Student Support Network

Student Support Network

TCAPS Student Support Network

The Student Support Network (SSN) is a program administered by Traverse City Area Public Schools that provides free supportive, education-related services and non-academic support to help overcome obstacles that may create barriers to learning for all students, ages 3-20.

What Services Are Available?

  • Clothing and shoes for school purposes
  • School supplies and/or backpacks
  • Personal hygiene products
  • General funds for extracurricular activities or interests
  • Referrals to community agencies for housing/transitional living, food, medical, dental, optical care, and mental health

Holiday, Immediate, and Sustainable Needs for Students

Donations can be dropped off or mailed to 412 Webster Street, Traverse City, MI 49686, with attention: Katie Kubesh (SSN Coordinator). 

Please contact Student Support Network Coordinator, Katie Kubesh at or 231.933.1789 with inquiries, questions, or concerns. Thank you for your support towards students in transition!

Holiday Needs*

Adopt-a-Family Opportunities
2023 Holiday Giving Opportunities ( to be updated 12/23

Immediate Needs*

Snow pants (all sizes)
Waterproof gloves
Winter Coats- youth size XS/5 to adult 3XL
Gas Cards (for school transportation use only)

Sustainable Needs*

Food Pantry Items
Gift Cards (for basic needs purchases)
Healthy non-perishable snacks (please avoid anything with peanuts)
Monetary gifts
Personal hygiene items
Undergarments & warm socks
Water bottles

*NEW items only

Upcoming Events

Free Hot Cocoa at Santa's House! 

Hot Cocoa For a Cause

Join us Friday, December 1, 8, & 15 from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. for free hot cocoa at Santa's House, located in Rotary Square. SSN will also be accepting prepackaged snacks for TCAPS students in need. Donations are not required, but greatly appreciated! A list of needed items can be found below, under "List of Items to Donate". 

TCAPS SSN Hockey Game- December 6, 2023

SSN Hockey Game & Fill the Trailer Event

Traverse City West Titan Hockey and Traverse City Central Trojan Hockey are joining forces to collect donations for TCAPS' Student Support Network (SSN)!

Trailers will be located at both schools Monday, December 2 - Wednesday, December 6, during school hours, for donations. Which side of town can bring in the most donations?!

Following the donation drive, join us for the SSN Hockey Game on Wednesday, December 6, starting at 6:00 p.m. at Howe Ice Arena! Donations will also be accepted at the game.

Do You Have a Place to Sleep Tonight?

External LinkClick here to contact the coordinated entry call center for help

Who is Eligible for Services?

Any student who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate overnight residence (at any time during the school year) may be eligible to receive services. Students may be found living in the following situations:

  • In a shelter, motel, vehicle, camper, or campground
  • Temporarily sharing the housing of friends or family (“doubled-up”) due to economic hardship
  • Unaccompanied youth living on their own, without a parent or guardian
  • Inadequate accommodations (lack of electricity, heat, plumbing, or overcrowding)
  • Abandoned buildings, or on the street
  • Students who are couch surfing, staying with friends
  • Displaced due to natural disaster or fire

Services Available

  • Assistance in maintaining school stability
  • Assistance with enrollment in school and transfer of student records
  • Assistance with full participation in school (extracurricular activities and sports)
  • Assistance with school transportation
  • College admissions support (registration, FAFSA, scholarships, etc.)
  • Clothing for school purposes
  • Free school breakfast and lunch
  • Liaison between family and school personnel
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Referrals to community agencies
  • School supplies and backpacks

Community Resources Quick Links 

Food Assistance

Housing Assistance

Emergency Shelter Assistance

Utility Assistance


School Rights You May Not Know You Have
School Rights you may not know you have...We slept in our car last night - i didn't have any dinner last night - we can't afford my school supplies - I miss school some days because I don't have a way to get there

If you live in any of the following situations, you may be eligible for rights and services provided by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act:

  • In a shelter or on the street
  • In a motel or campground
  • In a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station
  • Couch surfing/doubled up with other due to loss of housing, foreclosure, eviction or economic hardship
  • Inadequate living accommodations (i.e. overcrowding, lack of plumbing, heating, or electricity)
  • Youth living on their own, without parent or legal guardian

