Staff You Make A Difference Graphic

Staff Appreciation

Staff Appreciation Week: May 7-11, 2018

Each year, the Board of Education celebrates staff by designating the first week of May as Staff Appreciation Week. PDF DocumentView 2018 Board Proclamation

Look here, beginning May 7, 2018 for new staff celebrations.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

“We wanted to send a little note of appreciation for our daughter's kindergarten teacher, Deb DeKuiper. DDK is a generous and passionate teacher, exactly the kind of person anyone would love to be their child's kindergarten teacher. She helps students feel confident about their work, and creates a positive environment for children. It is impressive to think about all of the students she taught to read and write over the course of her career, and what an impact she has made on our community and beyond. Mrs. DeKuiper has such a warm way about her but also manages to keep the respect of the kids. It's always amazing to me to walk in her classroom and see 20 kindergarteners sitting quietly and working diligently on their schoolwork. She has made her classroom a very safe place where the kids can take risks and continue to encourage and push each other in a positive way. Our daughter comes home happy from school, and proud of her own accomplishments. She is excited about learning and wants to share what she has learned. We couldn't be happier with the growth we have seen in our daughter this year. We feel so fortunate to be part of the Central Grade community and feel like our children have all had wonderful teachers.  Mrs. DeKuiper is certainly one of the shining "Superstars" there and she will be greatly missed at Central Grade when she retires.” With gratitude, Heidi S.

“I would like to thank Brenda Meindertsma at Central High School.  She encourages and challenges her students. English is not my boys’ favorite subject because writing is difficult for them, but Mrs. Meindertsma is one of their favorite teachers!  They know that she cares and so are willing to put in the hard work and enjoy going to her class.” –Stacey R.

Mrs. Jane Porath (East Middle School) is someone who teaches us to learn on our own. What we mean by that is that she will let you figure something out on your own. However, if you have a question or don't know what you're doing she will help you with everything and anything you need. By having us think on our own prepares us immensely for high school. As this being her first year teaching geometry we have to say she's done amazingly.” –Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Kathryn Phillips (East Middle School) has been our teacher for two years. Her kind heart and caring smile has made both seventh and eighth grade a whole lot easier. Her class last year made us much more aware of what was going on around the world. Her class this year has taught us to become better writers and hone our skills of interviewing and being interviewed. We are very thankful to have had her for these two years.” – Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Mr. Peter Deneen's (East Middle School) want for us to do well has taught me to strive for my very best. Keeping the band room on task for a whole hour is not a small task. Yet Mr. Deneen does it day after day and week after week. His love for music has also taught me so much over the two years I have had as his student. He also is kind to everyone band student or not. I have many reasons to thank Mr. Deneen for being a great band teacher.” –Isabel A., EMS student

“We have had the privilege of having Mrs. Michele Zebell (East Middle School) as our teacher for three years! Each year we have learned more and more about music and have grown immensely as musicians. Aside from inspiring our musicality, Mrs. Zebell supports all of us for who we are. Her smiling face and eagerness to help makes the choir room a safe place for her students. Her motherly personality and love of her job and students makes her choir a family.” –Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Mrs. Jody Mackey (East Middle School) is a teacher who has truly prepared us for high school. Having her two hours a day, we are always sure to learn something new in her class. She pushes us to work harder and think critically. She helps us develop opinions as well as understand the other views of a situation. Not one of Mackey students can say they didn't grow as a learner this year and we are very grateful to have had such a dedicated teacher.” – Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Mr. Leo Hagedorn (East Middle School) lets us be as creative as we want with projects. He feeds the inner kid inside us by always keeping activities fun and not stressful. He always makes sure we have enough time to finish projects and tests. Giving us bonus time to study if need be. He provides an environment where kids are not afraid to try new things.” –Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Minda Nyquist (West Senior High School): Teachers are immortal because the knowledge and skill they pass on stays in the minds of their students for generations to come. We have seen an extraordinary student (even if he is mine) rise to the stage because he was trained by an extraordinary teacher like you. Thank you for passing on priceless knowledge and wisdom to my son. Because you are his teacher I know that there will be a brighter future. Women like you don't always have fancy degrees, drive big cars are living big houses but they're the ones with the big hearts and the burning desires. Thank you for giving my son much needed advice. For shaping not just his acting skills. For showing lost kids the way. Thank you for making countless hours of sacrifice. For taking up a profession so selfless. For helping me breathe easy and for being you. You make the world a better place –one kid at a time and I thank you.  –Joelle M.

Friday, May 5, 2017


A dedicated team

“We would like to say how impressed we are with the leadership we experienced throughout the transition from Eastern Elementary School to our new temporary home at Bertha Vos. Coming back from spring break to have everything in place to make kids and parents feel comfortable and get right back into learning was the result of a lot of forethought and effort. Thank you to teachers, staff, and support from the upper administration for all the hard work and proactive thinking. It would have been easy to get bogged down in negativity and details in the face of such an enormous task, but that never happened. Positivity ruled every conversation. I was especially happy to hear that teachers were given time and assistance to make the move. Teachers, we know you still put forth a lot of extra effort to make it all come together and we are extremely grateful for your efforts. I have spoken with many parents who feel the same way. TCAPS, you did an outstanding job.” – Dan and Nikki S.

“I'm in East Middle School. All my 7th grade teachers have been really nice and didn't give up on me when I was having trouble this year really talking in class. I felt really shy to talk but when I finally talked to my teachers they were all really nice. They made me feel it was okay to talk in class and to them. Though I still feel uncomfortable sometimes, I feel like I got over being nervous all the time and it's okay to participate in class.” – G. D., EMS student

“I would like to share my most heartfelt appreciation for the staff at Traverse Heights Elementary. Year after year I continue to be amazed at the professionalism, compassion, and dedication of this staff. They have helped my children grow and learn in so many ways. Thank you Jen Rickert, Cindy Andersen-Schwartz, Jen Rubinas, Carrie and Cindy, Mrs. Steele, Sue Chapman, Marie Dituri, Mr. Keith, Ms. Sam, Ms. Amber, Mrs. Dunlap, Ms. Joanne, Mrs. Jill, Mr. Arvo and so many others. Thank you for being there for our children!” – M. B.

“We are a Willow Hill family, and we express gratitude to a fantastic bus driver, Mark Walters.  As a bus driver, "Mr. Mark" is the first positive experience of our daughter's school day. Mark connects with children through greeting them by name, having fun and sharing his great sense of humor. Fridays are a bonus as he gives suckers, even for a younger sibling hoping to ride the bus. For the kids in the back of the bus, you are missing fun with Mr. Mark in the front of the bus! Mr. Mark, as our daughter and other children grow, they will reflect upon you fondly! We are also want to recognize our Willow Hill Principal, Mrs. Sides-McKay.  She leads her school by smiling as she greets children by name, giving every child a Valentine card, and being a trooper in the dunk tank at the WH carnival! Also, a special thank you to Ms. Weston & Ms. Smith for being compassionate teachers, embracing the needs and uniqueness of all children, and providing a fun and caring classroom. Gratitude also to Ms. Forton and Ms. Phend for handling sickness and individual needs with kindness and empathy. We also appreciate Ms. Kirby & Ms. Laura for their attentiveness and kindness at extended day. Thank you Mr. Dimas for smiling and being playful with the children as you keep the school functional and clean!” – A Willow Hill parent

“I would like to Thank Coach Kelly of the girls’ swim team and the head of the athletic department for their help last fall. My daughter and I had just moved here from Italy. She is a swimmer and wanted to join the team; she didn't know anyone, is very shy and this was the one way for her to fit in to a new school environment. Unfortunately, the Michigan High School Athletic Association does not allow transfer students to participate fully in sports their first year. Coach Kelly and the Athletic Director Mark Mattson appealed this decision, fought for allowing our daughter to compete and won! They both are exemplary individuals who helped a new teenager's difficult transition into a new country and school. I thank them both along with Central High School's entire staff for making my daughter's transition a bit easier.”– Janene S.

The dedication and commitment of the entire staff at Blair Elementary School continues to shine as they make great strides in the service of their students. Today’s Ticker article “Blair Elementary Tackling Touch Issues, Finding Progress” highlights their efforts. We think our Blair staff is amazing and plenty of Ticker readers agreed:

  • “I'm so grateful for the incredible work being done at Blair Elementary. Thank you for having the courage to see the difficult realities of our community and for taking action.” – Sue B.
  • “Thank you Kirsten Morgan and the rest of the gang at Blair Elementary for your special efforts to make our community a better place. Heartwarming.” – Dan S.
  • “I am a ‘Big Sister’ to a student at Blair and this article is so appreciated. I've seen firsthand the hard work each staff/faculty member at Blair does, every single day. Thanks for bringing light to a community of people who go above and beyond to improve not just their education, but the lives of these children. This school is in dire need of volunteerism and more "Bigs". 40 minutes a week is all it takes to be a big brother/sister! I have 2 small children of my own and becoming a big has been one of the best decisions I've made!” – Sandra M.

“I hope that MR. GOODWIN, Courtade Elementary knows what a great impact he has made on our daughter this year. His genuinely kind and caring, yet stern method of teaching is just what she needed this year. She has faced challenges with all she has. Mr. Goodwin has encouraged and help her persevere. Her grades have improved over the course of the year, as well as her organizational and time management. Thank you for all you do Mr. Goodwin!”  – Jim and Angie G.

“I'm grateful for the way the TCAPS Montessori staff has supported my young son as he gets familiar with a school routine...from potty training patience to getting dressed for recess...Mrs. Sysko, Ms. Anne and all others have been lovely. I want to give a special shout out to Ms. Barb in the library. She's created a routine and space that is the highlight of my boy's time at school. We are grateful and a proud TCAPS family.” – Leah M.

“The staff members I work with at Eastern Elementary are so much more than co-workers. They have been there for me to celebrate the good times, provide love and support during difficult times, and have taught me the true meaning of friendship. Each and every one of my colleagues have made a positive impact on my life and continue to inspire me on a daily basis. The Eastern staff is made up of people who genuinely care for the well-being of their students, their families, as well as each other. The office staff, principal, custodians, support staff, teachers, extended day program, aides, and noon duty all go out of their way to make sure anyone who enters the school feels safe, important, and cared for. Eastern stars shine bright and I am so thankful for the amazing people at our school!” –Mandy L.

“My daughter has participated in the musicals at Traverse City West Senior High School for four years. Every year I am amazed at the intense amount of time spent at the school the last two weeks before opening night. As a parent volunteer, I have spent many of those hours at the school. There are no adequate words to express my gratitude for the effort and time given by Erich Wangeman, Minda Nyquist, and Eric Ranke. Furthermore, the custodial staff are nothing short of magicians. We leave the school at 10pm and the staff has it in tip top shape by morning! I think Thank You is not enough but it's all I have, Thank You for giving my child memories to last a lifetime.” – Lori P.

Mr. Soma (Superintendent):  Thank you for being the conscientious leader of TCAPS that you are!  All of the appreciation and kind words towards members of your staff begin with the leader at the top. Thank you for all you do on a daily basis for all of the students at TCAPS.” – Cathy L.

Ms. Candiss Brewer (Willow Hill Elementary School) has been an incredible asset at Willow Hill for her entire teaching career. My experience with Miss B started as a student in her classroom and since then I have had the privilege of being her colleague. She brings an enthusiasm for learning that has ignited a passion within her students each and every year. Miss B. has always worked to develop an incredible relationship with each and every one of her students and they adore her in return!” – Erin J.

“My son has an incredible Middle School experience due to Ms. O'Neil and Mrs. Robbins. They have gone above and beyond for my son and I couldn't be more grateful. With all the students they come into contact with on a daily basis, I feel they know each individual child and help them through their situation. Also, Ms. Humphreys has shown my child a love for music that would never have happened had it not been for her. Our music department is superior due to her hard work and determination and love for the kids. Our family loves being a part of West Middle School.” – Kelly H.

“The staff at Old Mission Peninsula School is always cooperative, collaborative and friendly. They are always happy and willing to do whatever is needed to support student learning and achievement. They ROCK!!!” – Beth Still, Principal

“Thank you, Thank you! Our son is in his first years of school (Central Grade School). He is a proud student of Mrs. Karen Byrne and Ms. Bree (Breanne Schlosser). Our son has blossomed in so many ways - we can never thank you both enough. In the beginning, we were both very nervous letting our 3 year old go, but what a wonderful journey it has been to watch him grow, socialize and learn. Kudos to Mrs. Karen and Ms. Bree!” – Stephanie and Robert E.

“From the moment our 4-year-old stepped onto the school bus last September for her first day of preschool we have been blessed with caring, nurturing, attentive, dedicated TCAPS staff. We could not be happier with Miss Vig and Miss Gail at Westwoods Elementary School for the amazing work they do. Our daughter always comes home happy and excited to share what she has learned. We can't thank them enough for their energy and enthusiasm, for keeping us up-to-date with pictures and stories, and for fostering a love of learning and exploration. Mr. John, our daughter's bus driver, is fantastic! He is kind and patient, especially when she has fallen asleep (or just pretends to). So many others at Westwoods have also made an impact on our daughter. She sings us every song she learns, randomly uses Spanish words in every day conversation, and loves to show off her brand new balance bike skills. To everyone who has touched our lives this past year - THANK YOU! We are so grateful.” – Carrie and Gene S.

