Der Elternbrief
ISSUE 442 / JANUARY 28, 2021
Incident Response Team (IRT) Updates
Vaccine Roll out to TCGIS Staff
TCGIS employees received 36 total allocations to start receiving vaccination appointments. 3 employees received their 1st vaccine last week and numerous more will receive their 1st vaccine this week as the State of Minnesota pushes to vaccinate 15,000 metro area educators and child care workers. Staff working with or in close proximity to children in the building starting 2/1, and some returning 2/18, have been offered the allocated slots. TCGIS anticipates receiving weekly allocations of vaccines to distribute until all school staff are vaccinated. Please continue advocating for educators and school staff by participating in the TCGIS Board’s letter writing campaign to Governor Walz.
Recognizing Teacher Leadership & Staff Council Collaboration
The incident response team would like to thank our TCGIS teachers for their collaboration and creative problem solving in the planning process to bring children back for in-person instruction starting February 1. This joint effort among colleagues resulted in a plan that provides smaller group size for Kindergarten and education assistant support for classroom teachers. Specifically, we would like to thank teachers Kim Kulhanek, Katrin Zinnow, Julianne Stolzenbach, Anke Krug, Kristen Koehler, Sarah Thies, and Alisha Hayes. We would like to recognize and thank the staff council for organizing a Q & A session with the administration to communicate staff concerns and allow them to be addressed and shared with all staff. Thank you for your leadership in supporting open communication, staff council members Nicole Crashell, Heidi Scholtz, Roxanne Cornell, Claudia Müller, Liz Spafford, Birte Fretwell, Nico Dorneman, and Jasmin Joswig. The IRT also thanks facilities manager, Andy Nesset, and his team, Jim Luger and Pat Moreno, for their significant efforts to prepare the school for the return of students.
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
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 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.
Kaffeeklatsch Tomorrow, 9:00a.m.: Q & A for Families
The IRT will host a Kaffeeklatsch for families tomorrow (Friday) at 9am. This is an opportunity to ask questions about the return to school plans and may be especially helpful for families transitioning to in person learning from distance learning. We will record the session for those unable to attend; please email info@tcgis.org for the recording. Join the virtual Kaffeeklatsch via this Zoom link (Meeting ID: 838 6657 0598, Passcode: 230252); Zoom link is also in the TCGIS Google Calendar.
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 dismissal updates in PikMyKid, bus donations, and medications for the health office. If your student(s) will return in person in February, please read these items carefully.
Advocate for Vaccinating Educators
Raise your voices for TCGIS 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. Teachers need to be prioritized in this group and receive vaccinations as soon possible.

Politicians LOVE letters from kids! Kids get their points across in unique and memorable ways. Help your kids write a letter or email to Governor Walz in support of teacher vaccinations. You can use the email contact form (linked below) or his regular mail address:

Office of Governor Tim Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan
130 State Capitol
75 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Thank you to everyone that has written to Governor Walz in support of TCGIS educators. Let’s continue to make ourselves heard.
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. If you have any questions or concerns concerning Covid-19 policies and procedures at TCGIS, please contact Ashley Weston Miller (awestonmiller@tcgis.org).
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!
PowerSchool Report Card Instructions
We are now officially in the second semester of the 2020-21 school year! To see the written progress of your student, please click on this link to find information on how to view/print your child's report card. Kindergarten report cards will be emailed out to parents. 
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.  
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.
Health Office: Medications for in-person students
If your child(ren) will be attending in-person learning, and will need medication during the school day, please be sure to:
  • Review the Medication information on page 22 of the 2020-21 Family Handbook and Policy 516 - Student.
  • In order to administer medication to a student during the school day, we require the Medical Authorization Form signed by both the health care provider and the parent/guardian. Forms dropped off at the beginning of the school year are valid till the end of this school year.,
  • All medication must be in its original package with a valid expiration date and labeled with the student's name.
  • Medication drop off: Our Health Office Associate, Monika Avery, will be available to receive your child(ren)'s medication together with the completed authorization form during school hour
  • Please wear a mouth and nose covering and in case of a line please keep a safe distance of 6 feet.
If you have questions or need to make alternate arrangements to drop off completed forms and/or medication, please contact our Health Service Associate, Monika Avery at mavery@tcgis.org.  
Busing Donations
TCGIS still pays for full school buses even though Covid distancing requirements, coupled with many families in Distance Learning, has reduced buses to running 4 days a week with fewer students. Students will have assigned seats to encourage social distancing.

Please consider donating to offset these costs if your child(ren) use(s) the bus, or if they would in a normal year. Click on the following link to sign up for a recurring bus donation for the remainder of the school year. You can also make a monthly donation to help offset these busing costs in BoonliThank you for your ongoing support of TCGIS!

