Der Elternbrief
ISSUE 443 / FEBRUARY 4, 2021
Incident Response Team (IRT) Updates
Vaccine Roll out to TCGIS Staff
To date, 38% of TCGIS staff have received their 1st dose of vaccine. This week, Minnesota implemented a new process to contact educators and school staff directly when more vaccines become available. The school is no longer required to prioritize weekly vaccine allocations. Please continue advocating for educators and school staff to quickly receive vaccines by participating in the TCGIS Board’s letter writing campaign to Governor Walz.
Potential for Entire Class Quarantines
As we work hard to keep our community as safe as possible by following all the mitigations suggested by the Minnesota Department of Health, we anticipate entire classrooms needing to quarantine. If there is a positive Covid-19 case in an in person classroom, the entire class will enter quarantine and distance learning for 14 days. Our Director of Operations/HR and Health Services Associate will continue to closely track any lab-confirmed positive Covid-19 cases in our building and will partner with MDH in closely monitoring our school.
COVID tests for returning students recommended by MDH
To help prevent classroom quarantines, we offer optional on-site COVID testing for TCGIS staff every 2 weeks. We strongly encourage families to proactively test children for COVID before learning onsite, and periodically after that, even when symptom-free. On Thursday, Jan. 21, the Minnesota Department of Health announced updated COVID-19 testing recommendations. MDH's new guidelines focus primarily on young Minnesotans — especially those ages 12-25. The recommendations expand the category of people who should get tested to include students returning to school, youth sports, or extracurricular activities, among others.

Minnesota has an extensive statewide testing operation. Parents and guardians have several ways in which they can access no-barrier testing for their children outside of school. This includes more than 20 community testing sites, a mail-order at-home test program, and clinics and hospitals across the state. Reminder: tests remain no-cost to the individual but they are asked to provide their insurance information so the state can seek reimbursement from insurance companies.
Please direct any questions to Ashley Weston Miller: awestonmiller@tcgis.org
Symptom Checking Before School
If your student is learning onsite, please remember to check them for Covid-19 symptoms before sending them to school. Please keep your student home if they are sick. You can refer to the decision tree from MDH for details of how the school will respond to close contacts or individuals with symptoms.

Check for the following symptoms every morning:
  • More common symptoms are one or more of these: fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; new cough or a cough that gets worse; difficulty/hard time breathing; and new loss of taste or smell. 
  • Less common symptoms are two or more of these: sore throat; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; chills; muscle pain; extreme fatigue/feeling very tired; new severe/very bad headache; and new nasal congestion/stuffy or runny nose.
MN Department of Health & CDC Guidance
TCGIS IRT members attend weekly briefings with the Minnesota Department of Health. The IRT is committed to sharing information with the TCGIS community as it becomes available. This week, a summary of a study on COVID cases and transmission in schools in Wisconsin was presented by MDH. This study described that among 17 rural Wisconsin schools, reported student mask-wearing was high, and the COVID-19 incidence among students and staff members was 37% lower than in the county overall (3,453 versus 5,466 per 100,000). Among 191 cases identified in students and staff members, only seven (3.7%) cases, all among students, were linked to in-school spread. No spread is known to have occurred to or from staff in school despite some times with high community spread. During the study period, positive test rates in the community ranged from 7%-40%. For comparison, the current MN statewide positivity rate is 7.1%. MDH reiterated the importance of mitigation efforts in schools, which TCGIS is fully committed to maintain and monitor. Here is a link to the study.
Privacy Note
The IRT would also like to take this opportunity to underscore the role of privacy in all conversations regarding COVID. Please remember employers are not allowed to divulge personal health information and details. Holding the balance between individual privacy rights and transparency with regard to community communication presents an on-going challenge. We are thankful for the patience and understanding shown by our community members with regard to this matter.
TCGIS teachers and staff are preparing to welcome students back to in-person learning in February and March. In today's Elternbrief you will find information about arrival and dismissal procedures and updating PikMyKid. If your student(s) will return in person in February, please read these items carefully.
Advocate for Vaccinating Educators
Minnesota has begun vaccinating educators, including some TCGIS educators, against COVID-19. We are encouraged by this progress but know that the vaccine roll-out to educators needs to happen more quickly and more smoothly, especially as schools are starting to reopen.
We appreciate TCGIS families who have already contacted Governor Walz in support of vaccinations for teachers and hope you will continue to show your support for them.
Please thank Governor Walz for making educators a priority and ask him to accelerate the effort until all Minnesota educators have been vaccinated.
Please use the contact link HERE to submit a letter to the Governor.
A few thought-starters:
  • Minnesota’s educators have made heroic efforts over the last year to provide stability and normalcy to students through this global pandemic. Vaccination against COVID-19 is vital to restoring in-person learning models and keeping them open.
  • Vaccinating teachers ensures a safer work environment for them, enabling them to do their best work educating Minnesota’s students. Protections afforded by the vaccine are not just physical; they are vital contributions to total workplace wellbeing.
  • The stability provided by schools and educators is critical to students’ mental and emotional health, as well as the wellbeing of their families. Teacher vaccinations are a critically important tool in keeping schools open and learning models stable for the remainder of the school year.
  • We have asked a lot of our teachers this year. Please show how much Minnesota appreciates them and everything they do for the children. Help them get back to where they want to be: in the classroom with their students.
School News & Updates
Note: If you don't see the calendar at the end of your Elternbrief, the message has been clipped and you must click "View entire message" to see the full Elternbrief. Danke!
Arrival & Dismissal 
Curbside Drop-off & Pick-up
As you wait in line to pull into the loading zone (directly in front of our school building) please avoid blocking streets, driveways or alleys along Van Slyke. Students may only exit or enter the car within the loading zone, so please be patient and wait until you're able to pull into that area. Please resist pulling in ahead of someone in the loading zone, even if you see an opening ahead; the entire line will move up once the cars in the zone have finished (un-)loading. Vielen Dank! Thank you! Click here for a diagram of drop-off/pick-up locations and procedures.

