Coast Guard City sign at Thirlby Field

Information for U.S. Coast Guard Families

TCAPS Welcomes U. S. Coast Guard Families!

On behalf of our entire Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) family, we extend a warm welcome and invitation to incoming military families. It is our honor and privilege to serve your family by supporting your child’s learning success as you serve our nation while stationed at Air Station Traverse City.

Our pledge to you:

  • Staff and administration are educated and ready to implement the rights and procedures afforded to military dependents as outlined by the  Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children [External].
  • We recognize Coast Guard families have a unique culture and traditions, values and beliefs that impact their worldviews, where they have been, and how they see themselves.
  • We are educated on the military mission and welcome the opportunity to partner with families to ease the challenges associated with the transition to Traverse City.
  • We are aware of the risk to academic and social development for each military child; by understanding the unique context and mobility of the military family, we will work to maximize resiliency and reduce risk to ensure a positive educational experience.

TCAPS learning communities offer a great place for students to make friends, challenge their imagination, and continue on their educational journey. We want to provide your family with a personal connection to support your children’s school transition. We recognize the need for providing you with expertise and individualized support that includes careful assessment, placement, and ongoing communication regarding your child. This will result in a successful transition into TCAPS, while your student is with us, and as you prepare for your child’s next school transition.

TCAPS Board of Education Approves Resolution to Renew Coast Guard City Designation

Long-standing partnership with USCG Air Station Traverse City benefits students and community

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce that the Board of Education approved a resolution on March 9, 2020, to support the renewal of Traverse City’s designation as a “Coast Guard City.”

The memorandum from TCAPS Interim Superintendent Jim Pavelka supporting the resolution was read by Board Secretary Pam Forton at the Board of Education’s March 9th meeting. It states:

“Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) has a long and proud history of working in close partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City.

As a school district, it is an honor and privilege to assist families assigned to Traverse City with enrollment in our district and to provide additional support and resources as outlined by the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

In addition, Coast Guard members and families are highly involved in community events like the U.S. Coast Guard Cup and TC Patriot Game. They provide tours, demonstrations, and learning opportunities for our students, and volunteer in our classrooms as guest readers and mentors. Our partnership in education has been vital to our students and our community.  

For these reasons, it is the recommendation of TCAPS Administration that the Board of Education adopt a resolution to support the designation of Traverse City as a ‘Coast Guard City’.” 

The resolution was approved by the TCAPS Board of Education by a unanimous vote.

“TCAPS is proud to partner with Air Station Traverse City and to support Coast Guard families as they serve as “Guardians of the Great Lakes” performing search and rescue, maritime safety and security, and environmental protection along our local waterways and beyond,” said Jim Pavelka, interim superintendent for Traverse City Area Public Schools.

TCAPS learning communities offer a great place for students from Coast Guard families to make friends, challenge their imagination, and continue on their educational journey. TCAPS recognizes the need to provide incoming families with expertise and individualized support that includes careful assessment, placement, and ongoing communication in order to result in a successful transition into Traverse City and its schools, as well as, to prepare for a student’s next school transition.

PDF DocumentRead the full proclamation here

TCAPS’ core curriculum conforms to state guidelines and prepares students to lead successful and fulfilling lives in a rapidly changing and cultural and technological environment. Elementary curriculum focuses on achieving core content expectations and balanced literacy and aligns with Michigan Grade Level Expectations. The secondary curriculum aligns with the Michigan Merit Curriculum graduation guidelines.

Our district goals emphasize that TCAPS will be a destination district and that families will choose to move to Traverse City to be a part of TCAPS. We strive to provide the strongest academic and extracurricular programming. We promise an outstanding learning experience for your child as well as a safe, friendly, and well-equipped environment to nurture your child’s social and academic growth.

About the District

  • Nearly 10,000 Students
  • 300 Sq. Mile Boundary Area
  • 16 Schools, 4 Support Buildings
  • 2,000,000 Sq. Ft. Space
  • Over $100 Million Budget
  • $370 Million in Assets
  • Millage Rate 3.1 Mills (state average is 5.1 mills)
  • Area’s 2nd Largest Employer

TCAPS Programs – So Many Choices – Something for Everyone



And More

Thank you for considering Traverse City Area Public Schools for your child’s educational journey. We are delighted to partner with you to help your child and every student reach his or her potential in an engaging, inspiring and challenging environment. With the support of our dedicated team of educators, staff and administrators, TCAPS students are challenged to use their imaginations, engage their critical thinking skills and become inspired to develop habits that will help them continue to learn and grow for the rest of their lives.

  • Required Enrollment Forms for Students New to TCAPS
  • Immunization Requirements
  • Signing Up for Transportation Services
  • What does “Schools of Choice” and “Open Enrollment” mean? School districts serve the students who reside within its designated boundary area. [PDF DocumentTCAPS boundary map] Each school within a district also has its own boundary area making it the “home school” for students residing within its boundary. TCAPS provides families with additional enrollment options by offering both “Schools of Choice” and “Open Enrollment.”
    • Families who reside outside the TCAPS district boundary area, but wish to attend a TCAPS school may apply to do so through the “Schools of Choice” option. A PDF DocumentSchools of Choice Application must be completed each school year. (This form is in addition to the regular student registration form that all students complete when first coming to TCAPS.)
    • Families who reside inside the TCAPS district boundary area, but wish to attend a TCAPS school other than their “home school” may apply to do so through “Open Enrollment.” An PDF DocumentOpen Enrollment Form must be completed each school year. (This form is in addition to the regular student registration form that all students complete when first coming to TCAPS.)
    • Acceptance for either option is based on a number of factors, including available space at the desired school. Transportation is not provided by TCAPS and is the parent’s responsibility. However, sometimes it can be arranged for a student to be picked up/dropped off at the nearest bus stop that serves the chosen school. Contact the transportation department at 231.933.1933 to determine the location of the nearest bus stop and/or to request transportation be scheduled for your child.

For additional enrollment information, please contact TCAPS at for assistance.

TCAPS has 11 elementary schools (grades PreK-5), two middle schools (grades 6-8) and three high schools (grades 9-12). Each school offers the highest quality education from caring, qualified staff.  If you are interested in receiving a tour or more information about a particular school, please contact Karyn Hertel at 231.933.1790 or If you are transferring during the summer months, TCAPS schools do have summer office hours. Specific summer office hours for each school will be posted in late May. More information can also be found on the individual school websites listed below.

We invite community members to share their time and talents with our students by becoming a volunteer in our schools. Adult volunteers are background checked and placed in a school site that is convenient for the volunteer. Volunteers may choose the day, time, and activity that most suits their interest and ability. One hour, once per week during the school day is desirable and makes a significant impact for youth and adults. Before volunteering, you will need to complete the online volunteer form. Visit the volunteer webpage to complete the form and for more information on volunteering at TCAPS schools.

Air Station Traverse City has a coordinated volunteer program with Traverse Heights Elementary School, which is the school closest to the base. Each week, a group visits the school to mentor students during the lunch hour. Whether it’s playing kickball or pushing a student on a swing, the impression those in service give to these children is one of complete admiration. Contact 231.922.8277, to become part of this weekly Partner In Education group.

The following links are to area networking groups: