Phoenix Family News

February 19, 2021

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Important Dates Ahead...

  • February 22-March 5: Winter Conference Window (see email from your child's teacher)
  • 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 by 4:00

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 for staff and classmates this week. This week's challenge is to be kind to ourselves. Often times, we just need to give ourselves compliments for the great things we do. Sometimes we need reminders that "we've got this!" Sometimes being kind to ourselves is taking time to do something we love! I encourage students to do something they love this week, and we look forward to seeing and hearing about continued acts of kindness!

Parking Lot Updates

We have a number of cars that are entering our parking lot the wrong direction - meaning that they are entering through the exit line. To avoid any crashes in the parking lot, PLEASE adhere to the ENTER/EXIT traffic guidelines.

Also, to improve the number of cars we get in the lot, if you are the first one in line for pickup, please pull all the way forward to the stop sign. Because we have two lanes of traffic exiting our lot, there is no longer a need to wait to pull up.

We thank you in advance for your patience as we continue to make improvements to the flow within our lot AND for keeping our parking lot safe!

Menu Change for Tuesday, February 23rd

Manager's Choice to include items such as (limited until they run out):

  • Salisbury Steak
  • Lasagna Rolls
  • Cheese Bites
  • Chicken Teriyaki

Bagels will be available throughout all lunches.

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!

Online Scholastic Book Fair is Coming!

Our Scholastic Book Fair is coming soon to a device near you! The fair will be held entirely online starting Monday, February 22-Sunday, March 7 at 11:59 p.m. The fair will feature many new titles--including the opportunity to pre-order the latest Dog Man book, "Mothering Heights" which releases March 23, the newest Jeff Kinney book, "Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Spooky Stories" which releases March 16, and the next book in the Wing of Fire series "The Dangerous Gift" which releases March 2.

Visit to access our online book fair. The shopping link will not be activated until February 22.

A new feature of this fair is an expanded capability of the eWallet. Do you have grandparents, relatives or friends that want to give your child the gift of books? Create an eWallet account for your child and share a link with others to add funds to it! Go to our book fair website and click "Get started" in the eWallet section to set up the account. It only takes a few minutes and it will allow you to add funds to the account or generate a sharing link for email, Facebook, or even Twitter. All purchases benefit our school.

Questions? Contact Susan Vance

Outside Recess and PE

Warmer weather is on the way! 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!

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!

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.

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.

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)