Northern Michigan Partnership

The Northern Michigan Partnership offers elective classes to homeschool students, grades K-12, living in the five-county area of the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD) and any contiguous ISD (including Manistee, Wexford-Missaukee, C.O.O.R., Charlevoix-Emmet, and Cheb-Otsego-Presque Isle) to supplement their at-home instruction. Classes are available to students enrolled in the Partnership and are taught by certified teachers and community experts.

Partnership Mission

The mission of the Northern Michigan Partnership is to provide innovative and cutting edge educational opportunities that will service all learners in our community.  All classes will be free of charge and offered to all students. The Partnership will bring together students, parents, educators and community experts to encourage and help facilitate integrated and cooperative learning. Through careful listening, observation and reaction to how learning takes place, we will create an environment that flows with the interest of the students.

2017-2018 Classes Begin

Classes will begin Wednesday, September 6, 2017, and will meet weekly every Wednesday until January 10th,  with a two-week holiday break December 20th & 27th. All classes will be held at Interlochen Community School (3113 M-137, Interlochen, MI 49643).

External LinkSign up for Northern Michigan Partnership Facebook Group.



How to Register

Following are the steps to register your student for the Fall 2017 Session.

  1. Submit Registration Form

  2. Obtain Vaccination Records/Waiver

    • Confirm that your child’s vaccination records are on file with the Grand Traverse County Health Department – if not, request that your primary physician send the records there.
    • Or schedule an appointment with the Grand Traverse County Health Department to complete a vaccination waiver (Grand Traverse Health Department, 2600 LaFranier Rd., Suite A, Traverse City, MI 49686. 231.995.6111).
  3. Make Class Selections

    • Class selection will begin in July. Schedule is TBD.
    • All classes will be assigned based on receipt of registration forms and then on a first come – first serve basis. Current registered families will receive a one week grace period to select their classes. 
    • Each class has a minimum and maximum number of students – in the situation that your student’s class is cancelled, or the class is full – you will be contacted directly to select an alternative class.
    • Your student will be limited in the Winter 2018 semester to the number of classes they select in the Fall.



  • Class Schedule and Descriptions will be announced in July 2017.


Have an Idea for a Class?

About the Instructors

Jody Burns

Jody Burns was born and raised in Traverse City. After graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy, she went on to receive her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University. Jody is on the theatre faculty of Interlochen Arts Camp as the choreographer for the Intermediate Musical Theatre Program. She works with the three-week workshop and the six-week musical programs. She is a company member of the local professional theatre company, Parallel45 Theatre. With the company she has performed in, choreographed, and assistant directed many shows including; The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan, Medea, A Streetcar Named Desire, and most recently A Christmas Carol in Prose. Jody teaches a variety of dance classes at Dance Arts Academy where she danced for many years growing up. Jody is the director of the children’s choirs at Central United Methodist Church. She also teaches for Drama Kids International at three local elementary schools.

Tina Dunphey

Tina has been studying American Sign Language for the past seventeen years and was an interpreter for seven of those years. After having their third child, she decided to be a stay at home Mom and youth minister at their home parish, St. Philip Neri in Empire. Her husband, Mark, is the middle school and high school religion teacher at St. Mary School in Lake Leelanau. Tina continues to share her passion for sign language and Deaf culture by tutoring youth who have interest, teaching all three of their children sign, working with special needs children and their families to develop effective communication through sign and remaining active within the Deaf community.

Bogdan Heretoiu

Bogdan is a native of Romania, a land of old folk tales, heroes, and wondrous highlands. He has studied Theater and Film Directing in Europe, and Film Production in the USA. He produces documentary work and teaches Screenwriting, Cinematography, and leads specific Storytelling lessons based on brainstorming and following the creative path of ancient oral traditions. As for Martial Arts, Bogdan started his training at the age of thirteen in Okinawan Goju-Ryu (a Karate style known for its speed, elegance, and efficiency) and soon after, he complemented it with the study of Aikido - The Art of Peace. He teaches kids and adults in an exploratory way, focusing on the connection between people and conflict resolution with minimal damage to either part involved. Each practice session is a journey of self-discovery. Both in Storytelling and Martial Arts, we observe and cultivate mutual respect, tolerance, and compassion. All along, we all have fun!

