Elternbrief
Issue: 408             
April 9, 2020 
In This Issue

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Message from the Director
Schöne Frühjahrsgrüße von Herrn Anderson

Videogruß vom Direktor 09. April 2020
Videogruß vom Direktor 09. April 2020
School Board Announcements
Message to TCGIS Educators 

Herzlichen Dank ( heartfelt thanks ) to our TCGIS educators for your amazing work and dedication to creating and implementing an equitable distance learning plan for the children. It is evident how much thought, time, energy, and love went into preparing videos, worksheets, Google classrooms, Zoom check-ins, virtual office hours, tech support and so much more for our students and families. With the first week of distance learning nearly complete, we want you to know how impressed we are with your talent as educators. We thoroughly appreciate your adaptability and dedication to making this a success.  Thank you for providing ongoing education and support to your students during this unprecedented and uncertain time. You are amazing and inspirational. Our school is incredibly fortunate to have each and every one of you as an educator at TCGIS.
-TCGIS Board of Directors
March Board Meeting Summary 

The TCGIS school board held a virtual meeting on March 26. The audio recording is available here .
  • The board heard a presentation by Director Anderson on the equitable distance learning plans, which were implemented this week.
  • Director Anderson presented a Q3 summary of key performance indicators for school operations and student success.
  • The 8th grade DSD1 exam normally includes an oral exam.  The school has not received any information on how or when that portion of the exam will be administered.
  • The board approved minor revisions to next year's school calendar to correct clerical errors.  The number of school days next year did not change.
  • The board discussed the feasibility of continued fundraising for the school.  The school's needs for professional development funds and capital investments in the new building remain the same, although many families' financial situations have changed.  Give MN (the Give to the Max organization you are familiar with) is orchestrating a 'virtual' fundraising event for non-profits and schools in Minnesota called #GiveAtHomeMN taking place May 1-8.  They are still in the planning stages for this but TCGIS will participate in this event as well.  Stay tuned for more information coming soon! 
  • The Finance Committee reported that enrollment is expected to be approximately 610 students, and the committee is working on a budget assuming a conservative estimated student population of 600 students.
  • The Finance Committee is also waiting to hear from the bus company and MN Dept of Education on how the school closure will affect the bus contract.
  • Board Chair Alkatout presented a summary of board member volunteer hours, averaging a total of 1.4 FTEs (231 hours) per month by board members (average of 21 hours per board member each month). 
  • For next year, the board seeks a Diversity & Belonging committee chair and a TCGIS teacher member.
Upcoming Committee Meetings

Here are the scheduled upcoming committee meetings.  Please contact the committee chair for meeting login details.  Meetings will be virtual until further notice.

Workplace Culture Committee:  Fri, April 10, 3:45pm, contact llinnell@tcgis.org
Governance Committee: Mon April 13, 3:30pm, contact sforsland@tcgis.org
Communications Committee: Tues April 14, 8:15am, contact riwen@tcgis.org
Diversity Task Force: Tues April 21, 3:45pm, contact riwen@tcgis.org
Finance & Facilities Committee: Tues April 21, 6:30pm, contact rheid@tcgis.org
Executive Committee: Wed April 22, 6:30pm, contact jalkatout@tcgis.org
April school board meeting: Thurs April 30, 6:30pm, contact jalkatout@tcgis.org
Call for Nominations & Applications to the School Board

By serving on the TCGIS School Board, YOU can help our school, strengthen connections within our community, and make important decisions that affect the future.The work of the Board ensures that TCGIS provides a meaningful education and experience for all students.

This year, the community will elect FIVE board members to each serve a three year term . We seek any interested persons ( parents, teachers, and community members ), especially those with experience in management & leadership, diversity & inclusion, financial compliance, education, board governance, legal matters, and marketing & development. 

If you are interested in serving or would like to nominate someone to serve, all details and forms are available through the links below. You do not need to be nominated to apply.

If you have questions or want to talk to a current board member about the role, responsibilities, and expectations, feel free to contact any of the current Board members . Send your nominations or applications to Stephanie Forsland (sforsland@tcgis.org) .

