Elternbrief

Weekly Newsletter for TCGIS Families

December 21st, 2012

 
In this Issue
:: Upcoming Events
:: A letter from the Director
:: Facilities Update
:: 2nd Annual Ski Outing
:: Bundle Up!
:: Minnesota Boychoir Winter Concert
:: After School Activities Second Session
:: Art News
:: Boy Scouts of America
:: Performing Arts Update
Upcoming Events
Calendar

January

2-4 No school Office hours 8:00 am-4:00 pm 
7- School Begins
9- Registration Closes for Session 2 after-school activities
11- Kaffeeklatsch 8:00 am
14- After School Activities Session 2 Begins
16- Early Release, pick up at 12:45 pm
17-End of Semester
18-Teacher Workday No School for Students
21-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day No School
24- Board Meeting 6:30 pm
25- Kaffeeklatsch 8:00 am

Dear TCGIS community-
 
In the wake of last week's events, it seems everyone is reflecting more deeply and personally on the meaning of our holiday season, and the safety and wellbeing of children is clearly at the fore of people's minds.  As we try to make sense of the senseless, we struggle to contain the roller coaster of emotions and grapple to answer the unanswerable questions.  In heartfelt understanding of your concerns, we would like to review the following:

Appropriate Use of School Communication Systems

As members of the TCGIS community, parents/guardians release their contact information and email addresses for the TCGIS School Directory in the spirit of trust that this information will be used respectfully and for the purposes for dealing with the necessary details of everyday school business (ex. 1:1 student correspondence as it relates to class.)  Please refrain from using parent contact information to create a large email discussion platform.  Furthermore, please cease from any further "reply all" emails that may currently be circulating.  Doing so hurts the integrity of the school and creates distaste and distrust within our community.

If an individual has a particular issue or concern he or she would like to bring to a discussion forum for the larger TCGIS community, the administration respectfully requests that individual join the yahoo parent (opt-in) site as the place for an open forum.  It can be found at  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tcgis/.  This respects the privacy of others and allows those interested to participate at will.  Many thanks for your cooperation and understanding.

School Security

In regards to questions the administration has been receiving about our current and future practices on school safety and security, I would like to share the answers I have been giving to members of our community:

1. Our front office staff screens parents entering the building.  They are not armed, nor does the school intend to arm any staff member, or hire any armed staff in the future.  TCGIS community seems strongly against arming any individual within our community, even for security reasons.

2. The school is also doing the following:

  • Changing out the foyer door down to the Kinderklub to a key locking door.
  • Discussing with landlord the cost of requiring a key to have elevator access.  This and the previous step would secure the front foyer and require a double door entry prior to access to students in the school. 
  • We are considering a change in policy about allowing parents into the building during student drop off (especially for grades 2-8), but feel we need to bring this to a community discussion.
  • Posting signs that all visitors must sign in at the front desk and requiring neon colored visitor stickers for all non-staff who are in the building during school hours for easy identification. (Currently the visitor stickers are white, but we are ordering brightly colored stickers for easier identification.)
  • If the front office staff do not know the identity of an adult that comes in stating they are on the "pick up" list for a child, requiring a photo ID.
  • Heightening staff awareness of how to question adults they do not know in the building, and how to double check they are locking doors for security purposes.
3. A safety/security team has existed since October consisting of Ann Jurewicz, the director, Molly Kalda, front office, Blaine Strobe, front office, Mandi Rosenthal, physical education teacher, Sarah Bailey, front office, and Stefanie Berres, front office.  This is considered our "first responder" team and various members are trained in CPR and have medical training in using the defibrillators on hand in the front office.  They also have training in de-escalating emotionally charged situations.  You can reach all of these members at 651-492-7106, or at their school email addresses.  I use the recommended guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) regarding confidentiality of our security practices.  As far as a security team regarding plans for our new site, that is being developed through the facilities process.

4. The school has had two fire drills and two lockdown drills so far this year.  We will have three more lockdown drills and three more fire drills before the end of the school year.  Staff remains in lockdown until an evacuation team signals them to evacuate.

5. While we do not have access to CCTV cameras, four cameras are stationed on the outside of our building.  Live action footage can be viewed in our server room, and with the support of our building owner, administration can view past captured video.

6. The school's official policy/protocol regarding unannounced parent/guardian access to the school is to check the pick up/drop off list for verification, to ID unknown adults and to require he or she wear a visitor's name tag if he or she will be in the building for more than 5 minutes.
The TCGIS administration and staff have the safety and security of your children as our number one priority.  We are always open to feedback and concerns.  We want to improve to be the best possible school for your children.  For more information on "The Effective Prevention of Violence", please read the position statement endorsed by over 100 institutions and violence prevention scholars at http://curry.virginia.edu/articles/sandyhookshooting

A New Home for TCGIS!  

I would like to end this article, and this calendar year, on a happy note!  TCGIS is proud to announce the School Board approved moving forward on making the former St. Andrew's Site in Como Park the permanent home of TCGIS in 2013!  What a fabulous New Year's present to us. Please read the facilities update below for more details.

Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Solstice or Kwanzaa, our community wishes you and your family happiness, health, rest and wellbeing!  I deeply thank all of you giving me my best present of 2012 -the chance to be the Director of your Twin Cities German Immersion School!