Professor Qwbli Team: Jason Pine/Melissa Cole

J. Pine is using The Power of Play to develop tomorrow’s great thinkers, problem-solvers, communicators and leaders. J. is the founder of Play With Purpose & Professor Qwbli's Play-Based Learning Center. Professor Qwbli's uses screen-free games to build, strengthen & develop EMOTIONAL, AFFECTIVE, PHYSICAL, ATTENTION, LANGUAGE, SOCIAL & COGNITIVE abilities of students. J. has over 25 years of educational experience, including classroom experience as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools, 20+ years’ experience in after-school programming and extensive experience in curriculum development. He has a B.S. in Education and a Masters in Applied Professional Studies from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.

Melissa has been a Traverse City native for just over two years and there is no other place she would rather call home. She was raised by a game-playing family, has always had strong math and science skills and considers herself a life-long learner. Melissa graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Business Management. Her and J. Pine crossed paths in the summer of 2016 and from the beginning she knew Professor Qwbli's and its mission was her future. Melissa is excited to share the ins and outs of screen-free play and her love of learning with as many children as possible

Susan Raguse

Established the Good Harbor Suzuki School in 1996 in Traverse City, where she teaches violin to children, ages kindergarten through high school.  Susan received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Miami (FL) and M.B.A. from Loyola University of Chicago.  She was a summer music faculty member at the American Suzuki Institute (University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point) for ten years.  She is co-founder of Traverse Community Music, a collaborative group of private instructors who offer lessons in strings, piano, and flute. Susan was co-founder of Bay Chamber and Prelude Chamber Strings, now part of the Traverse Symphony education program known as Civic and Prelude Chamber Strings. She has performed with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra and is a member of Peninsula Strings. Susan recently taught a music discovery/history class this past fall as part of the Commons home school program.

Lisa Seymour

Lisa Seymour has been involved in the sport of tennis for most of her life. While still living in Southeast Michigan, she taught tennis and was the tennis office manager at the Livonia Family YMCA. Moving to the Traverse City area in 2003, she started teaching tennis at Grand Traverse Summer Tennis Camps and has done this every summer for the past nine years. Lisa is also the TC Central High School Girls JV coach, which she has done the past seven years.  Lisa is a USPTR Certified 10 and Under instructor and teaches the program at the Grand Traverse Resort, year round. She also coaches Rallyball, for 2nd and 3rd graders, in the TCAPS system, along with being the East Middle School Team Tennis and Junior High Coach. If you can't tell, she loves teaching the sport she loves, to others!

Julie Tuthill

Julie is a homeschooling mom of three boys who teaches using an interest-based learning style and loves the challenge of seeking out unique learning opportunities. As the director of the Lake Ann Arts & Natural Science Center, she works to grow her community through art and science.

Nate Walton

Nate holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Entomology from Michigan State University as well as a B.A. from Kalamazoo College. While at Kalamazoo, he spent over a year in Ecuador where he studied tropical ecology and Spanish. 

Jim Zivkovich

Jim Zivkovich is a retired teacher from Utica Schools (41 years) – with the final 13 years teaching physical education to elementary school students. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bowling Green University and then a Master’s in Education from Wayne State University.  Jim coordinated Jump Rope for Heart and Blood Drives for the school through the American Heart Association.


Frequently Asked Questions

Enrollment Questions

What is the residency requirement for enrollment?

Students living in the five-county area of the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD) and any contiguous ISD (including Manistee, Wexford-Missaukee, C.O.O.R., Charlevoix-Emmet, and Cheb-Otsego-Presque Isle).

What paperwork is required for homeschool student enrollment/registration?

Enrollment requires a PDF Documentone page application, birth certificate, and vaccination records or waiver.

Are vaccinations required?

No.  A waiver can be obtained from the County Health Department.

Can students enroll in a virtual school and the Northern Michigan Partnership?


