Der Elternbrief
ISSUE 440 / JANUARY 14, 2021
February Learning Model
Last Thursday, Director of Operations Ashley Weston-Miller presented updates and a request from the TCGIS Incident Response Team (IRT) to the School Board. You can view the presentation here starting at minute 3:00.

On Friday our TCGIS Incident Response Team (IRT) emailed families and staff the decision that TCGIS will returning to in-person learning in a staggered fashion in Feburary and March. Click here to see that email.

There was an error in the schedule sent in the first email Friday, and the corrected schedule (below) was emailed later Friday evening. Please note the earlier Middle School reentry week: March 1-5th.
TCGIS is working to closely follow the new required mitigations from the Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year, updated after Governor Walz's Dec. 16th announcement. In addition, as we transition learning plans, we are required to:
  • Use at least two transition days for our teachers to prepare for the changing models; these are the "No Instruction-Teacher Workdays" in the schedule. 
  • Provide a rolling start allowing no more than three additional grade bands into the building in a two-week time period when implementing an in-person or hybrid learning model for the entire school building. This is why grade levels are split and re-entering every two weeks. 

Please be aware there may be changes to the plan based on Covid-#s, scheduling and staffing; we'll communicate any changes as soon as they are confirmed.
Requests to Change Learning Model
If you wish to request a change to your child(ren)'s learning model, please fill out this form for each child by noon tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 15).
  • If you do not wish to switch models, please do not fill out this form.
  • Requests to change learning models are being considered on a case by case basis, considering documented medical reasons, staffing and schedules.
  • Once you decide to make a change, you will be expected to stay in the learning model for the remainder of the year or until distance learning is eliminated by MDE. Rare changes during the semester will only be considered for extreme circumstances.
  • Deadline for submission of the form will be Friday, January 15th at 12pm. Decisions will be announced by January 19th.
Advocate for Vaccinating Educators
The Minnesota Department of Health is currently making a schedule for the next round of COVID-19 vaccinations. “Frontline essential workers and persons over 75” is group 1b, the next in line for vaccination. We don’t have details about which or how many workers are in this group, including the status of teachers in this group, or how they will be prioritized among one another.

Our TCGIS Board of Directors and Administration believe it is important for Governor Walz, a former teacher, to hear from the TCGIS community. Teachers should be prioritized in the next round of vaccinations as students return to schools so they can protect themselves, our students, and our families from COVID-19 transmission.

We ask you to write to Governor Walz to ask that he, the COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Advisory Group, and other agencies responsible for vaccine administration prioritize our educators in the next vaccination round for frontline workers. Please use the contact link HERE to submit a letter to the Governor.

A few thought-starters:
  • Minnesota’s teachers are in contact with a broad swath of the Minnesota population, and the children they work with expand that reach even further. Prioritizing teacher vaccinations helps protect them, the children they work with, and the broader Minnesota population.
  • Vaccinating teachers ensures a safer work environment for them, enabling them to do their best work educating Minnesota’s students.
  • Teacher vaccinations are a critically important tool in keeping schools open and learning models stable for the remainder of the school year. Stable learning environments, led by educators, are the single best way we help students weather the mental and emotional effects of the pandemic. And in-person instruction is also a key support for the mental health of Minnesota parents that also contributes significantly to a recovering economy.
Helpful information:
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 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!
School News & Updates
REMINDER: No School next Monday & Tuesday
  • Monday, Jan. 18, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: NO SCHOOL
  • Tuesday, Jan. 19, is a Teacher Grading Day: NO SCHOOL
  • Wednesday is an asychronous learning day.
  • Thursday and Friday are normal distance learning school days.
Printed Materials Pickup: CHANGES DUE TO SNOW
Due to the snowstorm predicted for tomorrow (Friday), the usual materials pick-up from 2:00-3:00 p.m. at the West entrance near the parking lot has been cancelled.

However, if your child's teacher has indicated there are materials to pick up this week, you can still pick up printed materials, library books, and other resources at the table outside the front office. Please use the doors facing the playground (the fence on Como is unlocked) to pick up any materials on Friday, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

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!
Winter Screening Update
Given our unconventional learning environment this year, now more than ever it is important for us to understand how students are progressing. Universal screening is an important part of our multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) framework at TCGIS. We use screeners to identify those students who are on-track to meet grade-level standards in reading and math and those students who may need some additional support to keep them on-track to meet grade-level goals by the end of the school year. Please keep an eye on your email for important information about your child’s screening schedule. It is helpful if you note the time, zoom location, and login information (if applicable). 

If your child has a screening time on January 20th and/or January 27th, it is important that they stay in the zoom waiting room until they are “admitted” to their screening session.

