Weekly Newsletter for TCGIS Families

 March 8, 2012

in this issue
:: Upcoming Dates
:: Remember to Register for Parent/Teacher Conferences!
:: World Savvy Competition
:: New Attendance Policy
:: School Board Nominations
:: 8th Grade Capstone Experience
:: TCGIS Trip to Grand Marais
:: Register for After School Activities by March 13th
:: Kinderclub Care on School Release Day
:: MCA Electronic Testing and Testing Schedule
:: PTO Game Night
:: Advertise in the TCGIS Yearbook
:: Announcing a Third TCGIS Kindergarten
:: New TCGIS Concert Band
:: Kaffeeklatsch this Friday
:: Waldsee Scholarship Contest
AnnikaProfile- cropped
Annika Fjelstad, TCGIS Director
Dear Parents,


Third Kindergarten - I'm pleased to announce that the board of TCGIS has approved the addition of a third Kindergarten. We are excited about the number of enthusiastic applicants for next year's Kindergarten and are delighted that we will be able to accommodate them all. Thanks to all those who helped make it happen.  


MCA Testing - Parents of children in 3rd - 7th grade may have heard that this week students were able to practice on sample tests in the computer lab that is temporarily installed in the Math/Spanish room. We are working to ensure that our students have both the content skills and the computer skills necessary to do their best without creating an environment of unnecessary stress or anxiety. See below for more information about testing.


World Savvy - Our middle school students had a great experience at the World Savvy Challenge this weekend. Click here for an update on how they did and what they learned.


Attendance Policy - We have instituted a new attendance policy that distinguishes between excused and unexcused absences and provides criteria for make-up work when students are on vacation. See below for the full policy.   


Instrumental Music Opportunities Coming Our Way - Thanks to the efforts of Gina Vader and Krista Johnson, our students will soon have expanded opportunities for instrumental music instruction and performance. Click here for more information about the new TCGIS Band program! 


Coming Soon - The State of the School presentation was a success. A summary of the presentation will follow in an upcoming Elternbrief. Also watch out for an important survey in the next Elternbrief on potential future locations for TCGIS. It is vital that we know which factors are most important for your family. 


Thank you for all you do to support the school, 

Find us on Facebook

Annika Signature


Annika Fjelstad   

Director, TCGIS 

651-492-7106, ext. 103



UpcomingDatesUpcoming Dates
Save the Date  Calendar



9 - 8 AM, Kaffeeklatsch

13 - After School Activities registration forms due 

15 - 8:15 AM, Tour for prospective families 

15 - Parent/Teacher Conferences - PM ONLY (SCHOOL OPEN)

16 - Parent/Teacher Conferences - NO SCHOOL   

19-22 - MCA Math Round 1  

22 - 8:15 AM, Tour for prospective families 

22 - 6:30 PM, Board meeting

23 - 8 AM, Kaffeeklatsch

23 - 6:30 PM, PTO Game Night 

26 - 6:30 PM, Board meeting 

29 - 8:15 AM, Tour for prospective families  



2-6 - Spring Break - NO SCHOOL

9 - Teacher Work Day - NO SCHOOL

10 - 6:30 PM, PTO meeting

13 - 8 AM, Kaffeeklatsch

13 - Instrument "Petting Zoo" for Concert Band

15 - Benefit for 8th Grade Capstone Trip  

17-18 - MCA Reading

23-26 - MCA Math Round 2

26 - 6:30 PM, Board Meeting

27 - 8 AM, Kaffeeklatsch

27 - 5:30 PM, PTO Pump It Up Fundraiser


For the complete school calendar, click here.

Remember to Register for Parent/Teacher Conferences!
Registration open until March 15

Parent/teacher conferences will be held on the evening of Thursday, March 15 and during the day on Friday, March 16. Registration instructions and log-in information were sent to parents via e-mail earlier this week and are available upon request at the front desk. Please see the Registration Guidelines for more information.
WorldSavvyWorld Savvy Challenge
TCGIS students present projects on sustainability

TCGIS Middle school studentsWorldSavvy put the school's mission "to form global citizens" into action at the 10th annual World Savvy Challenge at Macalester College last Saturday. Governor Dayton, Senator Klobuchar and Congresswoman McCollum addressed a full auditorium during the opening ceremonies, speaking about their own experiences of leadership and our collective need for sustainability. World Savvy "engages students in project-based learning and collaborative problem-solving around a global theme, and empowers them to take informed action to address 21st-century challenges locally and globally." The World Savvy theme this year was "Sustainable Communities," and 20 schools from around the metro area participated. For three weeks our students researched, created posters, developed annotated bibliographies and wrote and performed plays on topics including waste, climate, water, energy, society and food.

The students presented their findings and solutions in German to German-speaking judges at the day-long event. Their posters are on display at TCGIS. The students and teachers are to be commended for their extraordinary efforts in preparing for World Savvy. During the World Savvy Action Roundtable event, two of our students scored in the three highest-placing teams: Paul Watkins (grade 7) received third place and Lola Rubens (grade 5) received first place in this event for their ability to communicate, collaborate, and think critically about sustainability. We look forward to seeing what TCGIS Middle Schoolers can do next year!  