“I would like to thank Mrs. Chargo, Mr. Griesinger, Mr. Hofstra, Miss Linsmeier, Mr. McDonald, and Mr. Ranke for teaching my daughter this school year (West Senior High School). Every one of you inspire her daily in more ways than one. There is not a single day I don't hear about her learning experience and your names from her without a smile on her face. Thank you for making a difference!” – Candan S.

“I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to all of the support staff at Traverse Heights. They continually provide support to our teachers and students in numerous ways. One Friday a month, they take on the enormous responsibility of managing students during Enrichment Day activities. Their commitment and flexibility has not gone unnoticed. We couldn't do it without you!  Rock stars!” – Alicia Rowney, IB Coordinator

“I'm so grateful for the great team at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis and all they do to help our kids become better citizens and excited learners. Special thanks to Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Stricker and Mrs. Hall and Miss Kristi and Miss Barbi!” – Whitney W.

“We would like to thank the staff at Cherry Knoll Elementary. Each day, there are friendly, smiling faces to welcome and care for our children at school. The nurturing environment and outstanding teachers and staff are nothing less than impressive. This is our sixth year with a child at CK. The preschool class teachers opened their arms to our youngest this year and he has grown by leaps and bounds. Our second grader has nothing but good words to say about his teachers and experiences. Our fifth grader has enjoyed the hands on learning to apply their lessons to real situations this year. Thanks to ALL at Cherry Knoll for making it such a wonderful place. We certainly don't say it often enough -Teachers, we appreciate you!” – Shawn and Kendra W.

“I have had the opportunity to teach in 9 TCAPS school during the past 36 years. Each has been unique. But, the one that stands out the most has been Willow Hill Elementary School. Our principal Angela Sides-McKay is a talented, smart, and positive leader. She adds fun to our day while keeping learning at the forefront and encouraging us to 'not sweat the small stuff". The teachers never say no. Their 'can-do' attitudes enhance the learning of all students, giving up their planning time, their after school time, sometimes even before their own family time to prepare and make sure everyone is successful. With big smiles on their faces they do such things as hold fundraisers, participate with the PTO, organize Battle of the Books, run Fun and Funky Field Day, coordinate outstanding musical performances, buy clothing for needy students, and work effortlessly with outside agencies to benefit our students. Our staff fills the gaps without being asked.  Their extra attention is instrumental in making sure all students reach their full potential. How fortunate I have been to be a member of such a caring, nurturing, and outstanding environment as a parent and teacher.  Thank you Willow Hill.”  – Debby R.

“A story to share, and experience to share? How about one big “Thank You!” My kids are very fortunate to be in your system, they have no idea how good they have it. Whatever you’re doing keep it up……..Thank you, thank you, and thank you. It takes a village, and some awesome teachers, and some more awesome Coaches – Thank you Mr. Vance (West Middle School)!!!” – Mark F.

“Anna DeMarsh, GSRP teacher at Traverse Heights, and her co-teacher Ms. Walters have been an incredible blessing to my son during a difficult year of transition for him. Anna has taken time out of her busy day to answer my e-mails regarding his behaviors and providing me with updates. She has offered helpful suggestions, provided valuable feedback and has demonstrated a genuine concern for my son. She has gone as far as to create a photo book for him to keep handy for when he is feeling sad. Her patience, compassion and professionalism has provided me with great comfort during a difficult time. I truly feel that my son has a team of supporters and care givers at Traverse Heights who have gone above and beyond. This program and staff has far exceeded my expectations. Anna--thank you for all you've done to care for my son and to offer support to me!” – Sara B.

“A big thank you to Mrs. DeKuiper at Central Grade School for all your guidance, compassionate and education to our kindergartner! She went into to school as a shy kindergartner and has blossomed into an avid reader and has a passion for school- well most days! Mrs. DeKuiper not only made our daughter feel secure but taught her to reach for the stars! Thank you for making our daughter’s first full year in school the best! Wishing you the very best! Thank you.” – Stephanie and Rob E.

Ms. DuCheny (Courtade Elementary School) has just been awesome and deserves secretary of the year award, seriously. Jean has always been so helpful whenever I call with questions. She is a master multitasker and at the same time she knows what is going on with each student. She is a very special and kind person. We just love Jean! I could go on and on with every staff member of the Courtade team but instead of writing forty pages, let me just say that each and every single one of you are extremely appreciated and admired! Thank you so much for all you do!” – Laurie B.

“I want to thank Mrs Jana DuGuay and Mrs. Lisa Forton for helping my daughter make a great transition to Willow Hill Elementary. It's not easy for a child to move to another town and go to a new school. Thank you for making it a positive one for my daughter!” –Laura G.

Liz Sievers is the Lead Administrative Assistant for TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis. She handles bloody noses, sick children, sick staff (finding subs for everyone), time cards, the building budget, count day and the phones. She assists guest into the building, makes deliveries all day and still manages to treat everyone with grace and courtesy. I say all the time that I have the best job EVER because I get to work with Liz. She is an amazing co-worker; she gives praise when deserved and also knows how to correct me when I have made a mistake.” – Liz Y.

“I would like to show appreciation for Principal Ben Berger (Central High School). Mr. Berger has shown astounding support for my son during the events of his evolving seizure disorder. He has gone above and beyond to make sure my son is safe, and has devoted several hours at his side with good humor and a laid back demeanor. Mr. Berger, thank you, thank you for your devotion, understanding, patience, and communication during this difficult time!” – Jeni N.

“Our family appreciates the staff at Courtade Elementary School, especially Mrs. Darling and Mrs. Rossan for helping our children grow and learn. The staff goes above and beyond and truly seems to care about students. Thank you for all you do!” – Elizabeth B.

“Our daughter is in Ms. Michele Conway & Ms. Tiffany Bright's preschool classroom 3 days a week at Silver Lake Elementary School. She was in a different preschool classroom, at a different school last year and had a rough time. Michele and Tiffany have made this year the most amazing experience for us and our daughter. We are so thankful to have them and to help our daughter transition to Kindergarten next year. Thank you ladies!” – Sarah H.

“I would like to thank Liz Yarch for being an important part of our office team (TCAPS Montessori). These past 4 years have been an amazing journey with her and I couldn't do my office job without her. She is always willing to step in when needed and is always saying that she has the best job ever! I have the best job ever because I work with her. Here's to many more years together!” – Liz S.

“As our family ventures on to new beginnings, we would like to thank each and every one of you at Courtade Elementary School for all of your selfless support over the last 5 years. Moving to Traverse City in 2012 was a scary move for our daughters. Choosing Courtade as our school was the best decision we made for them at that time! It breaks my heart our son won't be a Cougar, but I am certain we will gain a similar experience at Cherry Knoll.” – Lauren T.

“Our son has had a great three years at Long Lake Elementary and the staff are the reason. From their forward-thinking principal, Kate Burwinkel, to the sweet and attentive Kelly Kochanny (TBAISD) to our son’s current encouraging teacher Linda Melvin, they have all been open minded, willing to try new things and adore him as much as we do. It's an overwhelmingly tough job to be a leader to so many different kids! I give them a lot of credit for taking extra time with us and with our son to help him succeed.” – Kristy P.

“I want to give a big thanks and shout-out to the staff at Cherry Knoll Elementary. My kids have moved on now but I see how the solid fundamentals taught by the best Elementary school teachers have given my two kids a great advantage. The first and largest impression that hinted at the quality instruction was when Kelley Carroll and Barb Corbett recognized my daughter's inability to read at grade level in Grade 1. In a short 2-week period my daughter was in a Reading Recovery program and 6-weeks later she was reading at grade level. To this day it brings tears to my eyes. My daughter now reads well above grade level - and it all started at Cherry Knoll. They instilled a love of books and reading in a child who was floundering and frustrated. I wish I could name all the great teachers and staff who influenced my kids over the years but I'd run out of space. Cherry Knoll holds a special place in our hearts and everyone from the Principal, front desk, custodians, teachers, and support staff are wonderful!”  – Cheryl O.

“TCAPS is blessed to have dedicated teachers who are reflective of best teaching and learning practices.  We have a large number of K-11 ELA teachers who have been piloting programs to research programs that are aligned to the Common Core Standards, the five components of reading, and comprehensive in scope and sequence. Piloting programs takes extra time and effort to learn the various components of the program and how to effectively teach the lessons. I am so grateful to have teachers who are willing to do this work for the ultimate benefit for our students and their achievement. Many thanks to all of our ELA pilot teachers!!”  – Caroline Wacker, TCAPS K-12 ELA Leader 

“We would like to take a minute to recognize the administration and staff at West Senior High. They have been nothing short of AWESOME in supporting our son. Thank you for the environment you create for learning. We appreciate you.”  – Jerry and Biz R. 

“I am writing to give a huge shout-out to all the staff at Long Lake!  I moved here in August from California and joined TCAPS as the ESL/ELL Coach for the district. I am housed at Long Lake, as Kate Burwinkel is my supervisor. I couldn't be happier to be a Long Lake Panther! The staff has an unbelievable spirit. They are dedicated, thoughtful, reflective, hardworking, caring, and FUN, just to mention a few attributes. They welcomed me into the mix and made me feel comfortable from the get go. I am so appreciative to be in a place that is so positive and upbeat. Kate leads the staff with a vision that I have seldom seen in all my years of teaching. She wants the best for all her students and staff and continually introduces ideas that encourage and guide us along this path. She puts in an extraordinary amount of time and effort into her job because she sees it more than just a job. It is a passion and calling. All the Long Lake Panthers (staff, students and families) are lucky to have Kate Burwinkel as their fearless leader. Thank you, Kate, and all the LL staff for all you do to make Long Lake School a success and a happy place to work!” – Kathleen S.

“I would to thank our principal, Lisa VanLoo (TCAPS Montessori), for always being a fair, kind, considerate, mindful principal. Not a day goes by that I don't appreciate her knowledge and striving to make our students think for themselves but also making peace in our building. She has been a blessing to us these past 4 years and I feel we are the luckiest elementary school in TCAPS. Thank you Lisa VanLoo, and here's to many more years together.” – Liz S.

“I would like to recognize the amazing effort that went toward the 2nd annual Willow Hill Elementary School Battle of the Books event. Staff members Mary Jane Collins, Erin Jongekrijg, Jennifer Glynn, and Martha Topol (along with support from many others) planned the event, coordinated the volunteer coaches, and held a good-spirited competition for 95 4th and 5th grade students on 15 teams at Willow Hill Elementary.” – Angela Sides-McKay, Principal 

Willow Hill Battle of the Books Teams

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Going above and beyond

“I hope to thank all of my teachers (West Senior High School) for their incredible patience and faith with me when I was beyond such things. Despite the turmoil in my life that results in a lack of motivation in school, they were committed to helping me in any way they could, and that is something truly special. I was difficult. I hope that they come to realize that though I may have seemed rude or simply disinterested, they made an impact on my life every time they encouraged me or talked to me about my lack of attention and my work ethic. Some have even gone above and beyond their job requirements to help me and guide me towards a more successful path. They will likely know who they are, because I know I am not the only student they have shown exemplary commitment to and this is due to the fact that they possess such passion in their work and connections to their students. Not one of the teachers or staff member gave up on me-even when I'm sure they really wanted to. They are not merely meeting a quota; they want to see students learn and grow and prepare them for the outside world. I know that being a teacher, principal or counselor is already a very frustrating job and students like me are a nuisance, but even if they do not see their own investments reflected back, I will always hold the knowledge that they made a difference for me. I could not ask for anything better from the WHS staff who were concerned about my future and my own success even though I didn't believe in myself. I am going to college at Texas State University and I know I need to change the way I study, prepare and organize. Thank you to the teachers who care and who believe in students even when they themselves do not. – Madison R. (Senior at WHS)

“I am so lucky to have Mrs. Annelin (Central Grade School) as my fifth grade teacher! She is always nice, thoughtful, and caring. She also has a great sense of humor. Even when my peers aren't being very thoughtful and are being disrespectful she makes sure she stays calm and figures out how to deal with different situations. She honestly is probably the best fifth grade teacher a girl could ask for. Everyday I say goodbye at the end of the day and I hug her and she always says the nicest things like "You did a great job today sweetie! I hope you have a great night!" Or "Thank you so much for helping me out today! You are such a big helper!" As you can see she is a great role model and anybody who is in her class adores her, she is the best! Thanks” –Amelia L., 5th grade student

“I am so grateful that I get to work with Carrie Sattler (Boardman Administration Building). She handles the credit card payment processing for TCAPS! She also does ACH for all of the tuition based programs, handles all of the returned checks and posts all of the charges and prints the statements for all of our tuition based programs.....  I don't know how many people she helps throughout our District but I can tell you that without her I wouldn't be able to do my job at TCAPS Montessori. Whenever I call Carrie with a question she is friendly, she finds the answers and gets back to me very quickly! I appreciate Carrie so much!!” – Liz Y.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff at Courtade Elementary School, the staff makes everyone feel like family. Both of my children have attended this school. One is currently a 3rd grade student. Mrs. Spitzley has gone above and beyond for her students and had made such a huge impact on my son. It takes a very special person to teach with such love and empathy. Thank you for all that you do.”  – Sherry E.

