Northern Michigan Partnership

About the Northern Michigan Partnership

The Northern Michigan Partnership offers elective classes to all 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). 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 17th, with holiday breaks on November 22nd, and December 27th. All classes will be held at Interlochen Community School (3113 M-137, Interlochen, MI 49643).

Winter 2018 Classes

Classes will begin Wednesday, January 24, 2018, and will meet weekly every Wednesday until June 6th with a break on Wednesday, March 28th. 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 with your physician that your child’s vaccination records are up to date in MCIR.
    • Or schedule an appointment with your local County Health Department to obtain a vaccination waiver.
  3. Make Class Selections

  • Class schedule is available below. 
  • The link for the class signup will be sent once the registration form has been received.
  • 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 or be placed on a waiting list.
  • Your student will be limited in the winter 2018 semester to the number of classes they select in the fall.


The Northern Michigan Partnership offers free non-core classes to all eligible students.  These classes include art, music, phys. ed., foreign languages, strategic thinking, life skills, and more.  

  • Schedule will be available on this page in December.
  • The class selection link will be sent via email once registration forms have been received. 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. Students are eligible for up to 4 classes each semester.
  • 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.
  • All students are limited in the winter 2018 semester to the number of classes they selected in the fall.


Have an Idea for a Class?

Interested in Substitute Teaching?

About the Instructors

Blackmer, Grace

Grace is a Traverse City native, and received her training at The Dance Center. She then went on to study choreography at Columbia College in Chicago. After receiving a scholarship to Steps on Broadway, she moved to New York City where she continued her training and danced professionally. In 2005, Grace joined The Dance Center faculty teaching hip-hop, contemporary ballet, improvisation, and Jazz. Grace danced with the Michigan Dance Collective and Urban Elements, and has taught children's classes at Soul Step. 

Briggs, Susan

Susan has been involved in art for most of her life. She is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, and received her BA in Art from Western Michigan University. Her passion for teaching, and her interest and experience in a variety of art media led her to become a certified K-12 art teacher after a 20 year career in graphic design. Susan has worked as an art educator since 2005, and has taught classes at the Gull Lake Home School Partnership since it began in 2011. Her own creative interests involve mosaic and fused glass art, and she is excited to share her passion for this art form with her students. 

Dennis, Michelle

Michelle has called Traverse City home for 14 years. Originally from the Dayton, OH area, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Multi-Age Spanish Education (K-12 certification) from Cedarville University. Michelle studied in Valencia, Spain as part of her college experience. She taught Spanish 1-4 at Traverse City Christian School for 4 years, prior to starting a family in 2007. She taught for the Traverse Bay Christian Cottage School program for 2 years (2006-2008), teaching Elementary Spanish. Following that, she taught Spanish for TEACH Homeschool Co-op in TC for 4 ½ years (2012-2016), teaching two Elementary Spanish classes, as well as Spanish 1 & Spanish 2. Most recently (Nov-Dec 2016), Michelle had the privilege of attending a Spanish Immersion course in Santa Ana, Costa Rica, where she received 40 hours of intensive classroom instruction, as well as the experience of living with a host family. Michelle is passionate about teaching Spanish in a fun and active manner that instills in students a love & excitement for learning the language and culture! In addition to teaching, Michelle is passionate about her family. She has been married to Adam for almost 15 years, and has 3 wonderful children – Charlie (10), Claire (7) & Henry (3). 

Dunphey, Tina

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. 

Elsenheimer, Christopher

Christopher is an 18- year-old homeschool student from Traverse City, Michigan. He works in construction from time to time and various other voluntary work and programs. He has a passion in video games and loves cooperating with other players worldwide. He is familiar with a computer and various editing software which also goes with his passion for gaming. He enjoys playing games with kids and teaching them not only how to play but also how to play safely online. 

Fitzgerald, Cathy

Cathy, B.A., owned and taught classes at her dance studio in Missouri for over 20 years. She took 2014 off to see the world, sharing photos and stories on her blog External Between travels, she now works as a lifestyle wedding and portrait photographer. 

Hafner, Katie

Katie lives in Leelanau County where she home educates, tends a patch of land and writes in her diary. She believes that art-making builds bridges between the imaginal realm and the material world, and is committed to a lifelong practice of making art that is personal and alive. 

Heretoiu, Bogdan

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 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, he 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! 

Huebner, Julie

Julie is a licensed floral designer and is currently studying to become a master gardener through Oregon State University. She enjoys sharing her passion for nature and beauty with others. She has taught numerous classes in Illinois as well as the Traverse City area. Julie is a mother to five children, and has been homeschooling for 12 years. She loves to foster a love of learning with children by hands-on learning and exploring our amazing world! 

Human Nature School

Learn the knowledge of the Naturalist, the skills of the Survivalist, and the attitude of the Caretaker. By weaving simple, nature-based practices into our daily lives, we can develop powerful connections to nature, ourselves and each other. They are teaching nature connection; encouraging the blossoming of each student’s soul; and guiding students toward service, leadership, and stewardship. 

Morgan, Christi

Christi has two Bachelor’s degrees and two decades of experience in education and social work fields. Through a vast array of experiences as a caregiver, counselor, coach, teacher and program director – she’s worked in facilities such as childcare centers, schools, residential treatment programs and individual homes. Christi loves her profession, but being a parent has been her most rewarding job. Christi loves homeschooling her children and spending time as a family. The Morgan family enjoys watching movies together, board games, playing sports, swimming in Lake Superior, camping adventures … They hope to be able to have more adventures and follow husband/dad (Jeff Morgan) filming across the globe. 

