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 supports to help overcome obstacles that may create barriers to learning for all students, ages 3-20.

What Services Are Available?

  • School supplies and/or backpacks
  • Before and after school mentoring
  • Academic support and tutoring
  • College admissions support, registration, FAFSA, scholarships, etc.
  • Clothing for school purposes
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Assistance with obtaining a driver’s license (Roadmap to Success Program)
  • General funds for extracurricular activities or interests
  • Referrals for housing, mental health, counseling, medical, transitional living, resources, job training, work programs, post-secondary education counseling, and training, etc.

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?

SSN serves students ages 3 – 20 in all schools throughout the school district. The SSN program works behind the scenes helping students to remain in their current school, maintaining school stability, as often as possible and when it is in the best interest of the child.

Any student who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate overnight residence (at any time during the school year) is 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

School staff involved in identifying students in transition include the on-site specialist, bus drivers, food service staff, counselors, school social workers, teachers, secretaries, administrators, parents, students, or by word of mouth. Once identified, students can begin receiving the services they need in order to stay in school and obtain the education they need.

Services Available

  • Support with school choice option
  • School supplies and/or backpacks
  • School transportation via school bus, BATA or gas card
  • School breakfast and lunch at no charge
  • Before and after school mentoring
  • Academic support and tutoring
  • Assistance in obtaining school records, including birth certificates and immunization records
  • College admissions support, registration, FAFSA, scholarships, etc.
  • Clothing for school purposes
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Assistance with obtaining a driver’s license (Roadmap to Success Program)
  • General funds for extracurricular activities or interests
  • Referrals for housing, mental health, counseling, medical, transitional living, resources, job training, work programs, post-secondary education counseling, and training, etc.

Community Resources Quick Links 

Food Assistance

Housing Assistance

Rent 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:

  • 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 may be eligible for services, including:

  • Transportation to school
  • School breakfast or lunch at no charge
  • Free school supplies
  • Academic support and tutoring
  • Help getting school records, including birth certificates and immunization records
  • Referrals for housing, health care and food
  • Referrals for other services

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 Liason
Regional Grand 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


For all TCAPS Elementary Schools the contact in your building is your School Social Worker. 

Blair: Misti Warner, LMSW, 231.933.5705,

Central Grade: Lauren Kiella, LMSW, 231.933.5952,

Cherry Knoll - M/Th/F: Mary Beth Peters, LMSW, 231.933.8990,

Courtade - T/Th: Jill Wicksall, LLMSW, 231.933.5833,

Eastern: Mary Wright, LMSW, 231.933.5932,

Eastern - M/T/W/Th: Kendra Kearney, LMSW, 231.933.5688,

Long Lake - Th/F: Jessie Kilpatrick, LMSW,

Long Lake - M/T: Mary Beth Peters, LMSW, 231.933.7838,

Montessori: M/W/F (a.m.): Jill Wicksall, LLMSW, 231.933.8533,

Silver Lake - M/Th: Kristin Sulecki, LMSW, 231.933.3590, 231.714.4549 (calls & texts)

Silver Lake - M/T/W: Jessie Kilpatrick, LMSW, 231.933.3543,

Traverse Heights - T/W/Th/F: Gretchen Evenhouse, LLMSW,  231.933.3543,

Traverse Heights: Esther Voisin, LLMSW, 231.933.3543,

Westwoods - T/W/F:  Kristin Sulecki, LMSW, 231.933.3590, 231.714.4549 (calls & texts),

Willow Hill: Jacqueline Glikman, LLMSW, 231.933.7838,

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.

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.

PDF DocumentHomeless Children & Youth: Causes and Consequences


What is the Student Support Network (SSN)?

  • The SSN provides tools for staff to effectively nurture and support students whose non-academic needs may create obstacles to high achievement.

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 Partner In Education 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.

Ongoing Needs - District Wide

  • Books - Before making any book donations please contact Stephie Luyt at to be sure that we do not already have it in our libraries. 
  • Basic short-sleeve tees (children & adult sizes)
  • Gym shoes (children's sizes)
  • Light jackets, zip-up sweatshirts
  • Gas cards
  • Grocery gift cards
  • Tissues
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Dry erase markers
  • Water bottles
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Erasers
  • Scissors
  • Pencils - MANY requests at secondary schools
  • Pens
  • Notebooks - single subject wide ruled

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

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.