A Weekly Update for Families
In this issue...
Thank You from TCGIS Staff
Closing the Book on School Photos
Cold Weather Brings Chapped Lips and Hands
Scrip Update
Kaffeeklatsch January 7
German Cultural Event
ElternbriefJanuary 5, 2011
Dear Families,

Happy New Year and welcome back after the long break


Upcoming Dates

 January 13th  1:30- Showcase of Afterschool Activities

 January 14th - NO SCHOOL for students.  Report writing for teachers.

 January 17th - Martin Luther King Day: SCHOOL CLOSED

February 3rd - 6:30 PM State of the School

February 11th - Carnival of Cultures: Performing Arts program

February 17th and 18th - Parent Teacher Conferences


Snow Day Impact

The two days in December lost to snow days will NOT be made up.  At this time, there are no changes to the school calendar.   The showcase of afterschool activities originally scheduled for Tuesday, December 14th has been rescheduled to next Thursday, January 13th, 2010.


Report Cards/Grades

Receiving one's child's report card is an important and sometimes emotionally-laden occasion.  Its intention is to communicate to your family the progress your child is making in a number of areas. 


During a staff development session, we put the grade B- on the board and went around the circle of the group asking each teacher to speculate about a student based on that grade.  Our interpretations were colored by the age of children we work with, the country in which we were educated, and our educational philosophies.  There was a large range of what we wanted to say about a student that gets weighted into that single symbol.   We reached full agreement that the grade was an imperfect tool to communicate the nuances of skill, effort and expectation.  It is our job as a teaching community to become ever clearer on exactly what expectations are at each grade level and exactly how we communicate these to parents and students.  It is not a job that can be accomplished quickly by a single teacher or by a teaching community.  Through our professional development, we continue to revisit these questions.  In the meantime we send you our grades as our best estimate of your child's progress.  We ask you to see them as a starting point in communications between teacher, student, and parent in helping students reach their goals. 


A few specifics will help you know what to expect in the reports that you should receive in late January. 


Students in elementary school (Grades K - 4*) will receive notation with the symbol system of E, S, P and TN standing for Excellent, Secure, Progressing and Time Needed in each subject area.  Our grade level expectations are that a student is performing at the S level.   An S should not be interpreted as a lack of success.  E is reserved for those who truly exceed expectations.  TN is not to be interpreted as a failure.  Children in these developmental stages learn at different rates.  They need additional time to master the concepts. 

*This year's fourth graders will be graded with traditional letter grades the same as middle schoolers.  Because they are accustomed to these grades from last year, we are not switching them back to the system being used in elementary grade.

Students in middle grades will be graded with A, B, C, D and F letter grades in subject areas.

The report card this year will have two components:  1) There will be grades calculated through our electronic grading system PowerSchool as have been distributed in the past.  2) There will be a supplementary checklist with a list of social/behavior skills under the categories of respect and responsibility that will give teachers an opportunity to communicate in more detail some of your student's skills. 


Thanks for all you do to support your students and the school,

Frau Annika Fjelstad
Twin Cities German Immersion School

[email protected]
Thank You from TCGIS Staff
The entire TCGIS staff would like to thank all the families who contributed to the Staff Luncheon held before Winter Break.

Delicious salads, hot dishes, chicken wings, lasagnas, breads, fruits,  cookies, cakes, and bars filled our bellies as we happily celebrated the holiday season together.  All your efforts in the kitchen were greatly appreciated!

Closing the Book on School Photos
As we start the new year, we are hoping to (finally) close the book on school photos once and for all.  If you had retakes and have not picked up your photos from the front desk, please do so in the next few days. 

If you are not satisfied with your photos, have not received them, or otherwise have complaints that have not yet been addressed by the Photographer's Guild, please let the front desk know by emailing [email protected]  Thank you for your patience as we work together to get this taken care of!

Cold Weather Brings Chapped Lips and Hands

As the winter wears on, more and more children are coming to the front desk in search of lotion, lip balm, or anything else they can find to ease the pain and itching caused by chapped lips and hands.


Unfortunately, the most the most we can do in the office is encourage students to drink lots of water, wear mittens outside, and avoid licking their lips! 

If you would like your child to have moisturizer at school, consider placing it in a plastic baggie with his/her name on it and giving it to your classroom teacher.


Big news on the Scrip front for 2011 - they've added TARGET!  $25 and $100 denominations are available, with a 2% contribution going to TCGIS.


Our next order will be due JANUARY 11th.  If you are thinking about donating to the silent auction for Maskenball, please consider Scrip for purchases of gift cards.  Restaurant & movie theater cards are especially welcome, and can benefit the school twice - a contribution from the retailer when Scrip is purchased, and again when someone buys them at Maskenball!


If you're thinking about trying out the Scrip program in 2011, you'll want to start by setting up a family account at www.shopwithscrip.com.  When prompted, please enter TCGIS's enrollment code, 4CA2AE9714L14, so we get credit for your order.


Thanks for your participation, and Happy New Year!


Deb Helmel

Scrip Coordinator

[email protected]

Kaffeeklatsch January 7
Please join us for Kaffeeklatsch this Friday, January 7 at 8:10 am!  Coffee is $1 if you bring your own coffee mug, $1.25 for using paper cups. This is always a good opportunity to meet other parents and members of the school community while sipping a nice cup of coffee!

We would like to invite all parents who are interested in helping to organize the Kaffeklatsch event to our meeting on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 9:30am. We'll be planning the schedule and staffing for the remainder of the school year. All proceeds of the Kaffeeklatsch events go to finance coffee for our teachers.

Don't Miss This German Cultural Event!
Who: Germanic - American Institute

What: Winterfest mit Euro Dance Party

Where: 301 Summit Avenue, St. Paul

When: January 29, 2011

Time: 3pm - Midnight

Price: Free and open to the public

Come celebrate the St. Paul Winter Carnival German-style. January in Minnesota is the perfect time to bundle up and head outside to enjoy the revelry of Karneval and a mug (or two!) of warm Glühwein


3-7pm Winterfest Tent Party

Keep warm under the tent or join your friends around the bonfire outside on the GAI grounds.
Festivities to include:


· Live music from the band Dale Dahmen and the Beats


· Draft beer, Glühwein, and freshly grilled bratwurst


· Performances by the Spielmannzug Tanzguard and Karnveval games


· Weiberfastnacht celebration. Ladies come made-up as a hag and enjoy the emasculating tradition of cutting the men's ties. Prizes for the best Altweib (old woman) costume.

7pm-12am Euro Dance Party

The party moves into the Ratskeller for more music and dancing. D.J. Ben will be spinning Retro 70s and 80s Europop and classic Karneval party music.


Click here to see the flyer!

Elternbrief Submissions

Please have all articles pertinent to the TCGIS community submitted to the Elternbrief by Monday at 9 am prior to Wednesday publication. Submissions may be sent to [email protected].