A Weekly Update for Families
In this issue...
Vienna Community Arts
PTO Meeting
School Board Update
Spring Break in Grand Marais
Attention aRtiSTs
German Heritage Night with the Timberwolves
Carnival of Cultures
ElternbriefFebruary 2, 2011

Dear Families,


Upcoming Dates


Thursday, February 3rd 6:30 PM State of the School


Monday, February 7th  PTO Meeting featuring Rita Rodriguez with updates

from the Light Rail Corridor development


February 11th     6:00 PM  K-4 Carnival of Cultures Performance

7:20  5-6Carnival of Cultures Performance


Thursday, February 17th NORMAL SCHOOL DAY, Parent Teacher Conferences after school


Friday, February 18th NO SCHOOL


Public Recognition  We are pleased to announce that TCGIS has been nominated as a Center of Teaching Excellence by the American Association of Teachers of German.   We appreciate this vote of confidence and prestigious recognition.


We look forward to a story in the Star Tribune on Tuesday, February 8th in the Rites of Passage section featuring Herr Solakau and the Performing Arts program at TCGIS.  Please take a look at the Strib on Tuesday.  We'll send you the link next week. 


Classroom Celebrations

February and March bring a couple of new excuses for celebrating at a classroom level.  Individual classrooms will plan low-key Valentine's Day celebrations.  You will hear from classroom teachers directly of any plans.  If children bring in Valentines for their peers they must bring them for everyone in the class.  Germans also traditionally celebrate Fasching or Carnival the day before Ash Wednesday.  Children will be invited to wear a costume to school for Fasching on March 8th for classroom-level celebrations. 


February 3rd State of the School

You will receive updates from leaders at the school on where we are and where we're heading with a particular focus on plans for our Middle School.  We invite you to join us, ask questions, talk with each other and learn more about our school as an organization. 


February 11th  Carnival of Cultures Performance: St. Thomas More Cathedral

It is a big production to bring everyone from the school together.  We are working very hard at school to streamline the schedule of that day.  We recognize that it is logistically difficult to get families organized at this time of day and  appreciate your flexibility and support in making it happen.  Please aim to have K-4 kids dropped off between 5:15 and 5:30 to facilitate kids being prepared to start on time for a 6:00 performance.  5-6 graders  are more than welcome to watch the K-4 Performance, but if they are not able, they need to be at the church at  7:00.  We also welcome families of younger kids to enjoy the 5-6 Performance, but respect families' needs to get home as well.  We very much hope that you can join us for one or both of the presentations of work done in Performance Arts classes this year. 

The schedule for the evening is:

         5:15 5:30 Drop-off for students K - 4

         6:00 - 7:00 K-4th grade Performance

         6:45 - 7:00 5th and 6th grade Drop-off  (tentative)

         7:20 - 8:05 5th and 6th grade Performance


Report Cards

You should have received your child's report cards earlier this week.  Some of the changes in this year's report cards are a reflection of work being taken on by the Assessment Committee.  This dedicated group of teachers and others is working hard to take a deep look at what expectations are at each grade level and communicating those expectations clearly to parents.  Ultimately we would like those grade level expectations to be reflected in our report cards.  This is not work that can be done overnight.  The committee's first addition was the Report Card supplement that had a more detailed checklist of social skills.  We are preparing documents to detail skills in academic areas.  Staff will be taking time on Curriculum day on March 18th to make progress on this project.   We will update you as we go on this project. The Performing Arts program was ungraded at all grade levels.  Herr Solakau and I agreed that our focus is on encouraging creativity and helping all to participate and did not feel that a grade would be useful.  We will include comments about Performing Arts in the June report card. 


Grants Committee Request   Please let us know if your company has a grants and/or donations committee.  As we continue to look for funding resources for the school, we recognize that many companies have small grants committees made up of employees.  Usually, these committees give donations in the range of $500-$2,500, and they support programs that involve their employees. If your company has such a committee, please let Carley M. Stuber know about it and she can help you submit a request.  She is a member of the Grants and External Relations Committee and can be reached at cmstuber@earthlink.net or 651-245-9918.  You may also call her with questions about this idea.  Thank you very much!


Opportunities to support the school Many events coming up to be involved with our community that also support the school financially.  Thanks for your purchase of Maskenball tickets for February 26th and Timberwolves tickets for March 7th.  More information below.


