Weekly Newsletter for TCGIS Families

 October 27, 2011

in this issue
:: Upcoming Dates
:: TCGIS Achievement Goals
:: UNICEF Trick-or-Treat
:: After School Activities Instructors Needed
:: PTO Meeting
:: Kaffeeklatsch This Friday
:: Construction Update
:: School Pictures Retakes
:: Parent-Teacher Conferences
:: Halloween Celebration
:: Halloween Performance
:: TCGIS Martinstag Performances and Lanterns
:: Art News
:: Author Monika Schröder Visits Classrooms
:: Landmark Center Martinstag
AnnikaProfile- cropped
Annika Fjelstad, TCGIS Director
Dear Families,  


Thanks and Farewell to Frau Cooper - It is with deep sadness that I announce that First Grade teacher Sonja Cooper has announced her resignation as of next Friday, November 4th. Sonja's husband's work has been transferred to Dallas, Texas and their family is immediately swept into the stresses and responsibilities of managing a move and a transition. Sonja is a strong member of our teaching team. Her absence will, of course, be felt most acutely by current first graders and their families for whom she consistently provides a structured, disciplined, joyful and personalized learning experience. In addition, Sonja provided leadership and guidance to the staff as a whole on topics such as differentiation, station work, incorporating technology into the classroom and gifted and talented education. She leaves big shoes to fill. We sincerely wish her the best as she moves on to this next chapter of her life.


Welcome Frau Hollenbeck - We are very grateful to have waiting in the wings a licensed teacher, excellent German speaker and diligent worker known for her patience and persistence in her work with children. Amber Hollenbeck has been serving as a paraprofessional for the past two and half years where she has served many of our Special Ed students with loyalty, firmness, patience and structure. Frau Hollenbeck is well-known and loved in our community. She is excited about taking the step of having her own classroom. While losing a teacher mid-year is difficult to absorb, we could not feel luckier to have an eligible candidate available and already integrated into our community. Frau Hollenbeck will be shadowing Frau Cooper starting immediately. We are fortunate that she will be well supported by veteran first grade teacher next door, Frau Krug.


Other Staff Transitions - Moving Frau Hollenbeck to first grade does leave us with a few other staff positions to fill. We will be hiring paraprofessionals effective immediately. We had planned to have Frau Hollenbeck cover Frau Knoll's maternity leave. Making a plan for this need remains high on my list of priorities. We're fortunate we have a few months to still put this plan into place and will update families as plans are made. We are interviewing candidates already this week for paraprofessional positions.


Achievement Goals - A major project taken on last year among staff was establishing clear benchmarks of what needs to be learned in each grade. We will be testing them with teachers and parents to see how helpful they are in assessing students' progress. More information about our achievement goals is included below.


MCA Analysis - Parents of Students in Grades 4 - 7 received their children's MCA scores this week. They also received this letter to set a context for understanding the scores and to outline the steps TCGIS is taking to improve our students' capacity to be strong thinkers and to highlight their strengths on standardized tests such as the MCAs.

Thank you for all you do to support our school,


Find us on Facebook

Annika Signature


Annika Fjelstad  

651-492-7106, ext. 103

[email protected] 


UpcomingDatesUpcoming Dates
Save the Date  Calendar
27 - 6:30 PM, School Board meeting
28 - 8 AM, Kaffeeklatsch
28 - 2 PM, Tour for pre-school teachers
30 - 2 PM, Info session for prospective families
31 - Halloween celebration at TCGIS and Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

- 8:30-10:30AM, School Pictures Retakes
1 - 6:30pm, PTO Meeting
3- 8:15 AM, Tour for prospective families
3- 2:30 pm, St. Martinstag celebration at TCGIS
3 - Parent Teacher Conferences, PM ONLY (school open)
4 - NO SCHOOL Parent Teacher Conferences
6 - 4pm, St. Martinstag celebration at Landmark Center
10 - 8:15 AM, Tour for prospective families
17 - 8:15 AM, Tour for prospective families
- 6:30 PM, Info session for prospective families
22 6:30 PM, School Board meeting


For the complete school calendar, click here.

AchievementGoalsAchievement Goals
Goals for assessing student progress

We worked alternately in teams of grade level teachers and in vertical teams of teachers looking only at one subject area to establish our achievement goals and ensure that our goals were well aligned. We have thorough documents for Math, Science, Reading and Writing in grades K - 5. We are actively working to integrate Achievement Goals in Social Studies, Oral Communication Skills, Arts, and Physical Education into our final documents. We are also in the process of compiling Achievement Goals for Grades 6, 7 and 8. This year we are not incorporating these goals into our official evaluation system, but we will be testing them with teachers and parents to see how helpful they are in assessing students' progress. At the end of the school year teachers will do an inventory of where each student stands in regard to the Achievement Goals. If you have questions, you can ask your child's teacher during conferences next week.