“I would like to take this opportunity to give Mr. Lance Morgan, of Traverse City High School, the appreciation and accolades that he deserves for doing not only "his job", but for going above and beyond his job title of principal. The amount of care and concern that he places on each and every one of his students has absolutely blown my mind. From Thanksgiving Dinner for the students, knowing that it may be the only one they get, to piling on Christmas gifts, individually chosen, for each and every child....beyond what most will ever get at home.  Family picnics and barbecue luncheons...I cannot think of one school employee that has ever impressed me the way this man does! If there is such a thing as the principal of the year award, he definitely deserves the title! Thank you Mr. Morgan for everything you do!!” – Kristine M.

“This fall, we found ourselves as parents entering kindergarten with our first child. I recognize this is an emotional and trying time for all families, but our daughter seemed to have an exceptionally tough time with the transition. We made significant efforts to remain enthusiastic and affirming at home, but felt ill-equipped in knowing how to help her acclimate at school. Thankfully, at Eastern Elementary School, she was in very kind and capable hands! Ms. Ruskowski graciously joined her for a walk and breakfast the first few mornings to calm her nerves. Not a bad way to get to know your new principal! While juggling the many needs of 25 other newbies, her teacher, Jackie Stremlow found special ways to connect with my daughter and helped ease her into the routine that she so LOVEs today!  We are grateful for Ms. Stremlow's warmth and patience as she has taught our daughter so much this year- not simply to read and write (which are vital, too!), but confidence in herself and a desire to learn. I know we'll always remember her success story, and I have a feeling we'll always love Dr. Seuss, too. Thank you, Ms. Stremlow!”  –Becky R.

Shelagh Fehrenbach has done amazing things for our daughter. She moved to Westwoods Elementary School from Interlochen in 3rd grade and that transition was very smooth and she has come out of her shell more each year. She is in 5th grade this year and is in Shelagh's blend. Shelagh does such an amazing job of nurturing the whole child and really allowing the students to take on leadership and guide things in class. The excitement and love of learning that she grows in her students is palpable. She has been the perfect fit for our girl. She has nurtured our shy girl to come out of her shell even more and has increased her confidence and she has shown through her conversations with us that she really knows and understands our daughter. On top of being amazing for our family, Shelagh goes above and beyond for the school. She attends most PTO meetings and is always willing to help out with anything the PTO asks of her. Thank you, Shelagh!” – Stefanie B.

Mrs. Gosney (Willow Hill Elementary): What an amazing Kindergarten teacher! She got married, had a baby, and never skipped a beat in the education of our son. She not only helped our son acclimate to a school setting, but also helped us as the nervous parents of our one and only. She also took extra care to make sure our son was on the right path in reading even a year later.  Thank you Mrs. Gosney!” – Torre B.

“I'd like to say THANK YOU so much to Kristen Nolan (Traverse City West Senior High School)!!!! She has helped us at Off-Campus sooooooo Much!!! She always goes above and beyond for the kids with a positive attitude!! I really appreciate all the help she has provided during this time.” — Malissa G.

“We had an amazing experience with Sarah Marek as a teacher at Eastern Elementary.  She was so kind and patient with the kids and helped them learn so much while realizing they are kids and school has so much more to teach than academics. Thank you Mrs. Marek!” – Sarah G.

“Jason Carmien and Joe Esper (Traverse City West Senior High School):  Many thanks for your professionalism and compassion during a very difficult time for our varsity girls' basketball players. This was a season many would wish to forget, but your guidance and leadership helped to offer the players life skills and resilience to move forward in a sport they love. They will be better and stronger - not only because of Coach Wilde and all he left them, but also because you both provided much needed support. Coach Doug Baumann and Coach Amy:  Thank you, thank you, thank you - for agreeing to coach varsity girls' basketball at West Senior High. You have all of our support - players and parents!!” – Cathy M.

“I want to let you know how important all of you are to me and my daughter. This year she has had the pleasure of being in Ms. Kroupa's class (Courtade Elementary School). Kathy has helped my daughter in so many ways and has gone above and beyond helping her with not only educational challenges but also how to handle her high levels of anxiety in class. Kathy has always set aside time to meet with me whenever I have had concerns. I know this is not an easy task when doing this for all students in her class and also having to attend so many mandatory meetings that the state has forced upon all of our educational work staff.” –Laurie B.

“Both my children attend Westwoods. We have been very lucky with amazing teachers each year. It hasn't changed a bit since I've been there! The Westwoods staff in general is awesome. This year we have Mrs. Lauters for our daughter’s kindergarten teacher. When my daughter first started school she recognized ONE letter (this is also her first year of anything, she never had day care or preschool) barely got through the alphabet and really didn’t have that urge to learn. Mrs. Lauters is amazing! Our kindergartener is now reading, writing, and doing math problems. Her teacher went above and beyond not only is she teaching these children but she loves what she does and you can just see her compassion. She made a basket for our daughter to help get her on the right track and help her be able to be where she needed to be. I cannot say enough good things about this woman. She is always finding ways to help her learn better and enjoy it in the process! We are so thankful that our daughter has her for her first year. Thank you Mrs. Lauters, keep being amazing. (my daughter also loves the hugs and her encouragement on a daily basis, and now loves to learn and can't get enough reading).” –Ashlee and Ben K.

“Our family moved to TC in October. Moving from the U.P. to the L.P. was a huge transition for all of us. Our daughter was placed at Central Grade School with Ms. Kendall Cox and Ms. Deb Lautner. I think we were all a little nervous about this big change. Kendall and Deb have been so inviting and kind not only to my daughter but to my husband and myself. They care so deeply for all their kid it really helped reassure us that we made the right decision. Our daughter is thriving, loving school, and LOVES everyone at Central Grade!” –Amanda C.

“My daughter attends first grade at Silver Lake Elementary School. Her teacher is Mrs. Sanford. My daughter has had a wonderful year due to Mrs. Sanford's dedication and appreciation of her students and their strengths. She goes above and beyond and is truly a gifted and special teacher. My husband and I are so grateful for Mrs. Sanford and all she has given her students over the course of the year. We feel blessed that our daughter had her as a teacher and we know she is better off because of it. Many thanks to you, Mrs. Sanford. You are the best.” – Eric and Elizabeth C.

Mrs. Topol makes the library and books come alive for the students in an amazingly thoughtful way. From book fairs, to castle building, to activities, to reading month, to guest authors, she always finds ways to create a space for the students to thrive and grow. She is definitely a huge part of the soul of Willow Hill Elementary School.  Thanks Mrs. Topol!” –Torre B.

“Jenny Walter (Westwoods Elementary School) has been very helpful with a few of our PTO things this year. She just took on a huge task of running our last fundraiser of a read-a-thon. She also shows her passion as a teacher each time she presents anything at our PTO meetings. (My children have never had her as a teacher, but as the PTO president we appreciate it when teachers are involved)” – Stefanie B.

“I would like to thank all my son's teachers at Central High School for their dedication and extra efforts last fall when my son had a concussion and could not come to school consistently or for an entire day for a week. All of his teachers checked in on him and showed compassion and understanding during this difficult time. Teaching is about the curriculum, but also about showing the students you care about them as a person. My son and my family felt that all of the teachers went above and beyond to make sure that my son was ok academically, physically and mentally. Big thank you to Paige Paul, Emily Moore, Joel Dorgan, Lisa Johnson, Theresa Hunt, and Doug Gle at Central High School. Also, big thank you to Amy Ream, the trainer at CHS, for all of her extra time and hard work to make sure my son was safe to play again.” – Stacey R.

“I just want to give a huge thank you and a show of appreciation for the staff at Traverse Heights. You have gone above and beyond to help this foster mom and her "child" to adjust, support, and help when needed. A special thanks to Heidi Kay, Sue Chapman, Mandy (Ford) and Sam (Zanoni), and Ms. Nelson. You all rock!!!!”–Karen B.

“I would like to thank the entire Eastern Elementary staff for working so diligently to make the recent transition from Eastern to the new temporary home at Betha Vos school so smooth for our students. Moving an entire school is a gigantic undertaking. The staff made it appear seamless. Kudos to you all. Our family is truly blessed to have such an outstanding ‘school family’.” –Anne S.

“We could not be happier with our daughter's experiences at WSH. She talks about her teachers more like they are close family friends. Erich Wangeman, Tak Ready, Maria Chargo, Darren Frechette, Marek Ulicny, and Kelly Rintala teach the curriculum, but they go above and beyond and are more like mentors. They really get to know her, respect her thoughts, challenge her, and she knows they are giving her all they can to help her achieve her goals. What more can a parent ask for than to have your child LOVE school? We thoroughly enjoy the dinner conversations about what happens in each of your classes...the meeting Jimmy Carter story, cat dissection descriptions, using her math skills to tutor other students, Senate responsibilities and fun, the gleam in her eye about singing the selections from Hair because you felt this was the choir to do it, her LOVE of essay writing and the challenging, thought provoking topics given to her. This is all because of you and we thank you for that. We also cannot forget our extreme gratefulness for her neighborhood office leadership in Principal Dan Oberski and Administrative Assistant Mindy Wilkening. You are two very special people and your kindness and support through the years will never be forgotten. Go Titans!!!”  Karyn & Bob H. 

"Ms. Kathy Nester-Pohlman at Long Lake Elementary is our daughter’s preschool teacher. She has been so supportive, thoughtful and creative throughout this entire year. As parents, this is our first child going into preschool and it was very scary to send your little girl to a big school with all these people and things she didn't know, but Ms. Kathy made sure she felt safe. Ms. Kathy makes sure all her students feel safe, confident and have a lot of fun along the way. She is amazing and our daughter loves her!  We want to thank Ms. Kathy for her patience day to day and helping our daughter learn and grow. The stories she has told us, her thoughtful words and her communication throughout the year with us has been truly fantastic. We will never forget the parent teacher conference where Ms. Kathy told us about our daughter writing her name for the first time and how excited our daughter was. Beyond our daughter’s excitement though, was the fact that the very first person our daughter wanted to share her excitement with was Ms. Kathy. It is such a touching moment to know a teacher like her can make such a huge difference in our child's life. Memories like this will last a lifetime. We are forever grateful our daughter has been able to have Ms. Kathy as her very first teacher."  –Chris & Marissa M.

My "Thank You". On behalf of the Westwoods Elementary School community, I would like to publicly thank Jenny Walter for her unwavering support to our children and school community, as a whole. I have had the privilege of working with Jenny for four consecutive years, as the teacher of one of my kindergarten or 1st grade children.  I have always felt that she puts the best interest of all her kids first. It is always a pleasure to sit at a conference with her. As a parent, it is so reassuring to have a teacher that "gets" your kid... and to know that she really "gets" them all, as different as they are. I see her at work in the classroom catering flawlessly to every young child's educational needs, barriers and goals- whether it is academically, emotional or physical. She has always responded professionally and fast to any of my concerns-often, as many teachers do-this takes place on her personal time too. She is so creative with resources and is an advocate for our children at Westwoods. She has given so much personal time and energy raising extra funds for our school. So many children have and will benefit from her undying support for literacy! Over the last four years of being one of her classroom parents-she has raised "extra" funds through Donor Choose projects, Evening of Art at Black Star Farms, Incredible MO's Family night and most recently Whoosreading read-a-thon. She has done this all while raising her own two little children, with a husband that works nights and is currently in Nursing School. I personally know how hard those roles alone can be. I've mentioned many things that I am forever grateful for Jenny for. However, I am most thankful for her classroom motto that she, not only instills in all of her children- but also lives by herself... "Always Choose To Be Kind." She has so many teaching accomplishments, but this is truly, one of her greatest. As evidence of all the thankful parents in her classroom this year- on her birthday all the kids wore a t-shirt with her favorite saying "Choose to be kind." She tirelessly gives to our school community and is helping raise good humans. No matter what personal struggles or difficulties she has going on- I've never seen her anything but enthusiastic and smiling- every morning. It means so much to me as a parent- to know- my child will no doubt be greeted with a smiling, kind face, enthusiasm for learning and an expectation to be kind. Thank you for all you do Jenny Walter!” – Miguel S.