Important Dates
April 18 : All nominations and applications due by 4:45 pm. Send via email to Stephanie Forsland ( sforsland@tcgis.org ) or drop off in the school office. 
TBD: Meet the Candidates Forum
May 11-15: Board elections, drop off all ballots by 4:45 pm on Friday, May 15. 

Board Elections FAQ 2020 (including detailed timeline)
School Information
Sending your Family some Goodness and Joy

The last few weeks have been a true  Achterbahn  (roller coaster) for everyone. Recognizing that music can help us all through challenging and uncertain times,  TCGIS teachers Jon Dahl, Suzanne Hall, Landyn Heimerl, and Scot Stephenson recorded this song to share some joy and connection with our community.

This song, Guten Tag, liebes Glück, has a wondeful message about choosing to find goodness and joy in each day. Have a listen with your child(ren). Maybe it can become an anthem for your family, too? 

Guten Tag, liebes Glück - Final Version
Guten Tag, liebes Glück - Final Version
All-School Updates: A survey and important links 

We have almost completed our first week of distance-learning - and we're eager to hear how it's going for your family. Please take moment to fill out this survey to let us know what's working and what areas need more work. Your feedback helps us form a complete picture of how things are working school-wide so we can make necessary changes and keep improving distance-learning for students, families and teachers. Vielen Dank! 

Here are links to useful pages you may wish to bookmark for easy reference: 


In case you missed any of the email updates this past two weeks, find them here:

Daily Attendance: PLEASE READ

To stay in compliance with Minnesota statutes, TCGIS resumed taking attendance as of Monday, April 6. Through the distance-learning period, attendance will be taken via this  Google Form  filled out daily by parentsWe encourage families to bookmark this form to the browser your student(s) use for distance-learning. 

Please enter Attendance for EACH of your child(ren) DAILY before 11:59 p.m. You no longer need to select the date, rather we will use the timestamp for your entry as the attendance date. If you forget to enter attendance one day, simply email the front office to let us know (info@tcgis.org).  If you would like to receive a daily email reminder to enter attendance, you can opt in to reminder emails by filling out a brief form here

Attendance data is entered into PowerSchool the following day by front office staff. If you opted-in to receive attendance notifications for your child(ren) from PowerSchool, please note that these notifications will now be for the day prior

Thank you for taking the time to do this each day. For perspective: the elementary school teachers interface with approx. 24 students, specialists interface with between 280-320 students and middle school teachers interface with approx. 120 students. By directly reporting attendance to the office through this form, you are saving our teachers this significant administrative task, allowing them to focus on educating your child(ren). 

Did you know? On Monday, April 6 nearly every TCGIS parent reported attendance! This gives us the ability to say to the State of Minnesota what our participation rate is. The collaboration between parents and the front office staff can provide this crucial information and allow teachers to focus on instruction. Thank you for supporting TCGIS this way.
Addressing Privacy Concerns with Zoom  

There's been a lot of media coverage lately with concern about Zoom, the conferencing software that TCGIS is using for our Distance Learning efforts. The concern has largely been focused around "Zoombombing", which is a phenomenon of people accessing Zoom meetings and causing disruptions. This was largely allowed by users posting links to meetings publicly online, which is something that TCGIS is NOT doing. 

All links to TCGIS learning sessions are sent to your student's school accounts, nothing will be posted publicly, ever. Additionally, Zoom has been incredibly responsive to these concerns and just yesterday rolled out a new update with enhanced security measures, including always starting each meeting with a waiting room for teachers to control who is allowed into the session and more granular controls over access in general.

Privacy is of the utmost importance to us and please know that we are doing everything we can to ensure a productive and secure learning environment for our students.
 
