Traveling the Globe

Participating in the "Be an Impact Project" in Budapest, Hungary.


TCAPS Junior, Emily Falconer, has set out to explore the world and the stories behind the United Nation's 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The goals, released in September 2015, were created by five million people from across 88 countries in all of the world’s regions to be the outline for making the world a more sustainable place. Emily worked with school administrators and teachers who created a curriculum for her to follow in this 12 month mission to 22 countries. She will investigate what individuals and organizations are doing to accomplish the goals by 2030. You can follow Emily's educational journey by visiting her blog and find out what these goals mean for young people and the way it will effect generations to come: www.goglobalgoals.com.



Traverse City High School Student Gets Gift from Local Band The Accidentals

Tiffany Seyler examines the new viola given to her by The Accidentals.


Traverse City High School (TCHS) student, Tiffany Seyler, received an amazing gift courtesy of the local band The Accidentals. In September, the band performed at an assembly and shared lessons with students about “managing impulsivity,” which is a school-wide focus at TCHS this semester. The band was also there to help encourage students to participate in activities at their school, including getting involved with the Traverse City High School Music Club. The band did that and more when they helped Seyler get her own viola, reigniting her passion to play the instrument. In addition to the gift of a viola, TCHS student, Charlie Rozanski, received a t-shirt/albums from the band. They are truly generous and positive role models for our students!



Teams Compete in VEX Robotics Competition

Titan Robotics students and coach Philip Leete.


On Saturday, October 1, 2016, Traverse City West Senior High School’s Titan Robotics program hosted an early season VEX robotics competition at Aero Park Labs in Traverse City. Thirty-seven teams traveling from as far away as Illinois, Grand Rapids and Alpena, came to compete for one of four state qualifying championship spots. The Titan Robotics Design Group 3767X won the tournament with alliance partners from Petoskey and Grandville. Additionally, Team 3767X won the Design Award and was ranked first in the Robot Skills Challenge. With the tournament win, Titan Robotics Team 3767X secured their spot at the February 2017 VEX State Championship. The Traverse City Central High School VEX program is new this year. TC Central and TC West each had three teams participating in the competition and will continue competing in tournaments across the state throughout the fall and winter.

News & Events

TC Central High School Presents Beauty and the Beast—November 11th-20th

Get your tickets now!


Beginning on November 11, 2016, and running through November 20, 2016, 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. To purchase tickets, visit: https://mynorthtickets.com.



TC Transportation Association Sock Drive


October’s Local Harvest of the Month: Apples

It’s apple time of year in northwest Michigan! TCAPS cafeterias will be serving fresh Michigan apples all month long. View a list of delicious apple inspired recipes.


Many schools also participated in the Michigan Apple Crunch, celebrating Michigan agriculture.

Traverse Heights Elementary School hosts a 10 Cents a Meal program celebration and Michigan Apple Crunch.

Long Lake Elementary School students celebrate local apples donated by the Gallagher family.



TCAPS and TCEA Reach Three Year Contract Agreement


TCAPS and the Traverse City Education Association (TCEA) have reached a three year agreement beginning September 1, 2017 through August 31, 2020. A contract extension for the 2016-17 school year was previously agreed to last December. The tentative agreement includes a 1.5 percent increase in pay each year, as well as step increases. It also includes moving to new insurance plans that are expected to create a cost savings for the employee and cost containment for the district. The agreement will allow our teachers to focus on their critical work in the classroom for the next four years.



TCAPS Board Coffee Conversation—Oct. 27

The TCAPS Board of Education will host its monthly Coffee Conversation on Thursday, October 27, 2016, at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The discussion topic will be “School Funding – Services for Today vs. Saving for Tomorrow.” Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss any other topic of interest with a TCAPS board member at the meeting.



TCAPS Seeks Volunteers to Serve on Sex Education Advisory Committee


Traverse City Area Public Schools is recruiting parent volunteers to serve on the Sex Education Advisory Committee. The advisory committee meets three to five times per year to review sex education curriculum and materials according to Public Act 226 and local bylaws. To be a member of the committee you must have children who attend TCAPS, be a TCAPS student, educator, member of the clergy, or a community health professional. Anyone interested in volunteering, please contact the Health Curriculum Coordinator’s Office at 231.933.5610 before October 21, 2016.



TCAPS Calendar Reminders


Education in Action

Teaching Assistant’s Artwork Displayed at ArtPrize

Janelle Dahlberg, an artist and an employee at TCAPS’ Old Mission Peninsula School, participated in her 6th year at ArtPrize. Her work was a recycled painting titled, Water Phenomena. Everything in the piece was recycled. She even incorporated discarded laminate strips from years of cutting out art projects for students.



