Phoenix Family News

February 12, 2021

Big picture

Important Dates Ahead...

  • February 15: NO SCHOOL for all students
  • February 22-March 5: Winter Conference Window
  • February 26: VLA Pickup
  • March 5: Last Day of Trimester 2
  • March 8-12: NO SCHOOL for all students - Spring Break
  • March 15: NO SCHOOL for all students; Progress Reports to be delivered via email

Calendar and Schedule Updates

The latest calendar updates are available at

February Focus on Kindness

We're continuing our focus on FRIENDSHIP and KINDNESS this week. We heard lots of great stories about our students participating in random acts of kindness with their families this past week. This week's challenge is to be kind to a classmate or staff member in the building. It could be as simple as holding a door or giving someone a compliment, or it could be drawing a picture or making a card and delivering it! We look forward to a continued week of Random Acts of Kindness!

I Love to Read Month

February is I Love to Read Month! We at Valley Crossing love reading all year round, but we encourage students to participate in I Love to Read activities during this month. Click on this link to find a packet full of activities, including information on Adopting a Book for the Media Center, getting a public library card, voting for Minnesota Youth Reading Award titles, decorating bookmarks, and playing reading bingo! Happy reading!

Outside Recess and PE

We've definitely had a string of cold weather this week... and we're hoping for warmer weather so we can get outside!! We do our best to get outside when the temperatures are warm enough - here are the district guidelines so you can make sure your children are appropriately dressed for outside recess and PE. Recess will be held OUTSIDE when:

  • The air temperature is zero degrees or warmer
  • The wind chill is expected to be warmer than -10 degrees below zero

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! You can schedule a conference time with them or just drop in their WebEx room on the following nights (click on the specialist's name to access their WebEx room):

If you'd like to connect with Mrs. Classon or Mrs. McDonald at any time during the conference window, please let us know!

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, 11:00 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.

Car Arrival and Dismissal Reminders

As you know, our car line is extremely long this year, and we thank you for the grace and patience you have shown as you dropoff and pickup your students. Some reminders:

  • PLEASE do not start lining up for dismissal before 3:30 pm. We have a number of staff who work Kids Club at the end of the day that are not able to enter the parking lot due to backups from people starting to line up as early as 3:00-3:15. Even with more cars in line, we have been able to get everyone in their cars by 4:00 pm
  • It is extremely helpful to pull as far forward as possible at every point in line so we can condense the line and get more cars in our parking lot.
  • Please continue to have your child enter and exit your car at the curb. As soon as your child has entered or exited your vehicle, please pull forward to allow more students to be dropped off/picked up.
  • If your child needs extra assistance, please park and meet your child at the crosswalk. For safety, we ask that parents remain on the east side of the crosswalk and your child crosses to meet you.
Thank you for helping our car line go as quickly and as smoothly as possible!

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!

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.

A Quick Note from Dr. Gervais, School Social Worker

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)