Weekly Meal Pick-up for Qualifying Families 

TCGIS will continue to provide meals to qualifying families with weekly pick-up on Mondays. If your family is experiencing loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic, your child/ren may qualify for free or reduced price lunches. To apply, please complete an Application for Educational Benefits  and contact Alex Weeding at  aweeding@tcgis.org . Should your family qualify, we will add you to our weekly meal distribution at our OPC cafeteria.
Attention St. Paul Residents: 
Applications now available for the Saint Paul Bridge Fund

Applications are now open for the Saint Paul Bridge Fund, which will provide emergency relief for families and small businesses most impacted by COVID-19.  Apply by April 19 at 5 p.m. at   stpaul.gov/bridge-fund  

Grant Application Guidelines and Process 

Eligibility for Families 

Grants to residents are targeted to ensure families can remain in secure and stable housing. Eligible families include those who: 
  • Live in Saint Paul; 
  • Have incomes at or below 40% of area median income (or $40,000 annually for a family of four) before a COVID-19-related change in employment; 
  • Have at least one minor child under 18 present in the household; and 
  • Have experienced a significant loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  
Additional resources
The Saint Paul Bridge Fund includes funds provided by The Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority and private donors including the Baird, Bush Foundation, Ecolab Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Securian Foundation, Minnesota United FC, Minnesota Wild, the Saint Paul &  Minnesota Foundation, and the Xcel Energy Foundation.   
Health Office Update for 11 year-old Students:
Current Vaccination Records Needed

If your child is 11 years old and/or entering 7th grade next school year, Minnesota State Statute 121A.15 requires your student to have a dose of the Tdap and Meningococcal vaccine to return to school. If you choose to opt out you may file a medical exemption signed by a health care provider or a non-medical exemption signed by a parent/guardian, and notarized (vaccine needs to be specified). Please return completed immunization documentation to TCGIS once available, but not later than August 15th, 2020 via: 
  • email to info@tcgis.org
  • U.S. mail to school (1031 Como Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103) ATTN : Monika Avery
Vielen Dank!
Monika Avery, Health Services
Kinderclub Updates for April 2020 

TCGIS will continue to provide care for students of Emergency Workers, First Responders and Essential Workers starting April 6th. You may review the list of eligible workers  here

If you will continue or need to start care at TCGIS please fill out this form  by Monday, April 13 .  As a reminder we will provide care for your school-aged students between the ages of 5-12.
Construction Updates  

This week construction on the new building was moving forward at a strong pace. The last pieces of the precast walls have been placed. The foyer, as well as the rest of the structure have all the metal decking in place and are waiting for concrete. Polished concrete will make up most of the flooring in the building.  The foundation received waterproofing and is being backfilled in some places. 

Plumbers, electricians and mechanical subs are also on site at this time. The insulation for the roof deck was delivered and placed on top of the building. 

Als long as the construction sector remains free to continue working and the weather holds, everything should keep moving forward as planned.

Andy Nesset
TCGIS Facilities and Grounds
 


Re-Enrollment Survey for All Current TCGIS Families

Please respond to our 2020-2021  re-enrollment survey  if you have not done so already. Thank you so much to those of you who have responded, we're only missing about 130 students! This survey is optional but it is enormously helpful for TCGIS in planning our class compositions.
Enrichment Activities Spring Session

If you have not yet received a cancellation email and a refund, then your class is continuing remotely and the instructor should have been in touch with you about organizing that. If you would prefer not to participate in the activity remotely or if you have any questions, please contact info@tcgis.org, ATTN: Clarissa Herman and we will refund your registration promptly.
History Day: Congratulations, TCGIS Students!  

Congratulations to our TCGIS students who have advanced to the State History Day Competition:
  • Eleanor - 8th grade - Individual Exhibit - "From Epidemic to Eradication" 
  • Leni and Lydia - 8th grade - Group Exhibit - "The Invention of Frequency Hopping" 
  • Freja, Lucy, and Tova - 8th grade - Group Exhibit - "Loving vs. Virginia" 
  • Bruno - 7th grade - Individual Performance - "Scopes Monkey Trial"
  • Soleil - 7th grade - Individual Performance - "Rosie the Riveter"
  • Annika, Erin, and Neave - 6th grade - "Ann Bancroft"
Congratulations as well to those who received honorable mention at the Metro Junior Central Regional History Day Competition:
  • Gretchen, Jonah, and Sophie - 8th grade - Group Website - "The Stonewall Riots"
  • Eileen - 6th grade - Individual Website - "Kathrine Switzer and Her Gender Barrier Breaking Run" 
  • Carolyn - 7th grade - Research Paper - "Amelia Earhart Breaking Barriers in History: Flying Solo Across the Atlantic Ocean and Striving for Gender Equality"
  • Sofia R - 6th grade - Individual Exhibit - "Hubert Humphrey and the Civil Rights Act of 1964"
  • Szofia and Bea - 7th grade - Group Exhibit - "The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks"
  • Thomas and Gavin - 8th grade - Group Documentary - "The Buckeye Bullet: Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics" 
Don't have your Yearbook yet?  