Green Display Cards for Pick-up
It is helpful if you display your child(ren)’s full names and cohort (i.e. 3b) in your car until your students have arrived. That way, we can call in stragglers over the walkies in addition to dismissing them with Pikmykid.
 
Students Enter at VanSlyke and Main Office Only 
The east playground entrance will no longer be open for student entry from 7:50-8:15. Instead, all students should enter at the main entrance or the Van Slyke entrance.
Dismissal for ALL Elementary and ALL Busing Students
Please remember to update your PikMyKid dismissal app in advance of in-person learning resuming. If you need to change your default mode, set pickup mode changes, assign Kinderclub, etc, please make sure this is completed before your child returns to in-person school so we have a smooth dismissal. Thank you!

If your child is in middle school and does NOT ride the bus, you do NOT need to use PikMyKid. If your child is in middle school and DOES ride the bus, please delegate them accordingly in PikMyKid. Contact the Front Office with any questions.
8th Grade Families: Central H.S. virtual Open House today, special TCGIS session starts at 4:30 p.m.
Saint Paul Central High School will be hosting a special pre-Open House meeting just for our incoming TCGIS families from 4:30-5:00 today, February 4th. This will not take the place of the Open House but will be specific to the German Immersion program so parents are encouraged to attend the Open House following the meeting as well. Here is a flyer with more information from Central. In addition, Central put together folders for 8th grade families containing registration and course information. Feel free to stop by the TCGIS materials and pick up to grab yours. Most of the information can be found on the Central High School website.
Join the Open House today with this Zoom Link.
Part-time Food Service Associate
We are seeking a part-time (15 hours per week) Food Service Associate for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. This position will help prepare getting the meals ready to be delivered to the classrooms where students eat their meals. A full job description for this position is available here

Anyone interested in applying for this position should send a letter of interest and a current resume to Ashley Weston-Miller (employment@tcgis.org). 
Order the 20/21 Yearbook!
Library Updates
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Would you like to check out library materials? Fill out this form to get new materials for next week!

Along with Friday materials pick-ups, you can now pick up/drop off books anytime during school hours at our materials pick-up table and book drop-off bin, located at the top of the stairs by the playground entrance!

Live Story Times on Wednesdays
To accommodate our new in-person school schedule, story times will now be on Wednesdays at 2:45pm. Follow this link to tune in on February 10! (Zoom passcode: 040736). See our full story time schedule here.

Friday Materials Pick-Up
Friday Materials Pick-Ups will no longer be taking place. If you are not yet back for in-person instruction and have materials to pick up, your teacher will let you know and place them on the materials pick-up table for you, located outside of the main office.
TCGIS Sommercamp 2021: Registration NOW OPEN
Summer Camp Registration is now open! All families must have a Popsicle account to book Summer Camps. If you don't have one yet, you can sign up here.

Booking options are available for Before Care, Camp and Aftercare each week, if you only need 1 or 2 options. If you plan to utilize all 3 options (all day care), please book your Camp and add the full week before and aftercare for a $50 discount.

