Der Elternbrief
ISSUE 438 / DECEMBER 17, 2020
COVID Updates: Gov. Walz's Announcement
re: Schools & Holiday Guidance
Governor Walz's Announcement, Dec. 16, 2020
Yesterday Governor Walz announced changes to Minnesota's Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year intended to ease and accelerate the transition to in-person learning for our elementary school students, beginning with our youngest learners. 
Please know that today's announcement does NOT affect the TCGIS learning models for January.
  • As planned, we will remain in DISTANCE LEARNING for all students K-8 through at least Friday, January 29. 
  • We will continue to make the health and safety of our staff and students our first priority while also prioritizing in person learning for our youngest learners. 
  • Your Incident Response Team will announce plans for February’s learning model on Friday, January 8.  
Thank you for your ongoing support for our kids, our families and each other. 
A Safer Way to Celebrate Holidays and Mental Health Support
This holiday season MDH has updated their website with guidance about celebrating in a safer way with regard to activities and travel. Holidays can be exhausting. With added stressors this year it is especially important to look out for your mental well-being. You can find information and support concerning mental well-being at the MDH website. There is also a helpful PDF about how to reduce COVID-19 anxiety.
Other Recent Updates from MN Department of Health:
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 stay safe this Winter Break 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!
Schöne Winterferien!
We wish you and your family a wonderful winter break!

The Front Office will be closed from December 21 - January 1.
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!
December & January
Grades K-8 will continue in distance learning through January 29th.

The Incidence Response Team (IRT) will continue to monitor our statewide infection rates and will announce plans for February on January 8.
December Cultural Traditions
In December TCGIS students learn about holiday traditions. 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.
Happy Kwanzaa!
Kwanzaa begins December 26 and is celebrated for 7 days. Kwanzaa, which celebrates community, family, and culture, was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 to help African Americans connect with their African heritage and is now celebrated throughout the world African community. (Source
Did you know there are over 2000 languages spoken on the African continent? Swahili, which is spoken by millions on the African continent, is used for Kwanzaa. The name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase meaning "first fruits.” (Source)
There are 7 principles celebrated in Kwanzaa, one each day, and 7 symbols of Kwanzaa. (Source) 

The colors of Kwanzaa are a reflection of the Pan-African movement representing “unity” for peoples of African descent worldwide: Black for the people, red for the noble blood that unites all people of African ancestry, and green for the rich land of Africa. (Source) While the celebration is rooted in African culture, people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds are welcome to join in the celebration. 
School News & Updates
TOMORROW: Join us for Kaffeeklatsch at 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)
Student Pictures Due TOMORROW (12/18)
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
January Order Window for Take-Home Meal Kits Closes this Sunday, December 20
Remember to place your Take Home Meal Kit order for January! Pick-up days will be on Mondays.Please log on to our online store website Boonli to place your child's order. Please make sure to check out your cart to successfully place an order.  All orders must be submitted by midnight on Sunday, 12/20/2020. 
Questions? Please contact us at
Reminder to Submit Application of Educational Benefits for SY 20/21 by January 4, 2021
If your income situation has changed since last school year or due to the pandemic, and you have not yet submitted an application this school year, there is still time to apply for benefits! Please refer to this Household Income Guidelines table to find out if you might qualify for the free lunch program. If you are not sure, please contact Alex Weeding for assistance.
Your application matters! Not only does it help us support families in need by providing them with free or reduced-price school meals and Take Home Meal kits, your application also helps the school generate state aid. Students in households that meet the free or reduced price meal income guidelines will generate compensatory revenue for our school. These applications may also make teachers in your school eligible for the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program if they have outstanding college loans.

For additional information (Q&A, income limits, instructions) please refer to our Info letter or contact with any questions.

Please email your completed Application for Educational Benefits to or return to the office by January 4th: TCGIS, Attn: Alex Weeding, Food Service Coordinator, 1031 Como Ave, St. Paul, MN 55103
Pandemic-EBT Benefits for Families
Students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals may be eligible for Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) to purchase food for days they are not in the school building. To be considered, households must submit an application for free or reduced-price meals for the 2020-21 school year or be approved for Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Families who received P-EBT benefits last summer are not
automatically eligible; eligibility is based on the current school year. Benefits may be retroactive to September 2020, depending on when eligibility for free or reduced-price meals is determined. To ensure you qualify for the most benefits, please submit your application as soon as possible.
Parent Council Update: December Meeting
On Monday, 12/14/2020, the Parent Council met via Zoom. 
We heard from Sam Imbo, our board liaison. Director Ted Anderson shared news about the school's work in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); updates about the payroll protection plan loan and its budget impact; gratitude for our very generous community; and updates on a communications roadmap for families. Dean Zehnpfennig shared updates about the middle school health curriculum. In our closed session we discussed topics ranging from subcommittee updates to how to support TCGIS families. We also formally approved our Parent Council charter which will help guide our group in the future. Read more about all of these udpates in this summary.
In closing, we wish you health, hope, and peace over the winter break and in the new year. As always, if you have anything you’d like the Parent Council to address, please email your class representative or the PC at
Gemeinsam sind wir stark! Together we are strong!
Thanks to the generosity of more than 165 donors, TCGIS has received $63,930 for the Annual Fund so far! Herzlichen Dank!

Families who still have credit in Boonli from last spring were emailed yesterday about three options for their credits: a refund; donating to the Annual Fund; or rolling over credits to 21/22.

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!
Library Updates
Current due dates for library books
ALL books that were checked out in Sept/Oct are due back by this Friday, Dec. 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 playground entrance!

Our Library page has a new look!
Have you visited our library webpage recently? View what's in our library, our Story Time schedule, our Surprise Guest Readers, and more!

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

LIVE story time:  Our next live story time takes place on Monday, January 4 at 2:45 pm. Follow this link to tune in! (Zoom passcode: ic2pSG)
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, "Deutsch ist fantastisch!" 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.
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 (
XC and Track Team Website
Our new and improved team website is up and running with coach bios and media as well as our favorite running routes. Check it out here!
PTO Updates: Staff Appreciation, Simpls Fundraiser
Danke! Danke! Danke!
Thank you all so much for your generosity in donating money towards the gift cards for staff. We are calculating totals and will update soon! 
Last call for Simpls Soup!
Our fundraiser ends on Dec. 20 so it's time to get those last minute soup orders in. Order now with the promo code TCGIS and they will deliver right to your door! Also this week enter coupon code GIFT20 in addition to the code TCGIS to get 20% off gift packages! Place your order today at
School Board Announcements
Special Board Meeting Summary: December 16
The School Board held a special meeting on December 16 at 6:30 PM. They voted to approve the spending of forgiven funds from the PPP loan. The recording of the meeting can be viewed here.

Special Board Meeting: January 7
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;
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
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!
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
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. 18: School Pictures due; Kaffeeklatsch 9:00am
Dec. 21 - Jan. 1: Winter Break
Jan. 4 - 29: All grades in Distance Learning
Jan. 8: Incident Response Team Decision re: February Learning Plan