Der Elternbrief
ISSUE 425 / SEPTEMBER 4, 2020
Welcome to the New School Year!
Thank you for joining us last night!
It was wonderful to see so many of you and your children in Zoom meetings last evening. For those of you unable to attend, you can find welcome videos and teacher presentations on our new Back to School Night webpage: www.tcgis.org/back-to-school-night
Recorded Zoom Meetings & Presentations
Many Zoom meetings were recorded. However, for data privacy we will not be publishing them on our website. Teachers may share them with class sections or by grade level by request, if recordings are available. There are also many presentations and videos on the Back to School Night page for reference.
Front Office Presentations
On the Front Office Back-to-School-Night page you will also find recorded presentations about arrival & dismissal, busing, Food Service and using Boonli, Kinderclub, the Health Office, and PikmyKid. We missed seeing you in person and hope these presentations help your family prepare!
No School on Monday: Labor Day
Our first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 8. Please follow the daily schedules for 'Monday-Tuesday' on Tuesday and Wednesday. We will not have the 'Wednesday' schedule this first week because of the holiday.
Preparing for the New School Year
CLASS EMAIL LISTS: Do we have your email?
email_laptop.jpg
If you are not receiving emails for your child's class, please fill out this form to add your email to your child's class email list (e.g. KA, 3B, 5C)

Our class-level email lists use PowerSchool contact information. If you are not receiving class emails, please login to PowerSchool to update your contact information using the T - Student Contacts form and make sure you are listed in the top two contacts.

Our class email lists are different from the Elternbrief distribution list in Constant Contact. In this form, please specify if you are requesting to be added to the Elternbrief-list or to the class email list: Add-My-Email Form
MIDDLE SCHOOL FAMILIES: Tech Info
Middle school teachers are reminding families to have devices fully charged and ready to go for the first day of school on Tuesday. And all students arriving at school for connection weeks are asked to bring headphones. Chromebook distribution was yesterday; if you were unable to come, please email info@tcgis.org
DISMISSAL for K-4 ONLY: Please update Pikmykid
Time to dig out your PikMyKid app and designate your dismissal! Going forward we will use the PikMyKid dismissal app for elementary school students only: grades K-4. Parents of middle school students do not need to designate their children's dismissal modes although they will still be available in the app.

Please set a recurring change to Distance Learning for the days your child is not at school. Find this under "After School Programs." Remember to indicate on the calendar how long the change should recur for. Delegating these recurring changes will be imperative for accurate dismissal procedures and we appreciate your help!

If you are a new parent and have not yet registered for PikMyKid, please find the instructions here. PikMyKid allows parents, teachers, and office staff to view a child's dismissal mode at the end of the day whether it's bus, car pickup, Kinderclub, etc. Please download the app for iOS or Android, register your account, and set up your child's dismissal mode.
SCHOOL SUPPLY LISTS
Elementary School: supply lists have been modified for individual rather than communal supplies, and include a container in which to keep the their supplies; students can bring in their supplies on the first day of school if they are attending "Connection Weeks." Students will transport individual supplies to/from school daily since we are not using lockers this year.

Middle School: supply lists have been updated and do include a reduced number of shared supplies. Please bear in mind that we are collecting supplies for the entire school year. The shared supplies are items the teachers use with students during the school day. Middle school students should bring shared school supplies in a grocery bag on their first day of school. Indivividual supplies will be transported in backpacks to/from school daily since we are not using lockers this year.

Distance-Only: Parents who chose a 100% distance-only model are not asked to purchase shared materials or bring them to school. However, please note that some teachers may ask students to use these items at home. 

Click here for the updated supply lists. There is also a button on our homepage.
ALLERGEN-FREE SNACKS & LUNCH, SILVERWARE
Students attending school will eat snacks and lunch in their classrooms. In order to make our school a safe-space for our students with allergies, all food packed for your child(ren) must be peanut- and tree nut-free this year. This also makes it easier for teachers supervising lunch to clean afterwards and manage allergies. We also ask that students bringing lunch from home include silverware for items like yogurt. Only kids with lunch from school will be supplied with silverware. Thank you!
PRACTICING COVID-19 PREVENTION PROTOCOLS
If your child(ren) will attend school in-person, please begin to prepare your family and your child(ren) for these new additions to the school-day routine. 

Temperature and Symptom Check
All TCGIS students must have their temperature taken at home every day before coming to school. If their temperature is 100.4 they should not come to school.
Similarly if your child has any COVID-19 symptoms, they should also stay home. This symptom guide from MDH may be helpful. 
 