“Our daughter is in Mrs. McGrew’s (Central Grade School) 4th/5th-grade class. When we first learned that she would be in a split class, we had some concerns but decided that we would move forward with it and see how it went. We are certainly jubilant that we didn’t question the choice and allowed our daughter to remain in the class. There are several reasons, but the number one is that we believe Mrs. McGrew’s method of teaching impacted our daughter’s growth this year. In other words, this year we have seen her grow and blossom extensively in her reading and writing. We contribute it not only to what we do at home as her parents but the guidance and direction she receives from her teacher at the school. Mrs. McGrew reminds me much of my kindergarten teacher when I was young, very kind when the student is following directions and listening, but also stern and holds the child accountable if not. This method of teaching is very much appreciated and certainly valuable in young children’s lives. My daughter holds much respect for Mrs. McGrew as do we. She exhibits a high ethical standard in her classroom, and it certainly comes across to her students. I can only hope that my daughter's future teachers will display as much love, compassion, accountability, and enthusiasm to teach as Mrs. McGrew.” – Aimee B.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Inspiring Student Learning

“For the past 12 years, I have always know that I work with a wonderful staff. But, more so than ever, I have to acknowledge the incredible staff at Westwoods this year. Last summer I was diagnosed with cancer and this school year meant I had to be out for several months due to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Westwoods staff rallied around me and took care of me, my family and my students. T-shirts were made and worn proudly with the logo "No one fights alone" in support of me. They contributed to a fund when they wore them which I used to have my house cleaned during treatment. They made meals for me for almost four months which they also delivered to my family! They sat in on meetings for my students and reported back to me. They were understanding with my own children, who attend Westwoods, as they dealt with their mom being gone and sick. They sent me notes of encouraging words, gifts and gift certificates all to make my life a little better and easier during the most difficult time of my like. I want everyone to know that we are not just an amazing school system but we are an amazing community who takes care of our own. I am proud to be a TCAPS employee and thankful I have the BEST staff to work with every day! I love you WESTWOODS!” –Jennifer J.

“Mrs. Berkshire is amazing. Not only was she my husband's ski coach back in the day, but both of our sons have loved being in her math class. She is witty and kind and knows how to make kids feel confident about themselves. They love her sense of humor and how she can do anything at any moment to keep them on their toes. Thank you, Mrs. Berkshire, for giving our kids an amazing experience in at East Middle School.”  –Chris and Ali S.

“I would like to take the opportunity to recognize an outstanding teacher at Willow HillBarbara Hoffman. Barb has been an important part of Willow Hill and will be greatly missed by the students, parents, and staff as she ventures off into the new chapter of her life. She has been a true hero in my eyes. I see her great respect for her students, parents, and coworker every day. Her clear dedication to this profession stands out with her many hours of time spent at school preparing lessons to meet the needs of every child in her classroom and creating an environment that is safe, productive and fun. My children were blessed with Barb as their second grade teacher, and I personally, have been blessed, with having her in my life as a coworker and friend for the past ten years. She has a heart made of gold and it shows everyday when she interacts with everyone around her. I will miss her warm smile, her calm and friendly mannerisms, and her wonderful sense of humor, and most of all, her kind words of encouragement. I will always remember Barb as one of the best teachers I have ever encountered and I know that when she walks out on that last day, I will be saying goodbye to a great woman that I greatly respect. Good luck, Barb!  You will be greatly missed and your ‘shoes’ will be hard to fill.” –Tricia W.

“We would like to express our appreciation of Mrs. Mandy LaBarre. Mrs. LaBarre is our son's second grade teacher at Eastern Elementary School. Mandy has a very special way of teaching the whole child. She prepares the children in her classroom, not only with a strong academic foundation, but also the very important social and emotional skills needed to navigate life. Each day the class creates a kindness act. These acts are great reminders of ways we can make the world a better place for all. Thank you to Mrs. LaBarre.” –Paul M. and Family

Ms. Richard (Willow Hill Elementary School): One the best things that could have happened to our son was Ms. Richard. She made sure he got on track and stuck with him right to the end to make sure he made it to the appropriate reading level by the end of the school year. Her kindness and structure supported him in a manner that went above and beyond. Thank you Ms. Richard!” – Torre B.

“Laine Kyser (Central Grade School) is a one of those teachers that leaves a lasting impression on her students. She has an amazing way of building a personal relationship with all of her students, even when she has over 30! Our daughter feels that Mrs. Kyser not only cares about her academics but also her social and emotional well-being. Mrs. Kyser went out of her way this year to help our daughter after she had major knee surgery to make her feel safe and cared for when at school. Mrs. Kyser takes a personal interest in her students and welcomes them daily into her classroom with a smile and hug. She inspires them as readers, writers, mathematicians but most of encourages them to be good people. Thank you Mrs. Kyser! –Stephanie & Chris J.

“I just want the staff at Traverse City Central High School to know that my son LOVES his teachers and high school so much, he wants to be a high school science teacher! He “liked” school OK before coming to CHS, but is over the top about school since coming in as a freshman, he is a senior now. He likes to arrive 30-45 EARLY to school every day now that he can drive himself. I would name all his teachers here and now, but I’m afraid I might leave one out and that would be devastating to both of us. He is planning on attending NMU in Marquette next fall with a Major in Physics, minor in Chemistry and an Education Degree. I would like to thank you all, because I know that it “takes a village” to raise a child and you have made a huge difference in this one.” –Kathy S.

“I want to make sure to thank Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Schrotenboer (West Middle School) for their excellent class management and support they give their students. My son says Mrs. Hughes is the best teacher because he can tell she cares about him. She is always willing to communicate with me as a parent and gives her whole heart to her students. Mr. Schrotenboer has proved to challenge my son in a fun atmosphere with his teaching style. My son wasn't a very successful, confident student in math. But after this year under Mr. Schrotenboer, it's his favorite subject. It is definitely the teachers who matter. I cannot thank you two enough! ‘Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.’" –Amy C.

“Big "THANK YOU's" to be sent out to three amazing upcoming retiring teachers at Willow Hill Elementary...Mrs. Debby Regiani, Miss. Candiss Brewer and Mrs. Barbara Hoffman. These teachers have played a significant role in my children's elementary experience and they will be missed. They are compassionate and so driven to ensure your child's best potential. I've had a flashback recently, as I watch my own daughter that is senior getting ready to graduate from TCWHS. And, she still talks about these teachers today and how they encouraged her to be the best she could be. Wishing you the very best and a very happy long retirement. You deserve it!!” –Anne G.

“I just wanted to say Kirsten Morgan’s (Blair Elementary School) a great caring boss and that I am so glad I got to be part of your amazing team. To see all the work and caring you all do just makes me happy to be part of all of it. You can't stop everything before it happens but you take care of it with so much love and understanding. I wish more families could see how hard you and your staff work to make a day run. I am grateful I get to see it. How you guys make it easy to talk to you and ask for help. Because of your hard work and my son’s amazing team he is doing so well and I just can't thank you enough.”  –Melissa H.

“I would also like to recognize Alicia Archer-Vanderford (Silver Lake Elementary School) for all of her hard work to build a classroom of learners who not only engage with the academics as well as focus on building her students socially, emotionally and behaviorally. My son has really blossomed as a learner and continues to amaze me every day with all that he is able to do independently. I love listening to him read to me in the evenings and to read his stories that come home. She surrounds my son with love and opportunities to continue to grow. Thank you for all that you do for not only my sweet one but all those other kinders who come into your room each day ready for another adventure at school!” – Jackie S.

“My son has been so fortunate to have Katy Simons as his first grade teacher at Central Grade School! She has instilled a passion of literacy in him that has helped him grow immensely as a reader this year. She is extremely kind and fair to her students and treats each one as an individual. I am in awe at the calm and organized atmosphere of her classroom every time I visit. She has definitely created a great learning environment for her students!” –Kim L.

Mrs. Brzezinski (Willow Hill Elementary School): This year has had some up and down emotions and growing pains for our son. I cannot thank Mrs. Brzezinski enough for sticking with us, understanding the uniqueness of each child, and communicating with us so wonderfully. The past month alone, our son is making leaps in his self-direction and I know it has a lot to do with the support of Mrs. Brzezinski. She creates a safe place for her students and they flourish from her enthusiasm and beautifully presented teachings. We are forever grateful Mrs. Brzezinski!” – Torre B.

“My oldest son is now in Mrs. Carpenter's class at Silver Lake Elementary School. He is the type of kid who can be stubborn and hardheaded when he's unsure or doesn't want to do something. But Mrs. Carpenter has been amazing at grooming that to be confidence in his answers and abilities, instead of unsure, embarrassment. She's found a way to make him love the parts of school he really doesn't want to and he enjoys her classroom very much! I am very thankful that my son found someone who can get through to him in a special way!” - Hillary B.

“Two SUPER staff persons come to mind, Mrs. Serby and Mrs. Stepka both in the Special Ed field at Traverse City West Senior High School. My grandson, a 5th year student, is grinding his way to a diploma but without these two exceptional teachers to light a 'fire' under his feet on an almost daily basis, I would doubt that grandson would graduate by the time he is 20 years old! These two teachers understand his personality and they truly like him even when they have to push him forward to the goal of a high school diploma. My grandson and his family really appreciate and respect these two dedicated professional educators and all the extra that they give of themselves every day. Thanks ladies for being there for this family.”   – Barbara W.

“We would like to thank Barb Corbett at Cherry Knoll.  Our son Thomas moved to CK from a very close community at ISBV, and his transition couldn't have gone any better. Mrs. Corbett has sparked his interest in reading, supported his social and emotional development, and continued his love of learning with his new school family. She shows everyday how much she really cares for her students.” –David and Alicia R.

“Ms. Barb Hoffman (Willow Hill Elementary School) has been an incredible teacher for my curious 2nd grader! She challenges her students to think more deeply and to develop a love of learning. Her gentle manner meets embraces students where they are and provides a safe and loving environment where all students can grow and thrive. I am forever thankful the loving care she has poured into my child.”  – Erin J.

“I would like to thank Mrs. Ivester (Traverse Heights Elementary School) for all her hard work. Thank you so much! My child has grown a lot the last year!” –Erin O.

“I just have to say we are so thankful we have Mrs. Cronk (Long Lake Elementary School) as our son’s kindergarten teacher for the last half of the school year. She is a great teacher in our opinion and is working hard to get the class up to speed! She communicates with us as parents and keeps us informed of areas to work on and what areas he is excelling. It is evident to me she cares about the students, their successes, and the struggles.” – Heather L.

“Huge thank you to Mrs. Dorgan at Cherry Knoll Elementary School! She is so very patient and kind to her students! Her passion for teaching has ignited a love for school in my kindergartener! I'm so grateful he is having a great experience for his first year of school as this will no doubt shape how he views education in the future. He already talking about missing Mrs. Dorgan!!!” –Alicia M.

“Diane Dillon (Courtade Elementary School) -You, my dear, are amazing. There aren't enough thank yous in the world for you. We just love you! My kids love you! Oh, I am going to miss you all so much!” –Lauren T.

Paige Paul at Traverse City Central High School is amazing! She is a great teacher who has opened students’ eyes to the substance and nuance of our system of government. She’s also given her limited free time to help support Students for Environmental Advocacy, a new student club. Even though she has a young child of her own (and she is an amazing Mom!), she is willing to work to inspire, mentor and guide these young adults. We are lucky to have her!”  –Woody S.

“I want to thank Mr. Blake Pynnonen for making a hard subject exciting for my daughter. When a child gets excited to talk about their teacher and math combined that is awesome. This is such a big deal as my daughter started at Willow Hill mid school year from another district. I appreciate his support and encouragement since she started here.”—Laura G.

“To the Third Grade Staff at Central Grade School; Steve Balcom, Sara Bageris, Stephanie Jackson and Heather VanStratt. This team worked together to create a third grade that met all the needs of their students. Their outside of the box thinking with "mixed up math" and "mixed up reading" days provided students to work on skills they needed. Whether they were pushing students to think deeper or providing review for students this team opened their classrooms to all abilities. We are so thankful our child had a chance to have all these teachers at some point in his year.” –Chris and Michelle C.

“Mrs. Brenda Meindertsma (Traverse City Central High School) taught both of my children freshman year and it was a favorite, kept them reading and writing with enthusiasm and I still share book lists with her! She inspires and infuses passion for learning into the students... their freshman year!!! Perfect way to start off study habits to reach their developing hopes and dreams!” – Amy R.

“Thank you Cathy Rossan (Courtade Elementary School) for keeping my son on lock down this year...LOL we ALL know how difficult that was and I hope this "story" makes you smile for years to come, Cathy. He was a pistol. We did it though! Through your experience and knowledge, you accomplished what I once thought was impossible - our boy has become so independent this year and has grown mentally so much! Thank you, Cathy and Mrs. Pietek and anyone else who has worked one on one with my son on his good days and not so good days. It means so much to me!” – Lauren T.

“My son is at Central Grade School in pre-k and his amazing teacher is Mrs. Walton, she has helped him with his letters and writing his name, we just appreciate everything that she does.” –Jann C.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Safe and welcoming schools

“My family would like to thank the staff at Cherry Knoll.  My two girls, 1st grade and preschool, are in their second year at Cherry Knoll. Every time I walk through the doors, whether it be to pick up or drop off my girls at extended care or at pick up time at the end of the day, the staff is always positive and greets me with a smile on their face and often by first name. The smiles on the staff and positive atmosphere in the school help me feel confident my children are having fun, safe and learning. Thank you everyone at Cherry Knoll for all you have done and continue to do, we greatly appreciate each and every one of you.” –Pete & Julie C.