Order one today at  jostens.com !  Yearbooks are currently $25 dollars.    
PTO Updates 
Strudel Sale  Extended! 
Now open until April 11th, b uy a delicious Ruhland's Strudel - savory or sweet AND support our school at the same time! Order your Strudels here

Open PTO Exec Team Positions
for 2020-2021 School Year
For the 2020-2021 school year, there will be a some positions opening on the Exec team! Are you interested in getting more involved? Do you have expertise in marketing, finance, education or fundraising? We would love to get in touch with you! Email  tcgispto@gmail.com  if you are interested!

TCGIS Maskenball 2020 - More info coming. 
Community Events: Updates 
GAI: Summer Camp & Language Course Registration Open 
 
The GAI is offering a variety of online programs & classes.  Our website has the most current information & updates:  https://gai-mn.org/
 
Summer Camp registration is still open & ongoing 
Hopefully the guidelines will allow us to proceed, and we will provide updates with any new information.  We have enough space at the GAI to spread out, should that be necessary, and our camps are relatively small. 

The  2020 GAI German Summer Camp  program for children (ages 5-13) will  take  p lace June 22 - August 28 at the GAI. 

Each camp will last one week (M-F) and is centered around a fun, highly-interactive theme . TCGIS families can register at 'member'  rates.

German beginners to bilingual campers are welcome, as different activities will be offered according to the children's language skills. Teachers and children will speak, hear, sing, and create in German while exploring subjects including arts & crafts, geography, cooking, science, photography and more. Half-day, Full-Day, and Extended Care Options available.  Click  here  for details and to register.
Summer Camps & Activities
Girls Excel in Math (GEMs) Summer Camp 

Missy Morrissey (Middle School) is offering GEMs, a summer math camp for girls, with support from the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Student Chapter at the University of Minnesota during the week August 17th-21st.

Register online here!

Who: All students entering grades 1-8
What: GEMs Summer Math camp
Where: University of Minnesota,Vincent Hall
When: August 17th-21st, 2020, from 9am-12pm.
Cost: $150 (daily snack provided)

Deadline for Registration: June 14th, 2020
Deadline for Payment: August 1st, 2020

Contact Missy Morrissey  gemsummercamp@gmail.com with questions.  
St. Paul Parks & Rec Summer Sign-ups

Click on this link to access a Google Drive folder with information about Summer Park and Rec Activity Camps at North Dale, Northwest Como and Langford Park Recreation Centers. Click on this link to see a complete list of camps offered at these three locations. 
Vienna Community Arts Summer Studio
  
Vienna is at TCGIS and in Maplewood this Summer!

We offer music lessons for new and continuing students in piano, classical guitar, ukulele (new) and violin/viola.  Extended Lessons, Buddy Lessons, Creative Projects, Parent-Child Duets. 

Have some musical fun this summer with Vienna!
Call or e-mail for details: 612-505-2892 or  vcaherbert@gmail.com
Parent &  Family Resources 
Family Resources 

Prepare your family and household:
Practice social distancing:
Take care of yourself and your family's behavioral health: 
Free and reduced internet options:
  • Reduced cost internet ($9.95) is available to families who have at least 1 student who receives free & reduced lunch. https://internetessentials.com/
  • Families who need free or low-cost internet services can contact Comcast (call 855-846-8376) and CenturyLink (call 888-833-9522).  TCGIS does not endorse either of these services. 
These and more resources can be found on this new page on our website:

German Enrichment Resources  

Looking for ways to keep your child(ren) engaged in German? Check out this new webpage with resources in various media and subject-areas. Check back often for the Video des Tages!