Der Elternbrief
ISSUE 437 / DECEMBER 10, 2020
COVID Updates: More Testing Options
& New Quarantine Rules
New quarantine guidance concerning close contacts
We follow Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidance and received an update concerning quarantine for people exposed to someone with COVID-19, also known as close contacts, integrating the new recommendations from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Depending on the individual situation the quarantine maybe shortened from 14 days to 10 days or even 7 days in special situations. Please reach out to our Health Services Associate (Monika Avery) or our Director of Operations and HR (Ashley Weston Miller) with any questions.
COVID testing event at the Blaine National Sports Center
This even, occurring through Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., has the capacity to test 10,000 people over the course of 5-6 days. Learn more here or here (pdf). The event is being supported by the National Guard and the Federal Government. It is a drive-up site and the tests are a self-administered nasal swab. Medical professionals will not administer the test. Anyone unable to swab themselves will need to be assisted by someone in their vehicle.

Pre-registration is not required, but is highly encouraged. Registration is also available on site, but pre-registration will minimize wait times. Those who pre-register should bring their printed voucher with them to the testing site. Those that don’t have access to a printer will need to fill out a voucher at the testing site. Please note that anyone under 18 years old will need the consent of their parent/guardian in order to be tested at this event.
Decision Tree Update
Minnesota Department of Health released an updated Decision Tree on Dec. 1, 2020Please review these updates particularly focused on isolating from house members when testing positive for Covid-19 (whenever possible) and length of isolation. 

Stay Safe MN: at-home COVID-19 test available
Additionally to the testing sites, Minnesota and Vault Medical Services offer at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for everyone, with or without symptoms, at no cost. After ordering you receive the test delivered to your house and when you are ready to take the test, you will log in to access the Vault virtual waiting room and do a video visit with a Vault test supervisor. After sending the test back to the lab you receive the result in 24-48 hours.

TCGIS Community: We thank you for your continued support by working to keep our school community and state safe! Please continue to uphold our school's Community Pledge and read these updates. If you have any questions or concerns concerning Covid-19 policies and procedures at TCGIS, please contact Monika Avery ( and Ashley Weston Miller (
Note: If you don't see the calendar at the end of your Elternbrief, the message has been clipped and you may need to click "View entire message" to see the entire Elternbrief. Danke!
Distance Learning
Distance Learning Schedule: Parent Survey
In our commitment to monitoring and adjusting our programming, please take a few moments to complete this survey about distance learning schedules. Vielen Dank!
DL Calendar Dec-Jan
December & January
Grades K-8 will continue in distance learning through at least January 22nd. The Incidence Response Team (IRT) will continue to monitor our statewide infection rates and will officially determine the end of January's learning model at a later date.
December Cultural Traditions
In December TCGIS students learn about holiday traditions in the German-speaking countries. Since we aren't able to share these traditions in person this year, we want to share their background with you here in case your family would like to learn about them together this year.
Frohes Chanukkah! Hanukkah begins this evening.
Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of light. Each family has their own way of celebrating this festive time, but one thing for sure is that all families light the Menorah. Hanukkah celebrates the time when a small group of Jews called the Maccabees drove the Syrian-Greeks from the holy land and reclaimed the holy temple in Jerusalem. When the Jews went to the temple to light the Menorah there was only enough oil there to last for one day but the oil ended up lasting for eight days. This is the reason why Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days. (Learn 8 facts about Hannukka here.)
Hanukkah Dreidel Sufganiyot
Some of the traditions of Hanukkah are eating oily food like sufganiyot (donuts) or latkes (potato pancakes). Children are given a small gift each night to celebrate the festival. Families also play the dreidel game which uses a 4-sided spinning top. As is with all cultures, celebrating with family and friends is the most wonderful part of Hanukkah!

Click here to see how Hanukkah will be celebrated (safely) around the world this year, including a live-stream candle-lighting at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Saturday! Frohes Chanukkah!
School News & Updates
Tomorrow is Inside-Out Day for students and staff!
Thanks to the generosity of more than 165 donors, TCGIS has received $57,230 for the Annual Fund so far! Herzlichen Dank!

Tomorrow we celebrate suspassing the $30,000 milestone with Inside-Out Day - the wackier the outfits, the merrier!

Next week Tanzpartys (dance parties!) will take place virtually, often by grade rather than by class. Details will be shared in the Klassenbrief or emails from your EKs.

