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February 2020

A Note from Mrs. Johnson

Hello, Valley Mills Families!

I would like to announce our Teacher of the Year, Jessica Staton! We are very proud of all the work that Mrs. Staton does to help our students learn. We are also excited to learn from her as colleagues as she helps coach teachers in the classroom. Congratulations to Mrs. Staton for all her efforts. This is a much-deserved recognition.

This week is the Middle School Open House for 6th grade students. Students will visit the middle school on Wednesday, February 12 from 9:00 - 10:30. There is a time set aside for parents and guardians to visit that evening from 6:30 - 8:00. I will include specific instructions below on where to go and what to expect.

Our canned food drive is in full swing and lasts until February 21, 2020. Please bring in your canned and non-perishable food to help the Goodwin Center meet the needs of those in our communities. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place classrooms will receive a prize from PTO.

We will have small celebrations in your student's classroom for Valentine's Day from 3:00 - 3:30 on February 14. Please consider treats other than candy or food to help celebrate in a healthy way.

As always, we are working with Second Steps to help learn how to be the best people we can be. This month we are working to regulate our emotions. The final Problem-Solving Step is P: Pick the best solution! Once you have named the positive and negative consequence of each solution you thought of, you can pick the solution that works best. It’s easy to remember our Problem-Solving Steps because they spell the word “step,” S, T, E, P. Using the Problem-Solving Steps will help you get along better with your friends and family. This week, if you have a problem, remember to STEP it up and use the Problem-Solving Steps.

Thank you for all you do to make Valley Mills the best school it can be. Have a great week!


Rebecca Johnson


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Dates to Remember:

2/3 - 2/21 - Food Drive

2/12 - Midterms home

2/12 - Middle School Open House 6:30 - 8:00 pm

2/14-2/28 AIRWays: (3rd-6th)

2/17 - President's Day - No School

2/20-2/21 - Instrument Testing for 6th Grade

3/12 - Spring Carnival

6th Grade Open House at the Middle School

Our 6th grade open house consists of two parts:

-A 10 minute presentation in the gym by the Principal for all students and their families

-An open house where families can walk around the building, visit classrooms, complete SLC selection forms and meet teachers

We are not able to accommodate all our students and families in the gym at the same time, so we are going to have two presentations as follows:

6:30pm: Students with the last name A-M

7:15pm: Students with the last name N-Z

Students with the last name A-M

Doors open at 6:15pm

Official start time is 6:30pm

Students and their families should meet in the gym at 6:30pm for a quick 10 minute presentation by the principal. The rest of the time is open for students and families to walk about the building, visit classrooms, complete SLC selection forms and meet teachers.

Students with the last name N-Z

Students and families may arrive anytime...Doors officially open at 6:15am

Students and their families should meet in the gym at 7:15pm for a quick 10 minute presentation by the principal. The rest of the time is open for students and families to walk about the building, visit classrooms, complete SLC selection forms and meet teachers.

Second Steps

Problem Solving

This month, our schoolwide theme is problem solving. In our morning announcements and school assembly we’ll be reminding students to use the Second Step Problem-Solving Steps:

  • S: Say the problem
  • T: Think of solutions
  • E: Explore consequences
  • P: Pick the best solution

As you can see, the first letter of each step spells the word ”step.” Remembering “step” helps students solve problems with each other in safe and respectful ways.

Second Step lessons specifically teach students to use each step and reinforce the message that solutions need to be safe and respectful. You will be receiving Home Links about the steps that describe why solving problems is important and including fun activities to do with your child to help him or her learn and practice the steps. We hope the steps will be helpful for you and your child when there are problems at home.

Please tell your child’s teacher if you would like more suggestions about how to use the Problem-Solving Steps at home.

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Candy Grams

Candy Grams will be sold by student council during lunch times, from February 10th through February 13th. These will be delivered to the classrooms to be passed out on Friday, February 14th. Please help remind students that these need to be sent to students and staff that are at Valley Mills.


Every Friday our sixth graders meet with their first grade friends to do fun reading projects.
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Recess is a vital part of each child’s school day. However, recess is a privilege per teacher discretion. Weather permitting, our children may go outdoors for recess. A heat advisory would mandate indoor recess. During the winter months, 20 degrees is the rule for temperature and/or wind chill. A child will be kept in from recess for up to three days upon receipt of a parent’s note. If for some reason your child should not go outside for an extended period of time (three or more consecutive days), you must send a written request from your doctor.

Lunch Visitors

We are very excited to have people come in and eat lunch with our students. As a reminder, the only people able to have lunch with their students are those listed on the emergency contact for that student. Please be prepared to show your ID and sign in at the front office. Anyone else will not be permitted. Additionally, we will not be able to allow students to invite friends to sit with them during this special lunch time, due to privacy reasons. Please contact Mrs. Johnson with any further questions.

