Weekly Newsletter for TCGIS Families

November 08, 2012

In this Issue
:: Upcoming Events
:: St. Martin's Tag Celebrations
:: EcoSchools Audit Update
:: Art News-November
:: 4th Annual Craft & Bake Sale
:: School Board Special Election
:: Tour Guides Needed: New Day and Time
:: Elternkontakts for your classroom
:: Chinook Books
:: Kinderclub Extended Care- November
:: Second Grade Mother/Daughter Book Club
Online fundraising for TCGIS Give to the Max 2012!Dear TCGIS community-

On Thursday, November 15, 2012, TCGIS will be participating in Minnesota's day of philanthropy, Give to the Max Day, in hopes of raising over $20,000 for our students.  With your help, I know we can reach our ambitious goal!  Here are a few easy ways you can participate in Give to the Max Day:

1.       Make a gift to support the TCGIS amity and technology programs.  Funds raised during Give to the Max day will support our beloved German interns, who make our school an amazing learning environment - with at least two German speaking adults in each classroom every day!  Technology is increasingly important in today's schools and funds raised will make sure that TCGIS can utilize this effective teaching tool.
2.       Schedule your donation in advanceOut of town on Give to the Max Day?  Worried you'll forget to participate?  You can pre-schedule your donation for Give to the Max Day!  Simply visit http://www.GiveMN.org and on the right side in the donation box, select "schedule one for TCGIS".  These donations will also be eligible for matches and Golden Tickets.
3.       Reach out to your networksEncourage your family to join you in supporting TCGIS on November 15. Thank you for considering partnering with TCGIS on Give to the Max Day!  Together, we can do great things for our students!
With Thanks,
Lisa Friedman
Parent and Board Chair

Go to:  

Upcoming Events

9-Kaffeeklatsch 8:00 am
9- St. Martin's Tag School Celebration at 2:00 pm in the Cafeteria
13-PTO Meeting 6:30-8:00pm
16-PTO Craft & Bake Sale 2:30-5:30 pm
17-PTO Craft & Bake Sale 9:00am-12:00pm
20-School Board Meeting 6:30-9:00 pm
21-23 Fall Break, No School
26- Teacher Workday, No School for Students

TCGIS Facilities Committee Update

From Mark Ireland, Chair of the TCGIS Facilities Committee,
on behalf of the committee


This past spring the facilities committee invited the parent community to participate in a survey and attend an open forum to learn where we are in the process of finding our long-term home for the school as our lease in our current location ends at the end of June 2013.


For more than three years, the Facilities Committee has been evaluating our current location and other locations. We are entering the final stages in multiple, simultaneous negotiations, trying to get the best deal possible for our school. "Best deal" means that the lease is affordable; the facility itself is located nearby our current location; and fits the size/needs of our program as well as our size/needs when we reach our full configuration.


Our goal is to present the board with a recommendation as well as alternatives in the very near future. In the meantime, below you will find answers to questions that you might have.  I've also attached the presentation from the spring as well as the list of properties we've considered so you can see the breadth of the search:


Why don't we just stay right where we are?


There are three main issues related to our current location that make it extremely risky. 

1.      We do not control the play space in front of our school. The "wood chip" park is actually "Dickerman Park" and it is owned by the City of Saint Paul. We have had multiple meetings with the City of Saint Paul, and it is likely that they will redevelop the park in a manner that is not compatible with our use and not safe for our kids to play. It is unclear when the construction would start, but it is likely to coincide with the completion of the light rail construction.

2.      The YMCA (which we currently use for gym) has confirmed they are moving. When they move, we would no longer have easy access to a gym facility. 

3.      Can our current space support our program at its full configuration?  We are a growing school and ultimately we could have as many as 550 students.  If we were to continue leasing at our current location, there is a question if we could negotiate the amount of improvements we would need to support our ultimate program size at a quality that we satisfy us over the long term. For these reasons, the Facilities Committee has been actively pursuing other options.



Where have you looked?


Although we've looked nearly everywhere, parents have told us quite clearly to stay close to our current location. There are three general categories of places we look: (1) closed public school buildings, (2) office/warehouse spaces, and (3) closed Catholic school buildings. 


1.      Closed public school buildings

There simply aren't very many of them available. We actively pursued engaging Minneapolis on the Howe school in the Longfellow neighborhood, but those talks were not successful. Both Saint Paul and Minneapolis have also seen an increase in student population, which means that they are not interested in losing control of any school that would be suitable for us. In fact, they are planning to reopen many closed facilities.


2.      Office/warehouse spaces

We have looked at multiple office/warehouse spaces, but most are not large enough for our needs, they are not close to our current location, and/or they lack any green space and/or play space. There are also environmental and safety concerns of locating a school with young children in an industrial area. For example, we have considered the Jenks building but based on the parent survey results, the facility and its location weren't an option. 


3.      Closed Catholic Schools

With Catholic schools, the issue is often the quality of the school building. Closed Catholic school buildings often have deferred maintenance issues, lack administrative and special education spaces, and green space.  The school buildings also tend to be too small. Many Catholic schools were kindergarten through fifth grade, with one classroom per grade (a total of 6 to eight classrooms). We are kindergarten through eighth grade, and we are projected to need at least thirty classrooms plus specialty rooms.


