Weekly Newsletter for TCGIS Families

 December 8, 2011

in this issue
:: Upcoming Dates
:: Swimming Instruction During Sport
:: TCGIS Spirit Wear Available!
:: Kaffeeklatsch
:: Pick Up Your Items from the Lost and Found by December 20!
:: 7th Grade Craft and Bake Sale
:: TCGIS Groups Perform at GAI Christmas Dinner
:: After School Activities Registration
:: Amity Host Homes Needed!
:: Sponsor a Student for Read to Feed
:: Give Kids a Smile: Free Dental Care
:: TCGIS Photo Contest
:: TCGIS Directory Available Now
AnnikaProfile- cropped
Annika Fjelstad, TCGIS Directo
Dear Families, 

As we approach the end of the semester in mid-January teachers are focusing on grading and preparing report cards. At Twin Cities German Immersion School our middle school students are graded by letter grades A, B, C and D. Students in K - 4 also receive report cards, but the designations are E, S, P and T for Exceptional, Secure, Progressing and Time Needed. The end of the semester will be January 12th. Report Cards will be distributed to parents in late January.


Grading and evaluation is an important and emotion-loaded communication for parents, students and teachers. As we prepare to take in statements about our children's progress summed up by a single letter, I think it's important to step back and see the potential vulnerabilities in doing so. While these communications are important in any school, I think they take on an additional weight and challenge in an immersion school. Because we are working in cross-cultural communication, communicating in shorthand can be particularly risky. Let's look for a moment to our vision statement:


Educating children for informed and active world citizenship. Andere hören, andere sehen, weltoffen denken und handeln.


The German portion of our vision statement is not a translation of the English portion of our vision statement. It is a complement. So it is with our languages. What we are able to say in one language is not always exactly equivalent to what we are able to say in another. There is something beautiful about the depth that can come in being able to communicate in two languages. There is also sometimes a sense of disconnection, when gaps in communication are created and some things are lost in translation.


Imagine if the language of how we tell children and parents how they are doing were reduced to a minimalist language with only 5 words. Would everyone interpret those words in exactly the same way? The system of grading is its own language that sometimes gets mistranslated. What C or B means to one person is not necessarily the same thing that it means to another. These differences are exaggerated when we come with different cultural reference points. When we translate over culture we find that what the German system of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 says to a German ear is not necessarily a direct translation of what the messages in the American system of A, B, C, D and F mean to an American ear. We sometimes fall on some cultural misunderstandings about how to talk about success, needing support and not meeting standards.


As teachers we are working hard to create unity on what the exact expectations are for each child at each grade level and how to communicate students' successes and goals. We are working to unify our expectations. As a growing school with changing staff that crosses cultures, we sometimes have gaps or overlaps in communicating perfectly. Grades are intended to improve communication about how to support a child in his or her growth. Occasionally they can instead get in the way. If grades are causing tension around your child's progress, please check in directly with your child's teacher. As school staff we've had some breakthrough realizations when we remember to see how grades and what they mean are shaped by a cultural lens.


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Annika Signature


Annika Fjelstad  

651-492-7106, ext. 103



UpcomingDatesUpcoming Dates
Save the Date  Calendar


9 - 8 AM, Kaffeeklatsch 

13 - Vision and hearing screenings

15 - 8:15 AM, Tour for prospective families 

15 - 6:30 PM, School Board meeting

19-30 - NO SCHOOL 




13 - NO SCHOOL- Teacher work day

14 - NO SCHOOL- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

18 - 5 PM, Info session for prospective families

26 - 6:30 PM, School Board meeting

29 - 2 PM, Info session for prospective families 

For the complete school calendar, click here.

Swimming Instruction during Sport Class
Remember to send swimsuits for your child!