“Countless hours and gratitude goes out to our Custodial/Maintenance organization. Every day they go in to do their work to ensure that our schools look immaculate to visitors, staff and students. It's not an easy job and we appreciate all that you do to make everything look so beautiful. THANK YOU!!!!” – Anne G.

“My son transferred this school year to Central Grade School, it was a last minute decision the week before school started. When we attended the open house we met Mrs. Olvey and my son met her as well. He happens to have Down Syndrome. Needless to say, Erika Olvey welcomed him to her class with open arms. She embraces the challenges that he faces and he has THRIVED in her classroom. But what we've really noticed this year is how his classmates treat him. Never before had he been invited to a birthday party or a play date. But the children in Mrs. Olvey's class treat him like they would treat any other student. He is respected, encouraged and loved. These children have learned what inclusion is by a teacher who doesn't give it a second thought. All children should be so fortunate to have a teacher like Erika Olvey, our family could not be more grateful for the wonderful school year we've had so far.” –Carly C.

“As a new family to the area this school year I first wanted to thank the whole staff at West Middle School! I was so impressed with new student orientation last year. It eased the mind of my concerned student who was moving to a new area and school with a lot of worry (we'd lived in Indiana his whole school life). My son, going into 6th grade met his first WMS friend at that orientation and felt very loved by the staff who took the time to invest in his transition - so THANK YOU! Miss Perthes, especially thank you for your leadership that day!” – Amy C.

“I'd personally like to thank Jean DuCheney (Courtade Elementary School). She may not know it, but she's been a great support for our family! What an asset she is! Her heart is always in the right place. It shows. She is the first person I had met upon entering Courtade those years ago. Thank you, Jean, for all of your heart.” – Lauren T.

“We would like to thank Shauna Phillips (Cherry Knoll Elementary School) for opening not only her classroom but her heart to our son. Having to transfer preschool programs made us feel very nervous and as parents we worry so much, yet she made us feel welcome and took our son into the class with open arms. Ms. Shauna has taken the time to see our son for who he is and will assist him and support his growth. Thank you Ms. Shauna for all the care and patience who have provided our son and his classmates!” – Michelle R.

“My son attends Eastern Elementary School. He is severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. The staff at Eastern helps my son stay safe and feel safe with a nut-free classroom, nut-free lunch table, hand-washing, table washing and lots of love and support. We are so grateful to all of them!  Thank you!” – Debbie D.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Westwoods Elementary School Staff in honor of my family. We moved to Traverse City and selected the Westwoods neighborhood as our home school because we knew our children would receive an excellent education. Our expectations have been met and we couldn't be more pleased with the education our son has received. We look forward to our daughter attending in a few years. Mr. Kramer gave our son a love of reading and instilled core basic values regarding school that will stick with him forever. He is a wonderful male role model. Mrs. McNitt has further helped develop our son's passion for learning and has given him valuable tools to forward his understanding of the foundations of math, reading and writing. The entire school staff works together to make everyone feel welcome and heard. Thank you to the custodians, office staff, teachers, assistants, paraprofessionals, ancillary staff, parent volunteers, and everyone else - I am grateful and deeply satisfied with entrusting my children to you. Thank you for all you do.” - Natalie O. and Family

“My son is currently in Ms. Conway's (aka Ms Michelle) (Silver Lake Elementary School), we have been lucky enough to have our older son go through her class as well. Michelle and Tiffany are truly blessings to the TCAPS family! They've been amazing and welcoming to us as parents who aren't ready to let their BIG boys go, and have always been great about our family situation-when mom and step dad were transferred for work downstate for a year, Michelle was great about keeping me in the loop! We've never had an issues about the family make up (having 3 involved parents!) and it's been amazing to see our boys come out of their shells in their classroom. I credit Michelle and Tiffany with both my kids’ love of school time and their confidence and kindness there as well! We are so lucky they are there! With a little one on the way we hope they are still at Silver Lake when she's ready for school!!” Hillary B.

“My daughters have two different teachers at Cherry Knoll Elementary School. And they both have the sweetest things to say about their teachers. The oldest is in kindergarten with Mrs. Dorgan. She tells me how special her teacher makes her and the rest of her classmates feel every day. She loves that she is always singing to the class and helping students if they are having a hard day. I, as her mother, second that! Mrs. Dorgan has helped my daughter grow leaps and bounds. She started the school year off as a timid and shy little girl. We have seen a world of difference in her while around her peers. She speaks up and has gained confidence in reading and math. Mrs. Dorgan truly cares for her students and puts her heart and soul into teaching kindergarten. She is always coming up with new ideas to make the classroom better. She isn't scared to ask parents for help and I love being involved with the class as much as I'm allowed. We are blessed to have her! Ms. Varnum and Mrs. Carolyn have also helped my younger daughter grow exponentially this year. She started preschool with a lack of social and emotional skills. With Ms. Varnum and Mrs. Carolyn's help and support we have seen her grow more than we ever thought possible. And she has learned to spell and write her name along with numbers. The secretaries, Amy and Laurie are beyond amazing and understanding and supportive. We are ridiculously blessed to have such great staff at Cherry Knoll supporting our children and parents. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!” – Michelle K.

“We would like to take a moment to recognize Mr. Mead, the PE Teacher at Long Lake Elementary School, for his actions very early in the year. We are new to TCAPS this year, and the first set of parent-teacher conferences indicated we could also consult with the specials teachers if we wanted. Our daughter has asthma that is controlled with at-home medication, but when it flares or she gets sick, it can sometimes impact her physical performance. We were a little early for our 3rd grade conference, and our daughter also just happened to have a cold at this time. We ran into Mr. Mead in the hall, so we stopped to ask if he had noticed anything different or had any concerns about her PE performance. Thinking back, I believe he might have been on his way out the door for the night, but he very graciously took the time to speak with us and reassure us that he did not see anything that concerned him. He was also incredibly knowledgeable about asthma and its effects on kids, and that greatly eased our concerns. We have not seen a PE teacher at other schools with as much physical or medical knowledge as he seemed to have, so we would like to recognize him for that as well as thank him for taking the time to speak to us on a very busy evening. Thank you!” – Laura A.

“I would like to take a moment to say thank you to a super nova among a truly super-star staff at Central Grade School, Stephanie Jackson. Stephanie has taught both of our sons. She is the most overtly caring person, yet she maintains a tight ship in the classroom!  Stephanie’s almost daily communication with parents is exceptional.  And her love of reading is infectious!  She recognizes the potential in every one of her students and works very hard to provide the right level of instruction to every child.  For example, she collaborated with other teachers to break the third grade students into work groups tailored to meet their needs. Thank you, Stephanie!” –Jim S.

“I would like to recognize Kristin Sulecki at Silver Lake Elementary School for all of the love she has given my son this year during his first year of kindergarten. He was very nervous to start school away from all of his preschool friends whom he had known for years. She involved him in her "Peace Kids" program which helped small bodies deal with big feelings. He has grown so confident this year and has been able to develop great coping skills. He loves this group time so much that one day when he was home sick, he asked if I could just take him for peace kids and then back home to rest. A big thank you to Kristin for helping my son adjust to a new building, new friends and big feelings.”  –Jackie S.

“Our family would like to thank Jennifer Johnson, K/1 looping teacher at Westwoods Elementary School. Our daughter has had the privilege of being in Jennifer Johnson's K/1 looping classroom. Jennifer has a true passion for teaching and makes learning exciting. She makes connections with her students, creating a safe and positive school climate. Jennifer encourages students to reach their highest learning potential and differentiates instruction to fit the needs of each student. She has helped build a solid foundation for our daughter's school career. We are so thankful for Jennifer and feel blessed that our daughter could learn from such an outstanding TCAPS teacher.” – Alison L.

“My daughter has had a little bit of a rough time in her one and a half years at Eastern Elementary School. The wonderful people that fill her day have had a HUGE impact on her. I can see the changes in her both socially and academically. As a single parent, I am forever grateful for each and every kind thing that has been bestowed upon her (and me!). Mrs. Radakovich is so kind as to invite my daughter to spend time with her family outside of school, Mr. Stremlow graciously puts up with her “messes”, Mrs. Jenkins shares her lovely daughter with mine. Mrs. Allen makes us laugh at extended day. I could go on and on. We will never forget each and every kindness. THANK YOU for being such wonderful, kind, giving people.” – Amy R.

“On behalf of the Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Center, I would like to thank ALL TCAPS Staff and Administration for their dedication to protecting children in our community. TCAPS' commitment to providing child sexual abuse prevention education to all staff through our Darkness to Light training program is truly admirable. We take great comfort and pride in knowing that all those who care for TCAPS students are equipped with the facts, tools, and resources necessary to protect children. Through this partnership, we are creating communities where children are safe from child sexual abuse and have every opportunity to live happy, healthy lives. Thank you for speaking up to end child sexual abuse in our region!” – Hannah Rodriguez

“Mrs. Forton and Mrs. Phend (Willow Hill Elementary School): It is totally acknowledged that this dynamic duo cannot be deterred. From the smiles they provide when you walk in the door, to the never ending stream of temperature readings, to the frustrated parents, to the never ending phone calls, to the bloodied playground "ouchies"- there is nothing these two haven't had to do for the students. They handle their jobs professionally and they handle the students and families with incredible, nurturing kindness. Thank you Mrs. Forton and Mrs. Phend!” – Torre B.

“Mrs. Swan, 5th grade teacher at Westwoods Elementary School, has been a wonderfully supportive, thoughtful, creative, and engaging teacher. She's been a constant source of support both to Westwoods and our son's classroom. We are thankful for all that she does, each day, to bring smiles to the students and learning to the community.” – Emily U.

“We have felt so welcome at Long Lake Elementary School this year; all the staff have been so kind, especially our daughter’s teacher Mrs. Gorenflo, and we are very glad that we switched to TCAPS! Thank you.” – Laura A.

“Sara Bageris, a third grade teacher at Central Grade School, is a wonderful person and an amazing teacher. She treats each of her students as individuals and it is obvious that they are all special to her. She is always understanding and patient with our son, even when he is a bit challenging. She exudes patience and always handles trying situations with a sense of humor! Our children have been very lucky to have her in their lives!” – Kim L.

“Just thought I would share this poem my daughter, a 5th grade student at Westwoods Elementary School, wrote about her TCAPS bus driver, Mr. Joe Tannis. This is her first year having Mr. Joe as a bus driver and she truly enjoys his friendly personality and sincere concern for the students’ well-being. The bus can be an overwhelming experience for kids. As my daughter demonstrates in her poem, there are lots of sensory emotions evoked on the bus...not all necessarily good. But as a parent, my mind is at ease every morning when I wave to Mr. Joe knowing that Hannah is in good hands. Thanks Mr. Joe for starting so many TCAPS students and parents days with a smile! We appreciate you!”

The School Bus by Hannah W.

Dirty floors
dirty, dusty walls
dirty yellow bus.

Yellow like a banana,
stinky as a stink bug.

The bus where kids come
out of their good shell
and are mean, naughty
and extremely loud.

But I like the bus where
smiling Mr. Joe is each
morning and afternoon.

“My daughter attends preschool 3 days a week at Silver Lake Elementary SchoolMichele Conway and Tiffany Bright have made our first year at a TCAPS school a great experience. I can only hope my daughter will have other teachers as amazing as them. My daughter has life threatening food allergies. Ms. Michele and Ms. Tiffany do everything they can to keep her safe and included in all classroom activities. Ms. Michele does the best job of communicating with me about my daughter and her allergies. I feel completely comfortable with speaking to her about anything. I don't know how they do it. They both have a positive attitude day after day and make me feel like they care about my child and my family. Thank you to all the teachers!!!!” –Angie M.

Monday, May 1, 2017

I want to take this time to say “thank you” on behalf of the Board of Education, myself, and the entire school system for all of the work you do. As you may know, the Board has designated this week as Staff Appreciation Week. One of the ways we celebrate this week is by sharing messages of appreciation from students, families, colleagues, and community members.

Throughout the week we will be sharing these messages, but before we do, here is my personal message of appreciation for each of you. Please enjoy and thank you for all that you do! - Paul Soma


Creating lasting impressions

“My daughter is in Mrs. Oleson's first grade classroom (Central Grade School). She wrote this note to share with her. Thanks!!  ‘Mrs. Oleson made a difference in my life by teaching me strategies that I use when I don't know an answer. This helped me a lot in school. Her hugs make me feel really good and if I have a hard day, she gives me a hug and makes me feel really special. I love Mrs. Oleson and I am so glad she is my teacher.  She makes us all feel important and smart.’” - Meghan B.

