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January 2020

A Note from Mrs. Johnson

Hello, Valley Mills Families!

Welcome back to a new semester! We are so excited for this next couple of months. We have a lot of learning to do.

On Friday, January 17, we will host Team Time to honor all the hard work your students did to be successful in December. We will have the Culvers trip in the third week of January to honor the Proud Principal winners.

As a school, we are focusing on practicing emotional regulation through Second Steps. This is an important skill. We are trying to learn how to name the emotion, use our coping skills to deal with the emotions, and then moving forward to be successful. Please let us know if you need help with ideas on how to practice this at home with your student.

Please keep an eye on our social media pages, the news, and radio for inclement weather. Our teachers are working really hard to make sure all is well for any e-learning days we may have.

Thank you for all you do to make Valley Mills the best school it can be. Have a great week!


Rebecca Johnson


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Dates to Remember:

12/19-End of Semester 1

12/20-1/3-Winter Recess-No School

1/4 - Volleyball sign-ups at Decatur Fire Station

1/9 - School Smiles

1/10 - December Team time

1/10 - FireFighter Friday

1/11 - Volleyball sign-ups at Decatur Fire Station

1/14 - PTO meeting

1/14 - Board meeting

1/20 - No School (Martin Luther King Jr Day)

High Ability Testing

Attention parents of 2nd and 5th graders! The MSD of Decatur Township High Ability Committee is getting ready to begin this year’s identification process to determine which students will qualify for the High Ability Program for the 2020-21 school year. An important letter and FAQ sheet were sent home with your child this week.Beginning next week, all students in grades 2 and 5 throughout the district will be taking the CogAT Complete online. The CogAT is a measure of potential focusing on general thinking skills and problem-solving skills. Students will also again take STAR tests in grade 2 and Airways tests in grade 5, and those scores will be used for achievement scores in reading and math. Using the data from both assessments, the High Ability Committee will determine which students qualify for the program. If you have questions or concerns about the process, you are welcome to contact the school or the district office.

Second Steps

Problem Solving

This month, our schoolwide theme is problem solving. In our morning announcements and school assembly we’ll be reminding students to use the Second Step Problem-Solving Steps:

  • S: Say the problem
  • T: Think of solutions
  • E: Explore consequences
  • P: Pick the best solution

As you can see, the first letter of each step spells the word ”step.” Remembering “step” helps students solve problems with each other in safe and respectful ways.

Second Step lessons specifically teach students to use each step and reinforce the message that solutions need to be safe and respectful. You will be receiving Home Links about the steps that describe why solving problems is important and including fun activities to do with your child to help him or her learn and practice the steps. We hope the steps will be helpful for you and your child when there are problems at home.

Please tell your child’s teacher if you would like more suggestions about how to use the Problem-Solving Steps at home.


Every Friday our sixth graders meet with their first grade friends to do fun reading projects.
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Recess is a vital part of each child’s school day. However, recess is a privilege per teacher discretion. Weather permitting, our children may go outdoors for recess. A heat advisory would mandate indoor recess. During the winter months, 20 degrees is the rule for temperature and/or wind chill. A child will be kept in from recess for up to three days upon receipt of a parent’s note. If for some reason your child should not go outside for an extended period of time (three or more consecutive days), you must send a written request from your doctor.

In Our Community

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Lunch with some of our township Heros

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Our MSD Decatur Township Firefighters will come to Valley Mills the first Friday of every month, on rotation visiting with our 1st-4th graders.

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We will be selling popcorn on Fridays during lunch/recess. All proceeds go to our VM student fund.

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Lunch Information

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Inclement Weather Information

Inclement Weather Information

  • Posted January 25, 2019

MSD Decatur Families,

MSD of Decatur Township continues to prioritize Student Learning, Safety and Customer Service as part of our district Mission. The safety of our students remains our top priority.

As you know, Indiana weather is extremely unpredictable so please review the information below regarding factors that may impact school delays and closings.

  • Freezing Rain/Sleet: The most unpredictable weather variable is freezing rain/sleet. Freezing rain/sleet is temperature sensitive and fast-occurring. It begins and ends with little notice. When freezing rain/sleet are predicted, the decision regarding school is delayed until the latest possible time in an effort to observe the most current and local conditions. Such a decision generally will be made in the morning.

  • Snowfall: Much more predictable than freezing rain/sleet. Meteorologists generally give a 2 inch variable when predicting snow accumulation. Because the variation in actual snowfall, when compared to predicted snowfall, the decision regarding school status is delayed until the snow accumulation indicates a need for action. Such a decision, except in extreme situations, will generally be made in the morning.

  • Extreme Cold: Temperature prediction is increasingly accurate. MSD Decatur Township uses the hourly temperature predictions for its zip code from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( If air temperature is predicted by NOAA to be -10 degrees or below (the starting point for wind chill concerns with calm wind) at 7:00 a.m. the school will consider a two hour delay for the start of school. If the air temperature is predicted to remain at -10 degrees or below at 9:00 a.m. the school will consider closing. Such a determination will be made as early as possible, perhaps the evening before, but certainly by 6:00 a.m. in the morning.

  • Extreme Wind Chill: Wind chill prediction is not as accurate as temperature prediction because wind speed is more variable by time and location. While NOAA observations and predictions are based upon the open conditions of the Indianapolis Airport, these conditions are often different in some of the wind barricaded neighborhoods of MSD Decatur Township. If wind chill is predicted by NOAA to be -19 degrees or below and local wind conditions are predicted to mirror the airport wind conditions at 7:00 a.m., the school will consider a two hour delay for the start of school. If the wind chill is predicted to remain at -19 degrees or below and local conditions mirror the airport wind conditions at 9:00 a.m., the school will consider closing. The variability of wind speed will likely cause this decision to be made in the morning.

Communication about school delays and closings will be sent to all parents via School Messenger, our district notification system. Phone calls are scheduled as early as 6:00 am., the district Facebook page, the district app and twitter account will also provide up to date delay and closing information.

MSD of Decatur Township respects a parent’s determination regarding their child’s attendance at school during inclement weather. If school is open, or delayed, because of inclement weather, the school will respect the parent’s decision to keep their child at home. Parents are expected to contact the school and inform school officials of their determination. The student will be counted as absent, per state code, and students will be given an opportunity to complete their academic work in the same manner as an excused absence from school.

eLearning Days effective Feburary 2019. MSD of Decatur Township Schools may call eLearning days due to inclement weather. Students will not attend school they will have their assignments posted on our LMS-Canvas. Directions will be posted on that platform and students will use their school issued device to complete their work. Students in K-2 will recieve a packet to complete upon their return to school.

We hope this information assists you in better understanding the process that we utilize to make the safest decision for your children. Thank you for your cooperation!


Matt Prusiecki


2019-2020 Calendar

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Valley Mills Elementary

Principal: Rebecca Johnson

Assistant Principal: Stephanie Werner

Lead Teacher: Jennifer Keller

Treasurer: Sheena Turner

Secretary: Toni Leedy

CIS Coordinator: Kiersti Binette

Nurse: Hailey Music

From the Board of Education:

It is the Board’s commitment to provide a safe, positive, productive and nurturing educational environment for all of its students. Any individual who believes a student has been or is the victim of discrimination, bullying, or harassment should report the situation to the building principal or designee or complete the School District’s Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying report form, which is available online at