Wearing Masks and Hand Washing
Students should be practicing wearing their mask for long periods of time. Please help them understand what safe and hygenic mask-wearing looks like. Here are some tips to help. Here is a video for kids about why and how to wear a mask. 
 
Physical Distance 
Talk with your child about distancing and how it helps keep everyone more healthy adn safe. Please help them understand what 6 feet distance looks and feels like.
GERMAN TUTORS for TCGIS STUDENTS
The Covid pandemic has thrust all schools into a difficult position as it pertains to distance learning. Distance and hybrid learning are hard enough in English, but as a language immersion school, TCGIS has an additional challenge because we teach our children in German.  

Many parents have asked the school about private tutoring resources to provide supplemental German help to their children to ensure their German skills remain strong. TCGIS has reached out to the many colleges and universities we have contacts with to see if any of the German students would be interested in virtual private tutoring. The colleges we have reached out to include Carleton College, St Olaf College, Macalaster College and the University of Minnesota.

There has been an outpouring of interest on the part of these German majors and minors to help TCGIS parents and students. We have compiled a Google spreadsheet with the names of those students interested in tutoring. 

Please Note:
  • TCGIS is simply compiling this list of tutoring resources for the benefit of TCGIS families and is not involved in any of the negotiations between parents and tutors. 
  • Parents reach out directly to the tutor 
  • Parents negotiate the schedule and pay with the tutor, based on their interest and child's needs.
  • TCGIS will keep this list 'live' and add/remove names on an ongoing basis
  • The intent is for this to be virtual tutoring, using video platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime etc. However, parents are free to make other arrangements if mutually agreed upon.
CARPOOL and TRANSIT TOOLS for TCGIS FAMILIES
ZuVon is a parent-school collaboration that offers eco-friendly ways to get to (zu) and from ( von ) TCGIS. It includes a website (www.tcgis-zuvon.org), future signage and a gif animation that help parents safely navigate the drop-off/pick-up zone.

The goal of this project is to reduce environmental impact, address traffic flow and safety, and improve communications in our community. The website includes information on a new carpooling initiative and local transit options. 

If you're interested in exploring carpooling to/from school, fill out this google form by Sept. 13. Your address and limited contact information will be used to populate a Google map similar to the one on this page. After Sept. 18 we will share the link to an unlisted Google map that will include limited contact information with those who have opted in (through the form) and are interested in setting up a carpool with nearby families. Once families have made a connection, it's up to them to contact possible matches and arrange the carpool. 
School Information
FRONT OFFICE HOURS
The Front Office is open from 7:30am - 4:00 pm. To protect the health of staff and other visitors, please wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines, including maintaining a distance of 6 feet, when visiting the school. Thank you!
HEALTH OFFICE UPDATES
New COVID-19 MDH Update
The Minnesota Department of Health has updated their recommendations regarding the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in the school setting. Please find the new decision tree for people in Schools, Youth, and Child Care Programs as well as the symptoms list when to stay home. Stay safe and healthy!

Authorization to Provide Medication to Students
If your child will need medication during the school day in the 2020-21 school year, please be sure to:
  • Review the Medication information on page 22 of the  Family Handbook and school board 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.
  • All medication must be in its original package with a valid expiration date and labeled with the student's name.
  • Medication drop off: If you have not yet dropped of your child(ren)'s medication together with the completed authorization form, and need to make arrangements to drop off completed Forms and/or medication, please contact our Health Service Associate, Monika Avery at mavery@tcgis.org.

Vaccination Records for 12-year-olds are due
In the past Elternbrief we incorrectly stated that vaccination records for 11-yr olds were due. If your child is 12 years old and/or entering 7th grade next school year, Minnesota State Statute 121A.15 requires your student to have a dose of the Tdap and Meningococcal vaccine to return to school. 

If you choose to opt-out you may file a medical exemption signed by a health care provider or a non-medical exemption signed by a parent/guardian, and notarized (vaccine needs to be specified). 

Because of the current public health situation, we know it can be difficult to get an appointment with your health care provider. If your child is unable to see their health care provider for updated vaccinations at this time, please use the exemption part of this Immunization Form until you are able to send the updated immunization record. 