After Winter Break we will announce the guided field trips to international museums in celebration of surpassing our $55,000 milestone!

End-of-year Donations
December is an excellent time to make those last tax-deductible donations of the year, and to amplify your donation through employer giving programs. Recurring donations are now an option when you donate through the TCGIS online giving form. Thank you for thinking of TCGIS in your giving plans!
Join us for Kaffeeklatsch next Friday, Dec. 18, 9:00am
Join Board Chair Julie Alkatout and Director Ted Anderson as they host the final (virtual) Kaffeeklatsch of 2020 before Winter Break. Grab a warm beverage and meet new TCGIS community members in the breakout rooms and chat with school leaders. 
Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
(Meeting ID: 843 3164 0505; Passcode: 1S1Xr0
Great Gatherings, Reimagined!
Until we can gather again in person safely, let's organize safe and social activities for students, families, teachers and staff that tap into the considerable creativity we have in the TCGIS community. In the spirit of the TCGIS PTO Auction Great Gatherings, we're seeking new and fun ways to keep our community engaged and connected during this unusual school year (think virtual book clubs, Zoom cooking classes, Netflix TeleParty viewing, online trivia, virtual Kaffeeklatsch)!

Please use this spreadsheet below to get started. If you need help getting your idea off the ground, please contact board member Lisa Linnell ( or Herr Tabisz (
New Resources for Prospective TCGIS Families 
Do you have friends or relatives looking at Kindergarten or a new school for their child(ren) next year? Do people sometimes ask you, "Why German?" We have some great new resources for prospective TCGIS families, including a new enrollment page, a virtual school tour and now a new video, "Why German?" Sharing what you love about TCGIS with your friends is the most effective way to spread the word about our great school. Vielen Dank!

We are also still accepting applications for this school year in grades 1-3, and 5-8.
Do you have a kindergartner joining us next year?
If you will have a Kindergartner or a NEW student joining us next year, click here to fill out the 21/22 application for them or mail a paper application. The enrollment window is open now until the deadline on February 22, 2021. Siblings of currently-attending TCGIS students receive sibling preference for enrollment; for more information about TCGIS' enrollment process, please visit our enrollment webpage. Please direct any questions to Clarissa Herman at
Student Yearbook Photos Due December 18!
We want to be sure we have your students' photos for the yearbook! Please submit your child's photo by Dec. 18.
Click here for instructions (pdf) and then use this link to upload a photo of your child, labeled with his/her/their name as part of the file name, that will be added to the TCGIS 2020-21 Yearbook! 

While you're on the Jostens website uploading your child's photo, you can also order a yearbook!

  • Choose an outfit that your child feels comfortable wearing
  • No filters, please!
  • Solid backgrounds other than black or white are best
  • Long sleeves usually look better than short sleeves
  • Have your child wear their glasses if they prefer
  • Avoid hats & excessive accessories
We're planning for summer camp already!
TCGIS will offer summer camps in 2021 in collaboration with the GAI. In order to help us plan better, please fill out this short survey . Thank you!
Library Updates
Reserving Library Materials
Would you like new library books before winter break? Fill out this form to get new materials for next week!

Current due dates for library books
HYBRID: All books that were checked out in Sept/Oct should now be returned.
DISTANCE: Due next week! Dec. 14-18
Along with Friday materials pick-ups, you can now drop off books anytime during school hours at our book drop-off bin, located at the top of the stairs by the main entrance!

December Surprise Guest
Keep an eye on our Facebook page and library website next Friday to see who is our December Surprise Guest! They will be reading a holiday-themed book. Clues as to who our surprise guest could be will be posted on our page early next week.

LIVE story time:  Our last story time before winter break will be Thursday, December 17 at 2:45 pm. Follow this link to tune in! (Zoom passcode: E1m1L0)
PTO Updates: Staff Appreciation, Simpls Fundraiser
Want to show your appreciation to teachers and staff but don't know where to begin, or are crunched for time? Let the PTO do the work for you!

While we are in full distance-learning, the PTO isn't able to host the annual Winter catered lunch for teachers and staff. In its place, we would like to send gift cards for a food delivery service like DoorDash to teachers and staff so they can have a meal delivered to their home instead. This is where we need your help! We do have funds set aside for this, but in order to provide at least a $25 card to all staff, we need some help!