You also have the right to:

  • Enroll in and attend school, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there
  • Continue attending the same school after experiencing loss of housing, or transfer to a new school
  • Receive transportation assistance, if possible
  • Receive school meal programs
  • Receive Title I services

School Rights Posters

Learn more about the Northwest Michigan Coalition to end youth  homelessness: 


Staff Contact Information by Building


Katie Kubesh
Student Support Network (SSN) Coordinator
McKinney-Vento District Liaison
Regional Grant Coordinator
Foster Care Liaison
Office: 231.933.1789

Traverse City High School

Amber Ochoa
Student Support Network Specialist

Traverse City Central High School

Haley McDonald (M/W/F a.m.)
Student Support Network Specialist

Traverse City West Senior High School

Haley McDonald (T/Th/F p.m.)
Student Support Network Specialist

Traverse City East Middle School

Sara Sovis, LMSW

Traverse City West Middle School

Kathryn Baumann
7th Grade Counselor/Liaison


TCAPS Elementary Schools

Blair: Amanda Smith, 231.933.5753,

Central Grade: Kristi Collins, 231.933.5960,

Cherry Knoll: Mary Beth Peters, 231.933.8990,

Courtade: Jill Wicksall, 231.933.5833,

Eastern: Kendra Kearney, 231.933.5688,

Long Lake: Jennifer Gresens, 231.933.7838,

Montessori: Jill Wicksall, 231.933.6434,

Silver Lake - Reilly Barth, 231.933.3663,

Traverse Heights - Gretchen Evenhouse, 231.933.3542,

Westwoods - Kristin Sulecki, 231.933.7937,

Willow Hill: Jacqueline Glikman, 231.933.8580,

The Northwest Michigan Student Support Network (NWMSSN)

The Northwest Michigan Student Support Network (NWMSSN), a consortium of 20 public school districts within the five-county Grand Traverse area, will address the complex needs of students who have been identified as “homeless.” District liaisons improve accountability of eligible students and provide specialized support and advocacy to ensure academic success and a successful transition to adulthood. Contact your local district liaison if you should lose your housing due to foreclosure, eviction, economic hardship, or similar reason or if you know someone who may need assistance.

  • External LinkCoordinated Call Center

    List of NWMSSN Consortium Districts & McKinney-Vento Liaisons

    Alba Public Schools: Rich Satterlee, 231-584-2000,

    Bellaire Public Schools: Peggy Stevens, 231-533-8916,

    Benzie Schools: Rachel Anderson, , 231-275-7730,

    Buckley Community Schools: Rachel Odziana, 231-269-3325,

    Elk Rapids Public Schools: Jann Scalise, 231-264-8108,

    Excelsior District #1: Marty Guiney,231-922-6376,

    Forest Area Community Schools: Katie Clothier, 231-369-2867,

    Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools: Jeff Tousley, 231-352-4641,

    Glen Lake Community Schools: Keltie Palmer, 231-334-3061,

    Grand Traverse Academy: Mindy VanHouzen, 231-932-6960,

    The Greenspire School: Michael Schramm, 231-421-5905,

    Kalkaska Public Schools: Jeremy Guggemos, 231-258-9167,

    Kingsley Area Schools: Emily Ruby, 231-263-5261,

    Leelanau Montessori: Nora Goodell, 231-994-2704,

    Leland Public Schools: Heather Lowe,231-256-3809,

    Mancelona Public Schools: Pami Sprague, 231-587-9869,

    Northport Public Schools: Elizabeth Schwind, 231-386-5153,

    Northwest Education Services: Mary Guiney, 231-922-6376,

    Old Mission Peninsula School: Renee Kolle, 231-252-0225,

    Suttons Bay Public Schools: Jamie Hawkins, 231-735-3247,

    Traverse City Area Public Schools: Katie Kubesh, 231-933-1789,

Working together to reduce poverty and end homelessness through education.

Go to to make a financial donation. If you have goods or services that you wish to share please contact the SSN office at 231.933.1789.

Students Share What They Need

  • “Thank you for all the help you have given me. My life is finally getting back on track slowly but surely. I will still probably need help with bathroom supplies.”