Tak Ready (Traverse City West Senior High School): I'm just graduating college and there aren't a whole lot of memories I still have in high school. One vivid memory however is the speech Mr. Ready gave us on the last day of AP gov. He emphasized the value of strong character, community involvement and civic participation and how those traits outlast our academic knowledge. I know many students have benefited from his wisdom (and his engaging AP gov class).” – Former TC West student

“I really value the way Kathy Radakovich at Eastern Elementary School treats each student as an individual and celebrates EVERY success with them- whether it's in the classroom, at home or in some other avenue of their lives. Mrs. Radakovich has my daughter begging for school all summer long. You can tell Mrs. R has a passion and a love for these kids which is setting them on a great and successful path!” – Sarah G.

“My daughter transitioned from the TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis to West Middle School last fall. Every day I hear how amazing Mrs. Medler is, how inspiring she is and how cool the Science that she taught today was. My daughter would like to be in more of Mrs. Medler's classes and is sad that the year is coming to an end. Thank you Mrs. Medler from the bottom of my heart for inspiring my daughter, for challenging her and for being an amazing role model!” – Liz Y.

Mrs. Wiliford, Westwoods Elementary School music teacher, has been one of our son's favorite teachers ever since kindergarten. He loves music because of what she has instilled in him! What a special gift that is to give a child the love of music. Thank you for a wonderful K-5 experience, Mrs. Wiliford! We will miss you next year!” – Emily U.

Ms. Rowney (Courtade Elementary School) has been able to help our daughter excel in math by teaching several different ways to learn the material and I think this is an exceptional strategy on her part. Alicia is always willing to set aside time to help Adel in areas she is struggling to comprehend and this deserves special recognition in itself. I love it when Adel comes home and is eager to show me how she can work new math problems well.” – Laurie B.

“Shout out to Miss Brewer (Willow Hill Elementary School)! Thank you for inspiring so many lives over the years! You are a brilliant woman that has a heart and white! Thank you for teaching me, and our future! You will be greatly missed.” – Andrea H.

Mr. Wangeman (Traverse City West Senior High School), great men are not born they are nurtured, not just by parents, because let's face it they're at school more hours in the day then at home. So, they are nurtured by teachers! Because of you our son is not only a better student but a better person. Your words are the catalyst to his dreams. Thank you for lighting the spark, we are thankful our son chose west and along with that choice we got you! Your love and patience will never be forgotten-no one ever forgets the mentorship of a teacher/ friend like you. When the world sees our son succeed they will see his Erich Wangeman in him. Thank you for helping us shape the future of not just our son but the next generation. We brought him into the world but you taught him about it. To most West kids you are a teacher but to us you are a HERO. Thank you for instilling in our son the love of learning and a passion for greatness! It wasn't in your job description but you did it unselfishly. I've said this to you over and over the last 4 years - leadership is hard work - but you continue guiding generations you touch gracefully and passionately - you've been an inspiration not just to the kids but to me as well. We will be forever grateful.” – Joelle M. and family

“I wanted to write to express my appreciation to staff members at Willow Hill Elementary School. My son attends third grade there. It is our first year as a TCAPS family, and my husband and I believe we made the right choice to transferring our son to Willow Hill. First, our gratitude to his teacher, Mrs. Jana DuGuay. She has challenged him and encouraged him to do better and to apply himself. Next, thank you to Ms. Jacqueline Glikman, school social worker, for helping my son become acclimated to his new school. Also, thanks go out to Mrs. Laura Kirby and the staff at Willow Hill's extended care program. Thanks for all you do to provide a safe, fun place for the kids to spend time at before and after school.” –Kris V.

“I would like to thank Marcie King (Traverse City Central High School) for making chemistry so interesting and fun that my son was inspired to major in chemistry in college and my daughter is strongly considering chemistry as a career as well!” – Elizabeth S.

Mr. Goodwin (Courtade Elementary School) -Thank you! You know why, Sir. You are our daughter's favorite. I know you have left a FOREVER impression on her. Thank you, David!” – Lauren T.

Maria Chargo (Traverse City West Senior High School): This past year, I've thought a lot about the skills of perseverance, critical thinking and self-advocacy that I learned from Ms. Chargo and BC calc. I'm now a math teacher myself and wanting to teach those same lessons to my students. Ms. Chargo has a knack for coaching students along through difficult coursework and making what first seems impossible accessible. She's a wonderful person and one reason I wanted to become an educator myself!” – Former TC West student

“I would like to send a note of appreciation to Mrs. Lauters at Westwoods Elementary School. She is a kindergarten teacher and has made a tremendous impact on my son. My son had a difficult time transitioning from a preschool where he had known his classmates from the time they were babies until they finished preschool to kindergarten where he did not know anyone. There were many tears shed by him and us the first few weeks of kindergarten as we were not use to seeing him struggle. Mrs. Lauters was our saving grace. She knew what to say to him and to us to. She somehow knew exactly how to talk to him and interact with him with such love and attention. It would make my day to get her random emails middle of the day to tell me how well my son was doing that day. It was only a few weeks and he felt completely comfortable as a kindergartner. She has continued to impress us throughout the school year. Our son absolutely loves Mrs. Lauters and it has been fun to watch him grow through both challenging and fun times. Thank you Mrs. Lauters for your kindness, hard work, and your love for teaching!” – Kelley and Steve N.

“Ms. Debby Regiani (Willow Hill Elementary School) has worked tirelessly for TCAPS and the students within. I have personally witnessed how she has dedicated incredible time and effort into each and every student. Our students have benefited from her dedication and love each and every year. I am thankful they have had such an incredible advocate and educator working for them for 30+ years!” – Erin J.

Staff Appreciation Week 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

It’s Day 1 of Staff Appreciation Week! To celebrate, we are sharing videos of why people within our school community think TCAPS staff are the best!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It’s Day 2 of Staff Appreciation Week! Watch today’s video to hear a some pretty persuasive reasons that our students think TCAPS staff are the best!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It’s Day 3 of Staff Appreciation Week! Here is the third installment of our week-long video tribute that shares what our students and teachers love most about TCAPS staff!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

It’s Day 4 of Staff Appreciation Week! We have some of the BEST teachers and staff. But don’t just take our word for it. Listen to what our students have to say.


Staff Appreciation Week 2015

May 4-8, 2015

Throughout the week, we will be sharing the many stories TCAPS families have shared about our staff and how they are making a difference in the lives of students. If you have a story you would like to share, please send it to:

Friday, May 8, 2015

A profession with a purpose

On the last day of TCAPS staff appreciation week, we honor every person on our team who has committed themselves to a profession with a purpose. As the saying goes, “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” We are so thankful that you chose to work on behalf of our region’s youth. You make our community proud!

Some comments from Old Mission Peninsula School 5th grade students when teacher, Tricia Schneider, was giving a new family a tour…

“When you are like the leaders, everybody looks up to you” – Lauren

“What I like about 5th grade is that you get to do lots of fun projects and fun challenges” – Colton

“What I love is that the whole school comes to our graduation and looks up to us and thinking of what we have done for Old Mission and being role models” – Ryan

“I love the amazing teacher!” – Emma

“I love being able to work on google docs for Science” – Mallory

“I love our principal and teacher” – Abby

“I love doing Science in 5th grade, I have so much fun with Ms. Schneider and she is the best teacher” – Luke

“I love our teacher” – Sophie

“I love all the jobs and friends we have” – Parker

“I love how everyone is like a family” – Emma M.

“I love 5th grade because I like doing Science and learning new stuff, and I like our teacher” – Billy

“One thing that I like about 5th grade is that it is so much fun I enjoy every day of 5th grade” – Lauren

“Everything I’ve done in 5th grade with our teacher has made me feel so much stronger” – Gloria

“I love all the opportunities we get like little buddies! I am so thankful that we get all of this and I love Science! – Abby

“I love 5th grade because….little buddies, fun field trips, being the role models, and an AWESOME teacher!” – Samantha

“What I love about 5th grade is that I get to have a lot of opportunities and I get to hang out with my friends and my teacher.” – Gabby

“Thanking a single member of the Cherry Knoll staff would be missing the others that have helped every day. I have two children and they both started in the Cherry Knoll preschool program. This year our youngest will leave elementary school. From the moment we stepped into Cherry Knoll we’ve been treated with warmth, welcomed, assisted, encouraged, and helped to understand our child’s particular needs, and educational style. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times every member of the CK staff has helped us in one way or another. Being able to volunteer in the school I watch the teachers and staff deal with children – in what I can only liken to trying to ‘herd cats.’ I don’t know how they do it and am amazed at the results. I’ve been at school when it seemed like everything was going wrong and yet the staff kept helping the children, working through the crazy moment, all the while keeping a sense of humor. It has been our very great pleasure to share so many memories with so many wonderful people. When our son leaves that last day I know the tear’s that fall will in part be for the loss of our leaving such a wonderful staff.” – Cheryl O. Cherry Knoll Elementary

“Thank you to all the staff at Eastern Elementary. Nancy Korbel who is retiring this year…..outstanding service to all of our kids. Also Thank you to Karen Smith, 3rd grade teacher who helped my grandson, Braden Anslow to excel.” – Kathy A., Eastern Elementary School parent

“We are so lucky for the amazing staff at Westwoods Elementary School. Mrs. Houghton, Mrs. Heitsch and Kubesh, all extended day staff, Mrs. Walter, Mrs. Connie and Ms. Faulkner are all the best. The Beers family loves our Westwoods family!” – Beers family

Mrs. Linda (Gilson) helped our son work through one of his biggest transitions so far in his life: starting school. At just under two years old, he was one of the youngest members of his toddler class. And it was his first time surrounded by several other kiddos and teachers on a regular basis. Mrs. Linda, Miss Annette, and Miss Margi did a wonderful job of helping him feel comfortable and welcome in their classroom. I knew it would take just the right person to get him through that time, and Mrs. Linda was that person. We can’t thank her enough for the confidence, encouragement, and patience she provided (to him and us!). We will always be grateful!” – Polly C., Glenn Loomis Montessori parent

“Thank you Matt Medler. You stimulated my daughter’s interest in math last year (6thgrade at WMS), and her highest priority when scheduling for 7th grade was to take the next level class with you. Her interest in math and her skills development continue to amaze me. I was also extremely gratified listening to my daughter discussing school with a friend while driving to sports practice the other day. Although the two girls are following different streams, they both concurred that math was their favorite subject. Common denominators? The subject, obviously, but also the teacher, Matt Medler. Thanks again for your teaching and for providing that extra spark that motivates my daughter around this important subject!” – Mike F., WMS parent

“I would like to give a personal “Thanks” to West Senior High Math Teacher Jodi Thompson. She sends weekly communication to parents regarding the math schedule and she hand writes birthday cards and “way to go” notes to her students. She goes above and beyond to let her students know they are important.” – Biz Ruskowski, WSH parent

“I can’t begin to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone at Westwoods Elementary School, from the principal down to the recess teachers, they are hands down the best educators and all around good people. They see children as what they are, children who are individuals and treat them accordingly with respect. Ms. Houghton accepted my son into the school with open arms and helped him to understand mistakes happen and how to learn from them. Mrs. Maxbauer is an exceptional teacher with extreme patience that only comes from experience. The leaps and bounds my son has achieved in her class is amazing. Mrs. Wiliford, the music teacher is such fun and one of my son’s favorites. She had him as a student at another school and mentioned the difference in him is phenomenal, from angry to happy in such a short time just goes to show that the environment is a major part of successful learning. Lastly, I cannot say enough about Mrs. McPherson. Her undeniable love of teaching and recognizing the greatness in students is unbelievable. She treats her students with the respect they deserve and expects the same back. Her input and belief that my son is worth it has changed our lives. She is one teacher that I know we will never forget. Thank you Westwoods Elementary!” – Margaret M., Westwoods parent

“I would like to thank TCAPS for providing a wonderful preschool experience for my daughter, Hope. She is enrolled in the preschool program at Oak Park that was developed for TCAPS and TBAISD staff children. Mary Kolle, her teacher for the past two years has been such a nurturing, caring, and dedicated teacher for my daughter. Her assistants, Kathy Nester-Pohlman and Damien Boyer are also very attentive and have gone above and beyond in caring for my daughter as well. I wanted to thank them all for giving my daughter a wonderful first school experience!” – Karrie G., Oak Park preschool parent

Don Roth, bus driver for TCAPS is “second to none.” Don does a splendid job transporting students safely to and from school. By all means, Don Roth should be TCAPS employee of the year.” – Mr. Mike Kramer

“Our family is so grateful to have Mr. Tony Quinn at Central Grade School. We are amazed at his natural ability to connect with kids, families, and his staff. When talking to kids he makes each one feel special and important. On any given day, it’s not unusual to spot Mr. Quinn reading with kids, stopping by classes to celebrate learning, or working to help kids to make better choices. Mr. Quinn has brought a lot of joy and leadership to our school community. We are so happy he is a Central Grade Super Star!”
- The Jackson Family

“Thanks to Toby Tisdale and Tom Passinault for all of their help with our child at TCC! Your many kindnesses were appreciated very much.”
- Dave and Toni F., CHS parents

