Phoenix Family News
August 25, 2023
Important Dates Ahead...
August 31 and September 5: Assessment days - 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.
Getting Ready for Back to School
We are looking forward to seeing students and families during assessments next week! It's a great time for people to come into the building, meet their child's teacher, and see the learning spaces for their child for the year.
As we transition into the school year, we will not be having adults enter with their students in the hallways for safety reasons. Instead, please say your goodbyes and hugs at the door and we will ensure a safe delivery of your child to their classrooms. Students will enter the main doors if they are car riders, and they will enter the playground doors if they are bus riders.
Please note that our students are invited into the building at 9:00 am and there is no supervision prior to 9:00 am. Our K-1 teachers will meet their classes inside at the front of the building for the first two weeks of school. Second through fifth grade students will go directly to their classroom.
Our staff is committed to ensuring that students feel safe and connected at Valley Crossing. If there is something that could help your child, we would love any feedback that you can provide, and we encourage you to complete our Student Information Survey if you haven't already done so. Thank you for your continued support! We look forward to partnering with you this year!
Connha Classon, Principal
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.
Bussing Changes for 2023-24
As you may be aware, we are still facing a shortage of bus drivers for the upcoming school year. In an ongoing effort to create efficiencies and do our best to eliminate bus route cancellations, our district is going to be busing Valley Crossing Elementary students and St. Ambrose students together for the 2023-2024 school year. Our buses will drop-off AM and pick-up PM at VCES first, then continue directly to SAM for AM drop-off/PM pick-up.
Please be assured that we will do everything in our power to help get students on/off buses in a timely manner. We anticipate another challenging year with busing, so we ask for your patience and grace in advance if we end up running a few minutes late. Thank you in advance for understanding our need to create district-wide efficiencies for bussing this year. If you have any questions, please contact our district transportation office at 651-425-5303.
Volunteers Needed During Kindergarten-1st Grade Lunches
Here are the K-1 lunch times:
- Neighborhood A - 12:00-12:20 pm
- Neighborhood B - 12:50-1:10 pm
- Neighborhood C - 11:10-11:30 am
Thanks in advance for your consideration!
VCES Lunchroom Visitors
We have new staff since our last update! Please welcome:
- Michelle Laumeyer - 1.0 FTE Building Substitute
- Kaycie Miller - 0.5 FTE Media Specialist
- Britty Uddin - 2.0 hour/day Lunch/Recess Paraprofessional
Educational Benefits: Everyone should apply!
Educational Benefits is formerly the free and reduced lunch application, but the benefits go much farther and could easily benefit families who qualify. Though regular breakfast and lunch are free this school year for all, families should submit a new educational benefits application each year to once again qualify for additional benefits beyond school meals. All benefits will become effective after the application is processed and approved.
How to Apply
- Online applications through School Cafe: Completed online applications will normally be processed within 24-48 hours. From July - September applications can take as long as 10 days to process, including mailing time.
- Paper copy: All schools will have a small supply of applications on hand throughout the school year.
- Printable applications from our website: Applications can be printed at your convenience. Paper applications can be returned to:
BENEFITS INCLUDE (see flyer below):
- Kids Club
- Discounted Kids Club childcare before and after school and during non-school days
- Field Trips
- Schools can offer discounted or free field trips
- Community Education Programs
- Discounted or free classes and activities in the arts, athletics, academics and more
- Students can participate in discounted or free school athletics. Direct Certification student's will need a Waiver of Confidentiality completed.
- Student Fees
- Receive free or discounted graduation fees, student parking permits and more
- Instrument Rentals
- Discounted or free instrument rentals for school band or orchestra
- Device Protection Plans
- Receive free or discounted protection plans for school provided devices
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. When entering the parking lot, please remember to stay to the far right and circle around our parking lot.
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!
- Please pull as far forward as possible
- Students must exit the car on the curbside - parents should not exit the car at any point in the car line
Please wait to let your children get out of the car until you are past the crosswalk
If your child needs help unbuckling, please park and walk them across the crosswalk
Like the drop-off routine, your child will be picked up curbside.
Students will wait in their designated area with their teacher until you arrive to pick them up.