Thanks for all you do to support your children and the school as a whole.


Frau Annika Fjelstad
Twin Cities German Immersion School


State of the School
February 3rd

1745 University Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota 55104

6:30 PM

PTO Meeting
February 7th


6:30 PM

Carnival of Cultures
February 11th

St. Thomas More Catholic Community

6:30 PM

Parent Teacher Conferences
February 17th and 18th

1745 University Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota 55104

 Maskenball -- A Night at the OscarsTickets Now on Sale 

You have much more than "127 Hours" to figure out what to wear and to hire a babysitter to make sure that "The Kids Are All Right." So show your "True Grit" and buy your Maskenball tickets today! Maskenball promises to be a fun-filled night of "The Social Network(ing)".

Maskenball is set for Saturday, February 26, from 7:00 PM - Midnight at the Dancers Studio in St. Paul. Besides a night of fun and glamour, it's a great opportunity to raise a tremendous amount of money for our school!

Tickets are now on sale, buy yours today before the price goes up! Tickets are $45 per person now through February 17. Beginning February 18 tickets are $55 each. Staff tickets are $35 each (staff may purchase two tickets at this rate.)


If you plan on donating an auction item or group event please note that the deadline is this Friday, February 4.


Please send the group event form to Molly Foster at mollykfoster@msn.com and the auction donation form to Michelle Sheire @ msheire@comcast.net or drop-off in the front office.



Vienna Community Arts 


Springbreak brings the opportunity for students to participate in the musical theatre workshop offered by Vienna Community Arts.

Flyers and registration forms are available in the school office.

Registration deadline is Feb. 18th, limited to 15 students.

651 773 9525 for info.


No experience necessary!  VCA takes an educational approach to theatre using this as a way to build confidence, acquire new skills, and build relationships.  No auditions.  Every student has a role.

Tuition is $125.00 for the week.  Call Nancy or Herbert at 651-773-9525 for more info.  Watch for our flyer!


On Saturday February 5th the Jugendchor , Konzertchor and the Volksfestsingers. Under the direction of Herbert Engelmayer from Vienna Community Arts will perform for the "Royal Wedding".

The ceremony takes place in Ryce Park at 2 pm and is part of the St.Paul Winter Carnival celebration.


Thank You,

Vielen Dank

Herbert & Nancy

Vienna Community Arts

651 773 9525


PTO Meeting Monday, February 7

Please join us for the February PTO meeting where, on behalf of the TCGIS Facilities Committee, we welcome Rita Rodriguez of the Central Corridor Community Outreach staff.  Ms. Rodriguez will speak to the TCGIS community about light rail construction on University Avenue and answer any questions you may have about the project. 


Please RSVP your attendance. This will help us plan room set-up for the meeting. Also, if you need a babysitter - remember the PTO provides free childcare. You must RSVP for this.

RSVP link -



If you are planning to donate to the Maskenball Wall of Wine auction, this meeting is a great time to drop off wine. Also, some of the silent auction items will be on be on display. Be sure to check them out!

School Board Update


Board Notes from the December 2010 and January 2011 TCGIS Board Meetings


Financial Oversight

The Board received the annual school Audit Report from Dennis Hoogeveen of LarsonAllen. TCGIS received a clean report, with no internal control or legal findings, which is something only 25% of charter schools achieve. LarsonAllen recommends a fund balance of 20-25% in today's financial climate of state holdbacks. TCGIS has a current fund balance of 19%, which Mr. Hoogeveen felt was strong and within reach of expanding to the recommended amount. The Board approved a revised fixed assets policy for the school and also authorized the Director to offer a BPLK position that may incur costs up to, but not exceeding, $5,000, should the teaching position from the German government become available for hire this spring. They also gave the Director the discretion to offer full Kindergarten-Plus scholarships to families who meet the scholarship eligibility criteria. They approved the recommendation to increase the performing arts/technology position from a .7 FTE to a .75 FTE beginning on February 1, 2011. They reviewed a cost and staffing analysis for the 7th grade expansion next year and unanimously voted to offer a 7th grade program, regardless of the actual enrollment numbers. There is confidence in our ability to offer a strong program for 7th grade. The Finance Committee reported that the year-to-date budget figures appear on target.


