Phoenix Family News
August 4, 2023
Important Dates Ahead...
August 8: 9:30 am - PTA Meeting on the VCES Playground (Please see below)
August 14: Families notified about class placements (Please see below)
August 15: 9:00 am-12:00 pm - VCES Summer Book Checkout
August 31 and September 5: Assessment days (families will sign up the week of the 14th for a 30 minute time). Please bring school supplies to your scheduled assessment time.
September 4: No School (Labor Day)
September 6: First day of school for K-5
September 7: First day of school for PreK
September 18: 4:30-7:30 pm - PTA Fall Fiesta - Join us for some fun and food, and meet teachers and other families in your child's class!
Calendar and Schedule Updates
The latest calendar updates are available at sowashco.org/calendar.
We hope you are having a wonderful summer and enjoying time with family and friends! Our staff is looking forward to seeing you back in person at school this fall! This year, our doors will open to start the new school year to over 700 students in grades PreK through 5th grade. We are excited to have so many students returning and are eager to meet new students and their families who will be attending Valley Crossing Elementary for the first time!
This year we are excited to unveil our theme, “Be Amazing! Be You!” This theme fits with our 2023-24 Hopes & Dreams book, “The Magician's Hat” by Malcolm Mitchell. Through the inspiring tale of a magical hat that grants children their heart's desires, the book instills the belief that anything is possible with determination and imagination. Just like the characters in the story who achieve their goals, the students at Valley Crossing will be encouraged to embrace their own potential, cultivate their talents, and pursue their passions, knowing that if they follow their dreams, they will take them wherever they want to go!
Finally, we will continue to build and foster relationships and promote kindness in our classrooms, emphasizing the importance of social-emotional learning in all that we do. Most importantly, we will hold true to who we are to make VCES a great place for staff, students and families!
We look forward to working with your family to provide an educational program that is exciting and rewarding this year, and we hope that you and your children are looking forward to the 2023-24 school year as much as we are! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 651-425-7500.
Connha Classon, Principal
Valley Crossing Elementary
Kindergarten through 5th grade class placements will be emailed by the end of the day on Monday, August 14th. If you do not receive an email, please call the main office at 651-425-7500.
When creating class lists, the Valley Crossing Elementary staff carefully considered the variety of learning needs of children and worked hard to achieve balanced classes across neighborhoods. In the spring, families were invited to provide input on a specific educational need for their child/ren. Changes to class lists will not be made now that they are established. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Assessment Days: Aug. 31st and Sept. 5th
When you receive your class placement email, you will also receive a link to sign up online for these assessments. All school supplies should be brought in on the assessment day/time you choose.
If you have any difficulty signing up for an assessment time, please contact the main office at 651-425-7500. If you are unable to attend the assessment dates and times, please notify your child’s teacher. Make up assessments will be done the first week of school during the school day.
School Supply Lists
PTA Fall Fiesta - September 18th
Our Valley Crossing PTA Fall Fiesta will be held on Monday, September 18th from 4:30-7:30 pm. This night is an opportunity for families to gather, reconnect with each other, see our beautiful school and playground, and get more information from the PTA and other community partners. We will also have a variety of local food trucks and entertainment provided! Stay tuned for more information!
PLEASE NOTE: This night REPLACES our traditional Back to School Night. Instead, we invite you to bring your child’s school supplies to their classroom on their assigned assessment day, and you will have a chance to meet all of the Valley Crossing staff and other families at the PTA Fall Fiesta!
Free School Meal Program
The Free School Meals Program begins July 1, 2023. South Washington County Schools will participate in the state funded program, which provides free meals to all students. Free School Meals entitles each student to one free breakfast and one free lunch on all in-person academic days. All items outside of the complete meal (including doubles) are considered ala carte purchases. These purchases require funds available in the student’s lunch account. Qualifying families should continue to complete the Educational Benefits Application, which provides a variety of discounted or free benefits to students for field trips, athletics, instrument rentals, Kids club and more. We are anticipating an increase in student meal participation and are working to fully staff and prepare our kitchens to meet this demand. If you are interested in joining our Nutrition Services Team, you can apply now.
Students will be required to use their PIN numbers. See section under Meal Accounts on how to access your student's PIN.
