Phoenix Family News

October 9, 2020

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Calendar of Events

  • October 12 - Group A In-Person / Group B Distance Learning
  • October 13 - Group B In-Person / Group A Distance Learning
  • October 14 - Flex Instruction Day - Groups A & B Distance Learning
  • October 15 & 16 - No School, MEA

  • October 19 - No School, K-12 Prep Day
  • October 20 & 22 - Group B In-Person / Group A Distance Learning
  • October 21 & 23 - Group A In-Person / Group B Distance Learning
  • NOTE: There is NO Friday Flex instruction day the week of October 19-23 since Group B students are in person on Tues/Thurs and Group A students are in person on Wed/Friday.

  • October 20-30 - Fall Conference Window (see below for more information)

A Note from the Principal - Fall Conferences

We are excited to share that conferences will look a little different this year! Instead of having two nights dedicated to conferences as we have in the past, we will be offering a "Fall Conference Window" this year from October 20-30 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 our upcoming time together. We hope to return to our "student led" format for our spring conferences.

If your child receives special education and/or EL services, case managers will also be reaching out to families to schedule a 15-minute time to connect. Specialist teachers will also be available to meet with families. 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):

2020-21 Yearbooks & Fall Pictures

If you haven't heard, District 833 has started using Josten's this year for our school pictures and yearbooks. You can actually pre-order your yearbook for a $3.00 savings! Click HERE to pre-order your 2020-21 VCES Yearbook!

Fall pictures have been scheduled for November 9th and 10th to accommodate both A and B students. VLA students will have an opportunity to get their pictures taken as well. The VLA picture time is on November 10th from 4:00-6:30 pm. More information will be coming as the date approaches.

Spectator Expectations


The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has established guidelines that limit attendance to 250 spectators in the outdoor stadium for football. All South Washington County Schools will not sell general admission tickets to football games this year.

  • Varsity level players on the roster will be issued two 2 tickets for their family.
  • The ticket holders must sit together. You may not move around and a student section will not be allowed.
  • Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • Face coverings will be required when entering and exiting the stadium. They may be removed once seated.
  • Parents will not be allowed to drop off their elementary or middle school students to watch the game.
  • Concessions will not be provided.
  • Gathering outside the stadium, in the parking lot, outside the fencing or other areas of school district property in order to view the game from afar will not be allowed.


  • Based on MDH recommendations, spectators will not be allowed for indoor events and matches.
  • Only team members and essential game staff (workers) will be the only people allowed in the gyms.

Our district is working to provide live-streamed video for matches and games for fans who are not able to attend based on these restrictions. Prep Spotlight TV will be our main streaming partner. Individual games cost $5.99 and a season pass for all sports, games and events $59.99.

Distance Learning Days

Here are some excellent ideas if you or your child are seeking more activities to do on Distance Learning days:

2020-2021 VLA Book Checkout

Dates of Friday VLA Book Checkout Pickups are below:
    • October 30
    • November 13, 20
    • December 4, 11, 18
    • January 8, 15, 29
    • February 5, 12, 26
    • March 5, 26
    • April 9, 16, 23
    • All books should be returned during the month of May
Instructions for how to place books on hold: Destiny Discover Online Catalog

How To Request Books (Written Instructions) / How to Request Books (Video Instructions)

Please contact Ms. Lanners, Media Specialist, via Seesaw or email ( if you have further questions.

Growing Through Grief Program

District 833 is now partnering with the Park Nicollet Foundation to bring the program Growing Through Grief to our schools. Through grant dollars, Growing Through Grief is a free service that provides group and individual support services during the school day to students. Research shows that each person experiences grief differently and it may continue to affect a person throughout their lifetime as different transitions and life situations occur. The program has the ability to follow a child through their school experience (through high school) as they continue in South Washington County School District even if they do not continue to have a need for services.

Joan Boevers is the Grief Counselor assigned to South Washington County District. She provides group and individual support as well as death-related crisis support. The program’s purpose is to provide grief education, to allow for space for students to talk about their grief, teach coping skills, and foster peer support. The Growing Through Grief program does not provide therapy. Ideal student candidates for the program would be a student whose parent, sibling, close friend, or primary caregiver has died.

At Valley Crossing, we are excited to announce that Growing for Grief will be offered at our location either onground or virtually based on student needs. Each support group will be 30-40 minutes in length and have 4-8 participants. If you feel that your child would benefit from participating in a support group, please contact Dr. Gervais at for more information.

Notes from our School Social Worker

Dr. Gervais is excited to be able to offer you or your child(ren) the opportunity to meet with her virtually in 15-minute increments:

Any questions or resource needs, please contact Dr. Gervais at

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:

Free Parenting Education Series: What is ADHD? How does it affect kids? - November 18, 2020 - 6:30-7:45pm - Virtual - For more information and to sign up, GO HERE

PTA News

Box Tops

This year Box Tops for Education is opening up their submission process to ALL Box Top supporters meaning, you can cut them and submit them yourself instead of bringing them to school! All clipped Box Tops submitted must be postmarked by November 2. You can access the submission form HERE.

National PTA Information

Visit the National PTA website for information about why it is beneficial for you to become a PTA member. The website also contains awesome family resources and National PTA information and events.


Please use this link to sign up a new account:

Returning families: Your MemberHub login will carry over from past years. Login 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

Family Technology Support Line: Fall 2020 website / 651.425.HELP (4357) - M-F 7:30-4:00