Please return completed immunization documentation to TCGIS via: 
  • email to info@tcgis.org
  • mail to school: 1031 Como Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103; ATTN: Monika Avery
Private Music Lessons with Vienna Community Arts
We offer Music Instruction for our continuing and new students at TCGIS in Piano, Violin, Classical Guitar, Ukulele and Voice.
There are three options :
  • In Person at Student's homes
  • On- Line Instruction
  • At School Building for Kinderclub Attendees.
All Grades and Skill Levels are welcome.
Please contact us for more info: Herbert & Nancy Engelmayer
651 340 6205 (Landline Office) | 612 505 2892 (Mobile Herbert)
Parent Engagement Opportunities
There are many ways to be involved in building a strong TCGIS community.
The Parent Council, Elternkontakte (EKs), the School Board and its committees, and the PTO offer concrete ways to share your talents and build community and help shape our school's future.
2020-21 Parent Council Nominations Now Open
The TCGIS Parent Council seeks class representatives for the upcoming school year. Nominations will be accepted starting today and self-nominations are welcomed and encouraged! Each grade has a Google Doc for parents to self-nominate and write a short introduction. Nominations will be collected until Sept. 14. Click here to access the nominations forms.

The election will be held September 17-27 via a Google Form-Ballot. There will be one joint meeting in October with the 2019-20 representatives and the newly elected 2020-21 representatives. 

The Parent Council meets on the second Monday of each month from 6:30-8:30 pm. Parent Council members also attend other school committee meetings and attend to other tasks between meetings on an as-needed basis.

Curious about what it's like to serve on the Parent Council? Watch their Welcome Video, visit their new webpage, or email parent-council@tcgis.org and to be connected with your Parent Council representative. 
VOLUNTEER as an ELTERNKONTAKT (EK)
Elternkontakte (parent contacts) a.k.a. 'EKs' are volunteers who provide an additional communication channel between the teacher / school and the parents in their homeroom/class. This is a fun volunteer position that can be done remotely in small bits of time since it primarily consists of communicating via email. 

Each homeroom has 1-3 EKs who work together to support the homeroom teacher, or grade-level teachers. In a typical year they help coordinate activities and parent volunteers for seasonal celebrations, field trips and other classroom events. EKs also manage the opt-in parent contact list for each homeroom, an especially important resource in these socially-distanced times!

If you're interested in volunteering as an Elternkontakt for your child's homeroom this coming year, please sign up on this document, and Katharina Schirg will be in touch with you. Herzlichen Dank!
THE PTO WELCOMES YOU!
Join us at our first meeting of the year!
Join the PTO for our first meeting of the year! It will be via Zoom, on Thursday September 17 at 6:30pm. Stop in to say hi, meet the new team, and hear about what we have planned in the year ahead of us. Watch this Welcome Video to learn more about who we are and what we have planned!

Fall Plant Sale
Keep an eye out for the Fall Plant Sale opening up soon!

Box Tops for Education
TCGIS will be participating in the Box Tops for Education program again this year. Last year we raised over $500! Please download the app at www.btfe.com and click here for more information!
School Board Announcements
Back-to-School Tours - this Saturday!
The TCGIS Board of Directors invites you to a Back to School Tour of the newly constructed spaces on Saturday, September 5. In order to maintain safety, we are limiting the number of people in the building by metering tour groups. While it's possible you may pass by your child's new classroom, visits to classrooms are not part of this tour. Additional tours are now available Sat., September 12th 10:00-11:30 AM. Sign up for your tour here.
 
Pledge to our TCGIS Community
The School Board invites all community members- parents, students, staff- to commit to safe practices that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school. Please sign this Pledge to your TCGIS community and help keep each other safe while teaching and learning resumes this fall.
 
Poster Project
The Diversity & Belonging Committee is working on a poster project representing our school's five values: 
  • Curiosity
  • Kindness
  • Challenge and Support
  • Community
  • Intercultural Engagement
These posters will eventually decorate our school's walls, and we are looking for pictures of our students that represent our values in order to provide them with mirrors and windows. The ideal pictures will be of small groups of students (whole class photos are discouraged) in higher resolution. 
 
If you have any pictures to share, please send them to Committee Chair Kim Kulhanek at kkulhanek@tcgis.org. Vielen Dank!

Online Conduct Expectations
The TCGIS Board of Directors implores all members of our community to abide by appropriate online conduct and consider the impact their online comments could have on others. A safe and civil environment is needed for students to learn and attain high academic standards and to promote healthy human relationships. The adults in our community have the responsibility to model appropriate online conduct, as well as monitor online conduct of children.
 