Ms. Tarrant at Courtade Elementary has been so wonderful to our son Ethan this year! She is so kind and caring, and my son loves going to school because of her! She is always giving suggestions of how we can help our son succeed. Ms. Tarrant is fantastic and we are so grateful she has taught our son this year!”
- Heather G., Courtade Elementary School parent

“As the 2015 school year comes to a close, we want to express our gratitude for extra time and attention Michelle Anderson has given our daughter this year. Our daughter is a very shy and anxious little girl. But we knew, after the 1st day of school that she was going to be okay. Mrs. Anderson’s positivity and upbeat attitude continue to rub off on our daughter. She continues to improve in every way we could hope for. The whole class seems to love Mrs. “A”! In a time when all that seems important in education is standardized testing, it is refreshing to know that there are teachers that continue to teach with kindness and love in their hearts. Thank you Mrs. “A”!”
- Some Very Proud Courtade Parents

“I want to extend a big thank you to Andrew Habich at Glenn Loomis for all of the help he provided in transitioning my son from 6th grade Montessori to 7th grade in the AT program at West Middle School. Mr. Habich told us early on in (my son’s) 6th grade year that he felt (my son) would be best challenged in the AT programs provided at the middle schools. We knew little about this option and Mr. Habich helped educate us on how the program worked, how to apply, when the required testing was offered, who to talk to at the middle schools and so forth. He also put us in touch with families of some of his former students that were already in the AT program and they were very helpful in navigating the process and schooling us about things that weren’t published anywhere but needed to be considered. (My son) tested into all 4 sections of AT, and as his 7th grade year is starting to wrap up, he has declared this to be the best school year he’s ever had. I couldn’t be more proud of the work he’s done and I can’t thank Mr. Habich enough for all the work he did with Andy in 6th grade and in steering him toward a program he enjoys so much. So thank you Mr. Habich!”
- John Z., Montessori / WMS parent

“My daughter absolutely adored each teacher. First, Mrs. Oleson was amazing. She showed complete control over her classroom and pure confidence and extreme love for the children she had in her classroom. I cried at the end of the year when I knew that first grade was next. First grade came along and Mrs. Budd was absolutely amazing as well. She was uplifting with my child, she heard and listened to my concerns about my child and held true to her word. Mrs. Budd has an absolutely beautiful soul and I can feel the love she has for the children she educates. Mrs. Anderson brought a laid back atmosphere to our lives. Though she kept her children on task and learning, she was so very encouraging. She gave her children direction and love. She brought out the best in my child and my little one always came home with a huge smile on her face. Mrs. Dungjen, oh where do I begin? What a gentle soul, who’s love shined through each and every day. Mrs. Dungjen was similar to the above teachers mentioned. Mrs. Dungjen continues to go out of her way to make each student feel confident, and loved. I owe so much to Mrs. Oleson, Mrs. Budd and Mrs. Dungjen, probably something I will never be able to repay them. After all our children spend most their time at school than at home at times.”
- Traverse Heights parent

Mrs. (Jenny) Walters is an absolutely amazing teacher. One can tell that she loves to teach as much as she has created students that love to learn. She teaches some levels of subjects that I didn’t expect to see come home with my child for a few years yet: opinion writing and fractions, just to name a few–and the kids love them and excel at them! My child has had her for two years now, as Mrs. Walters loops with her students from Kindergarten to First Grade. My child has grown and blossomed under her…Any chance of Mrs. Walter looping to second grade?”
– Westwoods parent

Mr. Wangeman is a gift to the choir students!! My son has learned so much this year as a 7th grader in the tenor bass men’s choir. He has become a confident singer with a true love for choir. Thank you Mr. Wangeman!”
- Jennifer S., WMS parent

“Hi would like to say A Big Thanks to all of the Titan team Teacher’s and the staff of the South wing! You’re all so great in helping my son in his new experience in being a middle school student!! Thanks again from”
- Janell C., WMS parent

“A huge thank you to WSH mathematics teacher, Jody Thompson. She is the ONLY teacher that gives me a weekly email update on what’s going on in her classroom. At the beginning of the year, she sent us an email, sharing with us how much she enjoyed having our son in her classroom and today my son got a birthday wish in the mail from this teacher. My son has not had much success in math in the past, but this year for the first time, he is excelling! I can’t tell you how excited we are about this. We have had 3 other children go through TCAPS and graduate, and I can say in all of the years that we have had children in the school system, we have never had a teacher like Jody Thompson. She obviously loves her job and it shows. TCAPS needs more teachers like her.”
– Michell C., a thankful WSH mom

Renae DePlaunty entered her 2nd grade class room part way into the school year. The changes she made not only helped my daughter, but I feel the classroom as a whole. I feel truly blessed to have her in the Westwoods community. She has had a successful academic impact on her students, (my daughter) is always eager to learn and eager to please Mrs. DePlaunty. I feel it took a special person to do what she did, to step in making a huge difference in our school year. I am forever grateful for her. It would only benefit TCAPS to hold onto a teacher as hardworking, dedicated and motivational as she is. Her love of teaching shows in everything she has done this school year. Thank you, Renae.”
- Jill B., Grateful Mom, Westwoods Elementary School

“ Mrs. (Heather) Heitsch always has a smile on her face and time to help and answer any questions, though I know she must have a list 10 miles long of things that must be done by the end of the school day, all while caring for sick children, fielding parent phone calls, and general everything else-ness. Props also to Mrs. Kubesh, as I know she also has a big hand in making sure things run smoothly.”

- Westwoods parent

“We will be forever grateful to Mrs. Brewer, fourth grade teacher at Willow Hill, for building our daughter’s confidence and interest in math. Mrs. B’s commitment and passion are unparalleled!”
- Willow Hill Parents

“This an extra SHOUT OUT to David Rowney and Autumn Slawter at International School at Bertha Vos. Teachers like you make it easier on parents! The growth in our boys this year has been amazing and we owe it to the two of you, along with the amazing staff at ISBV! Thank you always!”
- The Anderson family

We would like to give a great big hug to Jenny Bishop! She has been the best counselor ever through these last four years and puts her heart and soul into her students and their future! Mrs. Bishop has been there for us every step of the way no matter what the situation, even on a moments notice. She has been much more than an academic counselor for us and we will always be grateful for her positive attitude and reassurance! If we could take her to college with us in the fall we would! A million thank yous (and hugs) to you Mrs. Bishop!
- M & M, West Senior High School family

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Qualified and experienced

Did you know that TCAPS is the area’s second largest employer? Did you also know that more than 70% of our teaching staff holds a Master’s Degree or higher, our bus technicians consistently receive 100% passing on bus inspections, or that our maintenance staff works to ensure that building needs are met with urgency and expertise? In every area of our district, TCAPS qualified and experienced staff makes the grade. From a recently retired staff member who continues to leave a lasting impression to a new staff member who is already having a positive impact, we are grateful for the people who make a difference in the lives of our students, families and our community every day.

[Mr. Czarny retired from TCAPS last year.] “My tribute is to Mr. Czarny. He was my physics teacher twenty years ago. What seemed small at the time have become words I live by. He pulled me aside and told me that while I thought I was being smart by putting in just enough effort to pass, that he believed in me and knew I was smarter than that. He told me that he wanted me to be proud of my work; that I deserved more from myself. He said I was smarter than the average kid and to ‘get by’ was wasting a gift. Those words have propelled me many times, professionally and personally. I push myself to be the best I can be, to recognize my strengths, and be honest about my weaknesses. Because of the effect he had on me, I try to tell others when they are doing wonderful things, but I also do my best to push people around me to be the best of who they are. His statement, believing in me, gave me courage. And for that I cannot thank him enough. I have had various managers through the years and none of them had the grace and leadership skills that he possesses. He is a gift to students. And a clear gift to me.” – Carey G., CHS alum

Luan Ross has been my son’s teacher for the past two years in the Early Childhood program. Through Luan’s patience, teaching, and support we have seen huge improvements in our son’s development and growth. I could not have picked a better teacher for our son. It’s Luan’s dedication and love for her students that make her a wonderful fit for our little guy.” – Stephanie P., Blair Elementary School parent

“I would like to recognize my daughter’s speech therapist Donna High. My daughter is thrilled to attend speech therapy and her speech has improved immensely since Mrs. High started working with her this past year at Westwoods Elementary. Mrs. High’s positive and enthusiastic approach to speech has been a blessing. It is clear that you love your work! My daughter and I greatly appreciate everything! Thank you! I would also like to thank the entire staff of Westwoods Elementary for making my daughter’s transition to their school a great experience. She was very nervous but quickly grew to love Westwoods. My daughter has made lots of friends and adores all of her teachers. Thank you for providing such a wonderful, positive learning environment.” – Andrea H., Westwoods Elementary School Parent

“I’d like to thank Tony Quinn, Assistant Principal at Central Grade! In just a few short months, Tony has made a difference in the lives of children at Central Grade. He has been visible in the halls, cafeteria, and recess. My son constantly comes home and talks about how Mr. Quinn said “Hi” to him, or how Mr. Quinn asked him how soccer was going or how his reading is coming along. When having a discussion with my child about the great teachers at Central Grade, he said “Mr. Quinn is the best teacher! He has a lot of kids to teach and know!” Thank you Tony Quinn for becoming a part of Central Grade!” – Central Grade Parent

“I would like to give a huge SHOUT OUT to all of the staff at ISBV. Our little and growing community has been blessed with these wonderful teachers and staff. They take our children in daily and treat them like their own. We’ve also had the chance to work with a wonderful temporary principal. Judy Bonne has old school value, in a new school world and her addition and support has been above and beyond a temporary principal. We should have known this, since her daughter, Katie Bonne is an AWESOME principal and person!! The apple doesn’t fall far! What you do for my family alone shows me that you truly LOVE your job! Thank you, from our family to yours!” – The Anderson Family

“Thank you Traverse City Central High School for everything you have done for my son. Words aren’t enough. He did schools for choice hoping to find a school with a broader outlook. He found it in TC Central–but he also found big wonderful arms of support. Thank you Coach Lober for being a true coach–one who cares more about what his athletes need to succeed in life than he does winning; thank you Coach Ludka for going above and beyond in helping him find his way in his new business; Thank you Toby Tisdale, Rick Vandermolen and the rest of the faculty who have encouraged a young entrepreneur at every start. (I hope you wear your black and gold bow ties with pride at the prom!) And are there words for what “Miz” Harper did for my son? Without so much of an art class under his belt he suddenly wanted to switch from applying to U of M engineering to U of M Art & Design … Wait! What? He needed a portfolio?! Eek! But “Miz” Harper, who had never had him in class, met him so many mornings last fall before school started–we are talking 7 a.m.–to lead him through the U of M portfolio process. She didn’t need to do it. And she didn’t need to do it so willingly. But she did. And U of M loved his portfolio! Thank you, thank you TC Central for being way more than just a public school. You are real people, real educators who understand that every child is different. Three years ago my son was the last child left at home in a family that was torn by divorce, enrolled in a school that in his words: “You are nothing if you aren’t in football.” There is no doubt that he was at an at risk kid. He prodded me to go for schools of choice. I thought, “What do we have to lose?” But, oh, what we gained! Three wonderful years later he is bound for U of M, filled with confidence and purpose, I think largely because of a school that intuits its pupils needs and creates an atmosphere for them to flourish. I cannot say enough for what this school has meant for my son–and me. Thank you. Thank you each and every one of you. Thank you!” – Lissa E., CHS parent

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Excellence everywhere

Everywhere in our schools and buildings, you find excellence. From a bus driver to a music teacher to a counselor, staff appreciation week shines a light on the amazing people in every area of our district who truly make a difference.