Strategic Planning

The Board amended the official academic 2010-11 calendar to reflect 2 snow days. They heard an update on the authorizer application process. The Minnesota Department of Education may not allow the school's current sponsor, the Germanic-American Institute, to apply to become an authorizer under the new law, based upon a changed interpretation of how the GAI's net assets should be calculated. The GAI is continuing to pursue its right to apply. Meanwhile, the Board felt it prudent to also consider other appropriate authorizers as a Plan B. Ms. Kompel and Ms. Ratwik attended the MDE sponsored approved authorizer open house and identified two potential fits, one of which has an application fee. The Board authorized the expense of the application fee in order to pursue an application.

Academic Oversight

Ms. Fjelstad reported to the Board on several topics. The school has received an award from the American Association of Teachers of German as an AATG Center for Excellence. The award seeks to  honor programs that are identified as models for teaching German. The snow cancellation policy was discussed, including the pro's and con's of following the St. Paul School District closures. TCGIS will be receiving a refund from Social Security for those staff who are on J-1 visas and are not required to contribute to Social Security. The mid-year enrollment figures were reviewed and Kindergarten enrollment for next year is going well. The Board listened to feedback and impressions from the Middle School parent and staff meeting and afforded the director the flexibility to reorganize current staffing to create a .4 Middle School curriculum development position.


On behalf of the whole TCGIS Board, we would like to personally invite you to Thursday night's State of the School Address at 6:30 p.m., where you will hear more about the ongoing growth and development of our school.


Each of us is happy to talk to you about any questions, ideas, or concerns you may have. Eric Hauth-Schmid, our Parent Liaison, can also be reached at eric@neuromodulationaccess.org.


Lisa Friedman, Board Secretary


Spring Break in Grand Marais

Click here to learn more about a trip to Grand Marais over TCGIS spring break!

Attention aRtiSTs

We would like to invite you to participate in the First Annual TCGIS Family Art Show...to coincide with the First Annual Talent Show (sponsored by the Vienna Community Arts) on Sunday, March 6th at the Germanic American Institute, from 11 to 3 p.m.

We will have 3 categories: PAINTING/DRAWING, PHOTOGRAPHY and SCULPTURE.  All 2 dimensional artwork must be either framed OR matted, and sculptural pieces must be free-standing.  All art submissions must be made by no later than February 28th.  (ALL artwork will be returned!)

We invite TCGIS community members of ALL ages and abilities to participate!  This art display will not be a "contest" but a celebration of our visual arts talents.  If you are a student, parent, or other family member or even friend, please think about making a masterpiece to submit for the show!  Individual or group works invited.  Please fill out and submit this form with your piece.

Contact Mickey Jurewicz-Gruenheid (612.759.2996 or mjs_art@hotmail.com) with any questions!

German Heritage Night with the Timberwolves


First Annual German Heritage Night with the Minnesota Timberwolves


This special evening will be a chance to cheer for former NBA MVP and Germany's own Dirk Nowitzki!


It will be a fun and exciting evening of Timberwolves basketball and German culture.


A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Twin Cities German Immersion School. 


WHEN: Monday, March 7, 2011 at 7:00pm

WHERE: Target Center

PRICE: $36 lower level seats ($40 regular) or $12 upper level seats ($15 regular)


German Heritage Night includes:

  • Early entry into the arena to watch the Mavericks warm-up
  • A possible meet and greet with Dirk Nowitzki after the game (not guaranteed and subject to the approval and discretion of the Dallas Mavericks
  • A post-game photo for the entire group
  • Also, the first 40 kids to sign up get to high-five the players as they run onto the court before the game!
  • A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Twin Cities German Immersion School 

Click here for free child with adult purchase order form (no donation to TCGIS) 

Click here for discounted tickets (donation to TCGIS)

For more information contact Jacob Widerschein,
widerschein(at)timberwolves.com, 612.673.1282

Carnival of Cultures 

February 11th, Friday

We would like to invite all of you to our Carnival of Cultures that will take place at 6:30pm in the school concert hall of St. Thomas More Catholic Community, St. Paul.  Click here to see the official invitation! 

Through this performance we would like to unite a Carnival atmosphere with the idea that our world is so beautiful and colorful because it is so different and unique.  Every grade is preparing its part. You are welcome to join our Carnival of Cultures!

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 aberge@tcgis.org.