AttendanceAttendance Policy
New TCGIS attendance policy

A student can miss up to five (5) days of planned excused absences. The family of the student should notify teachers at least one week prior to the beginning of the planned absence. Prior to the absence, the teacher will meet with the student to give a brief overview of what will be missed during the absence. Assignments will be given to the student upon his or her return. The student will have as many days as they were gone to turn in the completed work, up to a maximum of five days.


Excused vs. Unexcused Absences

An excused absence is one in which the student is out of town (as outlined above) or home sick. The school needs to be notified prior to the absence. To report an absence, please call the school at 651-492-7106. This call should be made by the parent/guardian of the student.


An tardy or early dismissal is excused when a student needs to leave school in order to attend an appointment.


An tardy or absence is unexcused when the school is not notified prior to the occurrence, when a student/family is running late or when there are reasons other than sickness or excused planned absences.



If a student has 3 or more unexcused absences or 10 or more unexcused tardies, a letter will be sent home from the school regarding this concern. If attendance does not improve, the child will be referred to the county. If the child is under the age of 12, they will be referred to Family Truancy Intervention Program. If the student is 12 or older, they will be referred to Truancy Intervention Program.

It's Time for School Board Nominations
School board elections coming up in May

This year's school board elections will take place on Friday, May 18th. We will be electing three new members to our nine-member board of directors. The board plays a crucial role in providing direction, vision and continuity for our growing school community. We hope that you will give serious consideration to volunteering for a board position, or will take the time to recommend someone who you think would be willing and able to support the school in this way. Please click here for more information about the TCGIS school board and the election process.
8th Grade Capstone Experience
Support the 8th grade trip to Germany!

In March of 2013, the TCGIS 8th grade class has an opportunity to travel to Germany for a two-week "Capstone Experience." The Capstone will provide students with the opportunity to integrate and apply what they've learned during their time at TCGIS. They will experience a homestay, spend time at a German school, and visit historical sites and cultural offerings in Berlin and other cities. The Capstone Experience is the culmination of a TCGIS education and is planned for all 8th grade classes at TCGIS.

We're excited about making the Capstone Experience a reality for all TCGIS 8th-graders! Families will contribute as much as they can toward their child's expenses, and the school community is committed to raising money to offer need-based scholarships and to pay for teacher expenses.
Your support of our fundraising activities is most welcome! Please read on and mark your calendars for a benefit event to be held on April 15 at the Germanic-American Institute.

Thanks, on behalf of the Capstone Committee:

Mary-Fred Bausman-Watkins
Nancy Bostrom
Michael Dornreich
Cheryl Meyer
Silke Moeller
Nancy Mulholland
Sylvia Oxenham
Gina Vader

Performers wanted!
We are looking for musicians and performing artists in the TCGIS community (students, teachers, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends) who would be willing to perform at the benefit event for the Capstone Experience in Germany on April 15th at the GAI. The program will start at 2:00 pm.

We are hoping for a wide variety of instruments and musical styles and other performances. At the beginner level, plan to perform for no more than three minutes; at the intermediate to professional level, plan for up to 15 minutes performance time. If you are interested, or if you would like to suggest a musician or performing artist, please contact Sylvia Oxenham at s.oxenham@yahoo.com.  
TCGIS Trip to Grand Marais
March 16 - 18

Grand Marias
Looking for a fun family getaway this spring? Explore the great outdoors with your kids, tour Grand Marais, and spend time with other TCGIS families in a beautiful setting. Join us at  East Bay Suites in downtown Grand Marais on Lake Superior's North Shore over the long weekend on March 16-18. East Bay Suites has Studio, 1, 2, & 3 bedroom beachfront condominiums with spectacular lake and village views. Each unit is fully furnished and most have full kitchens. Click here for more information on how to reserve rooms at a reduced TCGIS rate! 
Register for After School Activities
Registration forms due March 13th!

Registration for Session 3 of After School Activities has begun! Please fill out a registration form (available in the front office) and turn it in by Tuesday, March 13th to register. Please click here for a list of the classes that we are offering this session.
Kinderclub Care on School Release Day
Care offered on March 16

Kinderclub will be offering 8am-6pm care during the school release day for conferences (Friday, March 16). The cost is $35.00 per student. The deadline for sign-up is Thursday, March 8, in order to ensure adequate staffing and supplies, and to allow time for advance notice in the event that Kinderclub will not operate. Minimum enrollment is required. For more info, contact Babett Larimer, blarimer@gai-mn.org.
TestingScheduleMinnesota Comprehensive Assessments
Electronic testing and the upcoming testing schedule

This is the first year that we have given the Math MCA online, which creates a technological learning curve for us. I want to give a particular thank you to Sarah Bailey, Stefanie Berres, Paul Carlson and Amy Davis for their leadership in this effort.


The reasons we have switched to the online tests are threefold: 1) We are able to get immediate feedback on how students are performing, allowing us to make curriculum adjustments mid-course. 2) We are able to re-test the students, allowing us to capture their gains once we've ensured that we're addressing any potential deficits in their math skills. 3) The test adapts to the level of the student, thus minimizing exposure to questions for which students are unprepared.


