Phoenix Family News

December 4, 2020

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Important Dates Ahead...

  • December 7-10 - Distance Learning and VLA Session
  • December 11 - Flex Friday for ALL (Flex Friday includes reading and math activities and small groups as arranged by homebase teachers)

A Note from the Principal - Week one of Distance Learning for ALL!

Thank you for your patience this week as we all ventured into the world of Distance Learning this past week. I know that the VLA students as well as our Distance Learning students experienced technology glitches all week. It sounds like some of our platforms are updating this weekend so hopefully that helps with connectivity. Please know if there are connectivity issues as there are always activities in Seesaw to complete. Here are some other ideas in case technology is not on our side:

  • Have your child check their learning plan for paper tasks

  • Read independently for 30 minutes (adjust according to age)

  • Write a Kindness letter to a friend or loved one

  • Discover an interest - explore a topic or a place of interest. Have your child do some kid friendly research about a culture or place that is new for them

  • Draw, paint, color, build, write or do family chores

  • Gym or recess

  • Dreambox Math

  • Check out this page for more resources:

Attendance during Distance Learning

  • Attendance is expected for all students during distance learning.
  • If a child is absent, parents should call the health office like when we are in person.

  • If a family has a scheduling conflict, they should work with the specific teacher to make up any work. This could include a video recording of the lesson. It could also include completing the SeeSaw activity for the day (or other work).

  • If your child attends e-care at Middleton: Call absences to Middleton Attendance Line @ 651-425-4906
  • If your child attends all day Kids Club at Bailey: Call absences to Bailey Elementary Attendance line @ 651-425-4806
  • All other illnesses or absences should be reported to the Valley Crossing Attendance Line @ 651-425-7506

Winter Picture Retakes

We were able to reschedule our picture retakes to January 25 and 26, 2021. No matter what learning model we are in at that time (In-person, Hybrid or Distance Learning) there will be an opportunity for every student to have their picture taken. VLA students will be able to come in January 26 during the evening to get their pictures taken. More information will be shared as the dates gets closer.

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. 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 plan to attend. K/1 – Tuesday 12:00-12:20pm, 2/3 – Wednesday 12:00-12:20pm, 4/5 – Thursday 12:30-12:50pm.

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:

Curbside Book Checkout

We were thrilled to see so many families requesting and picking up books for curbside book checkout this week. You have two more opportunities this month to pick up some books from the VCES Media Center for your child to read at home! 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 during school hours. 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 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:
    • December 4, 11, 18
    • January 8, 15, 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.

VCES Information Links

  • Family Technology Support Line: Fall 2020 website / 651.425.HELP (4357) - M-F 7:30-4:00
  • VNN Channel Page - Tune in each morning at 9:15 am as your Morning Meeting starts!

District 833 Resources - Made possible by PrairieCare Child & Family Fund

  • Let’s Talk about Mental Health here - a video from students in SoWashCo
  • Living Online: a SoWashCo podcast series here on Teens, Technology & Mental Health
  • Mark your calendars for Screenagers the Next Chapter: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience coming on February 2 - view trailer here.

Spark & Stitch Institute – recommended resources and information from Erin Walsh


Do Screen Time Rules Matter in a Pandemic? Try This Approach.

What Teens Need Us To Know About Social Media and Mental Health

Five Ways to Stay Connected To Kids During Stressful Times

10 Tips for Building Trust With Parental Controls

Online Classes – Use promo code SOWASHCO for 10% off classes

  • CONNECTED: How To Show Up For Your Kids in the Digital Age is a great follow up to the workshop last night. This online class focuses specifically on how to move into the role of digital mentor in your child or teen’s life - staying connected and coaching digital skills. More info and enroll here.
  • Why Do They Act That Way on parenting teenagers – focuses on communication, staying connected, and supporting your teen’s mental health. Info and enroll here.
  • Other classes here.

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