This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Twin Cities German Immersion Charter School3
Posted April 25, 2015
- a parent
I very much agree with the points submitted by a parent on 3/25. These points would not have existed 3 years ago. I encourage any family to ask a lot of questions and get a wide variety of perspectives. Look beyond the face value of information given at coordinated events like open houses and tours. Attend Board and committee meetings or watch the pod casts posted on the website. How are people with differing thoughts (on topics including the controversial second campus) treated? How vibrant is the PTO? How engaged (volunteering, donations, involvement in school gatherings) are families across the grades? Why did the teachers feel they needed to unionize? Do children feel safe and valued as kids around Administration? I smiled ruefully at the there will be a glowing review following mine because I see it happen on other ratings sites for the school's leadership. It begs the question why are the reviews so polarized? My kids are doing fine but we are considering leaving not something we thought possible when we signed on years ago.
Research carefully before you decide to join the school. It used to be student/community centered, it is all about high test scores and fundraising. Instruction time is heavily focused on prepping for the tests despite the denials from the leadership. Big ego at work to outdo Nova, Yinghua, etc. not to do right by our students! Some great teachers still here, most unionized - in charter school? WHY? Makes one question the leadership and working environment. Sharp decline in parent/volunteer involvement in response to less than welcoming or caring attitude from the leaders. Prospective parents should attend Board/school meetings and hear the prerogatives. I STRONGLY do not feel they have the students well-being at heart. We are morphing into an exclusive private school on public money. I have no doubts there will be a glowing review following mine. All about keeping appearances or getting on school Board? BTW, my kids do just fine and it's not the school that raises them as "global citizens"! Empty PR rhetoric, we hear a lot of that around here. Wish more parents would care or feel free to be openly vocal instead of complaining behind the closed door.
We really like the TCGI school. We have a child who has struggled with certain things and the school has worked on helping us meet her needs in an appropriate way. As in every school or corporation, there are better employees than others. We have been lucky to have had very good teachers who really want the children to learn. I would absolutely recommend this school to anyone who wants to raise their child with a second language and awareness about the global world we live in today.
My son comes home every day with new stories about the teachers yelling at the class. I wouldn't go so far as to call the learning environment there "abusive", but it's very disappointing to hear that the teachers yell angrily at a classroom full of small children to deal with problems. It's sad.
TCGIS is a wonderful school that is dedicated to the students, the staff and the supportive community that surrounds it. There have been many changes that have transpired however with the dedication and devotion of the staff and administration, the school has been a raving success in the last few years. Numbers are up, the teachers are energized and motivated to move forward and the building itself is expanding. Wow! How fun to be a part of this excellent school!
My child is in 3rd grade and we are extremely pleased with her learning. This year has been challenging, getting used to the new location. And drop off and pick up have been a mess at times, but I don't think that any move to any location would be much smoother. We would have quickly outgrown the old location, and at Como we will have an actual playground! Someone else mentioned that the feel was different, and it is as parents aren't able to drop off and go in/chat every morning like they used to. Once the new building is finished I believe that will change. TCGIS is a wonderful community with caring staff and teachers and very involved parents!
My child is half way through the kindergarten year and so far we are very pleased. The lessons are age appropriate, fun and creative. He's treated fairly and has made many new friends. We love our teacher--she's great at communication and in addition to weekly emails, she will let you know how things are going--whether well or not as well--and supports collaboration between parents and faculty to provide the best possible experience for the student. Homework is (rightly) optional and prepares them for establishing the habit next year. The new building which was supposed to be ready last fall, encountered some unexpected problems so it won't be finished until this summer. However, regular communication from the director has smoothed over some of the bumps and was done so with candor and in a non-defensive way. TCGIS follows a 'responsive classroom' model which was one of the main reasons we chose them. Once some of the drop off/pick up kinks are worked out and the new building is in place, I think this TCGIS will be awesome. We feel fortunate to be at this school and are looking forward to the years ahead. It doesn't surprise me that there's a waiting list again for next year.
If your child is advanced, avoid this school unless a new director is chosen. She is vehemently opposed to advanced placement for students, even if they are way too advanced for their class. She expects that differentiation would be made in the classroom, but this is not happening. I am very actively involved with the school & parents & have heard too many complaints. My kindergartner who has been writing for 2 years was forced to trace letters, learning one letter per week, even though we requested that the teacher have children that can already write, freehand write letters, words or sentences depending on their skill level. While some mathematically advanced children could add, subtract and multiply, they had to sit through instruction to teach them the numbers 1-5. The classroom experience is complete chaos & when the disruptive students prevent any learning in the classroom, the school focuses on the disruptive students, punishing the entire classroom by taking away privileges including the ones necessary to learn! Too many children are reporting that they hate school, are bored with school and want to stay home. Aren't kindergartners supposed to learn to love school?
This school is good. But the parking and student drop off pick up is a nightmare! Also a concerned about kids attending school in a construction zone with some kind of potentially unsafe substance found.
We are very happy that we found TCGIS. We have a son in KG and daughter in 1st grade and we are very happy they love their school. We don't speak German at home but our two kids sing in German all the time. Small class size with two teachers, very involved parents, an excellent principal and awesome new location. Hope it will be the best School in MN.