As mentioned in an earlier Elternbrief, we have revised our initially proposed testing schedule in order to adapt to the electronic tests. In order to allow us the opportunity to re-test, the first testing session for 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th graders will be almost three weeks prior to our initial proposed dates, during the week of March 19. We see this first testing session primarily as a practice test for both children and staff to familiarize themselves with the electronic testing equipment. This earlier schedule does cut into the time to prepare students for the test, but we have scheduled time into our curriculum to address any uncovered topics before the second test administration.


The best way to support your student during testing season is to maintain a sense of calm and confidence and to encourage your student to do the best he or she can. The tests measure our teachers' abilities to effectively teach the standards. They do not measure children's value as individuals. Encourage your student(s) to do their best, and continue supporting them by making sure they get adequate sleep, good nutrition and focused time for homework. Any additional pressure can have more negative than positive impact on a student's capacity to do his or her best work.


Testing Schedule:

March: Sprachdiplom - Grade 5  

March 19-22: MCA Math Testing Window #1 - Grades 3, 4, 6, 7 (Practice Test)

April 17-18: MCA Reading Test - Grades 3 - 7

April 23-26: MCA Math Testing Window #2 - Grades 3 - 7

May 8-9: MCA Science Test - Grade 5

May 14-15: MCA Math Testing Window #3 - Grades 3-7 (by referral only)

Game Night
Bring your family to play games at TCGIS!

CardsOur annual Game Night is coming up on Friday, March 23rd, 2012 at 6:30 PM! All TCGIS families are invited! We will have games for all ages and across all genres including last year's popular CheckersWerewolf game, snacks and beverages for refreshment and prizes for the winners of our game raffle! So, mark your calendars and bring your family to school to play some old and new games!
Advertise in the TCGIS Yearbook
Proceeds go to 8th grade trip

Looking for a great way to make your business known? Parents, want to send a greeting to your favorite students (see examples of student recognition ads here)? Well, here's your chance! You can buy space for advertising in the first ever TCGIS yearbook! Here's the deal: $50 for a whole page (8'' by 13''), $25 for half of a page, $13 for one fourth of a page, and $8 for one eighth of a page. What a bargain! If you're interested, please fill out a this form and turn it in to the front desk. If you have any questions please contact Molly Kalda at mkalda@tcgis.org.

All proceeds from advertisement sales will directly benefit the 8th grade trip to Germany next year.
KindergartenThankYouThank you!
Thanks to those who are helping us add a third TCGIS Kindergarten

We are grateful for the efforts of the Marketing Committee, consisting of Chris Weimholt, Julie Elias, Cyndi Miller, Amy Ireland and Molly Illes, for their efforts to attract so many families to our school. The Education Outreach Committee of the PTO, consisting of Krista Johnson and Mickey Jurewicz, will be reaching out to new families and helping them feel welcome and committed to enrolling their students here.
ConcertBandTCGIS is Forming a Concert Band!
New music opportunities at TCGIS

TCGIS has a wonderful strings group that is doing well and growing, and we are now in the process of forming a concert band! The study of music can be one of the most valuable steps in your child's education. Current research shows that playing an instrument develops responsibility, mental discipline, teamwork and self-esteem while also providing enjoyment and fostering a lifelong appreciation of music and other arts.


Watch for upcoming concert band dates in future Elternbriefs. An instrument "petting zoo," sponsored by Schmitt Music, is being planned for April, where grades 4-7 can see and play different instruments. In conjunction with this we are hoping to host an after-school session where parents can speak one-on-one with a Schmitt Music representative about renting an instrument. You do not have to rent or buy from Schmitt, as there may be other stores near you that are more convenient, but Schmitt Music gives us the most options.


To play with a performing ensemble, one must learn how to play the instrument he/she has chosen. Students will have the option of taking small group lessons at TCGIS. We will post scheduling and fees once they are finalized.


A full-band rehearsal will be held weekly, on Fridays at 3:30. Students taking private lessons elsewhere can join for $5 per week. Students taking small group lessons at TCGIS can join for FREE!


Any questions regarding the concert band program can be directed to Krista Johnson: 612-209-3396, or monk2miles@comcast.net.

Friday, March 9

It is time for our next Kaffeeklatsch! It will be held thisCoffee Friday, March 9th in the front lobby entrance. We start serving coffee by 8:05 AM. A cup of coffee or tea is $1.00 if you bring your own cup, or $1.25 if we provide you with a cup. All proceeds go to the PTO. This week the Middle School students will showcase some of their projects from last weekend's World Savvy Challenge. Please stop by to browse! 
"Why Learn German" Scholarship Contest
Win a scholarship to Waldsee!

Concordia Language Villages' "Why learn German?" video and essay contest is now accepting entries. To participate, start thinking of some great reasons to learn German and check out this video for some fun ideas. Then, get started on your video! When you're finished, send it to us for a chance to win a scholarship to Waldsee. Be creative! Submit your video or essay by March 29. Click here to enter. For more information on scholarships, visit Waldsee's German scholarship page.

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.