Phoenix Family News

October 2, 2020

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Calendar of Events

  • October 5 & 7 - Group A In-Person / Group B Distance Learning
  • October 6 - Wendy's Night 5:00-7:00 pm
  • October 6 & 8 - Group B In-Person / Group A Distance Learning
  • Oct 9 - Flex Friday - Groups A & B Distance Learning

A Note from the Principal

I think we are all getting used to our new routines! Each day we learn new things, make adjustments and go with the flow - especially when technology is not working. I wish that I could say we have fixed all of the glitches but unfortunately with technology anything can happen. The students are working tremendously hard on their in person days. We are so very proud of their grit and engagement on these days. We hope that on Distance Learning days they are settling into their routines as well. Having a special “school office” space in your home for distance learning days really does help. Students could include a calendar and schedule in their space to help keep them organized. Just a couple of ideas to make it seem more like “school” at home.

Preparing for Cooler Weather

As our weather begins to cool down, please make sure to send your child(ren) to school with appropriate clothing for the cooler outdoor temperatures, i.e. hat, gloves, and jacket. Students go outside two times per day for movement breaks, and our PE classes will be held outside all year, as long as the weather cooperates! If you are not able to provide the necessary clothing for your child, please contact our school social worker, Dr. Gervais, for assistance at jgervais2@sowashco.org

Fall Conferences

We will have a "Fall Conference Window" this year from October 20-30 for all hybrid and VLA students and families. Watch for more details to come next week!

Fall Pictures

Fall pictures have been scheduled for November 9th and 10th to accommodate both A and B students. VLA students will have an opportunity to get their pictures taken as well. The VLA picture time is on November 10th from 4:00-6:30 pm. More information will be coming as the date approaches.

Distance Learning Days

Here are some excellent ideas if you or your child are seeking more activities to do on Distance Learning days: https://www.sowashco.org/academics/gifted-education/parents

2020-2021 VLA Book Checkout

Attention VCES Virtual Learning Academy families! You now have the option of checking out books from the Valley Crossing Media Center! We’re so excited to get books into the hands of our students learning at home.


  • Students will be allowed to request two books at a time.
  • Books requested by Wednesday of any scheduled week will be available for Friday pick-up.
  • Books will be labeled with the student’s name on a cart outside the front entrance to the building.
  • Between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm, families can walk up, grab the books, and enjoy at home!
  • Books can then be returned at the next Friday pick-up, or dropped off on the black cart in the front entryway at any time.
  • Dates of Friday VLA Book Checkout Pickups are below:
    • October 9, 30
    • November 13, 20
    • December 4, 11, 18
    • January 8, 15, 29
    • February 5, 12, 26
    • March 5, 26
    • April 9, 16, 23
    • All books should be returned during the month of May
  • Instructions for how to place books on hold are below!

Destiny Discover Online Catalog

How To Request Books (Written Instructions)

How to Request Books (Video Instructions)

Please contact Ms. Lanners, Media Specialist, via Seesaw or email (slanners@sowashco.org) if you have further questions.

Family Technology Support Line

South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) has started a new family technology support phone line at 651-425-HELP (4357). Standard phone line hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can leave a voicemail at any time with your child’s name, the school they attend and a call back number, and someone will return your call.

A variety of technology resources are also available on our Fall 2020 website including:

Growing Through Grief Program

District 833 is now partnering with the Park Nicollet Foundation to bring the program Growing Through Grief to our schools. Through grant dollars, Growing Through Grief is a free service that provides group and individual support services during the school day to students. Research shows that each person experiences grief differently and it may continue to affect a person throughout their lifetime as different transitions and life situations occur. The program has the ability to follow a child through their school experience (through high school) as they continue in South Washington County School District even if they do not continue to have a need for services.


Joan Boevers is the Grief Counselor assigned to South Washington County District. She provides group and individual support as well as death-related crisis support. The program’s purpose is to provide grief education, to allow for space for students to talk about their grief, teach coping skills, and foster peer support. The Growing Through Grief program does not provide therapy. Ideal student candidates for the program would be a student whose parent, sibling, close friend, or primary caregiver has died.


At Valley Crossing, we are excited to announce that Growing for Grief will be offered at our location either onground or virtually based on student needs. Each support group will be 30-40 minutes in length and have 4-8 participants. If you feel that your child would benefit from participating in a support group, please contact Dr. Gervais at jgervais2@sowashco.org for more information.

Washington County Supervision Guidelines

Below are guidelines for the supervision of a student at home:

  • Children younger than 6 may not be left home alone without supervision at any time.
  • Children 7 to 10 may be left home up to 3 hours.
  • Children 11 to 13 may be left home up to 12 hours. Children 0-7 must be supervised by someone age 11 or older, pending their maturity, there is an emergency plan in place, and they are able to reach an adult for assistance if needed.
  • Teens 14 to 15 may be left home up to 24 hours with an emergency plan and the ability to contact an adult if needed. Maturity and ability are taken into account at this age.
  • Finally, teens 16 to 17 may be left home alone for a couple of days as long as there is an emergency plan, and they can reach an adult if needed. Maturity and ability are taken into account at this age.

Notes from Dr. Gervais


A quick note from Dr. Gervais - School Social Worker

Due to the nature of our current learning platforms, Dr. Gervais is excited to be able to offer you or your child(ren) the opportunity to meet with her virtually in 15-minute increments. Dr. Gervais scheduling calendar can be found at https://calendly.com/drgervais/meeting-with-dr-gervais

If you should have any questions or resource needs, please contact Dr. Gervais at jgervais2@sowashco.org


VCES Mindful Movement Minute - Join Dr. Gervais on scheduled school days Monday - Thursday at 2:30 pm CST for a YouTube live opportunity to practice mindfulness and movement and participate in a social-emotional lesson. You can access live and recorded sessions here: https://youtube.com/channel/UC9bD7gtBubmC0HLLMW-uA1g/live


Resources for Families - District 833 has a website that will link you to a variety of resources from food, mental health, and unemployment and so much more. Bookmark this page for future use: https://www.sowashco.org/about/fall_2020/family_resources

PTA News

Memberhub

We are aware that the NEW FAMILY link for Memberhub was incorrect. We apologize for the confusion!


Please use this link to sign up a new account: vces.memberhub.com/join/jkw58d


Returning families: Your MemberHub login will carry over from past years. Login HERE


Wendy’s Night

Our October Wendy’s night is on Tuesday, October 6th from 5:00-7:00 pm. Bring your family to dinner and a portion of the sales will go back to VCES. Both dine in and drive thru orders apply. You must mention Valley Crossing when you order.

Office Contact Information

Connha Classon, Principal: cclasson@sowashco.org / 651.425.7503

Kristine McDonald, Assistant Principal: kmcdonal@sowashco.org / 651.425.7523

Merita LaPlante, Office Coordinator: mlaplant@sowashco.org / 651.425.7501

Jen Gackstetter, Office Assistant: jgackste@sowashco.org / 651.425.7507

Jen Gervais, Social Worker: jgervais2@sowashco.org / 651.425.7605