Phoenix Family News

March 19, 2021

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Important Dates Ahead...

  • March 23: PTA Cafe Zupas Night, 4-9 pm
  • March 25: PTA Meeting via Zoom, 4:30 pm (for Zoom link, see below)
  • April 2: No School
  • April 16: VCES Virtual Bingo Night, 6:00 pm

Calendar and Schedule Updates

The latest calendar updates are available at

A Note from the Principal

This week, like many during the pandemic, has brought a mix of emotions. It is always wonderful to see students after a long break. Whether online or in person, being with our students, seeing their smiling faces, and reconnecting always brings us joy.

In the midst of this joy, however, our hearts continue to be heavy. As a school district, we are coming together to support our students, families and community members who were directly impacted by the tragic car accident last weekend that resulted in the loss of an East Ridge Student. Along with that tragedy, we have continued to struggle with race and equity in our country -- specifically with the re-traumatization of many community members with the start of Derek Chauvin's trial. And most recently, the senseless murder of eight people in Georgia, six being Asian Americans, bringing to the forefront Asian hate crimes.

As a leader and as a school district, we not only condemn violence and harassment, our school board passed our Racial Equity Resolution last fall. As a part of this resolution, we are committed to fostering a school environment that promotes respect for and curiosity about all cultures, and that affirms equal humanity of all our students, staff members, families, and community members.

We as a Valley Crossing Community are united in creating a system that fosters success for all of our students. We feel strongly that our words must align with our actions as we continue to do anti-racist work as a staff, school and a school district. It is our commitment to you that we will always work for all of our students so they feel safe and supported at Valley Crossing. Specifically, we want our families of color to know we remain committed to making sure that your children feel safe and valued every day at Valley.

If you or your family is in need of support or resources, please reach out to me or utilize the links below.

Free Breakfast and Lunch for All Students

Just a reminder that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) to provide free breakfast and lunch for enrolled students. Paperwork is not required to receive free meals. All students eat breakfast in the classroom, and our 2nd-5th grade students eat lunch in the classroom. All students are invited to participate in this program this year!

VCES Virtual Bingo Night

Save the Date for Friday, April 16th! The VCES student council is excited to present virtual family bingo night at 6:00 pm! Interested families will receive bingo boards for each VCES student in their family. Bingo boards will be provided in their homebases. If the student is in VLA, they have the option to pick up bingo boards during VLA supply pickup on April 9th or print bingo cards at home. More information on that to follow. If you are interested, please complete the survey that is linked below by Friday, March 26th.

Thanks so much! Ms. Lieder & Mrs. Polifka, Student Council Teacher Leaders

Virtual VCES Bingo Night Interest Form

Community Education Information

Yolks On You! A FUNdraiser for Community Education’s Youth Financial Assistance Fund. Celebrate April Fools Day with a fun outdoor yard yolk-joke. Register for a time for the Community Education Staff to play a “yolk” on your house. On April 1st, we will scatter 20-50 eggs on your lawn for your family to find and collect. The eggs will be filled with candy, trinkets or a combination of both. Register by March 25th.

Looking for summer programs?

You haven't seen the catalog yet, so you probably thought Community Education wasn’t offering any summer camps. BUT WE ARE! Online registration is now open for all your favorite sports, fitness, speed & strength camps, STEM camps, art camps, cooking, woodworking, language, Driver Education, ACT prep classes and so much more! For all the details go to:SOWASHCO.CE.ELEYO.COM Sign up for our email list for our Constant Contact updates at

A Note from Dr. Gervais, School Social Worker

  • Please view my schedule and availability online at
  • Check out my Virtual Classroom filled with fun activities to do at home.
  • 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:
  • SNACK Program - Valley Crossing is part of the SNACK program with Girl Scout Troop 55128. This program helps provide snacks for our student body to ensure no child goes hungry. Unfortunately, donations are down this year and Valley Crossing is in need of individually wrapped peanut-free snacks. We welcome donations to be dropped off in our front office. Thank you for your support!

PTA News

Cafe Zupas Night

  • Help us raise money for Valley Crossing! We’re teaming up with Café Zupas for a Fundraiser Night on March 23rd from 4pm-9pm. Simply mention Valley Crossing Elementary at check out! Each meal can earn up to 25% back! Dine in or take out. Online orders use code FUNDRAISE25 at checkout.

PTA Meeting

  • Consider joining us for the upcoming Valley Crossing PTA meeting on Thursday, March 25 at 4:30 via Zoom. Email for the Zoom link.

Vacations and Other Extended Absences

When students return to in person learning, teachers will not be posting Seesaw activities or provide live streaming for students who are on vacation or other extended absences. Homework packets and/or assignments will be put together similar to years past (non-COVID school years). If you have any questions, please contact me at or 651-425-7503.

Illnesses and Absences

  • Please be sure to call in to our attendance line to report absences or illness: 651-425-7506

  • Any sick student who is sent to school, or is determined to be sick during the school day, will immediately be sent home.


  • The 14-day quarantine period will remain in place. If staff or students had close contact with an infected person, the Minnesota Department of Health may direct us to keep them out of school for a minimum of 14 days.

  • We ask that families be prepared for the possibility that their child’s class could move to distance learning at any time due to a potential COVID-19 exposure.

VCES Information Links

VCES Contact Information

Connha Classon, Principal: / 651.425.7503

Kristine McDonald, Assistant Principal: / 651.425.7523

Merita LaPlante, Office Coordinator: / 651.425.7501

Jen Gackstetter, Office Assistant: / 651.425.7507

Jen Gervais, Social Worker: / 651.425.7542 (Note Change)