Phoenix Family News

December 18, 2020

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Important Dates Ahead...

  • December 21-22 - Distance Learning and VLA Sessions
  • December 23-January 3 - Winter Break

  • January 4 - Distance Learning Resumes for all students
  • January 24-25 - Picture Retakes

A Note from the Principal - Week three of Distance Learning for ALL!

We have completed another week of Distance Learning for ALL of the Valley Crossing Students. I am so impressed with the engagement in all of the live sessions with classroom teachers and specialist teachers. I dropped into several virtual classrooms this week and it was so wonderful to see the students. Lots of smiles and engagement. Students in VLA are continuing to be engaged and are learning so much. They have been doing this for 15 weeks so have such a great routine in their virtual classrooms.


For those families needing extensions, please remember that you can check out the district website for more resources: https://www.sowashco.org/academics/gifted-education/parents

GT Identification Update

For important updates to the SoWashCo Gifted and Talented Identification timeline for grades 2-5, please see the GE Website: Identification.

Attendance during Distance Learning

  • Attendance is expected for all students during distance learning.
  • If a child is absent, parents should call the health office like when we are in person.

  • If a family has a scheduling conflict, they should work with the specific teacher to make up any work. This could include a video recording of the lesson. It could also include completing the SeeSaw activity for the day (or other work).


  • If your child attends e-care at Middleton: Call absences to Middleton Attendance Line @ 651-425-4906
  • If your child attends all day Kids Club at Bailey: Call absences to Bailey Elementary Attendance line @ 651-425-4806
  • All other illnesses or absences should be reported to the Valley Crossing Attendance Line @ 651-425-7506

Help Your School By Completing an Educational Benefits Form

You can help your school by completing the Application for Educational Benefits (Free and Reduced-Price Meals Application) online through SchoolCafé or by printing it and returning it to your school by Jan. 4, 2021. Only one application is needed per household. Families who qualify will receive a variety of benefits including free or reduced-price meals, field trips, program registrations and music equipment rentals.

Students in households that meet the free or reduced-price meal income guidelines will generate revenue for their school. Families must complete the online form, or complete and return the paper form no later than Jan. 4, 2021 so the school can calculate eligibility and report to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). All students in the district will continue to receive free meals until the end of the 2020-21 school year.

Click here to complete the form online through SchoolCafé.

A Note from Dr. Gervais, School Social Worker

During distance learning, I am available to meet with you and/or your child(ren) to offer support and I will be hosting a weekly lunch bunch for students. You can access my online calendar to view these opportunities and schedule a time at: https://calendly.com/drgervais

I am available to meet with individual students for 15-minute time slots. This time can be to check-in, learn and implement social-emotional tools, and/or practice mindfulness/movement.


Parents are welcome to schedule 30-minutes with me to consult on various issues to help support your learner at home.


I will be hosting a lunch group for each grade level once a week. In this group I will have games and activities for students to play. This provides an opportunity for students to see their peers and connect. This time is open to all Valley Crossing students. If you are interested, please sign your child up so I know how many students plan to attend. K/1 – Tuesday 12:00-12:20pm, 2/3 – Wednesday 12:00-12:20pm, 4/5 – Thursday 12:30-12:50pm and Gateway - Wednesday 11:30-11:50am.


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


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.

Curbside Book Checkout

Thank you to everyone who took advantage of our library book pickup during December. We will continue these opportunities into January, so feel free to request some more now for January 8 pickup! We also ask that you return any library books you may have at home, as we want to share those books with other readers! Books can be returned anytime between 9am-3pm on school days. There is a black cart in the front entryway where they can be dropped off, or there will be a separate cart for returns on the Friday pick up dates.

  • Students will be allowed to request three books at a time.
  • Books requested by Thursday 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 3:00pm, 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 Curbside Book Checkout Pickups are:
    • January 8, 15, 29
  • Instructions for all the steps in the book request process are below!

Destiny Discover Online Catalog

How To Request Books (Written Instructions)

How to Login to Destiny (Video)

How to Browse for Library Books (Video)

How to Hold & Favorite Books (Video)

How to Know your Books are ready for Pickup (Video)

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

VCES Information Links

  • Family Technology Support Line: Fall 2020 website / 651.425.HELP (4357) - M-F 7:30-4:00
  • VNN Channel Page - Tune in each morning at 9:15 am as your Morning Meeting starts!

VCES 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