Der Elternbrief
ISSUE 439 / JANUARY 7, 2021
Frohes Neues Jahr! Happy New Year!
We hope you had lots of time to relax and enjoy your family over Winter Break.

We look forward to a great year of learning together in 2021!
Decision about February Learning Model
On Dec. 16, 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. 
That 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 tomorrow, Friday, January 8.  
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!
Resources for Supporting Kids
School News & Updates
Herzlichen Dank! Thank you so much!
Thanks to the generosity of more than 180 donors, TCGIS has received $75,950 for the Annual Fund so far! Herzlichen Dank!

Families who still have credit in Boonli from last spring were emailed before winter break about three options for their credits: a refund; donating to the Annual Fund; or rolling over credits to 21/22.
Parent 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.
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 Thursday, January 14 at 2:45 pm. Follow this link to tune in! (Zoom passcode: ic2pSG)
Open House for Prospective K-8 Students: Tue. 1/12
Please share this event with any families you know who are exploring K-8 school options for next year!

Next week's virtual open house for families of prospective students in grades K-8 will have specific information for students entering 5th-8th grade, in addition to Kindergarten information traditionally shared at our Open Houses. Beginning with a 30-minute virtual tour, the Open House also features Q&A sessions with educators and administrators.

We are also still accepting applications for this school year in grades 1-3, and 5-8.
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.
A Parent Resource for Supporting Tweens and Teens
We'd all love to think we left the stress of 2020 behind when we started the new year, but as the saying goes, "wherever we are, there we are." This article from KQED's Mind/Shift offers support and ideas to parents of tweens and teens.
8th Grade Families: High School Panel on Wed. Jan. 13
Next Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 7:00 pm via Zoom TCGIS will host a high school panel for current 8th grade students and parents to hear from TCGIS alums in 10th-12th grade attending a variety of high schools.

The goal is to give 8th graders a chance to hear from TCGIS alums who have been at their respective high schools during non-COVID times and therefore will be able to describe the many sides of "normal" high school life. Topics discussed may include academic rigor (AP, IB, honors), athletics, extracurricular clubs, music and theater, student events (i.e. homecoming), etc. The panel will be moderated by Middle School Dean Elizabeth Zehnpfennig.
Order the 20/21 Yearbook!
Danke, Danke, Danke!
We need to thank the Parent Community in a big way! You stepped up and deserve a round of applause. With many generous donations from TCGIS parents and families, we were able to add to our budget for our (canceled) Winter luncheon and send ALL staff members a $40 Grub Hub gift card. This is huge and could not have been done without you!

Thanks to everyone who ordered soup from our Simpls fundraiser. We raised $1,910! We heard such great feedback from everyone and we'll definitely be doing it again.
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
Special Board Meeting Tonight: January 7
There will be a special meeting of the School Board today, Thursday, January 7 at 6:30 PM. The Board will hear an update from the Incident Response Team regarding new guidance from the State and revisit the September resolution in response to the new guidance. The Board will also discuss the Executive Director contract in the closed session. The special meeting agenda can be viewed here. You can join the meeting here.

Mark your calendar: Thu., Jan. 21st, 7:00-8:30pm (pending confirmation) 
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, pending confirmation.

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!

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!
Student Enrichment
Art Classes
Articulture is a nonprofit arts education organization offering visual art classes to all ages and ability levels—from young children to teens and adults. Quality classes are designed to be age appropriate, inclusive and are taught by experienced teaching artists. We aim to be accessible to anyone who seeks quality artistic learning for personal expression. Programming is on a quarterly basis year-round. Winter programming starts the week of January 19. Click here for the 2021 Winter flyer.
Website: Questions:, 612-729-5151
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. 7: Special Board Meeting
Jan. 8: IRT Decision re: February Learning Plan
Jan. 11: Parent Council Meeting
Jan. 12: Open House for Prospective K-8 Families
Jan. 13: High School Panel for 8th Grade Families
Jan. 28: January Board Meeting