What are the age requirements for enrollment in the Northern Michigan Partnership?

Enrollment is open to students who turn five years old by September 1, or those who will be five years old by December 1 may register with a parent signed waiver. Students less than 20 years of age as of September 1 may enroll in the Northern Michigan Partnership.

What is the definition of a homeschool student?

According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), homeschool students retain their status as long as parents provide 51% of the students total education including all core subjects: language arts (reading, spelling, English grammar, writing, literature), arithmetic, science, history and federal and state government. 

Is this a charter school?


Is this a public school?


Questions About Classes

What are the important dates for the Northern Michigan Partnership?

  • First Day of Class: September 6, 2017
  • Count Day:  October 4, 2017
  • Winter Break: December 20 & 27, 2017
  • Last Day of Class: January 10, 2018

Where do the classes meet?

Interlochen Community School – 3113 M-137, Interlochen, MI.

When are classes held?

Classes meet on Wednesdays.

How are class offerings decided?

The Partnership Committee will review class suggestions made by families, create a recommended class schedule, which will then be submitted for approval by the School District.

How are Community Resource Individuals (CRI’s) selected?

CRI’s will be interviewed and evaluated by the Partnership Committee with final approval by the District.

Who are CRI’s?

CRI’s are experts in the community who will be teaching classes but may not possess teacher certification.

Who are Certified Teachers?

Certified Teachers are individuals who possess teacher certification and oversee the CRI’s.

Are Certified Teachers required for every classroom?

Typically, every classroom will have a CRI and be “monitored” by a certified teacher.

Are background checks required for CRI’s and Certified Teachers?

Yes.  To ensure the safety of all students, a thorough background check will be required of all CRI’s and Certified Teachers.

How many classes can each student take?

Students may sign up for one to five classes under the Northern Michigan Partnership.

Is there a class size limit?

Typically, class sizes are determined by the CRI’s.

Is there any testing required in the classes or by the school district?


Are students assigned letter grades?

Letter grades can be granted upon request. Otherwise, students are assigned pass/fail grades. Academic achievement in each class is ultimately determined by the parent, with feedback and/or tangible evidence from CRI’s and projects.

Will attendance be recorded?

Attendance is kept by Northern Michigan Partnership staff. To maintain the integrity of the program, we need to demonstrate an overall excellent rate of completion of classes taken by our students. Students who fail to show will be dropped from the class(es) but not the Partnership. Failure to consistently attend any of the classes chosen jeopardizes continuation in the Partnership.

Are fieldtrips part of class instruction?  How are they funded?

They can be. The funding will be included in the Northern Michigan Partnership budget.

Are parents allowed to be in the classroom with their child?


Does the Partnership provide computers for the students?


Who substitutes for CRI’s or Certified Teachers? 

Substitutes from the District’s substitute teacher provider will be assigned if certified teachers need to be absent. CRI’s take care of obtaining their replacements. We avoid class cancelations.

Miscellaneous Questions

Will homeschool parents need to remain at Interlochen Community School while their children’s classes are in session?

Every student must have a parent, or an adult designated by the parent, on site and ready to assist the student if a need arises.

What is available for siblings under the age of five?

Supplemental optional programming provided by parents is available for preschoolers.

Will there be a paid director for the Homeschool Partnership?

Yes, a position will be posted soon. Other Homeschool Partnerships have found success in having the supervisor be a homeschool parent.

Will extracurricular activities be available to students?

Learning, Enrichment & Academic Program (LEAP) classes will be available for a fee just like they are for non-homeschool elementary and middle school students. In addition, parents can create extracurricular activities on their own.

How is the Partnership funded?

The per pupil foundation grant received by the District from the State for students attending Partnership classes funds the expenses incurred in the Partnership.

Do I need to use a certain curriculum at home?

No. The curriculum you choose for your core classes or any other class is entirely up to you. The school will not inquire about your homeschooling.

How is discipline handled?

Discipline will be handled by the parent or responsible adult on site.

How are snow days determined?

The Partnership will follow the TCAPS school closing policy.



FAQs updated May 17, 2017