Morgan, Jeff

Jeff is an award winning Director, Producer, Union Cinematographer and Editor with two-decades of world-wide experience in the fields of feature films, documentaries, commercials, and corporate videos. Jeff has taught kindergarteners through adults the art of filmmaking and loves to share the love of all arts, including martial arts with others. Jeff has studied Martial arts forms such as: Maharlika Kuntaw, Kashima Shinryu, Kenjutsu, Jujitsu, Muay Thai, Aikido… He loves play fighting and practicing sports with his kids, camping with his family, building, drawing, playing saxophone, playing games, reading, and of course watching films. 

Newton’s Road

Newton’s Road works with regional partners to leverage the unique characteristics of Northern Michigan’s natural surroundings, knowledgeable workforce, and rich legacy of community involvement to champion, support and increase access to outstanding learning opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM Education). They believe that celebrating and investing in STEM Education excellence is essential to the success of individual K-12 learners as well as to our region’s overall economic outlook. Today more than ever, it is critical that we work together as a community to coordinate regional resources in order to meet the challenges presented by the rapidly evolving global economy. 

Nichols, Colette

Colette has been teaching for five years and knew since she was in second grade that she would be a teacher someday. There are few things she loves more than teaching and see each year as a new adventure where you will learn and grow together. She has a wonderful husband and is a mother to two of her favorite people, Kennedy and Xaqary. She always tries to be the kind of teacher that she would want her children to have, one that creates an environment where ideas, mistakes, and adventures are welcome. She’s looking forward to a wonderful school year together and can't wait to see all you can discover together! 

Nieto, Krista

Krista has always been active, growing up in a family that spent vacations hiking and exploring the outdoors. She started practicing yoga as part of her off season training when she was rowing competitively and it slowly became an integral part of her life. Krista enjoys hiking, mountain biking, group fitness classes, skiing and snowshoeing. She also has a background in medical laboratory science, having worked in a variety of clinic and hospital settings in Wisconsin and Michigan. Krista is a 200 hour certified yoga teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance and a certified Bellyfit instructor through Bellyfit International. She believes that fitness is a way to empower women and build community in addition to cultivating overall health. 

Pancoast, Amy

Amy is a homeschooling mom of three and has been homeschooling for six years. She has had a love for music since a young age and has been involved in choirs, worship bands, music competitions, vocal lessons, and song writing. She is passionate about building a child's confidence through music and helping learning concepts stick by making it entertaining through song. 

Schwaiger, Zane

Zane received her Bachelor of Arts in French and Environmental Studies from Principia College. While in college, she spent a semester in France at language schools in Paris, Bordeaux, and Pau. Zane has worked as a writing tutor, editor, and writer — as well as a farmer’s apprentice. She has a deep interest in organic gardening and farming and loves to tell stories through both photographs and words. Currently, Zane is a freelance writer and a monthly contributor to the homeschool community Wild + Free. Zane and her husband Jeffrey (an architectural designer and illustrator) homeschool their three children on a hill just south of Suttons Bay. In the summer, you can usually find them outside exploring wild places, reading in the hammock, making a creative mess in the kitchen, or working together in the garden. 

Sylvan Learning Company

At Sylvan, we take pride in being the largest branded provider of STEM programs in North America. Creativity, innovation and fun all play a big part in these classes! Sylvan EDGE programs are a great way to get your child familiar with vital 21st century STEM skills that can lead to greater success in the classroom and even in future careers. Our range of programs includes science, math, robotics, coding and engineering. With our kid-friendly software and hands-on projects and activities, your child will develop a love for STEM in no time! 

Tuthill, Julie

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. 

Zivkovich, Jim

Retired teacher from Utica Schools (41 years) – with the final 13 years teaching physical education to elementary school students. Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bowling Green University and then a Master’s in Education from Wayne State University. 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 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.

Is this a charter school?


Is this a public school?

Yes, but any homeschool students in this program are still considered non-public school students.

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
  • Thanksgiving Break: November 22, 2017
  • Winter Break: December 27, 2017
  • Last Day of Class: January 17, 2018
  • First Day of Winter Class: January 24, 2018
  • Count Day:  February 14, 2018
  • Spring Break: March 28, 2018
  • Last Day of Class: June 6, 2018

Where do the classes meet?

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

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.

When are classes held?

All classes are virtual with an optional class meeting on Wednesdays.

How are instructors selected?

Instructors will be interviewed and evaluated by the partnership committee with final approval by the school district.

Who are instructors?

Instructors 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 instructors.

Are certified teachers required for every classroom?


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 instructors and certified teachers.

How many classes can each student take?

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

Is there a class size limit?

Typically, class sizes are determined by the instructors.

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. 

Will attendance be recorded?

Attendance is kept by 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 participate will be dropped from the class but not the Partnership. Failure to consistently participate in any of the classes chosen jeopardizes continuation in the Partnership.

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


Does the Partnership provide computers for the students?


Who substitutes for instructors or certified teachers? 

Substitutes from the District’s substitute teacher provider will be assigned if instructors need to be absent. 

Miscellaneous Questions

Will 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 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 school 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 August 26, 2017