When we presented the community with the three most viable options in the spring, the St. Andrews site located in the Como neighborhood and our current site were the front-runners according to the survey results. We are continuing discussions with our current landlord but given the challenges discussed above, the facilities committee has also pursued further research of the St. Andrews site. It is a former Catholic school but was also home to a French immersion school and has gone through significant renovations. We have been working with an architect as well as various other structural engineers and inspectors to do a deeper assessment of the site. It continues to be a viable option for the school.


Attached here is a list of facilities that have been considered over the course of the last two years. 


When the Facilities Committee makes its recommendation to the Board will it all be settled?


No. As stated above, we have multiple, simultaneous negotiations occurring at the same time. Our goal is to have our recommendation made and our facility chosen by the end of the year, but there are factors that are not in our control. For example, another local charter school chose to purchase two sites and they both fell through because they were priced too high. The same thing could happen with our recommendations. In addition to continuing to negotiate on our current site and St. Andrews, the facilities committee is also looking into other sites that could provide a temporary (3-5 year) solution in case our first two choices do not pan out.


What's next?


Once a selection has been made by the board there will be many opportunities in which the community can get involved and those will be communicated in future updates. The committee is working on finding a solution to the school's facilities needs and feels confident that the school will ultimately find a space that supports our program to the fullest extent possible.  We realize that the location of the school is very important to the parent community and we want to involve everybody as much as possible. The process is moving quickly at this stage and we are excited about being able to share more information as well as opportunities for input in the weeks to come. We appreciated all the comments of support we received during the last survey and are confident that the hard work that has gone into this process over the last three years will ultimately lead to a new home for our school that we can be proud of.  


I want to know more about what the committee is doing and recommending.


This is the presentation made to the community in the spring, as well as the list of facilities we've looked at over the years. If you would like further information, please give me a call or email me at [email protected]




Mark Ireland

Facilities Committee Chair  


Dear TCGIS community-


Thank you to all those who participated in fall conferences. I very much enjoyed talking personally with many of you about how to support the success of our students.


Give to the Max 2012

What if you could help our school win $1000 just by giving 10 bucks?  On November 15, you can.

Join us on November 15, for Minnesota Give to the Max Day, and help us win a $1,000 Golden Ticket. TCGIS will have 25 chances to maximize your gift on Give to the Max Day!  By making a donation on Give to the Max Day, your $25 gift could help us win one of the hourly drawings for K-12 public schools to add $1,000 to a person's randomly selected donation. At the end of Give to the Max Day, one donation to a K-12 public school from across Minnesota will be randomly selected for a $10,000 Super-sized Golden Ticket! Help us increase our odds by making your gift on November 15 for Twin Cities German Immersion School! Remember, you can schedule a donation today and still be eligible for the Golden Tickets.


PowerSchool Parent Portal Opening!

On Monday, November 12th we will be opening the PowerSchool Parent portal for grades 5-8. This will enable parents to see student grades online, view lunch balance and more. Parents should receive a personal email from Stefanie Berres with login information as well as a parent user guide to PowerSchool. This is a pilot program and if all goes well, we hope to open the parent portal for grades K-4 after January 2013.


Thank you for a great St. Martinstag!

I enjoyed attending my very first St. Martinstag celebration with my husband and my mother. Thank yous go out especially to Susanne Grimm and Scot Stephenson for their organization of second grade students in the performance. Thank yous also go out to Valentin Solakhau and Krista Johnson for their leadership in the music, dance and theater components. It was a great community celebration.


Thanksgiving vacation approaching

Thanksgiving holidays are right around the corner. Please remember we will have no after school activities the entire week of November 19th through November 26th. Please plan accordingly.


Thank you all for your continued support of TCGIS.




Ann Jurewicz




St. Martin's Tag Celebrations 
Nov. 9th at 2:00 pm in the Cafeteria  

On Friday, November 9th, we will celebrate
St. Martin's Day at school. The program
will feature 2nd grade performers with traditional German songs as well as the TCGIS Band and Blumenkranz dancers.  


More information can be found online at 

EcoSchools Audit Update

Recently, Kinderclub 3rd graders and middle school students grabbed their clipboards and teamed up with parents Ascan Koerner and Elise Amel, and U of M students Erica Parsons and Quintin Walker, to assess water and electricity usage at our school. Auditing our current usage is one of the first steps for increasing our efficiency, saving money and resources, and earning EcoSchools awards.


Have you ever wondered how many lights we have in our school or the number of water faucets we use? Read this to find out!

Art News-November

Congratulations to the second graders and other performers at the Martinstag celebration at the Landmark Center this past Sunday! I was unfortunately unable to be there this year, but I've heard that it was a great success. There are some lantern lights still missing- if you have one at home please bring it to the office.

I would like to thank all of the families who brought in boxes for the lanterns, and a HUGE thanks to the people who helped me prepare for the K-3rd graders to make their lanterns. Kordula Coleman, Jill Ravensborg, Sarah Ebner, Kelly Huxmann, Ilona Lange, Florence Lange, and Stephanie Mekacher, we couldn't have made 215 lanterns without you!