Remember that our Sport classes are receiving free swimming instruction at the YMCA through next week (December 16). Please remember to send swimwear for your child!
Order Your TCGIS Spirit Wear
Orders due by December 16

Spirit Wear is now available for sale in the office. There are sweatshirts, baseball caps, t-shirts and bags. Orders are due in the office by December 16th. If you have any questions, please email Missy Morrissey at  mmorrissey@germanschool-mn.org. Stop by the office and check out the samples and thank you for supporting TCGIS Student Council!
Friday, December 9
Lost and Found
Pick up your child's lost items by December 20th

Our lost and found collection continues to grow. Please look through the lost and found items in the front office to see if any of your child's belongings are here. We will be donating our lost and found on December 20, so please pick up any lost items before then. Thanks!
7th Grade Craft and Bake Sale
Raising money for the class pet

The 7th grade has a bearded dragon, named Yoda, as a class pet, which has grown quite a bit in the last year and needs a new, bigger cage. The students are running a craft and bake sale for grades two through seven on Tuesday, December 13th during the school day and after school. They will be selling their own handmade felt objects, duct tape flowers, pens and purses, stockings, ornaments, and lizards made out of wire and beads. All items are priced from 50 cents to $10, most falling in the under $5 category.
TCGIS Groups Perform at GAI Christmas Dinner
Saturday, December 17, 5-9 PM

$23 GAI members, $28 non-members, $10 children
Ratskeller Opens: 4:30pm
Christmas Program: 5pm
Dinner: 6pm
Sing Along: 8:30pm

This year's Christmas program will include performances by the TCGIS Strings Ensemble and dancers, the Twin Cities Männerchor, and a reading of the Christmas story. The menu for dinner includes traditional beef Rouladen (beef roll-ups with brown gravy), Kürbissuppe (pumpkin soup), red cabbage, Spätzle, and dessert. After dinner the Twin Cities Männerchor will lead a community sing-along.

Please make your reservations early as the main floor fills quickly. Reserve online  or by contacting the GAI office. Prepaid dinner reservations by December 9 are required.

AfterschoolRegister for After-School Activities
Class list and registration form available now

After-school activities will begin January 9. Please follow the links for a class list and class descriptions. Registration forms are available here and in the front office. All registration forms and payments are due January 4. We will not be sending this paperwork to every family, but it is all available in the front office.
AmityInternsHost Homes Still Needed for Our New Amity Interns! 
Introducing Daniela Schwoed and Franziska Summ

Please email Amy Davis at adavis@germanschool-mn.org if you are able to host one of our interns next semester. Please consider helping to support this valuable program.

Introducing two more of our spring interns:

AmityDanielaDaniela Schwoed is from Bavaria. She is a student at the Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Germany, studying to become a teacher at secondary modern schools, the equivalent of junior high schools in America. She is studying English and Geography. She loves playing sports such as volleyball and meeting and going out with friends.

Amity- FranziskaFranziska Alena Summ is currently studying English, French, German as a Second Language and Educational Studies in order to become a teacher. Usually she studies at Augsburg University, but is currently spending a semester abroad in Aarhus, Denmark. In her free time she loves to paint, cook, bake, travel, meet friends for tea and learn new languages. She has never been to the US and is very excited to get to know the country and the people. 
Sponsor a Student to Support "Read to Feed"
Help the fourth graders raise money for Heifer International
Heifer Logo
Have you heard about Read to Feed? Fourth Grade has been working hard on a "Read to Feed" giving program with Heifer International. If you have been recruited to sponsor a fourth grade student, please visit the TCGIS gift registry web page to send your donation by December 15th. Mail-in forms will be sent home this week.

If you have not been recruited to sponsor a student for the "Read to Feed" program and you would still like to donate to the cause, please do so at the TCGIS gift registry. Donations can be made anytime between now and December 15th. Fourth Grade students will be having a fundraising celebration breakfast on December 16th. We will play games and recognize our success with "Read to Feed." Thank you for your support and donation!
Give Kids a Smile
Free dental care available statewide on Feb. 3-4

You can learn so much about children's health and wellness simply by watching their smiles. Unfortunately, many Minnesota children struggle with their smiles because their families face barriers to dental care. That is why, for the tenth year, the Minnesota Dental Association is coordinating a statewide charitable program called Give Kids a Smile. The dates are Friday, Feb. 3, and Saturday, Feb. 4.

More than 200 clinics across the state will open their doors to provide free dental care to low-income children. Please visit the Minnesota Dental Association's website to find participating dental offices and to make an appointment.
TCGIS Photo Contest
We want your pictures!

TCGIS is looking for images to represent the school on our website, in marketing materials and even in the yearbook. The six most suitable pictures will be used in the banner headings on our new website, which is currently in development. We are offering a prize for the best overall photo: tickets to a production by the Children's Theater Company this Spring! Please submit your photos by January 15 to photocontest@tcgis.org. See flyer for more info.
TCGIS Directory
PDF available

The TCGIS directory is attached here in pdf format.

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.