Tip: Use the Keypad image below to have students practice their lunch pin login. This is a quick way to get them to learn prior to the start of the school year. Pin numbers can be found in your Parent Portal account.
Volunteers Needed During Kindergarten-1st Grade Lunches
Save the Dates for VCES Conferences
Families will be able to sign up for our Student-Led Conferences electronically early this fall. The 2023-24 School Conferences will be held on the following dates:
- FALL CONFERENCES: Thurs., Oct. 12 - 4:00-8:15 pm or Tues., Oct. 17 - 4:00-8:00 pm
- SPRING CONFERENCES: Thurs., Feb. 22- 4:00-8:15 pm or Thurs., Feb. 29 - 4:00-8:00 pm
Device Protection Plan
SoWashCo Schools is offering families the option of purchasing a device protection plan to protect district-issued devices from accidental damage from ﬁre, ﬂood, natural disasters, or power surges; and theft (with a ﬁled police report).
The cost for the optional plan is $20 annually per device. Families who qualify for federal educational beneﬁts, such as free and reduced-price meals, will also be eligible for reduced pricing ($10 annually per device) or free coverage. Families can sign up and pay for the device protection plan through the SmartSchoolK12 website.
Please note that families who waive the device protection plan will be responsible for the full cost of repair or replacement of the device. If you have any issues signing up and paying for the device protection plan, please contact email@example.com.
Transportation - Bussing
Fall bussing information will be posted to Parent Portal in late August.
To request or change a student's bus status, complete the Opt In form.
Students may only ride their assigned bus to and from school. Transportation eligibility can be reviewed below under Transportation Guidelines-Transportation Eligibility.
We ask that you assist the Valley Crossing Elementary staff in making sure your child knows their bus assignment. If you have any other questions regarding transportation, please visit the transportation website or call the transportation department at 651-425-5303.
Transportation - Car Rider Drop off/Pick up
All families will receive two "car rider signs" that MUST be displayed in the passenger side window if you are dropping your child off for school or picking them up from school. Just keep the card handy in your glove box in the event you need it for drop off/pick up.
If you are dropping off or picking up your child, please follow Valley Crossing Elementary’s “Airport Style” curb-side pickup procedures.
NOTE: ALL STUDENTS must enter the car on the PASSENGER SIDE if you are moving through the airport style pickup. This means that students must be able to buckle/unbuckle themselves from car seats. Drivers ARE NOT ALLOWED to get out of their cars to assist. If your child needs assistance getting in and out of the car, please park and meet your child at the main crosswalk. Thanks to everyone for helping keep our students safe!
It has been a common practice to provide treats for the class in honor of a child’s birthday; however we are asking that NO EDIBLE TREATS be sent in to celebrate birthdays. We will make your child’s birthday special in the classroom without edible treats.
If you would like to send a little something to honor their day please consider an alternative birthday treat such as pencils or a book donated to the classroom. We ask that no edible treats be sent in due to varying allergy conditions and other issues related to edible treats in the classroom. Thank you for your help with following this new practice of celebrating birthdays in the classroom.
Birthday “parties” are not given in the classroom and dispersing non-edible treats is expected to take minimal time away from classroom instruction. In addition, teachers are not responsible for handing out birthday party invitations or sending email invites/RSVP reminders to the entire class. Thank you for respecting these guidelines.
Valley Crossing PTA board members will be meeting on Tuesday, August 8th at 9:30 am on the playground to plan for the 2023-24 school year. We would love other Valley parents to join us! Kids are welcome to play while we map out our year!
Join us after the PTA meeting on Aug 8th to discuss and plan this year's Fall Fundraiser. No time commitment is too small! We welcome all ideas and realize everyone is very busy. Please join us!!! If you can’t make it on Aug 8th, but are interested in helping, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the VCES PTA!
It's time to join or renew your membership! Membership is $10 per person or $15 per family. To join visit MemberHub. Want to learn more about our PTA? Visit our website VCES PTA and follow us on Facebook Valley Crossing PTA | Facebook
2023-24 Student Handbook and Annual Notifications
The purpose of the Student Handbook and Annual Notifications are to provide a framework of resources for your experience as a student, whether you are full-time, part-time, online or in-person. This includes information so that you can develop an understanding of the general rules/expectations and guidelines, along with notification of board policy or state statute.
