Phoenix Family News

September 25, 2020

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Calendar of Events

  • September 28 & 30 - Group A In-Person / Group B Distance Learning
  • September 29 & Oct 1 - Group B In-Person / Group A Distance Learning
  • Oct 2 - Flex Friday - Groups A & B Distance Learning

A Note from the Principal

Each year, we welcome new students into our school at an Opening Ceremony, and this year is no different! What will look different is that our Opening Ceremony will be virtual this year. Over the next week, we'll be taking pictures of our new-to-the-building hybrid students under the arches, and our VLA families will get an opportunity to send in a picture so we can get them under the arches too. We'll share our Hopes & Dreams book, Be You!, and students, staff and parents will get an opportunity to share their Hopes & Dreams for the year. Finally, we'll unveil our School Rules for the year and end with the School Song. Watch for a video link of our Opening Ceremony to come out just before MEA.

Free & Reduced Meals

Even though breakfast and lunch are currently free for students, families must submit a new free and reduced-priced meals application each year. If your family received free or reduced-priced meals last school year, that same eligibility will remain in effect for the first 30 days of school or until your application is processed. Families who have this 30-day carry-over and have not submitted an application for the current school year by October 15, 2020 will lose their eligibility.


Applications can be completed online, printed and submitted or received from a school and submitted. We have printable applications available in English, Hmong, Somali, Spanish. Applications in additional languages can be found here. When completing the application, please read all the instructions and income guidelines and complete all appropriate sections. Incomplete paper applications will be returned resulting in a delay in processing. Incomplete online applications will be rejected. If your online application is accepted, you will get a confirmation number that the application has been accepted.

Late Arrivals

If students are arriving after 9:15 am, they need to enter through the front entrance of the school through the main doors by the office. All other entrances to the school are locked and unattended starting at 9:15 am. Please keep this in mind if you or your students are running late.

Pre-K End-of-Day Pickup

Starting on Monday, September 28th, we will be changing our end-of-day pickup for our preschool families:


  • Instead of driving through the car line, we ask that you enter the parking lot and PARK in the row directly at the end of the main crosswalk.
  • Staff will be waiting on the east side of the main crosswalk with all of the preschool students.
  • If Pre-K students have older siblings, they will join the preschoolers on the east side of the main crosswalk.
  • Parents - please mask up and walk to get your child from the east side of the main crosswalk.
These new procedures will allow our Pre-K families the opportunity to buckle their children in without delaying the car pickup line. Thank you in advance for your understanding!

2020-2021 VLA Book Checkout

Attention VCES Virtual Learning Academy families! You now have the option of checking out books from the Valley Crossing Media Center! We’re so excited to get books into the hands of our students learning at home.


  • Students will be allowed to request two books at a time.
  • Books requested by Wednesday 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 VLA Book Checkout Pickups are below
    • October 2, 9, 30
    • November 13, 20
    • December 4, 11, 18
    • January 8, 15, 29
    • February 5, 12, 26
    • March 5, 26
    • April 9, 16, 23
    • All books should be returned during the month of May
  • 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)

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

Family Technology Support Line

South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) has started a new family technology support phone line at 651-425-HELP (4357). Standard phone line hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can leave a voicemail at any time with your child’s name, the school they attend and a call back number, and someone will return your call.

A variety of technology resources are also available on our Fall 2020 website including:

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.

Notes from Dr. Gervais


A quick note from Dr. Gervais - School Social Worker

Due to the nature of our current learning platforms, Dr. Gervais is excited to be able to offer you or your child(ren) the opportunity to meet with her virtually in 15-minute increments. Dr. Gervais scheduling calendar can be found at https://calendly.com/drgervais/meeting-with-dr-gervais

If you should have any questions or resource needs, please contact Dr. Gervais at jgervais2@sowashco.org


VCES Mindful Movement Minute - Join Dr. Gervais on scheduled school days Monday - Thursday at 2:30 pm CST for a YouTube live opportunity to practice mindfulness and movement and participate in a social-emotional lesson. You can access live and recorded sessions here: https://youtube.com/channel/UC9bD7gtBubmC0HLLMW-uA1g/live


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

PTA News

Our school and PTA will again be using MemberHub as an online communication tool.

Benefits of MemberHub include:

  • School/PTA Calendar

  • Private Online Directory

  • A Valley Crossing E-Store (online payment site for events, donations, memberships. etc.)

  • Links to Spirit Wear sales (typically offered twice a year)

  • PTA Membership (become a member to have voting rights at future PTA meetings)


How to join the Valley Crossing MemberHub site:

Returning families: Your MemberHub login will carry over from past years. Login HERE

New families: Welcome! Use the steps below to create your MemberHub Account.

  1. Visit MemberHub
  2. Click on I need to create my password
  3. Fill out your information.
  4. Watch for an email from "(VCES) Join Request Accepted"- This email will provide you with a link to finish setting up your account.


Click HERE to view store link (to become a VCES PTA member or make donations)


Fall Fundraiser

Plans for our fall fundraiser are underway. Stay tuned for more information about options for participation and prizes!


Box Tops For Education

Box Tops are a way for our school to earn money. Just download the app and upload your receipt from participating retailers. Unexpired clipped Box Tops can also be collected.

Office 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