Weekly Newsletter for TCGIS Families
September 15, 2011
Annika Fjelstad, TCGIS Director
We'll look forward to seeing you tonight, Thursday, for curriculum night. Visual Arts teacher Amy Lenburg and Physical Education teacher Coach Rosenthal will also be present in the art room to speak about their specialist programs. Performing Arts teacher Valentin Solakhau has another commitment, but will leave written overview of his program. If you have only one child, consider going to the Specialist sessions first and then your classroom, as this one tends to get overbooked in the second hour. Click here for information on sessions.
It was a pleasure to host the delegation from our sister city, Neuss last week and proudly walk the halls to point out so many of our successful programs. It's hard to fit our boasting story into a limited tour. We're excited about potential connections formed across the ocean and the enthusiasm for what we do here.
We know it takes some persistence to wind through the construction on University each morning. Thanks for your commitment to timely arrival. Punctual starting of morning meeting means a lot to teachers. See below for an updated construction update.
Our September Board Meeting will be next Thursday. These are public meetings and a good window into some of the behind the scenes working of the school. The agenda for Thursday's meeting is here.
Many of you may already be aware that the results of the required standardized tests, the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, have been released to the public. You can see the results for our school here. More information is included below.
Thanks for all you do to support your children and the school.
651-492-7106, ext. 103
|Upcoming Dates |
Save the Date
15 - 6:30 PM, Curriculum Night
17 - 11:30 AM, Auflauf Planning Meeting
20 - 6:30 PM, New Parent Night Out
22 - 6:30 PM, School Board Meeting
23 - 8 AM, Kaffeeklatsch
4 - SCHOOL PICTURE DAY
4 - 6:30 PM, PTO Meeting
14 - 8 AM, Kaffeeklatsch
14 - 6:00 PM, PTO Auflauf Cook-Off
20 & 21 - NO SCHOOL
27 - 6:30 PM, School Board Meeting
28 - 8 AM, Kaffeeklatsch
For the complete school calendar, click here.
Learn about your child's day at TCGIS
Curriculum Night is an opportunity to hear from your child's teacher about the classroom schedule and daily routine. We will have two concurrent sessions running from 6:30 to 6:55 and 7:00 to 7:25. Grades K-4 will repeat the same content in both sessions. The structure in grades 5-8 will be slightly different. 6:30 to 6:55 will give an overview of the middle school program as a whole. 7:00 to 7:25 will break into two groups: 5th grade and 6-7th grade. If you have a child in both the middle school program and the elementary program, we recommend that you attend the first session in middle school and the second session in the elementary school.
Miriam Kobold and Lena Gerhart
We are introducing two of our interns this week. First we have Miriam Kobold. She is studying English, Spanish, and math to become a teacher at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. Miriam has wanted to be a teacher since she was 10 years old. She loves to play sports (jogging), travel, read, and take pictures. She also loves cooking and American sitcoms. She will be working with Frau Fritsche in 6th grade this fall. Miriam is staying with the Sheire family.
Next up ... Lena Gerhart! Lena studied English and German education in Würzburg - she just graduated a month ago. Congrats! She will be working this fall in Herr Stephenson's second grade class. She will be living with the Johnson family. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, meeting with friends, and traveling. She is excited to share her own culture while experiencing a new one.
| Lost and Found|
Located in front office
The lost and found is located in the front office and is already overflowing! If your child is missing a jacket, lunchbox, water bottle, or anything else, make sure to stop by and see if it's here.
|Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments|
Results from 2010-201
Our MCA results can be viewed here. You will note that the results show a mix of extraordinary success tempered by some clear indicators of areas for improvement. We can be extremely proud of our reading results across the board and particularly in 4th, 5th and 6th grade, where our kids scored 96%, 95% and 94% respectively. Another celebration is found in our 4th grade math scores. Ninety-five percent of our kids passed. This is a tribute to both our students and their teachers. It is also an affirmation of the strengths of immersion education. Students are tested in a different language than they are taught in and excel beyond their peers taught monolingually.
Our math scores in 3rd, 5th and 6th grade are a wake up call. At 56%, 55%, and 56% they are significantly lower than our goal. We are already monitoring how closely our curriculum is aligned with the Minnesota standards and how well it is being delivered by our teachers. Over the coming weeks we will analyze scores of individual students as well as a breakdown of how students scored in particular skill areas. Patterns in this data will help us understand the weaknesses in our program and guide an action plan to strengthen both what and how we teach.
There are several important caveats to keep in mind in interpreting these scores. The tests that students took in 2010 were NOT the same tests that were given in 2009. "Minnesota students in grades 3-8 took new, more rigorous math assessments aligned to higher standards designed to prepare all kids to be career and college ready." Mathematics results for all assessments cannot be compared across years. Grades 3-8 Math assessments align to standards with increased rigor (Minnesota Department of Education News Release). Scores across the state dropped as part of the transition from the MCA-II to the MCA-III. We at Twin Cities German Immersion School take responsibility for our own students' scores and are committed to their improvement. It is also important to know that their performance is part of a statewide pattern, as math instruction and expectations shift to the newer, higher standards.
Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius states "This year's test will set a baseline for us to measure our improvement over the next several years." At Twin Cities Immersion, we already have several strong components in place to address performance in math. At the middle school we have a certified math specialist, Ms. Morrissey, working on aligning our curriculum. Ms. Morrissey spent three days this summer meeting with teachers from other local schools to design a 5th, 6th and 7th grade curriculum aligned to the newly implemented change in standards. In addition, Ms. Morrissey was able to attend a 5 day training program in implementing the new curriculum. We stand with an already strengthened middle school math program prepared to look closely at the gaps in their learning that the MCA scores draw our attention to.
|Light Rail Construction|
Wheeler/University intersection closed!
While progress on the light rail is exciting, it also causes
congestion. Construction is
now taking place on the North side of the road and you can no longer turn onto Wheeler from University. You will be able to cross University at Fry and at Fairview. You will need to turn onto Wheeler from the north.
Updated information about the construction timelines, as well as bus stop
information can be found here
|After School Activities|
Registration forms now available
A list of after school activities was sent home with the oldest child of each family on Tuesday. To register, pick up a registration form from the front office and turn it in by Friday, September 23. No exceptions! Scholarships are available if needed, and scholarship application forms are also available in the front office.
If you have any questions about the new registration process please email Amy Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|New Parent Night Out|
Tuesday, September 20 at 6:30
Come meet other new TCGIS parents for a night out at Sweeney's! We will meet at 6:30 to get to know each other and learn more about TCGIS. Sweeney's is located at 96 North Dale St. in Saint Paul. RSVP to PTO VP Lisa Antony-Thomas, email@example.com.
|Daily Schedule |
Teachers begin Morning Circles at 8:15. Many classes have tight schedules to keep in order to get to specialist classes on time. Late kids disrupt the flow of the morning. Remember that we will close the front door at 8:10. If we buzz you in after we've closed the door, please make your first priority to help your child enter the classroom before 8:15. Then please come back in and sign in as late. We apologize if the closed door seems unfriendly. Our objective is to help classroom work start smoothly and on time.
| Auflauf Cook-off and Community Dinner |
Planning meeting September 17th
The 3rd Annual Auflauf Cook-off and Community Dinner is Friday, October 14th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Auflauf is the PTO's second biggest community event and needs volunteers to help pull it off. Please consider joining us this Saturday for a planning meeting. We need a small group of people to help plan and prepare for Auflauf. See the agenda for more details.
Auflauf Planning Meeting
11:30 AM- 1:30 PM
Saturday, September 17th
1342 Thomas Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104
If you received an earlier announcement about this event, please note the new location above.
R.S.V.P to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can't make the meeting but want to help? Check out our VolunteerSpot for things to do before Auflauf. Look for more details coming soon about volunteer opportunities the night of Auflauf as well as how to enter a dish and purchase tickets.
Thanks to volunteers, board members, strings players, and students
Special thanks this week to Davis Morrissey and Jesse Zibble for the ongoing work on keeping us technologically up to speed. We have no technical expert on staff and are extremely reliant on our volunteers to keep us all in shape with updated and functioning equipment.
Thanks also to Board members Lisa Friedman, Kim Kompel, Renee Moelders, Anita Ratwik, Marcus Sheire, Gregor Adriany, Matt Schneider, Susanne Grimm and Eric Hauth-Schmid. Serving on the board means countless hours spent pouring over documents of a wide diversity of topics. Providing the big picture overview that keeps us academically strong and fiscally sound is quiet behind the scenes work that can too easily go unnoticed.
Thanks to Linda Michel for her work as our liaison to our sister city, Neuss.
Thanks to strings players Anna Weimholt, Alena Oxenham, Till Konzcak and Caelan Oxenham for greeting our Neuss visitors with appropriate pomp and ceremony through their performance and to Sylvia Oxenham, their director.
And, last but not least, thank you to the middle school science students for helping clean up the garden last week!
|Community Event: Forest International Retreat Center Open House|
From 1pm to 4pm on September 25th, 2011 and again on October 9th, 2011, Concordia Language Villages will host an open house at the Forest International Retreat Center near the Twin Cities. The events will feature cultural games, activities and presentations by Concordia Language Villages staff. In addition, Concordia College faculty will speak about the importance of global education. International refreshments and language activities for the entire family will be provided all afternoon.
This event is free and open to the public.
More information can be found here.
Educating Children for Informed and Active World Citizenship
The Elternbrief is published electronically Thursdays throughout the school-year and on an as needed basis at other times. Submissions are due by 3 PM on Tuesdays. Content printed at the discretion of the TCGIS administration.