Items noted with an asterisk [*] indicates notice is required by State statute. Items noted with two asterisks [**] indicate notice is required by School Board policy.
Besides the policies that are included and/or referred to in this Handbook, students are expected to be aware of and to abide by all of the District's policies. All of the District's policies can be found on the District's website. Students should pay particular attention to the policies in Section 500 that specifically pertains to students. Questions regarding policies can be directed to your building administrator.
Staff Changes for 2023-24
We are excited to announce a few changes within our building, as well as welcome new/returning staff members to VCES!
- Ashley Anderson, 2-3 Multiage Teacher
- Michelle Caldwell, K-1 Multiage Teacher
- Shelby Ferry, 1.0 Music Teacher
- Julie Funk, Office Coordinator Long-term Substitute (through October)
- Jenna Held, 1.0 FTE Instructional Coach
- Bryan Jarosak, 6.125 hr/day HN/Resource Para / 1 hr/day am Crossing Guard
- Nancy Krenner, 4-5 Multiage Teacher
- Savannah Long, EBD Center-Based Teacher
- Liz McBroom, 0.5 FTE School Psychologist
- Katie Miller, 6 hr/day Media Clerk
- Julian Ngan, 2 hr/day Lunch/Recess Paraprofessional
- Janet Nielsen-Landgraf, Resource Teacher
- Joy Peterson, 1.0 FTE Assistant Principal
- Caroline Polifka, Gateway 5 Teacher
- Kelly Renman, 1 hr/day pm Crossing Guard
- Todd Schendel, 0.2 Music Teacher
- Angela Shomion, Resource Teacher
- Meredith Sikorski, 0.5 EL Teacher
- Tess Soucheray, 0.2 Art Teacher
- Andrew Tretter , 0.5 PE Teacher
- Meghan Vesel, 0.5 School Social Worker (gen ed)
- Nicole Zagrzebski, Resource Teacher
- TBD, 0.5 Center-Based School Social Worker
- TBD, 0.5 Media Specialist
- TBD, 2 hr/day Lunch/Recess Paraprofessional
A message from our new Assistant Principal, Joy Peterson
Hello, Valley Crossing Families!
Hopefully you and your family are enjoying a wonderful, fun-filled summer! I am so honored to have the opportunity to serve our Valley Crossing community this upcoming school year as your Assistant Principal. Along with Principal Classon, It is my goal to grow, celebrate, and support each child here at Valley Crossing. I am truly looking forward to meeting each of our families and students soon!
Education is my passion - This will be my 24th year as an educator! Previously I was a classroom teacher for 17 years, an early literacy interventionist, a Dean of Students and administrator at five other schools in our district. Outside of school, I am a children’s author and my husband and I have three children of our own who also went to Sowashco schools! My youngest child is in high school, my middle child is in college and my oldest child is in the military.
Valley Crossing is a special place to be, and I am so grateful that I get to be a part of your child’s educational journey here at Valley Crossing!
Mrs. Joy Peterson, Assistant Principal
8:00 am - School office opens
9:00 am - School opens to students
9:15 am - School day begins
3:45 pm - School day ends
4:00 pm - School office closes
NOTE: The earliest students can arrive at school in the morning is 9:00 am. All students must be picked up at 3:45 pm if not riding the bus home.
VCES Contact Information
Connha Classon, Principal: email@example.com / 651.425.7503
Joy Peterson, Assistant Principal: firstname.lastname@example.org / 651.425.7523
Merita LaPlante, Office Coordinator: email@example.com / 651.425.7501
Jen Gackstetter, Office Assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org / 651.425.7507
Faith Schulze, School Social Worker: email@example.com / 651.425.7699
Ashley Boatman, School Psychologist: firstname.lastname@example.org / 651.425.7661
School Website: https://vces.sowashco.org/
District Website: www.sowashco.org
VCES Office: 651-425-7500
VCES Attendance Line: 651-425-7506
VCES Health Office: 651-425-7502
VCES Fax Number: 651-425-7515
District 833 Student Information: 651-425-6218
District 833 Transportation: 651-425-5303