In Our Community

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Food Drive

February is our month to collect cans for the Goodwin Center in Decatur Township. The Goodwin Center is a food bank that provides food for families in our community. In order for them to stay functioning, they rely on our donations. Valley Mills canned food drive starts on Monday, February 3rd! Please bring in canned and non-perishable food items! The classroom that brings the most canned foods receives an ice cream party courtesy of Mrs. Day. The second and third place classrooms receive a popcorn party."

Thank you, Student Council

Lunch with some of our township Heros

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Our MSD Decatur Township Firefighters will come to Valley Mills the first Friday of every month, on rotation visiting with our 1st-4th graders.

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We will be selling popcorn on Fridays during lunch/recess. All proceeds go to our VM student fund.

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Lunch Information

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Inclement Weather Information

Inclement Weather Information

  • Posted January 25, 2019

MSD Decatur Families,

MSD of Decatur Township continues to prioritize Student Learning, Safety and Customer Service as part of our district Mission. The safety of our students remains our top priority.

As you know, Indiana weather is extremely unpredictable so please review the information below regarding factors that may impact school delays and closings.

  • Freezing Rain/Sleet: The most unpredictable weather variable is freezing rain/sleet. Freezing rain/sleet is temperature sensitive and fast-occurring. It begins and ends with little notice. When freezing rain/sleet are predicted, the decision regarding school is delayed until the latest possible time in an effort to observe the most current and local conditions. Such a decision generally will be made in the morning.

  • Snowfall: Much more predictable than freezing rain/sleet. Meteorologists generally give a 2 inch variable when predicting snow accumulation. Because the variation in actual snowfall, when compared to predicted snowfall, the decision regarding school status is delayed until the snow accumulation indicates a need for action. Such a decision, except in extreme situations, will generally be made in the morning.

  • Extreme Cold: Temperature prediction is increasingly accurate. MSD Decatur Township uses the hourly temperature predictions for its zip code from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( If air temperature is predicted by NOAA to be -10 degrees or below (the starting point for wind chill concerns with calm wind) at 7:00 a.m. the school will consider a two hour delay for the start of school. If the air temperature is predicted to remain at -10 degrees or below at 9:00 a.m. the school will consider closing. Such a determination will be made as early as possible, perhaps the evening before, but certainly by 6:00 a.m. in the morning.

  • Extreme Wind Chill: Wind chill prediction is not as accurate as temperature prediction because wind speed is more variable by time and location. While NOAA observations and predictions are based upon the open conditions of the Indianapolis Airport, these conditions are often different in some of the wind barricaded neighborhoods of MSD Decatur Township. If wind chill is predicted by NOAA to be -19 degrees or below and local wind conditions are predicted to mirror the airport wind conditions at 7:00 a.m., the school will consider a two hour delay for the start of school. If the wind chill is predicted to remain at -19 degrees or below and local conditions mirror the airport wind conditions at 9:00 a.m., the school will consider closing. The variability of wind speed will likely cause this decision to be made in the morning.

Communication about school delays and closings will be sent to all parents via School Messenger, our district notification system. Phone calls are scheduled as early as 6:00 am., the district Facebook page, the district app and twitter account will also provide up to date delay and closing information.

MSD of Decatur Township respects a parent’s determination regarding their child’s attendance at school during inclement weather. If school is open, or delayed, because of inclement weather, the school will respect the parent’s decision to keep their child at home. Parents are expected to contact the school and inform school officials of their determination. The student will be counted as absent, per state code, and students will be given an opportunity to complete their academic work in the same manner as an excused absence from school.

eLearning Days effective Feburary 2019. MSD of Decatur Township Schools may call eLearning days due to inclement weather. Students will not attend school they will have their assignments posted on our LMS-Canvas. Directions will be posted on that platform and students will use their school issued device to complete their work. Students in K-2 will recieve a packet to complete upon their return to school.

We hope this information assists you in better understanding the process that we utilize to make the safest decision for your children. Thank you for your cooperation!


Matt Prusiecki


2019-2020 Calendar

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Valley Mills Elementary

Principal: Rebecca Johnson

Assistant Principal: Stephanie Werner

Lead Teacher: Jennifer Keller

Treasurer: Thuong Crouch

Secretary: Toni Leedy

CIS Coordinator: Kiersti Binette

Nurse: Tracy Bieler

From the Board of Education:

It is the Board’s commitment to provide a safe, positive, productive and nurturing educational environment for all of its students. Any individual who believes a student has been or is the victim of discrimination, bullying, or harassment should report the situation to the building principal or designee or complete the School District’s Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying report form, which is available online at