Happy New Year to all,
Ann Jurewicz
Director
TCGIS

TCGIS Community-

Last night the TCGIS board voted in favor of moving to 1031 Como Avenue, which was the former Saint Andrews parish and the original French Immersion School for the Saint Paul Public schools. It's exciting to think about creating this new space together as we grow and become even stronger.


We will be giving you regularly updates over the coming months related to the financing, construction, and ways that you can get involved in the design process. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to call or email me at mrichardireland@gmail.com.  In the meantime, here are some general questions that you might have regarding the decision and the process going forward.

Are we done?

No, there is a lot of work left to do.  Although the TCGIS board voted in favor of moving to 1031 Como Avenue, we still need to negotiate a lease agreement with the help of our school's attorney.  We also need to finalize our vision for the property over the next month and plan.

Are we going to own the property?

No. As a charter school we cannot own the property. The property will be owned by a non-affiliated, non-profit corporation.  Because we agree to sign a long-term lease, this entity will then have the ability to go out and secure funding to purchase the property and develop it in a manner that fits our needs.  If this entity is unable to secure funding, then we will have to find another option and may not be able to move to the Como/Van Slyke location.

Although this sounds complicated, we are working with a team of professionals who have consulted with other Minnesota charter schools who have successfully gone through a similar process, like Yinghua Academy and Nova Classical Academy.

When will we know that everything is coming together?

We should know in February/early March whether the non-affiliated, non-profit entity can obtain funding to purchase the property and build the addition that we need to provide a space for our program.

I'm really interested in the design and I want to get involved, how can I?

The architect, Deb Rathman of Rivera Architects, will be scheduling meetings with parents, teachers, and staff for input in the design.  The Facilities Committee has already worked with Ms. Rathman to develop initial concept designs, but these were largely to determine if the site was viable.  Now is your chance to help finalize the designs.  The dates and times of these meetings will be scheduled shortly.

Can we have a green building and use green technology? 
Yes.  The issue will be cost and timing.  It may be that there are not funds available to install green technologies immediately, but we can plan for the future. Many schools that Ms. Rathman has worked with have incorporated green technology into their designs, but it has been phased-in over time.  For example, Nova Classical Academy intends to create a "green roof" at their new school, but they did not have the money to complete the project when it opened this year.  So, knowing that this was a priority, Ms. Rathman designed the roof so that it is ready whenever the funds are available.  She has also created "solar-ready" roofs, so that when funds were available for solar panels the infrastructure and wiring was already in place.

Can I go on a tour of the site?

Yes. We will be arranging tours in the near future. Stay tuned.

When will the construction begin?

The construction will likely begin in April or May of this year.

Will the construction be done in time for the start of the school year next fall?

It is unlikely that all of the construction will be done in the fall.  The existing school building, however, can handle approximately 80% of our programming. The Facilities Committee is developing several options for the TCGIS Board and it will seek your feedback on these options prior to making a recommendation.  

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

Give me a call or email me at mrichardireland@gmail.com or talk to one of the other committee members.    
Sincerely, 

Facilities Committee 
The 2nd Annual Family Ski Outing
at Trollhaugen

When:  Friday Jan 18, 9:30AM - 3PM
Where:  Trollhaugen,  2232 100th Ave, Dresser WI 54009 http://www.trollhaugen.com 
Cost:  $15 for lift ticket, $15 rental, $2 helmet rental

Please fill out this doodle with who is coming.  RSVP by Jan 10th.


Questions:  Please contact Gretchen Barsch 

Winter Clothing
Frosty Playtimes Approaching

Did you know that the average high temperature for St. Paul in January is around 24 degrees Fahrenheit? Even on cold days, our students have around a half hour of recess each day. The TCGIS teachers and staff wish to remind parents to send heavy coats, snow pants, hats, and especially gloves so that they can have a fun and (relatively) warm recess.
Minnesota Boychoir Winter Concert

The Minnesota Boychoir cordially invites the TCGIS community to the upcoming winter concerts "
A World... A way."  Two of our own second grade gentlemen, Chris and Charlie, will be performing for the first time with the Boychoir!  Concerts are Saturday, December 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis and Sunday, January 6 at 1:00 p.m. at the Landmark Center in Saint Paul.  There is no charge for admission but donations will be received.  For more details visit 
After School Activities Registration Open!
New Classes Added!

The second session of after school activities starts the week of January 14th! Registration forms and class descriptions are available at the front desk. All forms and payments are due by January 9th. Click here to view the classes and here for the descriptions.

Art News-- December

 

As you plan your holiday gift purchases, remember that through Artsonia, our online art gallery, you can buy items with your child's artwork on them! Right now they are having a sale on cards, magnets, ornaments, t--shirts... and 20% of your purchase comes back to the art program at school to purchase more art supplies. As a parent with a login, it is also possible to upload an image of something your child made at home, and to put that on cards or other gifts. The website is www.artsonia.com, and then simply go to the gift shop or log in to get started!

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about art class. 

 

--Frau Lenburg

alenburg@tcgis.org

 

Boy Scouts of America  
Possible Charter at TCGIS

The Boy Scouts of America have contacted TCGIS in hopes of starting a charter here at school. To do so, they would need interested parents to head a scout troop. If you are interested in being a group leader, please contact Molly atmkalda@tcgis.org for more information.

Performing Arts Update
Puppet shows, Carnival of Cultures and More!

Please click here for more information about what's going on in your child's Performing Arts classroom.

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.