  • “In my current situation, I need help with financial education, as well as help with college applications. Thank you for checking in with me.”

  • “I need support. I need someone who won’t give up on me. I need extra help with classes and solid transportation to school.”

  • “I just need to make money and get my stuff done. I want to say thank you for letting me know where I can go when I need assistance.”

  • “What I need to be successful is what you do best—helping people out with personal situations.”

Common Signs of Homelessness

Some possible signs that a student may be experiencing homelessness are:

  • Irregular attendance and frequent tardiness
  • History of attending many different schools
  • Consistent lack of preparation for class
  • Sleeping in class
  • Hostility and anger or extremes in behavior
  • (e.g., shyness, withdrawal, nervousness, depression)
  • Needy behavior (seeking attention or withdrawn behavior)
  • Poor health/nutrition
  • Inadequate seasonal clothing
  • Poor hygiene and grooming
  • Resistance to parting with personal possessions
  • (e.g., leaving a favorite toy/item unattended or putting a coat in a locker)
  • Multiple families at the same address
  • Difficulty in reaching a parent by phone

In Michigan, adults and children in families account for 52% of the total homeless population. This number may be under reported and not include families who are doubled up or living with friends and relatives due to economic hardship.

What is the Student Support Network (SSN)?

The Student Support Network (SSN) is a program administered by Traverse City Area Public Schools that provides free supportive, education-related services and non academic supports to help overcome obstacles that may create barriers to learning for all students, ages 3-20.

Why is SSN necessary?

  • Over 40% of area families qualify for free and reduced meals.
  • Students whose basic needs have not been met may not be ready to learn when they enter the classroom.

How does the SSN help?

  • Offers immediate resolution to a barrier to learning
  • Improves student achievement
  • Relieves stress on staff

How does the SSN work?

  • A school social worker, teacher or administrator identifies a student's need and completes a form to describe the need and urgency level.
  • The district SSN Coordinator monitors and works to fulfill requests via a human service agency, community business, independent donor or directly from funds raised specifically to support the SSN.

What would my donation support?

  • In the 2021-2022 school year, $19,246.66 of SSN funds supported students in need.
  • Needs fulfilled included: school supplies, winter wear, shoes, clothing, bunk beds, band fees, food service assistance, grocery store gift cards, BATA passes, school photos, water bottles, snacks, toiletries, noise-canceling headphones, and more.

How do I make a monetary donation?

  • Visit or click on the red donate button on the home page of any TCAPS school's website.
  • Complete the form. In the program description section, designate "SSN" or any other program of your choosing.
  • To make an online donation by credit card, you will be taken to PayPal once you hit submit on your donation form. Follow the PayPal instructions.
  • To donate by check, make payable to TCAPS, write "SSN donation" in the memo line on your check, and mail to: TCAPS, Attn: Katie Kubesh, 412 Webster St., Traverse City 49686.

PDF DocumentDownload the SSN information flier to share with your friends.


Snacks - District Wide (Please be sure to avoid anything with peanuts.)

  • goldfish crackers
  • pretzels
  • applesauce
  • fruit cups (not in syrup)
  • graham crackers
  • whole grain crackers
  • dried fruits
  • sunflower seeds
  • sugar free pudding
  • 100 calorie snack bags
  • water bottles
  • low sugar/sugar free juice boxes/pouches

High School Pantry Needs

  • Cereal (individual boxes/packets)
  • Cup mac n cheese
  • Cup Ramen
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Instant Rice
  • Instant Pasta
  • Fruit Cups
  • Canned Fruit
  • Ravioli/Spaghetti O's
  • Beef Jerky
  • Protein Bars
  • Granola Bars
  • Cheezits
  • Goldfish Crackers
  • Hamburger/Tuna Helper
  • Protein Shakes
  • Frozen Burritos
  • Go-Gurts
  • P3
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Hot Pockets
  • Taco Kits
  • Women’s Shampoo & Conditioner

Pub Fosterhjem: A child has nothing to eat at school video graphic

Watch the Video DocumentYouTube video (above) titled "Pub Fostehjem: A child has nothing to eat at school." The goal of the Student Support Network is to remove these types of barriers for students to be able to fully engage in their education and be successful in school and in life.