Standard Bus Donations:
3+ Rides per week: $60/month per child
2-3 Rides per week: $30/month per child
2020 Annual Giving Statements emailed this week
If you donated to TCGIS in 2020, check your email for an Annual Giving Statement that was sent today. If you have any questions or notice any omissions, please email Katharina (kschirg@tcgis.org).

Thanks to the generosity of more than 180 donors, TCGIS has received $79,312 for the 2020-21 Annual Fund so far. Herzlichen Dank to our generous community!
Order the 20/21 Yearbook!
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 parking lot. Weather permitting, pickup will take place outside; otherwise inside the large entrance space at the Westeingang.

If you are unable to pick up materials on Fridays between 2:00-3:00, materials will be available for pick-up at a table located in the main foyer by the Front Office, near the doors to the playground. Parents: please email the teacher when you 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!
Library Updates
kids_reading_book.jpg
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!

A change to our LIVE story time: Starting February 3rd, our story time will be every WEDNESDAY at 2:45pm in order to accommodate our new in-person school schedule. Follow this link to tune in on February 3rd! (Zoom passcode: 040736). See our full story time schedule here.

January Surprise Guest
Keep an eye on our Facebook page and library website tomorrow to see who is our January Surprise Guest! A recording of them reading a book will be posted. Clues as to who our surprise guest could be were posted on our Facebook page on Monday.
TCGIS Sommercamp 2021: Registration opens Feb. 1
Summer Camp Registration will open Monday, February 1st, at 8:00 am. 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.

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.
Intern Program Update for 2021/22
This week we made the hard decision to cancel the intern program for Fall 2021. The continuous spread of CV-19 in the U.S., the uncertainties about the vaccination timeline, and current travel restrictions complicate a planning process that starts 18 months in advance of the interns' arrival. 

We are crossing our fingers that we will be able to host interns again starting in January 2022. By the time we need to begin the Visa application process this summer, we will know more. 

We know the Intern Program is an integral and exciting part of our school year. We are fortunate to have a strong program, and full rosters of interested interns for 21/22 and 22/23 already! We also have 10 host families who've already expressed interest in hosting the next group of interns, so we are confident that this intentional pause will not negatively impact our program.
School Board Announcements
Follow Up to BIPOC Listening Sessions - Thanks for attending
Members of the Diversity & Belonging Committee, along with Rebecca Slaby of AMAZEworks, presented themes and recommendations from the listening sessions that were held with TCGIS families with students of color in the summer, followed by discussion. Thank you to the TCGIS community members who joined the meeting to engage in this initiative. The meeting recording can be viewed here. Click here to read the TCGIS statement on equity, diversity and belonging.

Call for Local Media Connections
The Recruiting Working Group, part of the Diversity & Belonging Committee, is developing connections to local media (TV/radio/press) and is looking for community input. If you work in media yourself or know someone who does, please reach out to committee co-chairs Megan Dayton (mdayton@tcgis.org) and Kim Kulhanek (kkulhanek@tcgis.org) if you are interested in learning more or sharing contact information.

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. 

School Board Meeting Tonight
The School Board will meet tonight at 6:30 PM. Included on the agenda are presentations on the Staff Council and Pädagogisches Konzept, the hiring of a search firm for the Executive Director position, and approval of the recruitment plan calendar. If you are interested in attending, please click here to Join the Zoom Meeting. Meeting ID: 893 6461 0264, Passcode: 689817

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!

January Board Meeting: Thurs. Jan. 28, 6:30 PM; board@tcgis.org
Governance & Leadership Dev. Cmte: Mon. Feb. 1, 4:30 PM; governance@tcgis.org
Fundraising Cmte: Tues. Feb. 2, 8:30 AM; fundraising-committee@tcgis.org
Mission & School Culture Cmte: Wed. Feb. 3, 3:45 PM; mission@tcgis.org
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
Reminders
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
Register for Outdoor Track-and-Field: Feb. 1
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. 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. Questions? Contact Coach Tabisz.
Summer Running, Jumping, Throwing at TCGIS
We are offering summer practices and meets (info sheet / calendar) open to current 4th- 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.
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
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
Jan. 28-29: Grades K-5: No Instruction (Tea. Prep)
Jan. 28: January Board Meeting
Jan. 29: Kaffeeklatsch
Feb. 1: First day in-person - K and 2nd Grade
Feb. 1: Registration Opens for Track & Summer Camp
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
Mar. 7: 7th grade Capstone Info-Abend
Mar. 9: Conferences 4:30-7:00 pm
Mar. 12: Conferences 8:10am-3:30pm