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about art class. Please see this attachment for more information on individual grade level activities for this month.

-Frau Lenburg

TCGIS-PTO 4th Annual Craft and Bake Sale

*buy one-of-a-kind gifts
*buy your Thanksgiving treats
*something of everyone

Friday, November 16, 2:30-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 17, 9 a.m.- 12 noon
in the School Cafeteria

You can still donate or volunteer to help at the event, see link below
2012 TCGIS Board Special Election 
Friday, November 16th

We are happy to announce that we have 6 candidates running for the two openings we currently have on the TCGIS Board.  
The candidates are: 
Kevin O'malley, Community Member 
Hunter Goetzman, TCGIS 4th Grade Teacher 
Michelle Wallace, TCGIS English Teacher 
Liane Gale, Parent Community Member 
John Holmlund, Parent Community Member 
Jennifer Buck, Parent Community Member 
Please read through the candidates' 
statements on the TCGIS website. All parents or legal guardians and staff members are eligible to vote in the election. 

On November 16th, the ballot box will be open at the school during the following times:

      At drop off - 7:45am to 9:00am

      At pick up - 2:30pm - 5:30pm (coinciding with the PTO Craft and Bake Sale)


Won't be here on election day or can't make it to the school while the ballot box is open?

No problem. You can go to the TCGIS website and print and fill out a proxy form.The proxy form allows you to authorize somebody else to cast your ballot for you.Your proxy must bring the completed form to the ballot box to be able to cast a ballot for you.Ballots will be available soon on the TCGIS website or at the school.Ballots will also be available on voting day.

Tour Guides Needed     
Get to know new TCGIS families

TCGIS needs your help in providing tours to prospective new families interested in enrolling their children in TCGIS. Tour guides are needed on Friday mornings starting at 8:15am. Tours start at 8:30. For more info, please contact the school at [email protected].

Introducing the Elternkontakts


A big thank you to the following parents who are serving as Elternkontakts for their children's classrooms this school year. Their time and efforts are appreciated by our entire school community.


KA: Manuela Thames & Gita Zeitler

KB: Beki Cook & Barbara Tarrant

KC: Katheryn Mueller &  Leah Palombo

1A: Kara Klein & Deanna Perchyshyn

1B: Julie Alkatout & Natalie Yaeger

2A: Dale Bloom & Nicole Grenz

2B: Ilona Lange & Maja Reyes

3A: Antje Heckle & Kelly Huxmann

3B: Mickey Jurewicz

4A: Eric and Laura Hauer & Alex Weeding

4B: Karin Stiles & Melanie Van Slyke

5A: Michael Hamacher

5B: Rebecca Johnson

6: Nicole Grenz

7/8: Silke Moeller

Get Your Chinook Book and Save While Supporting TCGIS

Don't forget to pick up your 2013 Chinook Book or the new Chinook Mobile Pack for your smart phone. You'll save on all kinds of essentials, activities and entertainment around town -- perfect for making the upcoming holiday shopping season a little more cost-effective.

Best of all, we keep 50% of the proceeds to support our school. Available at the TCGIS front office, books are $20 and the easy-to-use mobile packs are just $14. Questions? Contact Kate Olson  at [email protected]

Kinderclub Extended Care  

November Scheduling  


TCGIS Familes- 

As November is approaching I am looking ahead at extended care dates. Kinderclub will be offering full-day care on the following November dates from 8am-6pm:

Wednesday, November 21st - Thanksgiving break (Wednesday only, NO Kinderclub on Thu/Fri in observance of Thanksgiving holiday)

Monday, November 26th - Teacher Workshop - no school in session

Please follow the link in order to sign up your children. http://www.doodle.com/uqsyy5ud37phnpqq. The deadline for each date listed is a week prior to attendance. The cost per student is $37.00/day. Please finalize your family's plans prior to signing up as you are entering a valid payment agreement by reserving a spot for your child (as outlined in our KC family handbook). Payment is due prior to attendance and will be billed separately. Other families could potentially be turned away due to lack of space in order for Kinderclub to comply with our student teacher ratio. Last minute drop-in requests will be handled on a space-only basis. Thank you, and enjoy the gorgeous fall colors!!  

-Babette Larimer

 [email protected]


Second Grade Mother/Daughter 

Book Club


A new mother/daughter book club for families of 2nd grade girls is starting up.  We will meet once a month or once every other month, depending on the length of the book and time of the year.  The book club will rotate homes each month and the the hosts (mother/daughter pair) pick the book and provide refreshments, or plan a field trip, around the theme of the book.  At the end of each meeting the next host will present the next book.  Books can be read aloud books, or as the kids get older, books that are read independently.  Books could be chapter books, or even a favorite picture book that the kids would like to talk about.

Join us for the first book club meeting on Sunday Nov 18, 1-3pm at Katrina Holbrook's house.  We will be discussing the book Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink.  This is a longer book, in a short time, so read as much as you can before the 1st meeting.


Any Questions, Please contact Gretchen Barsch [email protected]

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.