K-5 Achievement Goals Documents:


First Grade 

Second Grade 

Third Grade 

Fourth Grade 

Fifth Grade  

UNICEF Trick-or-Treat
Collect funds for UNICEF this Halloween

For the last two years, many students at TCGIS participated in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Participation is optional. The 6th and 7th grade students will be visiting the lower grades on Monday, October 31st to discuss UNICEF's relief and educational efforts and to walk through the logistics of Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF. We will distribute UNICEF Trick-or-Treat boxes in class on October 31st. On November 1st - 4th we will collect the boxes in the front office. 


UNICEF has many resources for parents to make it an easy and educational experience. UNICEF has a very good website with information about the Trick-or-Treat Campaign specifically and their efforts in general. There is additional information written for and by children in the Voices of Youth section. 


Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF introduces children to the idea that they can make a difference in the world by volunteering in service to others. UNICEF's goal is to reduce the number of preventable childhood deaths to zero. UNICEF focuses on education, immunization, disease prevention, nutrition and emergency relief. 

After School Activities
Instructors needed for Session 2

It's that time again! We are looking for instructors to offer after school activities for Session 2. Classes will be from January 9th through March 15th. Pay rates vary from $15-40/hour depending on the number of kids that sign up for your class. If you are interested in offering a class, please stop by the office for the form you will need to fill out. Student registration will begin in December.
PTO Meeting
Tuesday, November 1, 6:30-8:00PM

The next PTO meeting iPTO Logo Colors on Tuesday, November 1st at 6:30 PM. If you weren't able to attend the Facilities Committee Info Night last week, you will have the opportunity to get a brief overview at the PTO meeting. See the agenda for more information. Please RSVP here so we can effectively plan on how to set-up for the meeting. Also, use the RSVP to sign up for FREE babysitting - you must sign up for babysitting.
Friday, October 28th

Construction Update
Information about construction around school

-Prior Avenue access to University reopened on Friday, October 21.
-Fairview access to University on the north side has closed. If coming from the West, take Prior Avenue North and then take a right on Charles. Follow Charles until Fairview and then head north until Thomas. Work is expected to take three weeks to complete. 
-Beginning the week of October 31st, Fry access to University on the north side will close for final intersection work.  
-Access to University via Snelling is still available.
We realize that all of the construction around school can be stressful. Thank you for your understanding and we will keep you updated on any further developments.
GAI Library
Changes at the German-American Institute

The Germanic-American Institute library is undergoing major and exciting changes. We have officially switched to a bar code system similar to public libraries. You may now browse the library catalog online to view our ever-growing collection and to see if an item is checked in or out.


We are in need of volunteers to help catalog new items, check in materials, and other related duties; no previous library experience is necessary. We also offer work study opportunities to help cover the cost of a language class. If you would like more information or to volunteer in the library, please contact the GAI's Language Services and Library Coordinator, Amy Neeser, [email protected].

Theater Volunteers
Opportunities to help with theater projects

Thank you to Antje Heckel, who has helped with sorting out theater costumes and creating a theater wardrobe. If any other parents are interested in volunteering there are some other projects to do: we would like to remodel our puppet stage, to create a little stage in the music room, and to continue to work on the theater wardrobe. If you are interested in any of this projects please contact Valentin Solakhau, [email protected].
School Pictures Retakes
November 1

All students who have missed Picture Day will be photographed on November 1. If for any reason you are unhappy with the photos you ordered and already received, please let Stefanie ([email protected]) know by Monday, October 31. Enstrom Studios will be more than happy to retake your child's picture on November 1st.

Class Pictures: Please check your group photo and let us know if you notice a printing error. Some came back with the faces looking slightly distorted. If you need a reprint, please contact Stefanie at [email protected]. Suggestions and feedback on School Photos are welcome!
ConferencesParent-Teacher Conferences Next Week
Remember to register online

Teachers are looking forward  to meeting with you to share observations and insights about working with your student as well as to facilitate a conversation with you and your student about setting goals. Parent-teacher conferences are being held on the evening of Thursday, November 3rd, and during the day on Friday, November 4th. If you have not yet registered, please do so using our online reservations system. The password to register can be found here, and registration instructions are here. If you have no internet access or have trouble signing up, please feel free to call the office at 651-492-7106. Online registration closes on November 3rd at 10am.
Halloween at TCGIS
School-wide Celebration on October 31

10-27 Halloween
On Halloween afternoon, the students will travel in small groups to activities in other classrooms. There are a few volunteer opportunities to be hall monitors and to offer assistance in classrooms. You may sign up to volunteer at our Volunteer Spot or contact your Elternkontakt. Students may wear costumes all day, but no masks or weapons are allowed.
Middle School Halloween Performance
"The World of Carmina Burana"

