Staff You Make A Difference Graphic

Staff Appreciation

Staff Appreciation Week: May 1-5, 2017

Each year, the Board of Education celebrates staff by designating the first week of May as Staff Appreciation Week. PDF DocumentView 2017 Board Proclamation

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 you’s (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 tallking 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