Interested families who qualify for free and reduced lunch: please email Michaela Bromenschenkel (mbromenschenkel@tcgis.org) for a discount.

For more information and how to sign up please read our TCGIS Sommercamp Family Handbook. For additional questions, please reach out to Michaela Bromenschenkel:  mbromenschenkel@tcgis.org
Call for Nominations & Applications for the TCGIS School Board
Board Election
By serving on the 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. The Board represents the entire TCGIS community, and individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups such as BIPOC, LGBTQ, and families with neurodiversity are especially encouraged to apply.

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

Click here to learn more about the timeline, the nominating and application process, how to connect with a current board member, and to access the forms.
School Board Announcements
January School Board Meeting Summary
The TCGIS School Board met on January 28. The Board heard a presentation by Dean Simon on the Pädagogisches Konzept, approved School Exec Connect as the Executive Director search firm and approved the recruiting process calendar, and discussed the Committee reports from December and January. The Board also recognized the virtual “Zeit für dich” room creators, Teacher Union leadership, EA Union leadership, and Professional Development Committee members for their exceptional service to the school.
Help Diversify the TCGIS Community!
We want to increase the number of new student applications from currently underrepresented groups at TCGIS. Help us spread the word to families of ALL backgrounds by posting this flyer at cultural centers, community centers, ethnic grocery stores, places of worship, and anywhere you think someone NEW might learn about our great school! School applications for all grades for SY21-22 are due Feb. 22nd. The front office can provide printed flyers; please contact ncrashell@tcgis.org to arrange pickup. For background information about this initiative, please read the TCGIS statement on equity, diversity, and belonging.
Executive Director Search
TCGIS is searching for a new executive director. Read more information about the search process, and provide your confidential input into the search process here.
Accepting Applications and Nominations for TCGIS School Board
Click here to learn more and access nomination and application form
Important Dates
April 12: All nominations and applications due by 4:45 pm.
TBD: Meet the Candidates Forum
May 10-14: Board elections, drop off all ballots by 4:45 pm on Friday, May 14. 
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!

Comm. & Outreach Cmte: Tues. Feb. 9, 8:30 AM; communication@tcgis.org
Diversity & Belonging Cmte: Tues. Feb. 16, 3:45 PM; diversity@tcgis.org
Cmte of the Whole: Wed. Feb. 17, 6:30 PM; board@tcgis.org
Finance Cmte: Tues. Feb. 23, 6:30 PM; finance-committee@tcgis.org
February Board Meeting: Thurs. Feb. 25, 6:30 PM; board@tcgis.org
News from the GAI
Fun and language learning for kids and teens
Online Samstagsschule—Saturday School begins February 6, 2021
GAI's creative and experienced language instructors make Samstagsschule a fun and interactive way to learn German. Online classes for ages 4 through 18 will return in February. Beginning to advanced levels are offered for all ages.
More information and registration at gai-mn.org/kids
GAI
Reminders
Outdoor Track-and-Field Registration: 50% Full!
Registration for the TCGIS Outdoor Track-and-Field Team (info sheet / calendar) on Popsicle is NOW OPEN for 5th-8th graders, and the spring season will begin on Monday, March 22.
 
Currently we are planning on in-person practices because TCGIS has some in-person or hybrid instruction planned for middle school. If in-person practices aren't possible during the season, we will offer refunds for the registration fee. See our team website for more details. Questions? Contact Coach Tabisz.
Summer Track Registration: 50% Full!
Registration is also OPEN to current 4th through 8th graders! We will participate in the USATF Summer Track Meets and in the University of Minnesota Cross-Country and Track-and-Field Camp. Exact dates and times for practices and meets are yet to be determined. It costs $100 to participate in all of the practices and meets, including USATF 2021 membership. Registration for the University of Minnesota XC and T&F Camp must be done separately through the camp; more details about the camp are forthcoming. Questions? Contact Coach Tabisz
Is your 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 enrollment@tcgis.org
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!
CALENDAR
Feb. 8: First day in-person 1st grade
Feb. 15: NO SCHOOL President's Day
Feb. 16: NO SCHOOL Mid-Winter Break
Feb. 17: Spring Conference Sign-up Opens
Feb. 18 & 19: Grades 5-8 No Instruction (Tea. Prep)
Feb. 18: 8th grade Capstone Info-Abend
Feb. 25: February School Board Meeting
Mar. 7: 7th grade Capstone Info-Abend
Mar. 9: Conferences 4:30-7:00 pm
Mar. 12: Conferences 8:10am-3:30pm