Our school has two policies specifically prohibiting bullying, policy 514 geared for students, and policy 430 geared for the adults in our community. Bullying, like other violent or disruptive behavior, is conduct that interferes with students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to educate students in a safe and supportive environment. Bullying can happen online as well as in-person.
 
Let’s unite as a community and have zero tolerance for online conduct that is disrespectful. We all have a part to play in supporting our school’s mission, vision and values.
 
Excerpts from policies 430 and 514 are included as direct and timely reminders for all. 
“For the purpose of this policy, “workplace bullying” is defined as, but not limited to:
repetitive and unreasonable behavior that is unwanted, intentionally offensive,
humiliating, and/or undermining towards an individual employee, a group of employees, volunteers, including Board members, by any student, staff, parent, or Board member. This includes any behavior of this nature, whether in person, in writing, online or on social media. Further examples of workplace bullying include: a) behaviors that are threatening, victimizing, intimidating, abusive, and/or insulting; b) using offensive language or comments; c) making belittling or humiliating comments; d) engaging in practical jokes or initiation rituals; e) unjustified criticism or complaints of vexatious nature; f) deliberate exclusion of someone from work-related activities; g) spreading misinformation or malicious rumors; h) and name-calling.”
 
“The misuse of technology including, but not limited to, teasing, intimidating, defaming, threatening, or terrorizing another student, teacher, administrator, volunteer, contractor, or other employee of the school district by sending or posting email messages, instant messages, text messages, digital pictures or images, or website postings, including blogs, also may constitute an act of bullying regardless of whether such acts are committed on or off school district property and/or with or without the use of school district resources.”
 
Board Member Update
The school board regrets to inform the TCGIS community that recently elected teacher board member Missy Morrissey submitted her letter of resignation on August 25th, to both the board and the school. We wish Ms. Morrissey the best in her next endeavor and thank her for her service to TCGIS. Regarding the unexpected vacancy on the board, we will discuss options at the upcoming board meeting. TCGIS hired a replacement math teacher and the teacher is currently working to prepare for our new school year.

Upcoming Meetings:
Several board committee meeting dates in September have changed due to the first week of school. Please check the school calendar for current dates. Please contact the committee chair for meeting login details.

The September School Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept 24, 6:30pm. Details will be communicated at a later date.
Community Events
ATTENTION Parents of TCGIS Alumni:
FREE Climate Workshop for Teens
Saturdays, September 19-December 5 | 10:30 AM-12:30 PM
Conceived in collaboration with TCGIS, this is an interactive climate and culture workshop leading to a Klimagipfel (Climate Summit) in December. The course is designed for young people, ages 12-16, with basic knowledge of German (Level 2/A2 or higher). This is an ideal opportunity for TCGIS alumni to converse in German about issues relevant and important to them! Learn more and register for this FREE workshop at gai-mn.org/German-and-Science-Workshops
GAI
Support the GAI and celebrate Oktoberfest Lite: a safer celebration
Oktoberfest Lite will take place at the GAI the weekend of September 19 and 20. Pick up an Oktoberfest kit on Saturday for a party at home, or reserve a kit and a spot at a table on the GAI lawn for one of two seatings on Sunday.
More information and tickets: gai-mn.org/OktoberfestLite.
Preschool Openings
The GAI's Kinderstube German Immersion preschool still has a few full- and part-time openings for the 2020/2021 school year. No prior experience in German from the child or family is needed! Through daily play, music education, art, and science exploration, as well as outdoor play time, we expose our students to all concepts of early childhood education. Offered at two convenient locations, Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Click here for registration information.
Classes at the German-American Institute (GAI)
Samstagsschule (Saturday School) for kids and teens
Saturday School classes for ages four through high school return for fall!
The program is built around natural acquisition of language in an interactive, fun environment. Beginning to advance levels offered for all age groups. Samstagsschule begins Saturday, September 26. Register at gai-mn.org/children
GAI
Adult-learners Fall classes at the GAI Haus or Online
Our German language fall classes for adults include START 1-2-3 for beginners and a range of options for intermediate and advanced students. These classes will follow social distancing protocols while offering invaluable in-person interactions with your instructor and classmates. Classes begin the week of September 14.
Register at gai-mn.org/Fall-2020 
GAI
CALENDAR
Sept. 5: School tours hosted by the Board
Sept. 8: First day of school! (TUESDAY)
Sept. 12: School tours hosted by the Board
Sept. 14: Parent Council nominations due
Sept. 17: First PTO Meeting of the year
Sept. 24: Board Meeting
FOLLOW US