The middle school students prepared a performance about life in the Middle Ages. It is called "The World of Carmina Burana." The performance will show the result of their work in the 1st quarter, and it is dedicated as a Halloween gift to school. The students will perform on Monday, October 31 at 9am and 10am in the music room.
TCGIS Martinstag Celebrations
Performances and Lanterns

10-6 Martinstag
Performances: The 2nd grade and the String Group prepared a performance of traditional German St. Martin Songs and a scene about St. Martin for St. Martin's Day. The performance at school is on Thursday, November 3 at 2:30 pm, and the performance at the Landmark Center is November 6 at 4pm. Join us, bring your lanterns, sing along and parade with us. You can find the St. Martin's song here, and more information about the Landmark Center event is included below.

Lanterns: The lanterns that K-3 and 4B students made in art class will go home on Thursday, November 3. TCGIS battery lights will be available for students to use at the Landmark Center, and can be checked out from Frau Lenburg. Please return them after the parade, or check them back in to the front desk at school by Wednesday, November 9.

Attention 2nd Grade & String Group Parents: Please send your children with costumes on both days, Thursday and Sunday. Please bring your children to the Landmark Center at 3:30pm on Sunday. The children will get familiar with location and the stage, and we will practice one more time before the performance starts. Please keep in mind that Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday.
October Art News from Frau Lenburg
Introducing Artsonia student art gallery

Artsonia is a free student online art gallery, an exciting way to see and share your child's artwork with friends and family all over the world. As parents, you either received last year or will receive this year an email inviting you to register with the website, after which you can be notified when your student has new work available to be viewed. You can leave comments encouraging your child and also purchase coffee mugs and other gift items with their artwork on it. In addition, 15% of every purchase is given back to the art program at TCGIS to buy more art supplies- I'm hoping to buy more clay and glazes this year for use with our new kiln!


You can view the TCGIS gallery from last year by clicking here and searching for Twin Cities German Immersion School. In the next few weeks I hope to start uploading some of the wonderful artwork that has already been completed this year. I hope that you enjoy the gallery--I think it is a wonderful opportunity for our students to see their work "published!"


Attached is this month's Art News newsletter. Please contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns about art class.


Author Monika Schröder Visits Classrooms
Book Talk at Red Balloon Bookstore on Friday

10-27 Schröder 2Author Monika Schröder visited 6th and 7th graders in their English classroom today. She discussed the writing process, researching for historical fiction writing, and her personal connections to writing. The students were able to get first-hand feedback for their questions about ideation, writing, and publishing. This was an invaluable experience for the students, parents and teachers who were able to attend. We highly recommend attending her book talk at Red Balloon Bookstore, Friday, October 28, at 7 pm. She will discuss her book, "My Brother's Shadow," set in World War I Germany. Purchase a book and donate it to TCGIS!
10-27 Schröder
Calling All Young Cooks and Crafters!
New this year at the fall craft and bake sale

Do you have a child that likes to make, bake, create, decorate, etc.? How about one who would like to be able to buy something affordable at the craft and bake sale? Well get those creative juices flowing and start saving your pennies in preparation for the kids table at this year's sale. We are soliciting small homemade items from TCGIS students that can be purchased by other students for modest amounts of money (nothing over a dollar). Some possible items might be bookmarks, greeting cards, notebooks, friendship bracelets, origami animals, small bags of chex mix, puppy chow, trail mix, or hot chocolate mix. We're sure our students will have other wonderful ideas as well - just remind them to keep it simple. Each interested student will be limited to donating 10 items and details about how to donate items to the sale will follow as we get closer to the sale. 

Amity Interns 

Dirk Jung and Alyssa Okfen  


10-27 Amity Dirk Jung

Next up is Dirk Jung! He is studying English and geography at the University of Trier. He enjoys sports, politics, cars, and technology. He is working in the 5th grade class this fall. He is staying with the Watson - Sinning family.

10-27 Amity Alyssa OkfenAlyssa Okfen is our next intern. She is studying English and politics at the University of Trier. She is working in Frau Krug's first grade class this school year. She is staying with the Clark's. Alyssa enjoys swimming, skiing, traveling, working with children, and going out with friends.

LandmarkMartinstagGAI & Landmark Center Martinstag Event
November 6, 4-6 PM

The GAI and Landmark Center are proud to
co-present this family-friendly annual tradition.
See Rice Park transformed into a winter wonderland and commemorate the generous spirit of St. Martin. The day includes lantern-making and a parade through Rice Park at dusk led by St. Martin and his horse. Attendees are encouraged to bring gently-used items to donate to Joseph's Coat. Event is free and open to the public. 

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.