Music Teacher Shares Teaching Strategies with University Students

Emerick Dee, a music teacher at TCAPS, was invited to visit Texas State University as a guest of Dr. Lynn Brinckmeyer who is Professor of Music, Associate Director for the School of Music and Director of Choral Music Education. Dee’s work in the middle school choral classroom is included in the research work Dr. Brinckmeyer is doing about effective teaching strategies. Dee talked with the university’s music education classes and shared what he does in his choral classroom to help these future music teachers grow their instructional practice.



Shared-Time Music Teacher Earns Regional “Teacher of the Year” Distinction


Charles Taylor, a TCAPS music teacher who works under the district’s shared-time program, which provides educators to area parochial schools, was selected as the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association’s (MSBOA’s) District 2 “Teacher of the Year.” Taylor is the band director at Grand Traverse Area Catholic School’s Immaculate Conception Elementary School, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Middle School, and St. Francis High School. With this honor, his name will be moved on as a nominee for the state level “Teacher of the Year” recognition for MSBOA.


Partner in Education

TCAPS Appreciation Week at Sam's Club—Oct. 23-29

Sam's Club donates $20,000 to the TCAPS LEAP program.


In appreciation of TCAPS staff and student families, Sam's Club is proud to announce TCAPS Appreciation Week this Sunday, October 23rd through Saturday, October 29th. Kicking off the week is a TCAPS Appreciation BBQ with free hot dogs and cupcakes on Sunday, October 23rd, from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


TCAPS staff and student families can get a non-member temporary card for a free shopping day any day during appreciation week to explore and take advantage of the "savings made simple." Come out on Sunday to Sam's Club (2401 N US Highway 31 S, Traverse City, MI) and look for local Club Manager, Jesse Gauna behind the grill. Sam's Club is a proud TCAPS Partner In Education, helping to support the students we serve every day.



Swingshift and the Stars: Boosting TCAPS Music Programs

Swingshift dancers Philip Leete and Wendy Nienhouse with students wearing the Music Boosters t-shirt.


TC West Senior High School's robotics and dance teacher, Philip Leete, and Traverse City Central mom and TCAPS mega-fan, Wendy Nienhouse, are competing in the 2016 Swingshift and the Stars to benefit Traverse City Music Boosters. The Traverse City Music Boosters support TCAPS’ prek-12 music education program.


Did you know?

  • TC Music Boosters has supported TCAPS' music programs for over 50 years.
  • Each year, 18 scholarships are awarded to students.
  • These scholarships are $350 each and are given to students in choir, orchestra and band.
  • There are also 10-12 mini-grants awarded to classroom music teachers to help purchase materials not covered by district funds.


The goal is to raise $100,000. The funds will be used to help sustain student music scholarships and support other music program activities. Please consider making an online donation to Traverse City Music Boosters.


The competition runs September through December. The events are ticketed and open to the public. Doors to City Opera House open at 6:30 p.m. with an audience dance lesson following at 6:45 p.m. Each evening’s show begins at 7:15 p.m. Wendy and Philip will dance each month to earn donations from audience members and online contributions.


Want to wear your music program pride? Consider purchasing a “Boost Your Music” t-shirt. Download t-shirt order form. All profits directly fund student scholarship and music education grants. Order Deadline: Monday, October 24, 2016. Call the TCAPS Music Office for info: 231.933.7570.



Yes, I'm Shopping for TCAPS: Shop Your Community Day—Nov. 12


Shop downtown Traverse City on November 12th and help raise funds to support TCAPS' Students in Transition Empowerment Program (STEP).


For every purchase made at certain stores during Shop Your Community Day, simply tell the sales associate “I’m shopping for TCAPS!”and 15% of your entire purchase will be donated to STEP.


You can also show your support by visiting the Michigan Blood Mobile downtown, between 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. For every person that attempts to give blood and says "I'm Giving Blood for TCAPS," $10 will be donated back to STEP.


STEP serves students, ages 3-20, who may be experiencing homelessness and lack fixed, regular and adequate housing. Your support will help ensure students' school stability while in transition and remove barriers to their educational success.



Community Gives Back

Books-A-Million General Manager Bob Ashley drops off books to be donated to TCAPS elementary schools.


Thank you to Books-A-Million for selecting TCAPS to be the beneficiary of their summer book drive. Large boxes filled with books and many book sets were delivered to TCAPS elementary schools. Special thanks to General Manager Bob Ashley for coordinating this terrific event.


The Presbyterian Church of Traverse City recently held a school supply drive and delivered four large boxes of supplies to Traverse City West Middle School and Traverse City East Middle School. Overall, 500 items where collected plus many pens and pencils. Special thanks to Deacons Andrew Shotwell and Eileen Mikulski for spearheading the drive!



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