Phoenix Family News

January 29, 2021

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Important Dates Ahead...

February 1:

  • All K-5 Dial Model Students return to in-person learning
  • All VLA students continue in VLA
  • I Love to Read Month begins! Watch for more information to come from your child's teacher!

February 4: Multiage Information Night, 6:00-7:00 pm
  • Join us for a virtual welcome and information night at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4. Click here to Join Meeting

February 5: VLA Pickup, 9:30-11:30 am

February 7: Learning Model Survey Due at midnight

February 8 & 9: NO SCHOOL for all students

February 15: NO SCHOOL for all students

Calendar and Schedule Updates

The latest calendar updates are available at

Re-building Community and Relationships

Whenever we return from a break, we spend time rebuilding relationships, revisiting rules and expectations, and remembering what it looks like, sounds like and feels like to be together as a classroom community. For our VLA students and Dial model students, this year is no different. Especially for our Dial Model students, this is the first time they have been in school five days a week since last March!

Just like at the start of the year, we are spending time getting to know each other, building stamina and perseverance, and engaging in academics. We want to make sure we are going slow at first so we can build up speed and rigor the longer we are together. Remember, students are right where they need to be right now, and we will continue to move them forward from the point they are at currently. We thank you continually for being partners in your child's education, and we look forward to many more successful weeks together!

Need to Upload your child's Picture for the Yearbook?

Any students who were unable to participate in picture day or retake day are welcome to submit a picture for the yearbook. To preview, personalize and pay online, visit and enter event code: FE70220

For directions on uploading an individual portrait, please click on the PDF below.

Last Chance Yearbook Ordering Promotion - through January 29th

Wondering if the yearbook is happening this year? 👉 YES! Last chance to order by Jan. 29th for spring guarantee! Order today to make sure there are enough copies for everyone - After Jan. 29th there are no guarantees a book will be available in the spring.


Choose J-Pay™ to easily and affordably spread the cost of your purchase over three payments. No interest. No fees. No stress.

Can’t remember if you purchased a book earlier? If so, please call 1-877-767-5217 for Jostens customer support.

Candid Yearbook Pictures Wanted!

We are making some adjustments to how we create the VCES yearbook for 2020-2021. This is an awesome opportunity that allows us to really showcase who our students are in school and out of school. To pull this off, we would really appreciate your help. Please submit any pictures you have taken of our VCES students that show what they've been up to this school year.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Pictures with pets
  • Pictures playing sports
  • Pictures doing activities
  • Pictures learning from home
  • Pictures with something they can't live without
  • Pictures of them being them

Here is the link to upload pictures. Please enter login ID 415943946. For further directions, please click on the PDF below. We greatly appreciate your contributions and hope to get as many students as possible included in the yearbook this year!

Curbside Book Checkout

Thank you to all families who have been participating in library book pickup! We will continue these opportunities the rest of the year for VLA families, using all previously scheduled dates. 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 remaining in Trimester 2 are:
    • February 5, 12, 26, March 5
  • 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 ( if you have further questions.

Winter Conferences

Our winter conferences will mirror the conferences that we held in the fall. Instead of having two nights dedicated to conferences as we have in the past, we will be offering a "Winter Conference Window" from February 22-March 5 for all hybrid and VLA students and families. Your child's homebase teacher will be connecting with you to set up a 15-minute time slot that works for your family to meet virtually.

We have a long-standing tradition of student-led conferences, and while we won't be having our traditional 15 minutes for you to review your child's Progressfolio, we do ask that your child be part of the 15-minute conference with the teacher to review what's going well and to set goals for the upcoming trimester.

If your child receives special education and/or EL services, case managers will also be reaching out to families to set something up, and our specialists will be having open WebEx nights if you're hoping to check in! Stay tuned for more information!

Arrival and Dismissal Procedure Reminders

Students will be invited into the building at 9:00 am. Please note that there is no supervision prior to 9:00 am. All students sanitize as they enter the building.

Car Arrival/drop off:

  • Please wait to let your children get out of the car until you are past the crosswalk

  • All students must exit the car on the curbside of the car

  • Drivers may not exit the car to assist their child - if your child needs help getting in or out of the car, you may park, walk them to the crosswalk, and have them cross to school at the crosswalk

Car Dismissal/Pick up:

  • Have your child’s name and grade level on a piece of paper in your window or on your visor (please contact your homebase teacher if you need a car-rider sign).

  • Like the drop-off routine, your child will be picked up curbside. Please do not park and come to get your child.

  • Students will wait in their designated area with their teacher until you arrive to pick them up.

  • As you pull up, proceed all the way to the stop sign directly in front of the school (please be kind and follow the directions of the staff members directing traffic).

  • For safety reasons, students may only enter your car on the curb side of your vehicle.

  • Please exit the car line as soon as your child has loaded to keep our traffic flow moving. Thank you!

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.

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.

Now Hiring!

Are you looking for something to do while your kids are at school? Or do you know someone who is looking to get into the schools? We have the following positions open!

  • Lunch/Recess Paraprofessional, 11:05 am-1:05 pm daily
  • Lunch/Recess Paraprofessional, 11:00 am-1:30 pm daily
​If you are interested please go to the SoWashCo district website and complete an application for this position at Valley Crossing! You can also reach out to Merita LaPlante in the office for further information.

A Quick Note from Dr. Gervais, School Social Worker

  • As many of our students return to the classroom, I will be evaluating how to balance my schedule to meet student needs at Valley and in VLA. As of now, I will dedicate one day a week to VLA or quarantined students for individual meetings and consultation with parents. I will be available Wednesday's 12:00-4:00 pm. You can 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:

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)