We will use any funds donated at this link, including the amount that the PTO has already budgeted for the annual catered lunch, and divide the total amount equally between teachers and staff. The gift cards will be given from both the PTO & TCGIS Families. The deadline for submitting a monetary donation is through Wednesday, Dec.16th. We've made donating through this link fast and easy and we'll keep you updated throughout the process. Thank you!
Have you ordered your soup yet?
We have just 10 days left as our fundraiser closes on Dec. 20. For every quart of soup that you purchase between Monday, Nov. 23rd - Sunday, Dec. 20th, we earn a portion of the sales! Order now at, with the promo code TCGIS, and you can try out a few and still have time to order some favorites for Winter Break. They deliver to your door within a few days of ordering, and you can schedule later deliveries for gifts as well!
School Board Announcements
Special Board Meetings
There will be a special meeting of the School Board on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 PM to approve the spending of forgiven funds from the PPP loan. The December meeting agenda can be viewed here.

Another special meeting will be held on Thursday, January 7 at 6:30 PM to discuss the Executive Director contract. The meeting will be held in closed session. The January meeting agenda can be viewed here.

Upcoming Meetings
Please email the committee email addresses listed below for each meeting’s login details. You can find links to the new committee charters here. All are welcome to join committee meetings!

Diversity & Belonging Cmte: Tues. Dec. 15, 3:45 PM;
Finance Cmte: Tues. Dec. 15, 6:30 PM;
Mission & School Culture Cmte: Wed. Jan. 6, 3:45 PM;
Special Board Meeting: Thurs. Jan. 7, 6:30 PM;
Governance & Leadership Dev. Cmte: Mon. Jan. 11, 4:30 PM;
Communication & Outreach Cmte: Tues. Jan. 12, 8:30 AM;
Diversity & Belonging Cmte: Tues. Jan. 19, 3:45 PM;
Finance Cmte: Tues. Jan. 19, 6:30 PM;
Cmte of the Whole: Wed. Jan. 20, 6:30 PM;
January Board Meeting: Thurs. Jan. 28, 6:30 PM;
Technology assistance available to all families
Did you know about the TCGIS Technical Assistance Form? It's in every student's TCGIS Bookmarks folder in Chrome, and also on our homepage under Fall Learning Plan, and can be used to get help with any technical issues you might be experiencing with anything from websites to devices. Don't hesitate to reach out!
Printed Materials Pickup: Fridays from 2:00-3:00pm
If your child's teacher has indicated there are materials to pick up this week, you can pick up printed materials and other resources for distance learners from 2:00-3:00 PM on Friday afternoons at the Westeingang (west entrance) near the new parking lot. Weather permitting, pickup will take place outside; otherwise inside the large entrance space at the Westeingang.
NEW: If you are unable to pickup materials on Fridays between 2:00-3:00, materials will be available for pick-up at a table located in the main foyer near the doors to the playground. Parents must email the teacher when they plan to pick up materials so that the teacher(s) can leave the materials on the table for that day. There is also a library book drop-off bin at this table. We appreciate any library books that can be dropped off each Friday at materials pick-up. Vielen Dank!
News from the GAI
Winter Session German Classes
Registration is now open—all classes will be online.
Get 10% off Winter Session classes through December 31!
From beginners to advanced students, the GAI offers high quality German instruction for all ages. You’ll get personal attention from live instructors in real time. Winter session adult classes begin January 11. Samstagsschule begins February 6. Register at
Kinderstube German Immersion Preschool is hiring!
Interested in working with the Twin Cities' youngest German immersion learners AND working in an environment that values community and work-life balance? Kinderstube is hiring for a full-time position beginning in January 2021. 

If you or someone you know are interested, please apply soon! Interviews will be scheduled for mid-December. To learn more about the preschool and the application process, click here. Job description here.
Student Enrichment
German Tutors for TCGIS Students
TCGIS has built a list of local university/college students interested in virtual private tutoring in German for TCGIS students. We update this Google spreadsheet of tutors regularly. Learn more here.
Enrich your family life with more German at home
Check out the updated German Enrichment Page for excellent resources for kids of all ages. There really is something for everyone, so please take some time to visit the enrichment site with your kids!
Dec. 11: All-school Inside-Out Day
Week of Dec. 14: Grade-level Tanzpartys
Dec. 18: School Pictures due; Kaffeeklatsch 9:00am
Dec. 21 - Jan. 1: Winter Break