Phoenix Family News

January 15, 2021

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Important Dates Ahead...

VLA students will remain in their VLA classes with the same weekly schedule through trimester 2, unless they choose a different learning model. This will extend through trimester 3 as well.

January 18: MLK Jr. Holiday - No school

January 19-21:

  • K-3 Multiage Dial Model students will return in-person learning on Tuesday, January 19th. Students will not enter the building until 9:00 am, so please dropoff students between 9:00-9:10 am. Pickup remains at 3:45 pm. Students must wear masks and sanitize as they enter/exit the building.
  • Gateway 3/4/5 and 4-5 multiage will remain in distance learning through Friday, January 29th.
  • VLA students will continue in VLA.
  • Kid's Club and Ecare at Valley Crossing

January 22: Teacher Planning day - No school K-5 dial and VLA

January 25 - Picture Retakes, 9:15 am-3:30 pm

January 26 - Picture Retakes, 9:15 am-3:30 pm and 4:00-6:30 pm (see below)

January 29 - Last day of ECare for 4-5 multiage and Gateway 3/4/5

February 1st:

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

Reminders for Dial Model Students

Calendar and Schedule Updates

The latest calendar updates are available at

Student drop-off and pick-up

  • Drop off and pick up will continue with the same protocols as during hybrid. For car riders, please drop-off your child between 9:00-9:10 am, and pickup your child at 3:45 pm. Our school hours are 9:15 am-3:45 pm.

Face coverings

  • Face masks are required at all times including during physical education. Students are encouraged to bring a second mask should they need to change masks after physical education. We will continue to have extra masks available should students need one.

  • Our staff will be wearing masks at all times - both outside and inside. PE teachers will remove their masks only when outside when students are distanced and engaged in the activity. When possible, many of our staff may be wearing face masks and face shields together.


  • Students in K-1 will eat breakfast in the classroom and lunch in the cafeteria. All student meal times for grades 2-5 will be held in the classroom.


  • Students will be assigned to rotating zones on the playground with their homebase class for am and pm recess.

Essential care

  • Essential care for critical workers will continue in our school building on Jan. 19 for Gateway 3/4/5 and 4-5 multiage, and will end for grade levels as they return to in-person learning.

Illness and Absences

  • Please be sure to call in to our attendance line to report absences or illness.

  • Any sick student who is sent to school, or is determined to be sick during the school day, will immediately be sent home.

Kids Club

  • Kids Club before and after-school child care will return to our building on Jan. 19.


  • 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.

Peanut Aware Information

At Valley Crossing, we have several students who have a peanut/nut allergy. Peanut/nut allergies can be severe and the reaction can be life-threatening. Along with being unable to eat peanuts/nuts, students with these types of allergies may react to touching or smelling peanuts/nuts or peanut/nut products.

To prevent an allergic reaction and provide a safe learning environment, your child’s classroom may be designated as a PEANUT/NUT AWARE ZONE. If this is the case and you receive information from our healthcare office, we request that you do not send any classroom snacks or crafts that include peanuts/nuts or peanut/nut products.

Due to COVID-19 protocols for in-person learning, our 2nd-5th grade students will be eating meals in their classrooms. To keep all students safe and healthy, we ask you to be aware of the ingredients in any meals you send from home.

We appreciate your help and understanding. If you have any questions, please contact your school health staff at 651-425-7502.

PE and Recess Reminders

For our dial model students, please ensure your child(ren) are coming to school with winter gear. Not only for recess, but especially for PE, as we go outside multiple times and for longer than their recess time. Hopefully that will include snowpants, boots, hats, mittens/gloves. If this snow sticks around, we have hopes to be snowshoeing and skiing and sledding this winter!

Now Hiring!

Are you looking for something to do while your kids are at school? 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
  • High Needs/Resource Paraprofessional, 9:00 am-3:45 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.

Order Your Yearbook TODAY!


Masks. Elections. Virtual classes. This school year will be talked about forever. The yearbook is truly the most important keepsake from this remarkable time. Our yearbook program is working hard to put together a historic book that will be looked back upon to remember one of the most unpredictable school years of all time. Order TODAY or before Jan. 29th so we make sure there are enough copies for everyone -

Picture Retakes - January 25 & 26

We were able to reschedule our picture retakes to January 25 and 26, 2021. All K-3 Dial Model students can get their pictures retaken during the school day. VLA students and Dial Model students in grades 4 and 5 multiage and 3-5 Gateway will be able to come in January 26 from 4:00-6:30 to get their pictures taken. More information will be shared next week.

Curbside Book Checkout

Thank you to everyone who continues to take advantage of our library book pickup! We will continue these opportunities throughout the month for our dial families, and the rest of the year for VLA families. 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 are:
    • January 29
  • 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.

A Note from our 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, in distance learning, and in VLA. As of now, I will dedicate one day a week to distance learning and VLA students for individual meetings and consultation with parents. Starting January 20, 2021, I will be available Wednesday's 12:00-4:00 pm. If you have a previously scheduled appointment with me outside of this day/time, this will continue to be honored. You can view my schedule and availability online at

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:

Mindfulness Practice for Kids - Mindful Schools offers a free mindfulness class for kids. This is a great opportunity for students to continue mindful practices at home:

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 on-ground 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 for more information.

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)