Mr. Martin has been my child’s bus driver for two years, and he always has a smile and a kind word for her, and a wave and a ‘have a good day!’ for me. I hope he will be her bus driver through the rest of her time in elementary school, and for my other children too, so they can enjoy such a pleasant man as their first and last contact for their school day.” – Westwoods parent

Stephanie Schall-Brazee has been instrumental in my children’s school experience. Music can bring so much more to a child than song and dance. It can bring confidence, public speaking skills, and inspiration! Willow Hill is so lucky to have her. She has always gone above and beyond for the students. She’s a ray of sunshine and puts forth so much of herself for the good of the kids. We love you Mrs. Brazee and we thank you!” – Love the Kane Family, Willow Hill Elementary School

Sean Jones – [Our daughter’s] advisor. Sean I want to say thank you so much for being there throughout these years for Rosemary. Thank you for always taking the time at parent teacher conferences to talk about Rose and how she is progressing. Thank you especially this year, for explaining to me all the details that the seniors have to do in order to graduate and the project that Rosemary is working on. You are such a wonderful teacher to the children, and it shows.” – Doug and Amy C., CHS parents

“I am so happy to have the opportunity to share my appreciation for one of your very talented math instructors. Peggy Schuba has made a huge difference in my son’s math education. This has always been a subject he has struggled with and never enjoyed. I have seen him grow so much in math this year and he says this is now one of his favorite classes. He is able to understand what she is explaining to him and really is able to grasp the concept of the problems they are working on. She truly has made a difference in his education and gave him so much confidence in his math skills. She is a great example of someone who loves teaching and helping children. Thank You So Much!!” – Teresa Smith, WMS parent

“Our family would like to thank Mrs. Jessica Unger for being an outstanding 7th grade language arts teacher. Our daughter has enjoyed her class immensely this year. Mrs. Unger’s expertise and passion for literacy are felt by her students. She has high expectations for her students and gives them the confidence to take risks. I strongly support her reading and writing workshop approach to teaching. Using this framework, she has been able to meet the needs of all her students and our daughter was given personalized instruction. We have appreciated how Mrs. Unger has increased our daughter’s confidence as a learner and also how she has taken the time to give book recommendations to our daughter. Our daughter has come home several times this year asking to go to the bookstore to find a book that Mrs. Unger has told her about. Thank you Mrs. Unger!” – The Jackson Family, EMS

“Just wanted to say what a wonderful job Bryan Burns does in communicating with parents. I recently contacted him regarding questions involving dual enrollment and NMC classes. He was friendly and professional and responded quickly and with a lot of helpful information. I KNOW this guy has got to be busy, yet he took the time to help us figure out our situation! So, a big thank you to Mr. Burns for taking the time to help us out.” – Amy D., CHS parent

“Wanting to say thanks to Erich Wangeman for all of his hard work and dedication to the TCWHS musical and theater program. He has a special rapport with the kids and helps them grow well beyond what they assumed they could or couldn’t do – our son was chosen for a lead role in this year’s musical, and Erich tutored him for weeks at 7:00 a.m. (in the dead of winter!) to make sure he had the confidence and ability to take the stage in the spring. Excellent mentor, teacher and a credit to the TCAPS staff.”

- Mark V., WSH parent

Michelle Brown is my daughter’s 2nd grade teacher at Long Lake Elementary School. My daughter started out the year struggling with her reading and writing. Mrs. Brown has gone out of her way to help us find ways to help her. She introduced us to an excellent tutor. She has spent time with us to figure out where the problems were coming from so we could work through them and found ways to make things work better for her in the classroom. She keeps in contact with us and lets us know what is happening and doesn’t hesitate to call with good news not just when there is a problem. My daughters reading has improved dramatically, way more than any of us could have hoped for. Her writing still has a ways to go but she is improving. It is obvious Mrs. Brown loves to teach and genuinely cares about her students. We will forever be grateful for all she has done at this very important stage of our daughter’s education.”

- Penny Z., Long Lake parent

“I would like to recognize Barb Hobson from Silver Lake Elementary School. Barb has been in our building for 15 years, wearing many hats, one of which is teaching assistant. Over that time as we took on NWEA testing Barb has been irreplaceable support, not only to teachers but the kids as well.

With all of the moving parts that go along with testing, let alone testing when temperamental technology is involved, Barb handles bumps along the way in stride. There hasn’t been a technology problem she couldn’t solve on the spot, and in the event she thinks there might be a more efficient solution, she is determined to figure it out then pack that knowledge into her trouble shooting tool box for later. I never worry about testing when I know Barb is there to assist (and by assist I mean run the show like a boss!) She is one of the many whose special talents and commitment to kids, community, families, and education continue to make TCAPS, and Silver Lake Elementary, a great place to be!”

- Allyson McBride-Culver, Silver Lake staff

Mr. Medler has restored my son’s love of mathematics this year in 7th Grade AT. He is a phenomenal instructor as well as mentor for the kids in his class and his wing. My son has grown in his knowledge, skill set and confidence in mathematics this year. Thank you Mr. Medler!!” – Jennifer S., WMS parent

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Supportive staff

TCAPS staff works hard to ensure that students have the support they need to achieve daily successes and work through life’s struggles and transitions. From taking the time to cheer students on to helping students adjust in a new school, TCAPS staff provides caring support for our students.

Mrs. Hughes has gone above and beyond!! It is evident how she loves her students and inspires them to go the extra mile. We appreciate her communication, dedication and hard work. This weekend, we traveled to Lansing to be a part of the State Finals for National History Day and Mrs. Hughes took the time to drive and cheer her students on. What a great role model and support! Thank you for all you do, Mrs. Hughes!” – Jennifer R., West Middle School parent

“As an employee of TCAPS, I have the pleasure of working with so many wonderful teachers. However, I have to say that a teacher that can pull my 17-year-old son out of bed before school to get some help before his math test is a miracle worker. Thank you for caring about our kids, Mrs. Lyon-Schumacher. You’re the best!” – Pam A., WSH parent

“This school year has been one of the most challenging years for my daughter… In July 2014 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. My surgeries started in August with a major one the day after the school year started, followed by several months of chemotherapy, more surgeries and two months of radiation. As a single parent I was scared and had no idea how (she) was going to succeed in her 7th grade year. I knew she was going to miss more school than normal. I reached out to the teachers via email. The response from (my daughter’s) teachers was more than I had expected. She was offered extra help during lunch time and after school as well as finding a way to keep her instrument at home and using a school instrument during class time. This spring I was able to finally meet the teachers who I believe are responsible for the successfulness of (my daughter’s) school year. Clair Taglauer, Ellen Boyer, Ivanka Berkshire, Lauren Justin and Jon Moore—I don’t think I will ever find the words to express how grateful I am. You have made a loving and lasting impression within my daughter. The kindness and compassion given (her) is something I will cherish. And with that I thank you!! – Jamie K., EMS parent

Karen Hartel is a true gem for West Middle School! She multi-tasks through the students’ long list of needs throughout the day and during every class break, lunch hour, before and after school rush. Her commitment to taking care of kids with medical needs goes far above her ‘job.’ She cares about every child in her wing, knows all of their names and their individual personalities and needs. We are so incredibly fortunate to have her at West. Thank you Karen!” – Jennifer S., WMS parent

“My daughters are in preschool and first grade at Central Grade School. Kristin Sulecki has been instrumental in helping my 7 year old overcome some personal struggles she was dealing with for much of the year. Kristin worked with our daughter to come up with great tools for her to use, not only in school situations, rather life skills in general. Kristin was consistently committed to helping our daughter and always took the time to do so (even if that meant 5 mornings a week!). Kristin communicated with me as a parent regularly to give me updates and provide feedback. She is truly an asset to the TCAPS family. I honestly do not know what we would have done without her this year. I cannot say thank you enough. While I have never met ‘Mr. Dave,’ my 4 year old preschooler talks about him ALL the time. She loves music time with ‘Mr. Dave.’ I also want to thanks Mrs. O’Hearn (LLI – reading specialty teacher) who is dedicated to helping children become more confident readers. Our youngest daughter started preschool in January 2015 and Miss Hanson welcomed her into the classroom with open arms. She made sure that our daughter made the mid-year transition smoothly. She truly cares about each and every one of her students and communicates openly with the parents. Thanks for everything.” – Beth D., Central Grade School parent

“As new students to Traverse City Central High School, my children have transitioned well and that is due to the support of teachers and staff! Thank you!” – CHS parent

“Where do I start? The TCAPS family at Traverse Heights Elementary has been outstanding. My children have been through a lot these past few years and the staff at Traverse Heights has shown compassion, caring and genuine interest in their well-being. I cannot say enough about the “school family” my children have at Traverse Heights. I would not even begin to know all of the names of the wonderful staff that interact with my children on a daily basis but I would like to make special mention of Erin Oleson, Lisa Wyzgoski, Jenny Rubinas and her wonderful staff, Marie Dituri and the awesome extended day staff, Ms. Katie and Mr. Greg in the kitchen and Sherry Chandler. Thanks for all you do!” – Michelle B., Traverse Heights Elementary School parent

“…my son is a sixth grade student. (He) came back to school after being in the online school for two years so there was much to readjust to people, many classes making friends etc. The staff has been wonderful in helping (him). Mrs. Robbins, who has been the kind, reassuring teacher that makes Sam feel so safe. To Ms. O’ Neil, who adjusted her rules to help a sweet kid who suffers from anxiety. So she had him do his class presentation in front only her and when (he) no longer had Ms. O’Neil she still helped him when he realized his new teacher did not know of his anxiety. To Mr. Ranger, for seeing the true (person he is) and helping me teach (him) things he will need in the world. To Mrs. Gagnon, for listening to a distraught mom and was willing to help put in motion to support him. To Mrs. Wilson for helping (him) and encouraging him. To Ms. Kitchens, for picking up the slack and making a calm environment. So this is how (his) story goes—he came in lost, scared, overwhelmed, struggling with math and begging to stay home—to a kid (that was given the love and support he needed) that loves school, is understanding math for the first time, to a smile on his face and is striving hard to be on the honor roll . As a parent, I can never thank all of you enough for giving him a future. p.s. If I forgot anyone, I’m sorry you’re all awesome.” – Julie C., WMS parent

“Our daughter is so fortunate to have Mrs. Lisa Myers for a second grade teacher this year. Mrs. Myers is a hardworking and dedicated teacher. She has worked closely with our daughter this year and has gotten to know her both as a student and as a person. Mrs. Myers aims to teach the “whole child” and embraces each student’s strengths. She has high expectations and encourages her students to do their best both in the classroom and in life. We are also so impressed with the way she implements best practices in her classroom. She is a passionate literacy teacher and has continued to encourage our daughter’s love for reading and writing. Her classroom library should serve as a model for all teachers. Our daughter has blossomed this year in second grade. Thank you Mrs. Myers!” – Chris and Stephanie J., Central Grade School parents

Monday, May 4, 2015

May the 4th be with you! Is it any coincidence that the first day of TCAPS Staff Appreciation Week this year also falls on Star Wars Day?! We are so grateful for all of the Jedi Masters in our district who bring stories to life every day in our schools! You are teachers, scientists and diplomats who help our young Padawans learn about the value of giving of themselves through citizenship, volunteerism and good deeds. Keep reaching for the stars!

Great programs, great people

It’s Staff Appreciation Week! Join us in celebrating the programs and, more importantly, the people who really make a difference in the lives of our students and families every day. Testimonials from parents and community members show that TCAPS offers great programs, led by great people. Thank you to the people who help make our organization great!

Kim Fleming in the counseling office has been wonderful to work with. My son is dual enrolled at NMC, and since we began getting involved with the process, have had many questions. Kim has always been patient, informative and has responded to us in a timely manner. She has taken the time to call me with questions about my son’s future plans for college, as well as answered my (numerous!) calls and emails. I so appreciate her patient and calm approach to scheduling—at times I know her work load has got to be off the charts crazy, but she is just as professional as ever and gets it done. Thank you to Kim for all she does.” – Amy D., CHS parent

Mrs. Larrea and Mrs. T (Kristy Tomlinson) at Glenn Loomis Montessori have been absolutely wonderful! They are such kind and caring teachers; my son loves going to school every day because of them. They’ve helped him learn and grow so much in his first year of school I’m in awe of how great they are with the entire class!” – Kristen F., TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis parent

“…when we first heard about the pilot program…the entire team made the transition smooth and effortless…Our son has blossomed so much in the past 2 years that I find myself constantly overwhelmed with the new opportunities he has in life, all because of this program. Being in a smaller classroom with his peers, he’s been able to study at his own pace and has learned and understood more than he has in his entire education plan. It works; I cannot stress it enough it works. He finally feels like he belongs somewhere and for the first time, he has friends, he text messages, he’s currently receiving an A in his creative writing class, which just so happens to be the first English class he’s taken beyond read 180 and I believe that Erin [RYAN] gave him the ground work to achieve this back in junior high. He has astounded us this year alone. [HE] sang in the talent show, helped run the school store during basketball games (shout out to Heather Simpson), co-anchored the student news in his broadcasting class, will be going to the prom and finally he will be attending MCTI in the fall pursuing Graphic Publishing. Many, many times my husband and I would almost lose hope. You have so many dreams and when you have a special needs child those dreams change, forever. Now, we simply don’t know what the future holds but we are very optimistic. We hope that you will expand the program, even to junior high. Erin has had a wonderful team, Jay Larner,Heather Simpson, and the social workers that keep everything moving so smoothly and I know I am forgetting people. An amazing team for the school system and I hope that you model more classrooms after this pilot program…” – Marla W., CHS parent

The International Baccalaureate teachers at West Middle School are an amazing team. It is evident that they are expert teachers who care deeply about their students. Like many students, our son is counting down to summer break, but he confessed that he will genuinely miss his teachers when school is not in session.” – WMS IB Parents

Mr. Sagan made a huge difference in our lives. At a conference he advised us that he saw great potential in Alex. And he recommended that she enroll in SCI-MA-TECH. We never heard of the program and would not have known about it otherwise. From that recommendation, she enrolled in SCI-MA-TECH and also joined the robotics team. Today as I write this, Alex is the design lead and driver of the TC Central robot that is at the world championships in St Louis; and she is moving on to the U of M School of Engineering. Many teachers and TCAPS leaders have helped. Mr. Sagan stands out for putting us on this path of success and helping us realize her potential.” – Cindy A., EMS/CHS parent