As you pull up, proceed all the way to the stop sign directly in front of the school (please be kind and follow the directions of the staff members directing traffic).
Display your child’s name and grade level on the Car Rider card in your window or on your visor (we provide Car Rider Cards during assessment days, so please contact your homebase teacher if you didn’t get one or need another one).
For safety reasons, students may only enter your car on the curb side of your vehicle.
Please exit the car line as soon as your child has loaded to keep our traffic flow moving.
If your child needs help buckling, please park and meet your child at the crosswalk as parents are not allowed to exit the car at any point in the car line
Thanks to everyone for helping keep our students safe!
Device Protection Plan
SoWashCo Schools is offering families the option of purchasing a Device Protection Plan to protect district-issued devices from accidental damage to the device; damage from ﬁre, ﬂood, natural disasters, or power surges; and theft (with a ﬁled police report). Sign up for the Device Protection Plan HERE.
The participation cost for those choosing to enroll in the Device Protection Plan is $25 annually per device. Families who qualify for federal educational beneﬁts, such as free and reduced-price meals, will also be eligible for reduced pricing ($12.50 annually per device) or free coverage. If families are eligible, the pricing will automatically be calculated at checkout. In addition, families with multiple children will not pay more than $75 per year for Device Protection Plans. Payment on Device Protection Plans is due upon issuing of the student’s device. The protection fee is nonrefundable. Coverage begins upon receipt of the payment and ends at the conclusion of the scheduled school year.
- Families who waive the Device Protection Plan will be responsible for the full cost of repair or replacement of the device.
- The district issued device accessories, charging cable, power adapter “brick” and case (for iPad) are not covered by the plan.
All electronic technologies must be used in accordance with the educational program and mission of South Washington County Schools. Although issued to the student, the iPad or Chromebook is and remains the property of South Washington County Schools. It may be reviewed and revoked at any time. The student should have NO expectation of privacy regarding content on the iPad or Chromebook.
If a student fails to return the device and accessories (iPad case and charging cords) at the end of the school year or upon termination of enrollment from the issuing school, that student or his/her parent/guardian will be billed for the cost to replace the items not returned. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in a theft report being ﬁled with the police department.
Join the VCES PTA!
The PTA would like to welcome all new families to Valley Crossing and give a welcome back to our returning families! There are several ways to stay informed about upcoming events and activities sponsored by the PTA. The PTA has a section in the weekly Phoenix News that you are reading right now. You can also follow us on Facebook, check out our website , and of course, join the PTA! Membership is $10 for individuals and $15 for families. Questions about the PTA or would like to find out how to get involved? Email us at email@example.com
We have partnered with Advanced Sportswear in Newport to provide the opportunity to purchase VCES gear. All purchases will be made online through this link. The online shop will be open until Sunday, September 10th at midnight.
Join us on Monday, September 18 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.! The PTA will be providing free entertainment and there will be food for purchase from Floyd's Mini Donuts, Unbakeable (edible cookie dough and ice cream), Pizza Karma, Taco Libre, Yummy Tummy, and Sumo and Smoh Egg Rolls. All food trucks are donating a percentage of sales back to our PTA! This night replaces the traditional "open house" and will provide a great opportunity to meet teachers, classmates, and Valley families!
SoWashCo Community Education
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo Schools) offers activities and classes for youth through SoWashCo Community Education. Activities and classes are conveniently offered at your child's school, partner locations within our community and online. The latest activities and classes can be found on our website under Get Involved > Youth Activities.
Chess Club, Grades 1-5
Meet and interact with chess players in your school and play on a weekly basis. New players will learn the basic rules and strategies of chess.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Important Information from Previous Newsletters
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
School Supply Lists
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.
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.
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.
For information on how to access this information on the district website, please click HERE.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org / 651.425.7503
Joy Peterson, Assistant Principal: email@example.com / 651.425.7523
Merita LaPlante, Office Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org / 651.425.7501
Jen Gackstetter, Office Assistant: email@example.com / 651.425.7507
Faith Schulze, School Social Worker: firstname.lastname@example.org / 651.425.7699
Ashley Boatman, School Psychologist: email@example.com / 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