Phoenix Family News

November 20, 2020

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Important Dates Ahead...

  • November 23 & 24 - NO SCHOOL for Hybrid Students
  • November 25 - NO SCHOOL for VLA or Hybrid Students - Teacher Workday
  • November 26 & 27 - NO SCHOOL for VLA or Hybrid Students - Thanksgiving Break
  • November 30 - Hybrid students shift to Distance Learning Model

  • November 30-December 3 - Live teaching (synchronous) and independent work time (asynchronous) for all VLA and Hybrid Students - Be sure to check Seesaw for personalized homebase information from your teacher
  • December 4 - NO SCHOOL for VLA or Hybrid Students

A Note from the Principal - Shifting to Distance Learning

Thank you for entrusting your most precious young ones with us each day here at Valley Crossing. We could not have made it these first three months of school without your kind support. We know this year has not been easy on our families. You have been asked to navigate family needs, personal needs, and the needs of your student in an ever-changing way. We are so grateful for our Valley families and the incredible students that we get to serve.

As we move into this new chapter of Distance Learning on Nov. 30, please know that our top priority continues to be the growth and well-being of each child, whether they are with us in the classrooms or learning with us virtually. We will do everything that we can to continue to build positive and supportive relationships with your child throughout this journey together.

This is not goodbye... It’s “we cannot wait to see you all online very soon, and we will learn together online for now.” Put a big golden star on your family calendar for November 30, where we will pick up right where we left off!

Distance Learning - What's New

When you receive your child's distance learning schedule from their teacher, you will notice that things look a little different from last spring! The biggest change you will notice in your child’s Distance Learning schedule is that there are LIVE meetings with their teacher(s) throughout the day. One tip we have heard that helps in managing these live meetings is to set an alarm on your child’s iPad/chromebook for these times. This way we can help to encourage independence in our students for when to log on for their live lesson.

We understand that your child may not be able to attend all the live sessions. That is OK. There may be recorded lessons and SeeSaw activities, and you can always reach out to your child’s teacher for other suggestions if your child misses live lessons. Please make sure to reach out to your child’s teacher with ANY questions you may have as they are busy planning for this shift to Distance Learning to set our students up for success!

Notes from the Nurse

Parents, as we transition to full distance learning, we know that many of your children have medications in the health office. While we hope to return to school as soon as possible, we realize many parents might need the medications for home use in the meantime. If you would like to have your child’s medications sent home with them and have not already connected with the health office, please call them at 651-425-7502 to make arrangements.

2020-21 Fall Pictures/Yearbook

To preview, personalize and pay for your fall pictures online, visit and enter event code: FE70220 . At this time, we will not be offering picture retakes due to the distance learning model starting on November 30th. We are hoping to be able to offer retakes in January or February, and as soon as we know more, we will let you know.

For any family choosing not to participate or unable to participate in school pictures this year, you will still have an opportunity to submit a picture for the Yearbook. Once we know more about picture retakes at the beginning of the new year, we will send out information to any family that was unable to participate in pictures or retakes. Thank you for your patience!

Ideas for Distance Learning Days

Here are some excellent ideas if you or your child are seeking more activities to do on Distance Learning days.

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. You can book time with me via my online schedule. You can access my online calendar to view these opportunities and schedule a time at:

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 12:00-12:20pm CST. 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 hybrid and VLA students. If you are interested, please sign your child up so I know how many students to plan for. K/1 – Tuesday, 2/3 – Wednesday, 4/5 – Thursday

If mindfulness and movement is what you are looking for, join me live Monday – Thursday for Mindful Movement Minute on my YouTube channel. Here we will practice tools to help ready our bodies to learn. YouTube Channel:

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:

November 20th: COVID is Still Here: Working on Collaborative Resilience with Children & Families by Anne Gearity, PhD, LICSW - Free Webinar, 12:30-2:00 pm CST

This free webinar is for parents, caregivers and professionals who are concerned with the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on families and children. The effects are accumulating, as our collective resources are being spent and new challenges—school, cold weather, social confusions, etc.—confound us. Collaborative resilience is an effort to think about how families and children must work together, and an exploration of ways to support this. Click HERE to register.

Curbside Book Checkout

With the shift to distance learning, all families now have the option of checking out books from the Valley Crossing Media Center! We’re excited to get books into the hands of our students learning at home.

  • 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 2:00pm, 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 below
    • December 4, 11, 18
    • January 8, 15, 29
  • Instructions for how to place books on hold are below!

Destiny Discover Online Catalog

How To Request Books (Written Instructions)

How to Request Books (Video Instructions)

How To Know if Your Requested Books are Ready (Video)

Please contact Ms. Lanners, Media Specialist, via Seesaw or email ( if you have further questions.

PTA News

As we move toward Distance Learning, the PTA would like to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to the teachers and staff at Valley Crossing. This fall has presented a series of challenges that the teachers and staff confronted with excellence. They continued to provide our kids with exceptional educational experiences. They continued to build our community up even when barriers were in place. They made our kids feel safe in a time with so many unknowns. We want the teachers and staff at Valley Crossing to know how grateful we are for your dedication. You not only educate the students, but you praise them, joke with them, discipline them, console them, question them, learn about them, learn with them, laugh with them, worry about them, invest in them, protect them, are patient with them, and keep them as safe as possible. For all of this we are extremely thankful. Valley Crossing Elementary School, we love you!

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: / 651.425.7605