Note: Due to a technical glitch in the mail merge, families will receive a REVISED email 1/15. We realize this is inconvenient and apologize. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Jessie Kember ( with any questions or concerns. We appreciate your flexibility and patience as we work together to systematically support our students to reach their full potential. 
Parent Portal Access to Grades and Comments Closed
Parent Portal access to student grades and comments will be closed from January 13th until January 20th. This enables teachers time to post final grades and comments for fall semester.
Follow-up to the Listening Sessions held last summer
Thursday, Jan. 21, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Members of the Diversity & Belonging Committee, along with Rebecca Slaby of AMAZEworks, will present themes and recommendations from the listening sessions that were held with TCGIS families with students of color in the summer, followed by discussion. Zoom link to follow.
TCGIS Sommercamp 2021: Registration opens Feb. 1
TCGIS will once again offer summer camps in collaboration with the GAI. Click here to preview the tentative schedule for 7 weeks of camp; grade levels are based on the grade your child completes this year (20/21). Registration will open 1 February!
Parent Council Update for January 2021
The Parent Council met virtually on Mon. January 11. Director Ted Anderson and School Board Chair Julie Alkatout shared updates about the February Learning Plan, the draft Statement of Equity and Belonging, the Curriculum Advisory Committee (which is seeking more community members) and the draft TCGIS Vision 2025 Strategic Plan. The PC discussed ways to engage our community and solicit parent feedback on these items. In our closed session we heard updates from the board committee liaisons as well as the Parent Council sub-committees. Click here to read the full update.
As always, if you have anything you’d like the Parent Council to address, please email your class representative or the PC at
Capstone 2021 Update
Today we informed our 8th grade students and their families that the annual Capstone trip to Germany in May/June 2021 will not take place. TCGIS Capstone staff and the Capstone Committee considered many factors over the last few months, but ultimately, vaccination timelines, international travel restrictions, and the possibility for future lockdowns in Germany helped make this very hard decision. The 20/21 Virtual Exchange will continue during the school year, and we are exploring an Alumni Trip to Germany in June 2022 for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 whose Capstone trips were cancelled due to Covid-19.
Hosting an Intern in 2021/22: Interest Survey
Normally at this time of year we recruit families to host our fall and full-year interns. At this time we are still evaluating the possibility of having interns in the fall. In addition to the uncertain timeframe for vaccines, the traditionally long time-frame for the visa process also complicates plans for the fall. However we are optimistic about hosting interns in Spring 2022.

Host families are vital to the program so we are gauging interest in hosting interns now and will update interested host families as we learn more! If you are interested in learning more about hosting an intern next school year, please take this brief interest survey.
Did you know TCGIS is on Instagram & Facebook?
We are! Follow the fun and learning from our school community. @tcgis

Please note: we always reference our Media Release permission list, determined by parents during annual registration in PowerSchool, before posting images of our students on social media.
We're 75% of the way to our Annual Fund Goal!
Did you know you can set a recurring monthly donation in our online form? So far 7 TCGIS families have set up recurring monthly donations, together contributing $350 every month!

Thanks to the generosity of more than 180 donors, TCGIS has received $76,065 for the Annual Fund so far. Herzlichen Dank to our generous community!
Library Updates
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 time:  Our next live story time takes place on Monday, January 18 at 2:45 pm. Follow this link to tune in! (Zoom passcode: ic2pSG)
Order the 20/21 Yearbook!
Register for Outdoor Track-and-Field
Registration for the TCGIS Outdoor Track-and-Field Team (info sheet / calendar) on Popsicle OPENS February 1 at 8 AM, and the spring season is planned to begin on Monday, March 22.
Due to COVID-19, we will need to remain flexible with our spring season plans. As soon as TCGIS has connection weeks for the middle school, we will offer in-person practices again. Here are our plans for in-person and virtual practices this spring. 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. With questions, please contact Coach Tabisz.
Summer Running, Jumping, Throwing at TCGIS
We are offering summer practices and meets (info sheet / calendar) open to current 4th through 8th graders. It’s a great opportunity for current 4th graders to get to know other middle schoolers, for 8th graders to prep for high school cross-country, and for everyone to get some great exercise and have fun with friends over break. 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.
Registration will open on February 1. It costs $100 to participate in all of the practices and meets, including USATF 2021 membership. The University of Minnesota XC and T&F Camp is NOT included in this, and registration must be done separately through the camp. More details about the camp are forthcoming. With questions, please contact Coach Tabisz.
School Board Announcements
Summary of January 7 Special Board Meeting
The board convened for a special meeting on January 7th. The incident response team (IRT) summarized the changes in the guidance from MDE and MPH on in-person learning for elementary school. The board approved a resolution to allow the IRT to select the learning model for the rest of the school year within these new guidelines. The board then moved into closed session to discuss personnel matters. The recording of the open session is available here.

Mark your calendar: Thu., Jan. 21st, 7:00-8:30pm
Members of the Diversity & Belonging Committee, along with Rebecca Slaby of AMAZEworks, will present themes and recommendations from the listening sessions that were held with TCGIS families with students of color in the summer, followed by discussion. Zoom link to follow

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. 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;
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
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
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!
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!
Jan. 4 - 29: All grades in Distance Learning
Jan. 18: NO SCHOOL Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Jan. 19: NO SCHOOL Teacher Grading Day
Jan. 21: Diversity and Belonging, AmazeWorks evening
Jan. 28: January Board Meeting
Feb. 1: First day in-person grades K-2
Feb. 1: Registration Opens for Track, Summer Camp